As you have already seen so far this week, we're taking a comprehensive look at one position each week in preparation for the fantasy baseball season. That look would not be complete without a look at the future as well, and with that in mind we will be providing a top prospect list at each position also. While I won't be ranking the same amount of prospect at each position, the goal is to provide enough that will be fantasy relevant in both shallow and deeper formats.
These rankings represent how I view the players at this time, and speak to their value long-term. This means that players like Forrest Wall, who has a higher upside but is a bit further away than some of the other prospects, is ranked higher here based on what his future potential is, rather than his 2015 value.
1. Kris Bryant (Cubs)
Bryant is the top prospect in the Cubs' system, the top prospect at third base, and has been the top prospect in the minors on a number of lists this year. I'll have a profile on his value for 2015 later today, but he has the potential long-term to be a .290+ hitter with 35+ home runs each year.
2. Miguel Sano (Twins)
In spite of a lost season, the luster on Sano as a fantasy prospect has not really dulled at all. He can still be a 35+ home run hitting third baseman, although it will be interesting to see how his defense goes at the position after missing all of last season with Tommy John surgery. I don't expect him to debut until at least some time after the All-Star break, if not longer.
3. Joey Gallo (Rangers)
Gallo will likely have a position change in his future as a result of Adrian Beltre's presence in Texas, but the power potential (35+ home runs) will get him to the majors by 2016 at the latest. He's likely headed back to AA to start this year, and could be up for a September call up if he hits well this year.
4. Maikel Franco (Phillies)
Franco was called up at the end of the season last year, and it's possible that he gets a majority of the playing time this year at third base with Cody Asche also getting reps in left field. There are questions about whether Franco can play third base long term or if he will need to move to first, but the potential is for a .280 hitter with 25+ home runs on a fairly regular basis.
5. D.J. Peterson (Mariners)
Peterson showed the pure hitting potential that made him the #12 overall pick in 2013, hitting 31 home runs with a .297 batting average between High-A and AA last year. His long-term position will likely be elsewhere (most likely 1B) between the long-term extension Kyle Seager signed and his defensive limitations at the spot, but he can still be a 25+ home run hitter each year.
6. Yasmany Tomas (Diamondbacks)
The Diamondbacks are hopeful that Tomas will be able to stick at third base, and the raw potential is for a 20-25 home run hitter. What keeps him out of the top five at this point is both the fact that he is more likely to be in the outfield long-term and isn't as likely to produce a high batting average as the hitters ahead of him.
7. Rafael Devers (Red Sox)
A 2013 IFA signing, Devers has the potential down the line to be an above-average hitter for both home runs and batting average. A strong performance in 2015 could move him even further up this list despite the distance from the majors, and this may be the last time you can get him below full price.
8. Rio Ruiz (Braves)
Ruiz' path to the majors got a lot clearer with his trade to the Braves, and he has the potential to provide a good batting average with 15-20 home runs in the future. His power has not really emerged to that level in-game yet, but with the potential for a high batting average, he's an interesting option that could slot in just outside the top 10 at the position each year.
9. Ryan McMahon (Rockies)
The power potential is key for McMahon, as he could be a 25-30+ home run hitter if he calls Coors Field home. He's expected to hit for a good average, but platoon questions from this year will need to be addressed before moving him higher on the list.
10. Hunter Dozier (Royals)
Another potential 25+ home run bat, Dozier is more likely to end up in the .250 range for batting average than the .280 range, but should still be a solid CI option in nearly all formats once he reaches the majors.
11. Garin Cecchini (Red Sox)
Cecchini has a different profile for a third baseman, as he is expected to be a high batting average (potentially over .300 on a regular basis), but with below average power (7-10 home runs) for the position. He's completely blocked in Boston, so it's likely that a change of scenery would help him out quite a bit.
12. Colin Moran (Astros)
It was a bit surprising to see the Marlins trade Moran just over a year after he was drafted with the 6th overall pick, but it's likely the Astros have their long-term answer at third base in Moran. It seems unlikely at this point that he develops more than 10-15 home run per season power, but that should come with a high batting average and a high on-base percentage to go with it.
13. Jake Lamb (Diamondbacks)
If Tomas doesn't stick at third base, Lamb is likely to be the fallback option this year. Lamb can potentially provide 15-20 home runs over a full season, but I wouldn't expect him to continue to hit over .300 like he has in the minors.
14. Gilbert Lara (Brewers)
The upside here is immense, as he can be a middle-of-the-order hitter providing both a ton of power and a high batting average. That said, he's also a July 2 signing from the 2014 season, and has yet to play even a single game as a professional.
15. Brandon Drury (Diamondbacks)
Acquired by the Diamondbacks in the Justin Upton trade, Drury can provide some power to go along with some batting average. There are questions about whether he should be at first base rather than third, and unless he can stay at third he'll also likely need a change of scenery for a clearer path to a starting job.
HM: Patrick Kivlehan (Mariners) - Kivlehan has shown solid power potential and a good batting average as a professional, but has been old for his level each year, and there's the possibility we may be seeing that help his performance.
HM: Trey Michalczewski (White Sox) - Michalczewski is very much a work in progress right now, but with the potential for a .270 batting average and 15-20 home runs a year, he's worth keeping an eye on in deeper formats.
HM: Matt Chapman (Athletics) - Another potential contributor in both batting average and home runs, I want to see what Chapman can do over a full season before I'm ready to start pointing to him as a top 15 prospect at the position.