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Top 20 MLB Prospects: Third Base

Vlad will help you this year and beyond.

Arizona Fall League All Star Game Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Top 10 Fantasy Third Basemen Prospects for 2019 Redraft Leagues

Player Team Opening Day Age Highest Level
Player Team Opening Day Age Highest Level
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR 20 Triple-A
Austin Riley ATL 21 Triple-A
Ryan Mountcastle BAL 22 Double-A
Ke'Bryan Hayes PIT 22 Double-A
Ty France SDP 24 Triple-A
Lucas Erceg MIL 23 Triple-A
Edwin Rios LAD 24 Triple-A
Michael Chavis BOS 23 Triple-A
Sheldon Neuse OAK 24 Triple-A
Kelvin Gutierrez KCR 24 Double-A

It has come to a point that, when Vladdy is being discussed, there is no actual substance to the analysis - only superlatives. He is the No. 1 prospect and it is common knowledge. When someone asks how many US states there are, which Rocky movie is the best, or who is the No. 1 baseball prospect is there is only one answer to these questions. Fifty, Rocky IV, and Vladdy. Besides Valddy, there is not a very clear path to playing time for any of these players thanks to the addition of Josh Donaldson to the Braves. Hayes may have the best chance to win a job outright by some point this year. You can read about how Vladimir and Riley can help you this year in the Top 50 rookies:

Top 20 Long-Term Third Base Prospects

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays (20, Triple-A) – I am very concerned about Vlad. Since stealing 15 bases in 2016, he only stole eight in 2017 and a mere three in 2018. With the stolen bases disappearing, the Blue Jays may keep him down in Triple-A to develop his base stealing skills.

2. Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves (21, Triple-A) – Lots of power and a good batting average with a decent amount of swing and miss. However, his BABIP has consistently approached .400 in both Double-A and Triple-A but this is because he hits ropes.

3. Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals (18, Single-A) – A first round pick in 2018, Gorman made it all the way up to Single-A and managed to strike out 36.4% of the time. His 70-grade power showed at age 18, smacking 17 homers in 63 games across two levels.

4. Mark Vientos, New York Mets (19, Rookie) - .878 OPS in rookie ball last year with almost as many walks as strikeouts. Vientos fell all the way to the second round as a 16-year-old in the 2017 draft. He’s already 6’4” and 185 and could be a big time riser over the next year. He is exactly the type of upside play I would take a chance on after the first 50-70 prospects are off the board.

5. Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox (23, Triple-A) – See Austin Riley with less athleticism. Still massive power with excellent bat speed and high exit velocities. He should be a 30-homer threat in the Majors.

6. Nolan Jones, Cleveland Indians (20, High-A) – The ex-hockey player has a fairly high strikeout rate – but one that will still allow him to hit for a high batting average. He’s got great power and his lowest walk rate is 16.2% across four levels in three seasons.

7. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates (22, Double-A) – He does just about everything above average. With superior defense, he will get every chance to develop more power in the Majors very soon.

8. Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds (22, Single-A) – The fifth overall pick was a standout in the Southeastern Conference. Scouts drool over his bat speed. However, he does not have a stand-out tool and has been rather ordinary in his small sample size. He could develop into a poor man’s Senzel or poorer man’s Bregman, but he holds considerable trade value in a dynasty league given the hype. It may be time to sell high – the Reds failed to sell high in the J.T. Realmuto talks.

9. Bobby Dalbac, Boston Red Sox (23, Double-A) – Led all minor league third basemen with 32 homers and only trailed Vlad in slugging but struck out 32.4% of the time.

10. Elehuris Montero, St. Louis Cardinals (20, High-A) – like Malcom Nunez, Montero signed for $300,000 and he has shown excellent power and not as much swing and miss as you’d think. But how many of these Cardinals third basemen can move over to first base? Malcom Nunez is already on my first base prospect list and played more third base. Between Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt (and Jose Martinez), the Cardinals are surely praying for the DH with Montero, Gorman and Nunez waiting in the wings.

11. Jonathan Ornelas, Texas Rangers (18, Rookie) – In just over 200 at bats, he hit three homers and stole 15 bases at age 18. The third round selection had a 12.3% walk rate.

12. Sherten Apostel, Texas Rangers (19, Low-A) – Crazy plate discipline at 18 and 19 years old in rookie ball.

13. Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies (21, High-A) – Across 114 games, he hit 13 homers with a .872 OPS with an elite line drive rate and good plate discipline. If Nolan Arenado departs Colorado, Welker could make his way up to Coors in time for Colorado to sign a veteran third baseman to take playing time away from him.

14. Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies (22, Low-A) – The third overall pick in the 2018 draft has a limited sample size and an even more limited number of homers – none. It’s too early to say the Phillies bombed on another first round pick (no pun intended), but it’s also too early to invest too much stock in a 22-year-old that showed limited signs of the power he was drafted for.

15. Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles (22, Double-A) – He has struggled when called up a level mid-season. In 2015, in a promotion from rookie ball to Low-A, he struggled mightily. Likewise, when promoted to Double-A in 2017, he struggled again. Perhaps he was pressing too much as he walked 0% and 1.9% of the time during those relatively small samples. Overall, he shows good promise in terms of his hit tool and power. In his second stint in Double-A last season, he perhaps had his best season to date. Given the Orioles other options, I would not be surprised if he got a shot this year. However, I expect him to struggle in his first shot in the Majors.

16. Hudson Potts, San Diego Padres (20, Double-A) – Excellent power with below average, yet improving plate discipline. Still young for Double-A, there is room to cut down on the swing and miss.

17. Ty France, San Diego Padres (24, Triple-A) – France broke out in Double-A last year with improved power and plate discipline and could be in line for a chance to start at third base this season. He could be a sleeper in draft and hold leagues if Machado stays out of California.

18. Jake Burger, Chicago White Sox (22, Single-A) – A ruptured Achilles cost him all of 2018 and the first round pick looks to get back on track in 2019.

19. Lucas Erceg, Milwaukee Brewers (23, Triple-A) – Erceg has shown good power while limiting strikeouts to less than 20%. His path to playing time is considerably blocked for the time being.

20. Rylan Bannon, Baltimore Orioles (22, Double-A) – Jacked 20 bombs for the Dodgers High-A team while hitting .296 with excellent plate discipline in only 89 games. After being acquired in the Machado trade, he struggled in Double-A for the Orioles after being shifted to second base in favor of Mountcastle.

Safest Stud - Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

Vladdy had more extra base hits than strikeouts in Double-A. In Triple-A, he also had more extra base hits than strikeouts. He has not had an OBP below .400 since rookie ball. As we know, a .359 OBP as a 17-year-old is unacceptable.

Highest Upside - Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

Is Vladdy going to sweep the awards ceremony? To contemplate anyone on this list having a higher upside than Vlad is a waste of time.

Boom or Bust - Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals

Gorman has prodigious power at age 18, but has shown a lot of swing and miss in Single-A. Does he compare to Joey Gallo? Cody Bellinger? Giancarlo Stanton? Or something even more extreme on either end of the spectrum?

Fastest Riser - Mark Vientos, New York Mets

As a 19-year-old, he’s surely played his last game in rookie ball as he’s made significant strides over the last several years. In an upside scenario, I can see Vientos as a Top 10 prospect entering the 2021 season.