by Ivar G. Andeson
Third base is a position that fantasy players struggle to fill year after year, especially with the injury bug getting seemingly worse. In a dynasty league, therefore, it pays to keep an eye out for those prospects that can move onto the scene in a couple of seasons. Here are three that may pique your interest. If you have others you would like to see profiled, post a note in the comments.
Travis Harrison 3B MIN (High-A Ft. Myers Miracle/Florida State League)
The Twins selected Harrison out of high school with the 50th overall pick in the 2011 amateur draft, making him a late first round selection. He has superb power, once hitting a homer 503 feet at Tropicana Field. He also has good patience at the plate, walking 68 times in 450 AB in 2013 at Single-A. He also misses pitches a ton, with 125 K in those 450 AB.
Teams are willing to deal with the whiffs if the power is there, and that seems a given for the 21 year old infielder. His glove is probably not good enough to let him stay at third, especially with Miguel Sano above him in the minors and slated to hit the majors this year at some point. He has an adequate and accurate arm and a decent enough glove to survive the move across the diamond, especially if he can hit in the .250 range and put up strong power numbers.
ETA in the majors: 2016.
Eric Jagielo 3B NYY (High-A Tampa Yankees/Florida State League)
The Yankees made the left handed hitter a first round choice in the 2013 draft, and he could be on a fast track to the majors. He projects to be a .300 hitter with serious pop in his bat, having stroked six HR in just 184 AB in Single-A last season. This year he has 10 homers in 156 at bats, so the power is real, especially with the muting effect on power bats normally seen in the Florida State League.
He also uses all fields to drive the ball, which bodes well for his continued development as a high average hitter. On defense, he has a good glove and arm, but needs to improve his footwork, and he lacks any real speed either on defense or on the bases.
With the Yankees’ lack of depth at third, he could make a debut at the end of 2015 in the Bronx, but the more likely scenario is a 2016 appearance on the 25 man roster. With his BA and power potential, you should keep an eye on him in your dynasty leagues before your opponents take note.
Rio Ruiz 3B HOU (High-A Lancaster JetHawks/California League)
The left handed hitting, right handed throwing Ruiz was a fourth round pick by the Astros in the 2012 draft. While he started out slowly in Rookie ball, he picked up the pace as the season progressed and put up good numbers in Low-A last season. While with Quad Cities, he pounded out 12 homers and put up a slash line of .260/.335/.430.
He possesses good bat speed to go with his natural strength and uses all fields, as well as being able to hit lefties well. He doesn’t have a lot of speed on defense but did steal 12 bases in 15 attempts in 2013, which would be a nice bonus if he can maintain that skill as he rises through the minors. He had a decent 0.54 BB/K ratio in 114 games in 201, and has cut down on his strikeouts this year, with only 41 in 217 AB, while collecting 34 walks.
His path to the majors may be blocked at third if the Astros move Carlos Correa to the hot corner, but time will sort out that issue as he is not expected in the big leagues until 2016 or so.
I am most interested in Jagielo of these three players, but any of the three that make it to the majors would be a nice source of power and in the case of Ruiz, potentially some steals. Pencil them in on your prospect list as potential MiLB players to take in your rookie drafts.
I am always available to talk fantasy baseball, especially starting pitching and prospects. Feel free to drop me a note with any questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and inquire about your team. Just remember the advice is free and you get what you pay for in this day and age.