by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
When people think of the best young players in the game the find often goes to shortstop, because that’s where seemingly all of the top young prospects are currently slotted. That’s because the top third baseman have not only already arrived but have proven that they can flourish at the highest level.
Who is the best long-term bet? Who should we be avoiding? Let’s take a look:
1) Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies (25-years old)
2) Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs (24-years old)
3) Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles (23-years old)
4) Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays (30-years old)
5) Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox (30-years old)
6) Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals (25-years old)
7) Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals (30-years old)
8) Maikel Franco – Philadelphia Phillies (23-years old)
9) Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners (28-years old)
10) Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays (30-years old)
11) Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox (19-years old)
12) Trevor Plouffe – Minnesota Twins (29-years old)
13) Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers (22-years old)
14) Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers (36-years old)
15) Brett Lawrie – Chicago White Sox (26-years old)
16) Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers (24-years old)
17) Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals (27-years old)
18) Matt Duffy – San Francisco Giants (25-years old)
19) Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates (28-years old)
20) Jake Lamb – Arizona Diamondbacks (25-years old)
- It’s easy to argue a different order for the Top 4 options, but the ages of Arenado and Bryant give them an edge over Donaldson over the long haul (not for 2016, though). We do have short-term concerns about Machado, centering mainly on his average (17.8% line drive rate, 14.1% popup rate in ’15). If he could show that he’s a lock to hit for a strong average every season it would be easy to justify him in the #1 spot. For now, though, the questions “suppress” him slightly.
- Maikel Franco has the potential to move up these rankings, but by how much? He doesn’t have speed and, much like Machado, had issues with a suppressed line drive rate (18.2%) and an inflated popup rate (14.8%) while in the Majors in 2015. He also doesn’t profile to have the power of the elite options, though it wouldn’t be shocking to see him post a 30+ HR campaign along the way. At the end of the day he’s a very good option, but he’s not quite Top 5 worthy.
- Most people would probably have Trevor Plouffe slotted behind Joey Gallo, but there is definitely reason to be skeptical about the latter. While the power upside is there, is he going to make enough contact to capitalize on it? Forget about what he did during his brief time in the Majors (46.3% strikeout rate over 123 PA), he was at 39.5% at Triple-A (228 PA) and 33.6% at Double-A (146 PA, after posting a 39.5% mark over 291 PA in ’14).
- It’s going to take time to see if Rafael Devers can live up to the hype, but it’s hard to overlook the potential. He played the entire season at Single-A last season, showing a good command of the strike zone (16.5% strikeout rate), especially for his age, and significant power potential (38 doubles, 1 triple, 11 home runs). It’s easy to argue him as the top 3B prospect in the game and a potential Top 5 option in the not too distant future.
- Players like Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria are clearly not what they once were and you have to wonder how many more productive years they have left. That said they are still usable in the short-term, as is David Wright (despite him falling short of cracking the Top 20).
*** Want a chance to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with a “Thor” inscription? Find out how by clicking here!! ***
|First Basemen||First Basemen||First Basemen|
|Second Basemen||Second Basemen||Second Basemen|
|Third Basemen||Third Basemen||Third Basemen|
|Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40||Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40||Outfielders: 1-20 | 21-40|
|Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40||Starting Pitchers: 1-20 | 21-40|
|Relief Pitchers||Relief Pitchers|