Preseason Top 10 Third Baseman Rankings Review: Has Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Emerged As Top Prospect?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The minor league All Star games are starting to roll in, making this a good time to start taking a look back at our preseason rankings.  Whose value appears to be on the rise?  Whose value is plummeting?  Let’s take a look (please note all stats are through Thursday, unless otherwise noted):

 

 

1) Nick Senzel – Cincinnati Reds
Preseason Grade – A-
Current Grade – A-

After being drafted we all knew Senzel could move quickly through the Reds’ system and having already been promoted to Double-A he’s backing it up.  The home run power hasn’t shown up yet, with 5 HR  while splitting time between High-A and Double-A, but there’s room for growth considering 28 doubles and 2 triples.  He’s also shown a tremendous sense of the strike zone (SwStr% // Strikeout Rate):

  • High-A – 9.1% // 19.9%
  • Double-A – 10.8% // 24.1%

Freshly turned 22-years old, the power should continue to develop and with it will come value.  There’s no reason to change our grade at this point. 

 

2) Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox
Preseason Grade – A-/B+
Current Grade – A

We continue to wait for the Red Sox to give him a chance at another level, whether it’s Triple-A or the Majors, with everyone holding out hope that he’s the latest straight from Double-A callup.  He clearly has little left to prove, hitting .298 with 18 HR and 56 RBI over his first 75 games.  Couple that with a 17.6% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate, as well as the trouble the team has had at the Major League level at the position, and you start to wonder why they haven’t made the move as of yet (as opposed to ultimately spending future assets for a veteran).

 

3) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays
Preseason Grade – B+
Current Grade – A

You can argue that we were maybe ahead of the curve on Guerrero, who has likely been one of the biggest prospect risers in the first half of the season.  Playing at Single-A as an 18-year old he’s hit an impressive .316 with 7 HR and 6 SB.  Having added 21 doubles and 1 triple, you know it’s only a matter of time before he starts tapping into his power even more.  As impressive as those numbers are, they aren’t even the most impressive:

34 K vs. 40 BB

At his age to put up those numbers is remarkable, and he’s backed it up with a 9.2% SwStr%.  The arrow is steadily rising and you could argue that he’s now the best 3B prospect in the game.

 

4) Austin Riley – Atlanta Braves
Preseason Grade – B+/B
Current Grade – B

There was hope that his power would step forward, after compiling 61 extra base hits in ’16 (39 doubles, 2 triples and 20 HR).  While it hasn’t been a significant disappointment (he does have 11 HR), he’s managed just 10 doubles and 1 triple at High-A.  Couple that with a 22.3% strikeout rate (which is an improvement over last year’s 27.1%) and it’s fair to be a little bit down on him.  There’s still time and you shouldn’t give up completely, but at best his value is stagnant.

 

5) Miguel Andujar – New York Yankees
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B

How could the Yankees send him back down after that rousing debut?!  The desire to have him at third base every day apparently won out, though it seems hard to believe that he won’t return at some point.  He has struggled since returning to Triple-A (.208/.240/.292 over 5 games in July), though you have to think it’s at least in part due to some disappointment.  The home run power is still developing, but he’s shown ample extra base power (36 extra base hits in the minors) and while he is aggressive at the plate he does make contact (46 K over 304 AB).  There’s a lot to like, and we’ve already gotten a glimpse of it.

 

6) Hunter Dozier – Kansas City Royals
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – Incomplete

Given him an incomplete may be generous, but he only has appeared in 10 games and is currently on the DL with a broken bone in his hand.  It’s quickly shaping up as a lost season, considering he was hitting .217 with 12 K over 23 AB at Triple-A when he was on the field.  We won’t completely write him off and need a bit more of a sample, but things aren’t looking good.

 

7) Jeimer Candelario – Chicago Cubs
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B

He’s gotten a taste of the Majors and has produced reasonably well while at Triple-A (.268/.361/.511).  He also has made consistent contact (9.6% strikeout rate) and shown capable of drawing walks (12.0%).  At 23-years old and playing in the Pacific Coast League it is a little disappointing that he’s hit just 9 HR (despite 23 doubles and 3 triples), but it’s easy to envision a solid MLB contributor when he gets an opportunity.

 

8) Ke’Bryan Hayes – Pittsburgh Pirates
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B-/C+

Hayes has surprisingly swiped 22 bases to date, but he has yet to hit a home run and managed just 6 doubles and 4 triples.  Not known for his speed it’s not something we’re fully buying, so if he can’t start developing power the stock will soon plummet.

 

9) Brian Anderson – Miami Marlins
Preseason Grade – B
Current Grade – B

He’s shown improved power, already setting a career high in home runs (14) at Double-A.  He is repeating the level, so that needs to be taken into account, but he has shown a good command of the strike zone (19.1% strikeout rate vs. 10.0% walk rate).  Of course his 11.8% SwStr% does bring some concern and he hasn’t added many doubles (13).

 

10) Matt Chapman – Third Baseman
Preseason Grade – B-
Current Grade – C+

He’s quickly showing that he’s an all or nothing hitter, with 16 HR but only 6 doubles and 2 triples.  His 63 K over 175 AB at Triple-A is also a significant red flag.  There’s going to be appeal, but he needs to make significant adjustments.

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Frangraphs, Baseball Reference

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

2 comments

  1. CJ says:

    I’m a big fan of Senzel. And I own him in my keeper league because I believe he will be up in mid summer next year. Do you think it’s out of the question that Vlad Jr gets called up as a 19 year old next year?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I think next year may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not 100% impossible. More likely, I’d expect him up in ’19 as a 20-year old

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *