Top 10 Third Base Prospects (Mid-Season 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The All-Star game has come and gone…  It feels like the season just got underway, but we are already more than 50% through the 2018 season.  obviously a lot has changed from when we originally did our prospect rankings and now is the perfect time to update things.  Who is on the rise?  Who has fallen off?  Let’s take a look (the number in parenthesis is our preseason ranking):

 

1) Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – Toronto Blue Jays (1)
ETA – 2018
Grade – A

There’s a chance Guerrero arrives in September, though it would’ve been more of a certainty had he not missed time due to injury.  At the same time when he’s been on the field he’s dominated (.407 with 11 HR and just 24 K over 226 AB) and is expected to return from the DL and move to Triple-A.  That would make it more and more likely that he at least gets his feet wet this season, and when he does he’ll be among the elite in the game.

 

2) Nick Senzel – Cincinnati Reds (2)
ETA – 2019
Grade – A-

He was supposed to get an opportunity in ’18, and the Reds tried to move him around to find a spot.  However with Eugenio Suarez locked in at 3B and Scooter Gennett filling it at 2B you have to wonder where he fits.  Maybe he’ll ultimately be used as a trade chip to acquire some controllable, young starting pitching?  Playing at Triple-A he’s proven he can hit the ball hard (25.4% line drive rate) and make enough contact (10.2% SwStr%), and eventually he should mature into more power (6 HR over 171 AB).

 

3) Austin Riley – Atlanta Braves (6)
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+

The Braves need a long-term third baseman, and with Riley back from the DL it won’t be long before he gets his opportunity to help the Braves march towards October.  Over 248 AB this season he’s hitting .310 with 11 HR (while also adding 18 doubles and 3 triples), though his 14.4% SwStr% is a bit of a red flag.  It could help to limit his upside in his average and needs to be monitored (especially since the number has jumped to 15.1% over 146 PA at Triple-A).

 

4) Alec Bohm – Philadelphia Phillies (NR)
ETA – 2020
Grade – B

Selected third overall, Bohm has gotten off to a slow start but there are signs in the underlying metrics.  The power potential is obvious, and he should tap into it in time, but the real key is his ability to make contact.  It’s just Rookie Ball, but a 5.8% SwStr% over his first 73 PA is noteworthy.  If he can maintain that type of pace the raw power will start to be put on display as he matures.

 

5) Jonathan India – Cincinnati Reds (NR)
ETA – 2020
Grade – B

Like with Bohm, we don’t have much true data to go on at this point.  That said, selected just after him (fifth overall) the profile is similar as there is ample power potential that should continue to develop.  He’s shown more swing and miss in the early going, but at the time of this writing he had just 44 PA so no conclusions can be drawn.

 

6) Lucas Erceg – Milwaukee Brewers (7)
ETA – 2019
Grade – B

It doesn’t look like Erceg will arrive before 2018 is over, though it’s not impossible that he’s summoned for September.  His Double-A numbers aren’t going to blow you away, hitting .256 with 11 HR over 374 PA, but his 14.7% strikeout rate (and 9.8% SwStr%) show promise.  He’s also just a year removed from piling up 35 doubles, 1 triple and 15 HR, and as we keep saying those who master their approach often start tapping into their power as they advance.  There is potential there, and developing into a 20-25 HR threat with a solid average is believable.

 

7) Colton Welker – Colorado Rockies (3)
ETA – 2020
Grade – B

He was a “B+” in the preseason, and while he continues to show power potential while playing at High-A (21 doubles and 9 HR over 371 PA) there has been a huge jump in his strikeout rate that can’t go overlooked.  Currently sitting with a 21.0% strikeout rate, his 12.1% SwStr% is a concerning number (especially since it will likely continue to rise as he advances).  If he can’t keep that in check, it will cap his ultimate ceiling.

 

8) Ke’Bryan Hayes – Pittsburgh Pirates (9)
ETA – 2019
Grade – B

Here’s the epitome of approach over power, though his 21 doubles, 6 triples and 4 HR over 331 PA shows that there’s the potential to tap into his power as he matures.  At 21-years old and playing the year at Double-A, his 5.4% SwStr% is highly impressive and he could follow a similar trajectory to Josh Bell (though hopefully without the struggles Bell is enduring in ’18).

 

9) Michael Chavis – Boston Red Sox (5)
ETA – 2019
Grade – B-

He was suspended 80-games for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, and it will be interesting to see how he produces upon his return.  Consider his spot on these rankings tenuous, but we also can’t ignore the talent.

 

10) Nolan Jones – Cleveland Indians (NR)
ETA – 2021
Grade – B-

He’s playing at Single-A and while his 25.2% strikeout rate jumps out, he’s shown a command of the strike zone (15.2% walk rate) and some power potential (12 HR over 341 PA).  The upside is there, we just need to give him time to develop.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Midseason Rankings:

Catcher
First Baseman
Second Base
Shortstop
Third Base
Outfield
Pitcher

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