Is a third baseman a guy not slick enough to handle shortstop or too agile to get stuck at first base? Does he end up at the hot corner because he’s blocked at his normal position or is he a natural at the position?
Many guys are classified at a certain position, but the parent club knows they will eventually end up playing another position once they hit The Bigs. I discussed several MLB top prospects at third base in previous articles (shortstop, first base), currently playing other positions, like Fernando Tatis Jr., Ryan Mountcastle, Kevin Maitan and Carter Kieboom.
Other projected players for the hot corner, who probably aren’t available in your fantasy baseball league already, are:
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR – future stud, and estimated call up whether later this season or next is a hotly debated topic in Toronto
Nick Senzel, CIN – will play 2B in short term, but I believe he’ll be at 3B by the start of 2019
Colin Moran, PIT – will put up a good batting average, but don’t expect much power
Miguel Andujar, NYY – keeps bouncing back and forth between the Bronx and triple-A
Ryan McMahon, COL – discussed him with first basemen since he will likely not see much time at third
So who is available in your league? The elite guys aren’t ready for prime time, many of them are still more than a couple of years away. The only guys around who could be much help in the near future are Brian Anderson (solid all-around hitter, but plays for the pitiful Marlins) and Christian Arroyo (good contact and speed, little power). Unfortunately, there isn’t much else on the horizon for 2018.
On the Way
Austin Riley is the Atlanta Braves third baseman of the future… they hope. They are holding the position open for him and are only waiting for Riley to add another year of size and experience before they hand him the reins to the hot corner. Riley’s got big time raw power and has even flexed those muscles in his first two full pro seasons, hitting 20 homers in each. The Braves seem determined to keep him at third, despite him making a lot of errors along the way. He sacrifices average for power, but should be a good play starting in 2019.
Michael Chavis has huge power that was put on display last season. He lit up A+ and AA to the tune of 31 homers. Chavis won’t hit for a high average and don’t expect stolen bases, but the power output is what you are buying here. His lack of ability with the glove project him for a position change, but the slugger will be in the lineup somewhere. Look for him to start playing at Fenway Park next year, and for a long time after.
Nolan Jones has a very quick bat and a great approach at the plate. The power will play well at third base, but the batting average will be better and there is very little speed on the base paths. Jones will make his MLB mark starting in 2020 and has the potential to be a very successful hitter.
Playing the Angle
With Moran’s trade to Pittsburgh and Davis’ ability to play a few positions, he has been able to steal some at bats here and there. Davis has serious power in his bat but he swings and misses too much, sacrificing average for power. He has a cannon for an arm, making him a good choice to also play the outfield corners. Unfortunately, Houston is so stacked with quality bats that Davis can’t break through and seems to need a Moran-like trade out of Houston to get the opportunity to show his stuff.
Renato Nunez already has 50 MLB at bats, so he’s not exactly a prospect any more. He has real power, but he misses way too often and his glove is slightly south of awful. He could figure it out and become a real power hitter, but he’s more likely to struggle mightily against Major League pitching whenever given the chance.
Tip of the Week
Eugenio Suarez has quietly been putting up good numbers in Cincinnati. For those who pay close attention, he’s not exactly a surprise. I think he’ll get enough at bats at shortstop this season to gain eligibility at that position too.