Welcome back, RotoBallers. I've already looked at the top 10 prospects for each MLB team, and now I'll be breaking down impact prospects by position. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 third basemen - MLB prospect rankings for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.
Last season was actually pretty rewarding for rookie third basemen. Greg Garcia stood out as a solid utility bat for St. Louis, Alex Bregman debuted for Houston and looked all the part of a franchise third baseman and Ryon Healy burst out onto the scene in Oakland.
The incoming class of third basemen has the potential to be even better. Though some of these bats like Rafael Devers and Nick Senzel have yet to reach Double-A, it is important to note that guys like Bregman have made the leap before and Boston and Cincinnati could use some help at the hot corner and may opt to see their talented young prospects play there at some point this season. There are plenty of potential high-impact players who could be dynamic fantasy players if they are only given the appropriate playing time in 2017.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Top 10 Third Base Prospects for 2017 Fantasy Baseball
1. Matt Chapman (OAK, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 504 PA, .244/.335/.521, 29 HR, 7 SB, 11.7% BB rate, 29.2% K rate
ETA: Early May
Chapman does many things very well and a few things very poorly. He is an elite defender and middle-of-the-order power hitter. He also has enough patience to take a walk if it is given to him. What he does poorly is make consistent contact. He has a tendency to swing-and-miss a bit more than the A’s would like to see and would love for him to make improvements in that area. They will likely keep him down in the minors for a bit, but odds are he will debut with the club this season and push Healy over to first base or designated hitter. If given regular playing time, he could be an annual 30-homer threat and drive in his fair share of runs.
2. Rafael Devers (BOS, A+)
Stats: 546 PA, .282/.335/.443, 11 HR, 18 SB, 7.3% BB rate, 17.2% K rate
ETA: Early June
This is already quite the bold prediction, but I believe Devers will be the Red Sox starting third baseman before too long. Right now, they’ve got Pablo Sandoval and Brock Holt manning the position. For a playoff contender like Boston, that is quite the big hole. Devers will begin the season at Double-A and if he can hit anything like he did to end the 2016 season (.331/.370/.516 slash line in last 87 games of the season), he will force them to bring him up to the majors. He has insane upside with some saying his ceiling is that of a left-handed Manny Machado. Devers would provide owners with some stolen bases, but more importantly a ton of home runs and a very nice batting average.
3. Miguel Andujar (NYY, AA)
Stats: 319 PA, .266/.323/.358, 2 HR, 2 SB, 6.6% BB rate, 13.2% K rate
I know the numbers for Andujar don’t look all that spectacular, but keep in mind he was only 21 years old and was coming off a very solid stint at High-A. In his 58 games at Class-A Advanced Tampa prior to his promotion to Trenton, he slashed .283/.343/.474 with 10 homers, a 7.2 percent walk rate and 12.0 percent strikeout rate in only 251 plate appearances. Scouts have praised his raw power potential and cite an aggressive approach that actually works well for making consistent, strong contact. He should be able to get his bat going again in 2017 and should work his way past the struggling Chase Headley and lackluster Ronald Torreyes.
4. Hunter Dozier (KC, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 434 PA, .294/.357/.506, 15 HR, 3 SB, 9.2% BB rate, 23.0% K rate
ETA: Early July
Dozier went on a tear in 2016 and put together his most promising season to date. Between crushing Double-A pitching (.305/.400/.642 slash with eight homers in 26 games) and his solid season at Triple-A, Dozier firmly established himself among the top third base prospects in the game. The big issue right now for him is that Mike Moustakas stands in the way of consistent playing time. But with the Royals likely out of playoff contention and Moustakas entering the final season of his contract, the Royals may opt to deal away Moose and plug Dozier in at third to get a glimpse of their next franchise third baseman. If he gets the chance to play in the summer, he should be able to hit more than enough to warrant ownership in redraft leagues.
5. Jeimer Candelario (CHC, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 309 PA, .333/.417/.542, 9 HR, 0 SB, 12.3% BB rate, 17.2% K rate
ETA: Early July
Candelario’s value is entirely contingent on a trade. He is in a very similar position to Dan Vogelbach last season who was a solid prospect for Chicago, but had no foreseeable path to playing time. Candelario is big-league ready and could help out a team if he gets the opportunity to do so. But first Chicago has to trade him, because he will not pass Kris Bryant on the Cubs’ depth chart. Assuming Candelario is traded around the middle of the season, he should be able to provide fantasy owners with a great batting average and a few home runs here and there.
6. Christian Arroyo (SF, AA)
Stats: 517 PA, .274/.316/.373, 3 HR, 1 SB, 5.6% BB rate, 13.9% K rate
ETA: Early May
Arroyo will begin the year in the minors, but he seems like one of those guys like Matt Duffy a few years ago who could force his way to the big-league roster in a utility role for San Francisco. His numbers strongly resemble Duffy’s minor-league stats and there is a chance he turns out to have some hidden power in his bat, but right now owners will just have to be happy with a guaranteed .280+ batting average. Arroyo is a very balanced hitter and should have no problem posting a high batting average in the majors. He will be limited to a utility role to begin his major-league career, but he could really help owners in deeper leagues who need a solid source of hits.
7. Rio Ruiz (ATL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 533 PA, .271/.355/.400, 10 HR, 1 SB, 11.4% BB rate, 21.8% K rate
Ruiz is not the franchise third baseman for Atlanta, but he is more likely to be that guy than Adonis Garcia. Ruiz is only 22 years old and Garcia will be 32 at the start of this season. Ruiz has some raw power and a refined approach at the plate that should allow him to hit for a solid average when he reaches the majors. Though he is not the most exciting prospect out there, Ruiz will absolutely get the call up to the big leagues the second Garcia starts to struggle. He could be a solid deep-league add if he is promoted to the majors.
8. Nick Senzel (CIN, A)
Stats: 249 PA, .329/.415/.567, 7 HR, 15 SB, 12.9% BB rate, 19.7% K rate
ETA: Early August
Maybe this is a bit of an accelerated timeline, but it is important to realize just how close Senzel is to the majors. He has one of the most mature approaches to the plate in the minors and has always been praised for being advanced for his age. If Eugenio Suarez played anywhere else, Senzel could open 2017 with the Reds. As is, he still has a great chance to debut this season with the ball club, even if it is as late as September. He is essentially the Alex Bregman of last year in that he should fly through the minors and wind up in the majors before too long.
9. Dawel Lugo (ARI, AA)
Stats: 177 PA, .306/.322/.451, 4 HR, 1 SB, 2.3% BB rate, 8.5% K rate
ETA: Late July
Lugo has steadily started to come along more and more every season. He is not an explosive third base prospect by any means, but he is starting to drive the ball a bit more consistently and hit for some more power. He has always been held in high regard for his discipline and ability to make consistent contact, but now the power is starting to come around a bit more. He is not going to be a cornerstone third base prospect by any means, but owners searching for depth could certainly benefit from him if he gets a chance to start for the Diamondbacks.
10. Yandy Diaz (CLE, AAA)
Stats: 416 PA, .325/.399/.461, 7 HR, 5 SB, 11.3% BB rate, 16.8% K rate
Diaz is one of the most polished prospects in the minors to this point. He has always boasted one of the most disciplined approaches to the plate of any batter out there as evidenced by the fact he has walked 198 times in his pro career and struck out only 191 times. Diaz has also always been able to post an outstanding batting average, as evidenced by his career .307 number. Sure, he does not have the power that many would like to see (19 career homers in two-and-a-half season), but owners will gladly take that ability to reach base consistently. His ability to play many positions should finally help him reach the majors in 2017 where he could eventually hit enough to start in the outfield or at third for the Tribe.