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Welcome back, RotoBallers. I'll be breaking down impact prospects in dynasty leagues by position over the next several weeks. I’ve already covered catchers, first basemen and second basemen. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 third basemen - dynasty prospect rankings for 2018 dynasty baseball leagues.

This is one of the more top-heavy prospect groups in baseball. The players at the top of this list all show incredible promise with the chance to be major impact performers down the road. But the list quickly goes from potential elites to one-dimensional hitters who can either only hit for average or hit for power. To be fair, a lot of third basemen could end up coming from shortstop if they can’t stick at the position. Guys like Gleyber Torres, Kevin Maitan and Fernando Tatis all could make the shift over to third base at some point. But for now, this list is not exactly filled with the most star-studded players.

So without any further ado, here is the dynasty positional prospect rankings for third basemen.

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Top Third Base Prospects for 2018 Dynasty Baseball Leagues

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR, A+)
Stats: 209 PA, .333/.450/.494, 6 HR, 2 SB, 17.2% BB%, 13.4% BB%
ETA: 2019
There aren’t many star prospects on this list, but Guerrero certainly meets the very definition of a star prospect. His upside is incredibly tantalizing. Though not exactly the most athletic, Guerrero barrels balls up with incredible consistency and has shown some of the most raw power of any hitter in the minors. Scouts project him as a future .300-plus hitter with 25-plus home runs on an annual basis. But what makes him an especially bright star is his plate discipline, which separates him from many of his peers. Despite being only 18 years old, his plate discipline rivals that of other patient batters like Jesse Winker and J.P. Crawford, two of the most disciplined bats in the minors. That patience has allowed him to move swiftly through the minors and should allow him to continue on his torrid pace. The only concern right now with Guerrero is that his lack of athleticism will force him off of third base and over to first base or into left field.

If the Toronto Blue Jays go into rebuild mode this season, he could find himself in the majors before the end of the season. It is a fairly safe bet at this point that he will reach the show at some point between now and the end of the 2019 season, at the very least. Guerrero should be considered one of the most valuable dynasty prospects in baseball and is worth owning in all formats.

2. Nick Senzel (CIN, AA)
Stats: 235 PA, .340/.413/.560, 10 HR, 5 SB, 11.1% BB%, 18.3% K%
ETA: 2018
Senzel’s tools do not explode off the page like Guerrero, but Senzel is more of the complete package. He is a potentially Gold Glove-caliber defender at the hot corner, leaving little doubt he can man the position — although the presence of Eugenio Suarez might force him to move to second base. With the bat, he shows plenty of upside. Though he is not going to be the power hitter Guerrero is, Senzel should hit for a higher average. His plate discipline is not elite, but he avoids striking out by making plenty of consistent, hard contact. His power should equate to 20-25-homer pop, especially in Great American Ballpark, and his speed could result in 15-plus stolen bases per season. There is the possibility moving forward Senzel sacrifices some speed as he bulks up, that would likely result in a trade-off as he generates more home runs. Senzel stands out as a future All-Star caliber third baseman, and he could reach the majors as soon as this season. His incredibly high floor and high ceiling make him a must-own in all dynasty formats.

3. Ryan McMahon (COL, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 314 PA, .374/.411/.612, 14 HR, 4 SB, 6.7% BB%, 16.9% K%
ETA: 2018
Guerrero and Senzel comprise the top-tier of third base prospects. McMahon is the top of the second-tier. Long considered to be a one-tooled power hitter, McMahon started to silence the critics by posting a strikeout rate of only 17.7 percent between Double- and Triple-A in 2017. All the while, he still mashed 20 home runs in just 119 games and reached base 40.3 percent of the time. No one is completely a believer that his strikeout woes are gone for good, but it was certainly a step in the right direction. McMahon’s defensive future is much more uncertain than his bat. He has played plenty of third base and first base, while recently adding second base to his list of positions. Most expect him to man first base moving forward, but it is not out of the question for him to stay at third. Regardless of where he plays, his production should be the same. He is playing in a hitter-friendly home ballpark of Coors Field and should be able to hit 25-30 home runs annually. If his strikeout woes come back, his batting average is probably around .250. If they don’t, his average could be as high as .270. For dynasty owners, that is plenty valuable.

4. Austin Riley (ATL, AA)
Stats: 203 PA, .315/.389/.511, 8 HR, 2 SB, 9.9% BB%, 24.6% K%
ETA: 2018
Riley did a lot for his prospect value in 2017. He reduced his strikeout rate to 22.9 percent after an alarming 27.1 percent in 2016 at Class-A while not seeing any real reduction in power after he posted his second straight 20-homer season. He also showed improved plate discipline at Double-A during the second half of his season, improving his walk rate from 6.8 percent at Advanced Class-A to 9.9 percent. Scouts have long praised his overall bat potential, citing explosive power potential. They also believe if he can continue to reduce his strikeouts and shorten his swing, he could improve his chances to hit for a high average. The 20-year-old third baseman has also demonstrated improved defense at the hot corner, answering plenty of questions about whether or not he can stick at third base. Riley has a chance to debut this season, and his bat could be rewarding for dynasty owners.

5. Jake Burger (CWS, A)
Stats: 200 PA, .271/.335/.409, 4 HR, 0 SB, 6.5% BB%, 14.0% K%
ETA: 2019
Burger was the top third baseman taken in the 2017 MLB Draft, and with good reason. Despite playing against lesser competition while playing at Missouri State, Burger displayed tons of power (22 homers in 63 games) while also keeping the strikeouts low (38) and walks moderately high (43). His power seemed to take a step back at Class-A, but he still flashed above-average plate discipline. He is still a bit too pull-heavy, which will cut into his batting average a bit, but that patience should help make up for some of the loss in OBP-leagues. Scouts are still big believers in his power, believing it to be his most promising attribute. Defensively, there are few if any questions about his ability to stick at third base. Dynasty owners should realistically expect plenty of power and a batting average somewhere in the neighborhood of .260-.275.

6. Michael Chavis (BOS, AA)
Stats: 274 PA, .250/.310/.492, 14 HR, 1 SB, 7.3% BB%, 20.4% K%
ETA: 2018
Just as it seemed Chavis’ star was beginning to fade, he brought some light into it with a solid minor-league campaign that saw him blast 31 home runs and post a .910 OPS. The power is absolutely legit. Scouts view him as a 25-plus homer hitter moving forward. Where he starts to look more like a one-tooled player is with his ability to make consistent contact. He is pull-heavy and still has a lot of swing and miss in his game. He does not balance out the strikeouts with a ton of walks either, which can be a bit concerning to evaluators. Defensively, he probably does enough to stick at third, but could have to move off the position or be traded to have a future in the majors. Though he is probably a defensive upgrade over Rafael Devers, he is not such an upgrade as to push him ahead of Devers in the depth chart. His power makes him a potentially useful dynasty asset, but his lack of discipline makes him a risky one.

7. Lucas Erceg (MIL, AAA)
Stats: (from A+) 538 PA, .256/.307/.417, 15 HR, 2 SB, 6.5% BB%, 17.7% K%
ETA: 2019
Erceg made a big jump in 2017 from Advanced Class-A to Triple-A to join Colorado Springs for the Sky Sox. This came after a solid showing at High-A in which he flashed plenty of thunder in his bat while also keeping his strikeout rate to a minimum. He is not overly patient and tends to pull pitches too much. That likely means he won’t hit for a high average, but that pull-heavy approach should lead to plenty of power numbers. Erceg has shown he is capable of hitting tape-measure home runs, and at his peak, should be capable of hitting 25-35 home runs per season. He should stick at third base and could be a potent power hitter once he reaches the majors, which, while he did reach Triple-A in 2017, should not be until 2019 given the progress he still has in front of him and the Brewers’ current infield depth.

8. Miguel Andujar (NYY, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 250 PA, .317/.364/.502, 9 HR, 3 SB, 6.8% BB%, 13.2% K%
ETA: 2018
Andujar has one of the highest floors of any players on this list. He makes a ton of contact and rarely ever strikes out. He has plenty of pull power, which should amount to at least 12 home runs per season. But with that high floor, comes an admittedly lower ceiling than a lot of the other players. He has power, but it’s been more gap-to-gap, and scouts see him topping out at perhaps 20 home runs per season. His contact is also not always solid contact. Often he just rolls over bad pitches and makes weak contact. There are some — although limited — concerns that he might not be able to stick at third base. Still though, that high floor makes him a potentially valuable third base prospect in dynasty leagues. It just means that he’s not necessarily the most exciting player.

9. Ke’Bryan Hayes (PIT, A+)
Stats: 482 PA, .278/.345/.363, 2 HR, 27 SB, 8.5% BB%, 15.8% K%
ETA: 2019
Much like Andujar, Hayes appears to be more contact than power. Once seen as a batter with plenty of raw power, Hayes has failed to translate much if any of his raw power into game power and might be capped out at only 10-15 home runs. But what should help make up for the lack of power is the fact Hayes is considered one of the better pure contact hitters on this list. He has shown the ability to drive the ball to the gaps of all fields, and has progressively become more athletic. Hayes should be able to stick at third base, and could develop more power as he continues his development. But for now, owners will have to settle for a high-floor batsman with the chance to hit over .300 at the expense of limited power.

10. Colton Welker (COL, A)
Stats: 279 PA, .350/.401/.500, 6 HR, 5 SB, 6.5% BB%, 15.1% K%
ETA: 2020
McMahon could be headed to first base. Welker is most likely not heading in that direction. He is a former shortstop with the defensive prowess needed to stick at the hot corner. But for dynasty owners, offensive potential is what matters and Welker has the upside to potentially deliver for them. Scouts praise his ability to control the strike zone at a young age while making hard contact on good pitches. He has not shown much in-game power just yet, but scouts have not given up on his power potential just yet. Scouts still view him as a potential .270+ hitter with 20 home runs. Welker is still a long ways away from the majors. But he has the bat that could be worth owning in a couple years, especially if he remains with the Rockies and gets to call Coors Field home.

 

More 2018 Dynasty Baseball Strategy





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