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We’ve been spoiled with some outstanding, young, talented third basemen in recent history. Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Jose Ramirez, and Miguel Sano (just to name a few) are all 26 years old or younger. All five of those players produced at least 28 home runs and 73 RBI in 2017.

Now, it’s time to take a look at the next patch of players occupying the hot corner that could make a name for themselves in 2018.

Also, there’s a few names you should avoid in your fantasy baseball draft.

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Stock Rising

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

Impaler 2.0. Vlad’s lad. HOF Jr. Call him what you want. Soon you’ll be calling him a star in the MLB. Guerrero gathered a .425 OBP, along with a .323 AVG in Single-A. You would think his strikeout rate would be astronomical when you factor in his youth. However, Guerrero struck out only 62 times in 437 AB. He is patient for a player his age. Guerrero collected 76 walks in 2017.

At the age of 18, Guerrero led the Florida State League (A+) with a .434 wOBA (209 PA). During that time, he also produced a remarkable BB/K rate of 1.29. His ability to create runs is also amplified by his league-leading 179 wRC+.

Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds

If it wasn’t for Guerrero’s super-human stats, Senzel would be the most-talked about prospect at the hot corner. He made the jump to Double-A in late June and Senzel didn’t miss a beat. His BABIP (.391), ISO (.220), and BB% (11.1%) all increased from his time in A+ (.378/.171/8.5%).

The No. 2 overall pick from the 2016 MLB Draft is 22-years-old and should see some time with the Reds before his 23rd birthday (June). He's not worth drafting in most non-keeper leagues, but keep a close eye on him during the season.

Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees

The Yankees know they have something special with Andujar. When Gerrit Cole was on the market, Pittsburgh showed interest in the Yankees third base prospect, but New York said no. Andujar has been with the Bronx organization since 2011.

While the power stats have fluctuated from year-to-year, his BABIP and wOBA numbers have steadily been increasing.

When Matt Holiday went on the DL last season, Andujar was one of the minor leaguers who were brought up to see some playing time in the majors. He went 4-for-7 with two doubles and two singles (four RBI).

However, Andujar needs to work on his defense. Last year, he committed 17 errors in the minors.

 

Stock Falling

Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox

When looking at the path to the majors, while stats are significant, so is the occupancy of the position at the MLB-level. Chavis stats increased towards the right direction from 2016 to 2017. However, when trying to make the jump from Single-A to Double-A, Chavis’ power numbers dipped (.323 ISO to .242), as well as his batting for average (.360 BABIP to .265).

As for his path, it seems to be blocked by a fellow young talent, Rafael Devers. Devers played in 58 games (222 AB) last season and batted .284 with ten home runs and 30 RBI. He is projected to start at third base for Boston on Opening Day.

However, there’s always a chance that the Red Sox move Chavis to another position (second base). Until then, Chavis will sit on the negative end of the rankings.

Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins

Miami’s biggest export this offseason has been baseball stars. Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna are all no longer with the organization. That means there will be plenty of playing time for the young prospects in 2018.

However, I’d fish for other third basemen before stopping in this pond. Anderson played a majority of his 2017 season with the Double-A affiliate. He struck out 19.7 percent of the time and Anderson’s .277 BABIP was third-worst among other third basemen in Double-A (minimum of 200 PA).

Anderson even played 25 games in the majors last season. His strike out rate rose to 29.5 percent and his ISO was one of the lowest numbers in his career (.107).

Lucas Erceg, Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have been very active this offseason. Milwaukee added Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich to their outfield, while shipping their top prospect, Lewis Brinson, to Miami.

Milwaukee still has their top third base prospect, Erceg, and it would take a long shot to see him boosted to the majors any time soon. Last year, he spent most of his time in high-A (538 PA). Erceg produced one of the lowest BABIP numbers among other third basemen in the same league (.287).

However, the 22-year-old did get promoted to Triple-A for three games in 2017. Erceg tallied four hits during that span. If the Brewers keep Erceg for the foreseeable future, I believe he’ll stay in the minors for most of the 2018 season. Travis Shaw is currently locked into the third base spot and Hernan Perez can fill in whenever he is needed.

 

More 2018 MLB Prospects Analysis





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