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Top 10 Third Basemen - Dynasty Prospect Rankings

Third base is traditionally a place to find offense. It can be a goldmine for fantasy managers in need of some power. Third basemen are also known for providing strong on-base numbers and, in some cases, batting average.

The 2019 season met the offensive expectations with 28 hitters managing a 100 wRC+ or better (350 PAs or more). Sixteen of those hitters surpassed the 120 wRC+ mark. Strictly speaking about power, 25 third basemen launched 20 or more home runs. The pandemic-shortened 2020 season saw a bit of dip in the numbers with 17 hitters at 100 wRC+ or better and nine exceeding the 120 wRC+ mark (150 PA or more). Seventeen hitters were tracking for 20 or more home runs had 2020 been a full season.

We’ve been busy ranking the top dynasty prospects at each position. Today, we’re reviewing the best of the up-and-coming studs at the hot corner. It’s a strong list with a few players that look like future stars followed by some players that should develop into solid regulars. The list ends with some high-risk, high-reward players to monitor closely in 2021 as Minor League Baseball attempts to return. You can view the previous lists here: Catcher, First Base, and Second Base.

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Tier 1

1. Austin Martin, Blue Jays (TOP 250 Rank: 10)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Average, OBP, Speed
Roadblock: Cavan Biggio (Threat Level: MEDIUM)
ETA: 2022

Need to Know: Martin will likely play a lot of shortstop early on in his pro career but the presence of Bo Bichette in Toronto likely means the 2020 first-round pick will need to move down the road. Third base is the most likely location after he was unable to find a defensive home in college — although he could also move all over the diamond-like Cavan Biggio. Martin’s bat shouldn’t need much minor-league seasoning and he projects to hit for a high average with strong on-base numbers. The biggest question mark with Martin is surrounding how much in-game power he’ll produce but he looks like a solid bet for 15-20 home runs per season.

2. Nolan Jones, Cleveland (TOP 250 Rank: 30)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): OBP, Power
Roadblock: Jose Ramirez (Threat Level: HIGH)
ETA: 2021

Need to Know: Jones has a chance to be an above-average fantasy performer and an absolute stud in on-base leagues. He has regularly posted walk rates in the 15-18% range but they’ve come with corresponding sky-high strikeout rates because he’s too passive at times. A slightly-more-aggressive approach with adjustments to his swing to increase his launch angle could help him more consistently tap into his raw power. Jones has topped out at 19 home runs in the minors but he has the potential for 30 or more.

3. Josh Jung, Rangers (TOP 250 Rank: 33)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Average, OBP, Power
Roadblock: Rougned Odor (Threat Level: LOW)
ETA: 2022

Need to Know: Jung was one of my favorite college hitters in the 2019 amateur draft and I had him ranked behind only Andrew Vaughn and Adley Rutschman. I had Jung ranked as the seventh-best talent overall and Texas took him eighth. Jung has an intriguing mix of hitting skills and raw power — although he’s still learning how to clear the fences on a regular basis. On top of that, he should produce strong on-base numbers.

4. Nolan Gorman, Cardinals (TOP 250 Rank: 43)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Power
Roadblock: Nolan Arenado (Threat Level: HIGH)
ETA: 2022

Need to Know: Gorman entered pro ball with a reputation for being able to punish the baseball. At maturity, he projects to hit 30+ home runs in a full season — assuming he makes enough contact. Gorman has a lot of swing-and-miss to his game and will likely always produce high strikeout rates. With Nolan Arenado now entrenched at third base in St. Louis, the young prospect will likely move around the diamond and could see time at second base and in the corner outfield spots. A move to first base is possible but it would waste his strong arm.


Tier 2

5. Kody Hoese, Dodgers (TOP 250 Rank: 55)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Average, OBP
Roadblock: Justin Turner (Threat Level: MEDIUM)
ETA: 2022

Need to Know: Hoese wasn’t far behind Josh Jung as one of my favorite college bats in the 2019 draft. The Dodgers prospect doesn’t have the same raw power that the Rangers prospect does but he’s a strong all-around player that should hit for a good average, post solid on-base numbers, and could reach 20 homers per season. Consistent performance over a full season is Hoese’s biggest need right now. If things click, he could move quickly and he projects as an average big league third baseman.

6. Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates (TOP 250 Rank: 59)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Average, OBP
Roadblock: Colin Moran (Threat Level: LOW)
ETA: 2021

Need to Know: Hayes had an outstanding MLB debut in 2020 but there are some warning signs that we need to be conscious of moving forward into 2021. He has the makings of a strong on-base presence and should hit for a good batting average but his 2020 result was buoyed by a .450 BABIP. His .306 ISO rate also far exceeded anything he had produced in the minors (He topped out at .151 ISO). He still hits a lot of balls on the ground (48% in his MLB debut) and the 25% HR/FB rate was much higher than his previous career-high of 8.6%. Hayes should be a solid big league third baseman but I don’t think he’ll reach the star level.


Tier 3

7. Brett Baty, Mets (TOP 250 Rank: 99)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Power, OBP
Roadblock: J.D. Davis (Threat Level: LOW)
ETA: 2023

Need to Know: Baty was an older (19) high school player when he entered pro ball. Nonetheless, the Mets started him out in rookie ball in 2019 where he displayed excellent power and a patient approach. But he also struck out at a 30% clip which underscored some of the concerns with Baty and why he has some bust risk. I’m fairly confident he’ll reach the majors and become at least an average third baseman.

8. Luis Toribio, Giants (TOP 250 Rank: 100)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Power, OBP
Roadblock: Evan Longoria (Threat Level: LOW)
ETA: 2023

Need to Know: Toribio is actually quite similar to Bretty Baty, who is directly above him on this list. The young Giants prospect produces outstanding on-base numbers and walked at a 19% clip in rookie ball. Toribio is a little more consistent at making contact than Baty but he’s still learning to tap into his raw power — although his .162 ISO was solid for a teenager. He has a long way to go and there is a definite bust risk but he has the ceiling of a high-on-base, 30-homer slugger.

9. Jordan Walker, Cardinals (TOP 250 Rank: 105)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Power, Average
Roadblock: Nolan Arenado (Threat Level: HIGH)
ETA: 2024

Need to Know: Walker was my favorite under-the-radar draft pick from 2020. I had him as an easy first-round talent due to his impressive swing and raw power. There is some swing-and-miss to his game right now but he has good makeup and maturity for his age so I think he’ll close the gaps in his game quickly. However, due to his long arms (He’s 6-foot-5, 220 pounds), he’ll likely always have some holes in his swing. He may very well have to move off the hot corner but the bat should play in right field.

10. Mark Vientos, Mets (TOP 250 Rank: 138)
Key Fantasy Skill(s): Power
Roadblock: J.D. Davis (Threat Level: LOW)
ETA: 2022

Need to Know: Vientos caught my eye during his solid pro debut back in 2017 as a 17-year-old in rookie ball. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown a lot of growth since then. I’m hoping he used his time wisely in 2020 and focused on pitch recognition (He struggles with breaking balls) and also worked on putting forth a more patient approach. He has massive power potential if he can figure things out but is also likely to move to 1B/DH.


Just Missed

Two names to watch: The Texas Rangers have three interesting third-base prospects led by Jung. Further down the depth chart, we find Sherten Apostel and Davis Wendzel. The former made his MLB debut in 2020 but showed that he still has a lot of work to do to translate his raw athletic ability into the foundation needed to be a solid big league contributor. Still just 21, his power/on-base mix is intriguing.

Wendzel is a player I was fond of and saw as a 2019 second-round talent. The Rangers nabbed him in the supplemental first round due to his strong hitting ability. He lacks the prototypical power that teams like from third basemen but he could be athletic enough to move around the diamond while producing a solid batting average and lots of doubles.

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