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Top Third Base Prospect Rankings - 2018 Impact Rookies for Fantasy Baseball

Welcome back, RotoBallers. I'll be breaking down impact prospects by position. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 third basemen - MLB prospect rankings for the 2018 fantasy baseball season.

Third base this season is a particularly interesting class of prospects. There are so many like Nick Senzel, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Gleyber Torres who are considered top 10 overall prospects that are knocking on the door. These players would all immediately become must-owns if they reach the majors. The challenge of course is finding playing time for them. Teams are always reluctant to call up top prospects unless they have a dire need for them, which not be the case with some of those teams. However, they are important to keep track of due to the explosive ability they possess.

So without any further ado, here are the top 10 third base prospects for 2018 redraft leagues.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Top 10 Third Base Prospects for 2018 Fantasy Baseball

1. Colin Moran (PIT, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 338 PA, .308/.373/.543, 18 HR, 0 SB, 9.2% BB%, 16.3% K%
ETA: Opening Day

I discussed Moran in the first-base prospect article as well where he was the top prospect on that list, but third base is the position he will actually play in 2018. Though he does not have a long minor-league track record of hitting for power, Moran made swing adjustments in 2017 and was able to get under the ball enough to drive it out of the park more consistently. Most impressive was the fact he was able to avoid swinging and missing too often. Moran is pegged by most as a 2018 sleeper candidate who could hit for a .300-plus average with 15 or more home runs. At this point, it’s not crazy to say that he should be owned in all 12-plus team leagues and some shallower leagues.

2. Gleyber Torres (NYY, AAA)
Stats: (from AA) 139 PA, .273/.367/.496, 5 HR, 5 SB, 12.2% BB%, 15.1% K%
ETA: Late April

If Torres is going to be a starter at any position in New York this season, the most obvious position would appear to be second base. But given his positional versatility, he could play any of second, third or shortstop throughout the season, which means he will appear on all three articles. As discussed in the second-base article, Torres consistently drives the ball with authority and should be able to start to tap into that raw power for home runs if he can adjust his launch angle in 2018. Even if the power does not initially come as some believe it might, Torres seems as safe a bet as any to hit for a high average in 2018. Torres is one of the top prospects in baseball for a reason, and if he can push aside Neil Walker for playing time early in the season, his upside and high ceiling are worth gambling on in most leagues.

3. Miguel Andujar (NYY, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 250 PA, .317/.364/.502, 9 HR, 3 SB, 6.8% BB%, 13.2% K%
ETA: Early May

The acquisition of Brandon Drury has moved Andujar from the position of the favorite to start at third base to now being the underdog in the battle. Though Drury is not an exciting player, he is young and talented enough that he could force Andujar to begin 2018 at Triple-A. Like Moran, Andujar had never been able to tap into the raw power scouts saw in him until 2017 when he learned to pick and choose pitches to swing at better. Andujar makes enough contact to hit for a high average and has the thump to be a 15-plus home run hitter in 2018, but he will have to only be stashed at the beginning of the season. Torres’ positional versatility and higher offensive ceiling means he is probably the better of the two Yankee prospects to pick up, but Andujar will be a solid pickup in 12-plus team leagues if he is able to eventually grab that starting third base job.

4. Nick Senzel (CIN, AA)
Stats: 235 PA, .340/.413/.560, 10 HR, 5 SB, 11.1% BB%, 18.3% K%
ETA: Early June

The Cincinnati Reds are seemingly doing everything in their power to get Senzel to the majors. This spring, they have started him at shortstop, understanding he could be a better option than Jose Peraza, who struggled through much of 2017. Senzel has crushed pitchers at every level and has all the tools to be a star in the big leagues. He has an advanced understanding of the strike zone and makes consistent, hard contact that should translate into plenty of line drives as well as home runs. Senzel also has the legs to steal a couple bags throughout the season, making the dream fantasy line somewhere in the neighborhood of .300, 20 homers and 15 stolen bases. The problem is that he is unlikely to beat Peraza out this spring for shortstop, and with Eugenio Suarez at third base and Scooter Gennett at second, there is not a clear path to playing time. He will more than likely debut at some point in 2018, but the Reds are not going to rush him and might try to keep him down past the Super Two deadline. Any playing time of Senzel will warrant owning in all leagues, but it will take some time for him to reach the majors.

5. Brian Anderson (MIA, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 137 PA, .339/.416/.602, 8 HR, 0 SB, 8.8% BB%, 19.7% K%
ETA: Opening Day

If this list was organized just by impressive statistics, Anderson might have a claim for the top spot. In his short stint at Triple-A, the 24-year-old absolutely mashed opposing pitchers. This came on the heels of an impressive appearance at Double-A in which he hit 14 home runs and struck out less than 20 percent of the time in 87 games. Scouts aren’t totally sold on him though, and there is some risk that he could get too pull-happy in the big-leagues. However, he is making a strong case in the spring for the starting third base gig on Opening Day, and playing time is very valuable when talking about rookies in redraft leagues. Should he win the job, he has enough offensive upside to offer depth value to 14-plus team leagues.

6. J.P. Crawford (PHI, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 556 PA, .243/.351/.405, 15 HR, 5 SB, 14.2% BB%, 17.4% K%
ETA: Opening Day

The handful of plate appearances Crawford had at third base in 2017 means he will have third-base eligibility throughout the season despite entering the 2018 season as the team’s starting shortstop. The ability to play both positions in fantasy leagues means he has additional value, important for a guy like Crawford who is not exactly the most enticing fantasy player. He has always demonstrated incredible plate discipline and a keen eye at the plate, which will allow him to solid on-base percentages even if the batting average is a bit low. Crawford also started to flash solid power in 2017, which could help him reach 15 or more home runs in 2018. Scouts believe in his ability to hit for a high average in the long term, but he could struggle in 2018. Owners will gladly take a starting shortstop with upside like Crawford, but his placement at the bottom of the Phillies’ lineup with a season expected to be inconsistent at best means he is really only a deep/NL-only league add until he proves himself a bit more.

7. Christian Arroyo (TB, MLB)
Stats: 135 PA, .194/.244/.304, 3 HR, 1 SB, 5.9% BB%, 23.7% K%
ETA: Late May

Like Crawford, Arroyo will likely qualify at both third base and shortstop in 2018, which will give him some added value. Unlike Crawford, Arroyo knocked the cover off the ball in the minors despite continuing to show an inability to take a walk. He hit .396 with four home runs in just 25 games at Triple-A while still with the San Francisco Giants. However, he struggled in the majors and will enter 2018 with an uncertain role. Arroyo has already been sent back to minor-league camp, but should be able to crack the big-league roster at some point. However, he will need to show more power to be much more than an AL-only add, especially given his lack of speed.

8. Austin Riley (ATL, AA)
Stats: 203 PA, .315/.389/.511, 8 HR, 2 SB, 9.9% BB%, 24.6% K%
ETA: Early August

The Atlanta Braves always seem to be very reluctant with promoting their prospects, but like many of the ones in their farm system, Riley is knocking down the door. He joins Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard as 20- or 21-year-old prospects born in 1997 who could have major roles in the upcoming season. There is not really any player blocking Riley at third base, so the position is his if he continues to mash pitchers at Double- and Triple-A. He might struggle to hit for a decent average, but he will more than make up for that by hitting for plenty of power. If he gets a shot at regular playing time, Riley could be worth an add in 12-plus team leagues.

9. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (TOR, A+)
Stats: 209 PA, .333/.450/.494, 6 HR, 2 SB, 17.2% BB%, 13.4% K%
ETA: September

In the second base list, I said that if based on talent, Bo Bichette would be the top guy, but I just don’t see him reaching the majors this season. The same goes for Guerrero. The 18-year-old slugger has all the makings of a future middle-of-the-order bat, with impressive patience, tons of raw power and the ability to make enough consistent, hard contact to compete for the league lead in batting average. However, he will be just 19 for all of 2018 and unless he shows he is 100 percent ready and the Toronto Blue Jays have an absolute need for him, it is unlikely he gets called up. The reason: service time, of course. Should he get called up at any point, he is an immediate must-own in all formats. But for now, fantasy owners in redraft leagues can ignore the immensely talented youngster.

10. Michael Chavis (BOS, AA)
Stats: 274 PA, .250/.310/.492, 14 HR, 1 SB, 7.3% BB%, 20.4% K%
ETA: September

Chavis does not necessarily fall into the Guerrero category here. Guerrero could probably fill a need for the Blue Jays in 2018. Chavis, on the other hand, is blocked at every position he can play by someone better. He’s not getting past Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez or Hanley Ramirez, and even if he learns how to play second base, Dustin Pedroia is not going to move anytime soon. Chavis has the explosive power bat to help out fantasy owners should he see the playing time. But unless he is traded away or an injury happens, there is not clear path to that playing time. He would be a solid add in 14-plus team leagues if he found any playing time.

 

More 2018 MLB Prospects Analysis




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