As we look at third base, it’s no surprise that Vlad Jr. is atop the list. However, as we’ve written about previously, he is likely to outgrow the position with a move to first base seemingly inevitable. Nick Senzel is also likely not to stay at third. In fact, he’s already spent time at second in the minor leagues and there are reports of the Reds wanting him to spend time in centerfield. Now, Ke’Bryan Hayes will likely stay at the hot corner but doesn’t have nearly the upside of Vlad Jr. and Senzel.
Included in the list are a trio of recently drafted players in Jonathan India, Alec Bohm, and Nolan Gorman. Gorman is the most intriguing of the three but also the hardest to evaluate. The strikeouts will be substantial but the home runs could be as well. He’ll need to learn to plate patience in order to reach his upside.
Further down are some other interesting players including Ryan Mountcastle and Tyler Nevin. Mountcastle has huge offensive upside that fantasy owners crave, but is a below-average defender at third, the outfield, and even at first. Nevin really opened eyes at the Fall League in October and could be the sleeper in the list.
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1. Vlad Guerrero Jr. (Tor)
With his 80-grade hit tool and double-plus raw power, the future is extremely bright for the best prospect in the game. It’s hit before power currently, but 30-100-.300 is in the cards.
2. Nick Senzel (Cin)
He might play third, second or even the outfield, but the bat will play anywhere. The only problem is the Reds have decided to go “old”. It shouldn’t matter, as Senzel could be the best player on the team by the end of the year.
3. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pit)
While there are questions about how much power Ke’Bryan Hayes will develop, one thing is for sure…he can hit. Unfortunately, that coupled with a growing trend of the Pirate’s inability to develop hitters has me concerned for the long-term upside.
4. Jonathan India (Cin)
After a big junior season at Florida, Jonathan India was drafted as the fourth overall player in the 2018 MLB Draft. He’s always been able to hit, but if the power he showed as a junior continues, he has impact potential.
5. Alec Bohm (Phi)
Drafted third overall, Alec Bohm had a tough start to his professional career. We still like the swing and the power potential and are blaming “fatigue” on his poor professional debut. I hope we are right.
6. Nolan Gorman (Stl)
As mentioned in my detailed write-up, I struggle with players like Nolan Gorman. He has double-plus raw power, but the swing and miss are going to be prodigious. Joey Gallo has had some success but also walks a ton. Gorman might not. Hmm….
7. Colton Welker (Col)
Colton Welker has crushed the ball in three levels. The problem is Grand Junction, Asheville, and Lancaster are extreme hitter’s park. If he can continue to mash in Hartford, he’s moving up…and quickly.
8. Austin Riley (Atl)
The timetable for Austin Riley is delayed for at least a year with the arrival of Josh Donaldson. I actually think it’s a good thing because he’s not ready. One more year in Triple-A should help him refine his hit-tool.
9. Elehuris Montero (STL)
I fought hard to get Elehuris Montero on this list. He can really hit with a chance for plus future power. He’s also a quality third baseman that might eventually push Gorman to first base.
10. Nolan Jones (CLE)
Nolan Jones will be a solid major leaguer performer. He doesn’t have that true double-plus tool but instead does it with a nice approach and plus power.
11. Mark Vientos (NYM)
While it was only the Appy League, Mark Vientos walked nearly as much as he struckout showing nice pop along with way with 11 home runs and a .489 SLG.
12. Ryan Mountcastle (Bal)
Ryan Mountcastle can really hit with a potential to hit for 20 to 25 home runs, but questions around his defensive position is causing pause with a lot of evaluators. I doubt he stays at third but for now, he makes our list.
13. Tyler Nevin (Col)
Tyler Nevin has the bloodlines and showed everyone what he is capable of in the Fall League. While everyone is talking about Brendan Rodgers or Colten Welker as the Heir Apparent to Arrenado, don’t forget about Nevin.
14. Hudson Potts (SD)
It’s just been ok for Hudson Potts since the Padres drafted him in the first round in 2016. While he’s a great athlete with plus bat speed he has struggled to pick up spin which is holding him back. I still think he gets there and that should be enough to give him regular at-bats at the highest level.
15. Michael Chavis (Bos)
Michale Chavis missed time last season serving a suspension for a ban substance, but came back strong. He’s got plus bat speed which could translate into 20 plus home runs in the Major Leagues. Will, that come in Boston? I’m betting the under.
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