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Prospect Positional: 3B

by Mike Rosenbaum
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The 2016 third baseman rankings are broken into two parts: the top 10 prospects in order and the next 15 prospects in alphabetical order. As always, these rankings are done from a scouting perspective but with fantasy baseball in mind, generally focusing on standard 5x5 league categories – though other statistics (e.g., OBP) are considered – and long-term, dynasty-league value.

 

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The Top 10:

 

1. Joey Gallo, 3B/OF, Texas Rangers (Texas Rangers)

2016 stats (AAA): 24 G, .265/.415/.639, 21 R, 5 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 20 RBI, 22 BB, 24 K

 

Gallo opened the season by posting a 1.042 OPS and hitting seven home runs in 20 games at Triple-A Round Rock before a groin injury landed him on the disabled list for nearly three weeks at the beginning of May. The 22-year-old slugger returned on May 19 and, within a matter of days, he was – and still is – back in the big leagues following a call-up by the Rangers in the wake of another injury to Shin-Soo Choo. Gallo made tremendous strides with his plate discipline during his 24 games with Round Rock, as his 22.6% strikeout rate and career-best 20.8% walk rate were both huge improvements over the 39.5% and 11.8% rates he posted over 53 games at the level in 2015. If Gallo can maintain that same strong approach in his second tour of the big leagues, the Rangers could conceivably find ways to get his bat in the lineup in the outfield and first base while also occasionally spelling Adrian Beltre at the hot corner.

 

Impact categories: R, HR, RBI

 

2. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox (High-A Salem Red Sox)

2016 stats: 43 G, .188/.268/.313, 14 R, 6 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 5 SB, 18 BB, 32 K

 

Devers shot up prospect lists in 2015 during in his full-season debut at Low-A Greenville as the then-18-year-old hit .288 with 11 home runs and 38 doubles. He’s been challenged so far this season with a move up to the High-A Carolina League, where he’s hit just .188/.268/.313 with four home runs in 43 games. Yet, Devers’ vastly improved walk rate of 10.3% -- up from 4.7% in 2015 – and career-low .213 batting average on balls in play indicate that the 19-year-old’s numbers should tick up as the season progresses. The left-handed hitter has innate ability to barrel the ball to all fields with backspin, and he generates plus-plus raw power with his explosive bat speed and huge extension through contact. While he currently hits more doubles than home runs, all signs point to the Dominican Republic native developing into a 25-plus home run guy.

 

Impact categories: AVG, HR, RBI, R

 

3. Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies (Double-A Hartford Yard Goats)

2016 stats: 41 G, .248/.337/.379, 19 R, 13 2B, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 7 SB, 19 BB, 44 K

 

McMahon, who the Rockies selected in the second round of the 2012 draft, hit exactly 18 home runs for a second straight year in 2015, giving him double-digit home runs in each of his three pro seasons. He spent his age-20 campaign at High-A Modesto, where he paced the California League with 43 doubles and ranked fourth with an .892 OPS. At 6-foot-2, 185 pounds, McMahon is already loaded with strength and should continue to add more in the coming years. His raw power already shows up in games, but he’s struggled to apply it consistently this season in Double-A at age 21. That said, McMahon has made strides with is approach at the more advanced level by improving his strikeout and walk rates by nearly two percent, respectively, and he’s once again proved that he can hold his own against left-handed pitching (.830 OPS).

 

Impact categories: R, HR, RBI

 

4. Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics (Double-A Midland RockHounds)

2016 stats: 46 G, .267/.371/.545, 38 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 13 HR, 28 RBI, 3 SB, 26 BB, 60 K

 

Selected by the A’s in the first round of the 2014 draft, Chapman missed the first month of the ’15 season with a knee injury but returned in early May and promptly took the California League by storm, swatting 23 home runs and 21 doubles in 77 games for High-A Stockton. After an eye-opening spring in big league camp with the A’s during which he hit six home runs, the 23-year-old slugger has posted a .278 ISO thanks to a Texas League-leading 13 homers in 46 games for Double-A Midland. Chapman may never offer much in the way of average, but the power is certainly legit, and he has enough plate discipline as well as the necessary barrel control to apply it all the way up the ladder.

 

Impact categories: HR, RBI

 

5. Jomar Reyes, Baltimore Orioles (High-A Frederick Keys)

2016 stats: 41 G, .219/.277/.351, 22 R, 4 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 19 RBI, 13 BB, 36 K

 

Reyes was off to a promising start to his 2015 season before he landed on the disabled list in mid-June for more than a month with a thumb sprain. He rebounded well from the injury, however, and hit .270 with three home runs and 13 doubles over his final 27 games for Low-A Delmarva. While that success has yet to translate for him this season at High-A Frederick, it’s important to keep in mind that Reyes is still just 19 and playing in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, a league that notoriously suppresses offensive output. At 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, he possesses the plus raw power to hit 25-plus homers in his prime from the middle of the order.

 

Impact categories: HR, RBI

 

6. Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves (Low-A Rome Braves)

2016 stats: 42 G, .233/.281/.374, 18 R, 14 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 2 SB, 11 BB, 61 K

 

Riley put up huge numbers between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Appalachian Leagues after being selected in the supplemental round of the 2015 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves, hitting .304 with 12 home runs and a .240 OPS over 60 games. However, some scouts raised concern regarding his 25.8% strikeout rate, even noting that it might limit his offensive development at higher levels. Unfortunately, that has been the case so far as the 19-year-old third baseman has fanned in 34.3% of his 178 plate appearances to begin his full-season debut for Low-A Rome, while game reports suggest his struggles stem from an overly aggressive approach as well as a stiff swing and a lack of bat speed. 

 

Impact categories: R, HR, RBI

 

7. Colin Moran, Houston Astros (Houston Astros)

2016 stats (AAA): 32 G, .288/.331/.416, 12 R, 7 2B, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 9 BB, 32 K

 

It took Moran longer than most expected for him to find his way as a professional – not to mention being traded from Miami, who originally drafted him sixth overall in 2013, to the Astros -- but he finally put things together during the second half of 2015, when he hit .321/.408/.500 with all nine of his home runs as well as 41 RBIs in 64 games for Double-A Corpus Christi. After a solid spring with the Astros, Moran, 23, parlayed a hot start in Triple-A into his first big league call-up on May 17, though he’s gone 0-for-12 with six strikeouts in his first four games with Houston.

 

Impact categories: AVG, R

 

8. Renato Nunez, Oakland Athletics (Triple-A Nashville Sounds)

2016 stats: 42 G, .261/.313/.503, 22 R, 11 2B, 2 3B, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, 9 BB, 26 K

 

Nunez put together a surprisingly solid season 2015 campaign while healthy as he hit .278 with 18 home runs and a .202 ISO over 82 games in his first taste of the Double-A level. The biggest difference in his game was a vastly improved strikeout rate (15.9%), which in turn allowed him to get to his power more consistently. He’s furthered that trend this season in Triple-A, where the 22-year-old’s career-best 14.8% strikeout rate has led to eight home runs and a career-high .242 ISO through 42 games for Nashville.

 

Impact categories: HR, RBI

 

9. Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals (Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers)

2016 stats: 43 G, .301/.370/.590, 23 R, 12 2B, 12 HR, 36 RBI, 4 SB, 17 BB, 43 K

 

Dozier, who the Royals selected eighth overall in the 2013 draft, looked as though he might have been a lost cause last season when he hit just .213/.281/.349 with 12 home runs and 151 strikeouts in 128 games for Double-A Northwest Arkansas. Flash forward one year and the 24-year-old third baseman has now jumped back on the prospect radar after his promotion to Triple-A following an outstanding 26-game stretch (1.042 OPS, .337 ISO, 8 HR) back in the Texas League. Meanwhile, with the recent news that Mike Moustakas would miss the remainder of 2016 with a torn ACL, it’s conceivable that the Royals could give Dozier a shot at the hot corner in the coming months.  

 

Impact categories: HR, RBI

 

10. Jeimer Candelario, Chicago Cubs (Double-A Tennessee Smokies)

2016 stats: 45 G, .240/.354/.395, 25 R, 17 2B, 3 HR, 21 RBI, 29 BB, 35 K

 

Candelario broke out in a big way in 2015, showing more consistent power and vastly improved plate discipline after his mid-season promotion to Double-A. He then continued to roll in the Arizona Fall League, where he ranked among the league’s leaders in many offensive categories, and followed that with a strong performance in big league camp with the Cubs. The 22-year-old switch-hitter got off to a slow start this season in his return to the Southern League, but he’s picked up the pace of late with a .375 average and 10 RBIs in his past 10 games. More importantly, he’s maintained the same advanced approach in spite of his struggles all the while offering his usual amount of pop, as exactly half of his 40 hits this season have gone for extra bases, including a Southern League-best 17 doubles. That being said, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where Candelario gets the nod over any of the other Cubs infielders. And don’t be surprised if his name begins to pop up in rumors as the trade deadline nears.

 

Impact categories: AVG, RBI

 

The Next 15 (Alphabetical Order):

 

Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins (High-A Jupiter Hammerheads)

Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees (High-A Tampa Yankees)

Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox (Low-A Greenville Drive)

J.D. Davis, Houston Astros (Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks)

Paul DeJong, St. Louis Cardinals (Double-A Springfield Cardinals)

Yandy Diaz, Cleveland Indians (Triple-A Columbus Clippers)

Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates (Low-A West Virginia Power)

Eric Jagielo, Cincinnati Reds (Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos)

Trey Michalczewski, Chicago White Sox (Double-A Birmingham Barons)

Tyler Nevin, Colorado Rockies (Extended spring training/unassigned)

Kevin Padlo, Tampa Bay Rays (Low-A Bowling Green Hot Rods)

Rio Ruiz, Atlanta Braves (Triple-A Gwinnett Braves)

Richie Shaffer, 3B/1B/OF, Tampa Bay Rays (Triple-A Durham Bulls)

Jhoan Urena, New York Mets (High-A St. Lucie Mets)

Drew Ward, Washington Nationals (High-A Potomac Nationals)