2012 Prospect Position Rankings: Third Base






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Ranking players is one of the bedrocks of what we do here at Baseball America.
With the Top 100 Prospects list now in the books, we're not putting the offseason rankings away just yet. We're ranking prospects by position, continuing today with third basemen.

Between the players who are already playing third base and the current shortstops in name only whom we expect to slide over to their right eventually, there were 13 hot-corner hopefuls in our Top 100 Prospects. It's a mix of players with natural hitting ability, power bats and good gloves, as well as a select handful who have the potential to combine all three.

2012 Top Rookie: Todd Frazier, Reds. There aren't many major league-ready bats on this list, but Frazier's turn has been long overdue.

2012 Breakout: Garin Cecchini, Red Sox. Great knowledge of the strike zone and an ability to barrel the ball are a great pair of skills to find in a young hitter.

1. Miguel Sano, Twins: The ball makes a different sound coming off his bat thanks to his plus-plus raw power.

2. Anthony Rendon, Nationals: Rendon may see some time at second base because Ryan Zimmerman is ahead of him, but he's a Gold Glove-caliber defender at third base.

3. Nolan Arenado, Rockies: One of the best swings in the minors, with the power to back it up and improving defense.

4. Mike Olt, Rangers: One draft pick the Rangers haven't traded, he's a potential two-way threat with smooth defense and plus power.

5. Nick Castellanos, Tigers: Natural hitting instincts are already evident, but he'll be more dangerous when he adds strength.

6. Will Middlebrooks, Red Sox: A stellar defender, Middlebrooks needs to tighten his strike zone but has plus power potential.

7. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: A good athlete for his size with huge power, Bogaerts could be Boston's best international signing since Hanley Ramirez.

8. Javier Baez, Cubs: First-round pick from 2011 gets plus or better future grades from scouts for his hit and power tools.

9. Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals: Royals beat the Pirates to the punch to sign Cuthbert for $1.35 million three years ago, and now have their best international prospect with an offensive-oriented game.

10. Zack Cox, Cardinals: Cox doesn't have huge power, but he has a knack for putting the bat to the ball.

11. Matt Davidson, Diamondbacks.

12. Jedd Gyorko, Padres.

13. Christian Villanueva, Rangers

14. Garin Cecchini, Red Sox.

15. Dante Bichette Jr., Yankees.

16. Todd Frazier, Reds

17. Francisco Martinez, Mariners

18. Vinnie Catricala, Mariners

19. Kaleb Cowart, Angels

20. Matt Dean, Blue Jays

21. Maikel Franco, Phillies

22. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals

23. Alex Liddi, Mariners

24. Tim Beckham, Rays

25. Josh Vitters, Cubs

26. Matt Dominguez, Marlins

27. Wilmer Flores, Mets

28. Kellen Sweeney, Blue Jays

29. Junior Lake, Cubs

30. Taylor Green, Brewers