Ranking The Top 20 3B Prospects, Breakout Stars Entering 2019
For the second straight year, third base is one the strongest position groups in the minors.
Led by No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr., the third base prospect crop features both elite talent at the top and considerable depth below. A total of 11 third basemen made Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list, and No. 12 Colton Welker wasn't far off. From Triple-A (Guerrero, Nick Senzel, Austin Riley) all the way down to the Dominican Summer League (Malcom Nunez, Luis Toribio), intriguing third base prospects with significant potential can be found.
Even with Guerrero, Senzel and Riley expected to graduate to the majors in 2019, third base should remain a position of strength in the minors. Four of the top 19 picks in last year's draft were third basemen—Alec Bohm, Jonathan India, Jordan Groshans, Nolan Gorman—providing an infusion that should keep the position steady as far as prospects are concerned.
Rating: 4 out of 5 starts
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
- Nick Senzel, Reds
- Austin Riley, Braves
- Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates
- Jonathan India, Reds
- Alec Bohm, Phillies
- Nolan Gorman, Cardinals
- Elehuris Montero, Cardinals
- Jordan Groshans, Blue Jays
- Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles
- Nolan Jones, Indians
- Colton Welker, Rockies
- Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox
- Michael Chavis, Red Sox
- Mark Vientos, Mets
- Hudson Potts, Padres
- Malcom Nuñez, Cardinals
- Abraham Toro, Astros
- Josh Fuentes, Rockies
- Luis Toribio, Giants
Ismael Cruz Explains Signing Vlad Jr.
Ismael Cruz was Toronto's scouting director when the team signed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at 16. He joined the Baseball America podcast to discuss the process.
As part of our 2019 position rankings, BA staffers are picking one breakout prospect and one prospect they are concerned about at each position. Here are the selections for third base.
Breakout: Mark Vientos, Mets
We've got some good candidates to choose from here beyond the Top 100 guys. I like what I've heard from scouts so far on Malcom Nunez and Luis Toribio, but I think Mark Vientos has the best chance to take a big leap forward in 2019. There's a sound swing, plus bat speed, a sharp eye for the strike zone, and I think there's 25-30 home run potential. If he goes to low Class A Columbia and rakes early, I think we're talking about a Top 100 guy soon.
Red Flag: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates
I do like Hayes. Defensively, I love him. I think we're talking about a plus-plus defender in his prime. The red flag for me is on how much offensive impact he's going to give you. He controls the strike zone, but I see below-average power and I'm not sure the swing or strength projection is there for him to see that power grade really spike.
Breakout: Abraham Toro, Astros.
There are players who make everything look easy. Toro is not that player. His movements are choppy and his legs are short, but no matter how ungraceful he looks, Toro can really hit and he plays a solid third base. Toro doesn't have overwhelming bat speed, but he does have solid bat-to-ball skills and developing power.
Red Flag: Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles.
Mountcastle's inclusion here revolves around his defense. Mountcastle can hit, but it's still hard to figure out where he'll eventually play because of his bottom-of-the-scale arm. It didn't fit at shortstop and it doesn't fit at third base. Eventually Mountcastle will likely slide to left field or first base, which is going to ask a lot of his bat.
Breakout: Jordan Groshans, Blue Jays
The top high school shortstop drafted in 2018, Groshans made a loud debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The 18-year-old ranked fourth in the GCL batting race (.331) and eighth in slugging (.500) with encouraging bat-to-ball and plate discipline profiles. Toronto promoted Groshans to Rookie-level Bluefield for the Appalachian League playoffs, and he went 7-for-12 with a home run, a double and two walks. He spent more time at shortstop in his pro debut, but scouts and his speed indicators agree that third base is his future position.Red Flag: Alec Bohm, Phillies
Bohm showcased all-fields power at Wichita State that helped get him drafted No. 3 overall in 2018, but he struggled mightily in his pro debut. The 21-year-old hit .224/.314/.290 with zero home runs in an age-appropriate assignment to the short-season New York-Penn League. Bohm makes a lot of contact for a hitter with plus raw power, but as an advanced college bat, he needs to impact the ball much more frequently in 2019. On the bright side, the Phillies were pleased with his defensive growth and dedication at third base. Now he needs to convince scouts on both sides of the ball.