Last week we took a look at the second base position, and this week we continue along the infield looking at third base. Joining me again for this year’s rankings is our very own Andy Germani. Our rankings will be consolidated to give you our final site rankings, but you can see where Andy and I ranked them in the table as well.
These are fantasy rankings, and I remind you that Andy and I are not scouts, just simply heavy followers of baseball prospects. We hope you enjoy the rankings!
|1||Rafael Devers||Red Sox||20||2018||1||1|
|3||Vladimir Guerrero Jr||Blue Jays||17||2021||3||3|
|21||Michael Chavis||Red Sox||21||2019||17||N/A|
|X||Bobby Dalbec||Red Sox||21||2019||22||N/A|
Who is your favorite prospect to break out in 2017?
Andy: Maybe I am cheating here listing someone who is so high on my list. The people who look at only numbers might wonder why Rafael Devers keeps ending up at, or near, the top of lists. Devers went from a .288/.329/.443 season in 2015 to .282/.335/.443 line in 2016. Not much to see here for a guy that hasn’t made it to AA yet.
Scouts love his future potential and I wouldn’t dismiss what he did in 2016. The stat line doesn’t really excite, but when you factor in Devers got off to an awful start it is interesting. Through May he was hitting .195/.273/.310 with just four homers in 47 games with a terrible .219 BABIP. From June on (in 81 games) he hit .328/.369/.514 with seven homers. I think Devers puts it together for a full season this year and jumps all the way up into the top five prospects by the time my midseason list is out.
Paul: Austin Riley had a mini-breakout last year, in what most people might even consider a disappointing season. Over the final 90 games, though, he hit 19 home runs while batting .286. He has a ton of power and definitely has the arm to stick at the hot corner. He’s still just 19 years of age, so while the BB/K rate is less than desirable, there is room for development. Riley could go either way quite honestly; if he doesn’t make improvements in his contact skills the power will never play. He may not have the range to stick at third, putting extra pressure on the bat. But, there’s so much to get excited about with the kind of power he has. Going into his age-20 season, I’m willing to put my neck out there, both in the high ranking and in the call that he’ll only move up next year.
What prospect could make a surprising
contribution to fantasy teams in 2017?
Andy: I really struggled to find someone who I think can make a contribution in 2017 at this position. I don’t know if any really make a real contribution this year, but if one of them does I would go with Matt Chapman. Chapman strikes out a lot, but he can hit the long ball. Right now the newly acquired Trevor Plouffe is standing in his way. The path to playing time isn’t easy, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chapman get a few hundred at bats and possibly hit 10 homers.
Paul: I don’t know how he sees playing time in a stacked Indians infield, but I like Yandy Diaz to make a contribution in 2017. Diaz plays great defense across the field, and I’m thinking he could be a useful utility player for the Tribe this year. If injuries happen (they will), he has the plate discipline that should carry over and bring him some success right away. There is no power, but he hit .325 in AAA with a .399 OBP. He has also walked more than he has struck out in his minor league career. I know it’s a stretch, but there aren’t a lot of great options here.
What lesser-known prospect should fantasy owners
put on their radars now?
Andy: I liked J.D. Davis last year, and even though he let me down a little bit I am sticking with him this year. The good news is that Davis let me down while hitting 23 homers. I was hoping he would be able to keep the average in the .280 plus range again, but he failed to do that. He doesn’t show splits favoring one side or the other which is nice to see from a minor leaguer. I am hoping he can have another season like he did in 2015. If not, I think it’s safe to ignore him for the future.
Paul: I think Dermis Garcia is a player that people should be watching in 2017. It’s early admittedly now, but in deeper leagues you often can’t afford to wait. Garcia hit 13 home runs in Rookie Ball last year, showing how ridiculously strong he is at 18 years old. The trouble is some big swing and miss in his game (34% K rate), and the fact that he’s about 4-5 years away from the show. The power potential is huge, and while he’s new to third base he has a very strong arm and could stick. All in all, he’s the type of player you dream about finding before your peers and hope the likelihood of failure rate skirts past him.
What prospect would it not surprise you
if he fell significantly in the next year?
Andy: I just mentioned him above, but it would have to be Matt Chapman here too in terms of potentially falling off. I don’t think he can maintain the strikeout rate he had last year and still be a good hitter at the next level. Maybe he reverts back to the hitter he was in 2014 when he had what was probably his best season to date, but I think he is going to be closer to his 2016 season.
Paul: Don’t get me wrong; I like Jeimer Candelario just fine, but I think he might just fall short of fantasy relevance. Not only is he eternally blocked in Chicago, but the power may not be enough, and it’s not like he’s a defensive wizard over there. There’s value here, but perhaps not for fantasy purposes. Things could change for him if he moves to a team with a hole at third, but as is I don’t know that he’s ever going to be a third baseman that makes your fantasy roster. I suspect he could be a nice piece for the Cubs, and I’m pulling for him that he gets an everyday gig somewhere. But a year from now, if he put up 100 at bats in the majors around the diamond he won’t be sitting as the 11th top third base prospect.
Come back next Friday when we will publish our Top 30 shortstop Prospects.