There have been plenty of discussions this offseason about how the third base position drops off quickly for fantasy purposes. That’s entirely true, but the prospect side of things is a whole different animal. When digging into my rankings from a positional standpoint, I was surprised to see just how deep this position is with prospect talent. Yes, there are plenty listed below that played elsewhere in 2021 as well, but everyone at least spent a small chunk of time at the hot corner. The added influx of talent makes these third base prospect rankings even more exciting than they already were, headlined by 11 inside my top-100 overall and seven inside my top-50. Unfortunately, I’d be willing to bet that at least half of this top-10 plays off the hot corner primarily, including #1 overall.
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Top-30 Dynasty Third Base Prospect Rankings
1. Spencer Torkelson, DET
2021 (Hi-A/AA/AAA): 121 G, 530 PA, .267/.383/.552, 29 2B, 30 HR, 5 SB, 14.5 BB%, 21.5 K%, .285 ISO
I’ll still include him here for now, but I strongly believe he’s a first baseman long-term. Here’s my blurb on Torkelson from my first base prospect rankings article:
The 2020 #1 overall pick came as advertised in his first professional season in 2021. Tork cranked 30 home runs and 29 doubles in 121 games with a .552 SLG and .285 ISO. With easy plus or better raw power and a swing that generates plenty of natural loft, it’s not hard to envision 30+ homers annually for Torkelson in Detroit as a middle-of-the-order stud. He’s also shown an average to above-average hit tool and the ability to draw walks at an exceptional clip as well (14.5%) while keeping his strikeout rate in check (21.5%). With Tork’s .270+/.370+/35+ upside, he’s easily a top-10 fantasy prospect and top-5 in OBP formats.
Spencer Torkelson AFL mix.
No HR in my three live looks, but had six hits (all below) with a few hard-hit balls. Used the entire field well
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) October 17, 2021
2. Josh Jung, TEX
2021 (AA/AAA): 78 G, 342 PA, .326/.398/.592, 22 2B, 19 HR, 2 SB, 9.1 BB%, 22.2 K%, .266 ISO
If I ranked prospects on floor alone, Josh Jung would likely be top-10 overall, or damn close to it. Jung is one of the most advanced and polished bats in the minors and has consistently displayed that during his professional career. After hitting .316 in 44 games after the draft in 2019, Jung pushed the AVG up to .326 in 2021 with a 36-homer pace (650 PA) in the upper minors. Skipping Hi-A entirely wasn’t a problem for Jung, and he’s now on the brink of breaking into the Rangers’ lineup as their starting third baseman. That could come as soon as opening day, but by the end of May at the absolute latest.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 24, 2021
Jung doesn’t bring any speed to the table, but he’s an easy plus hitter with plus power that should post some .280+/25+ seasons, maybe even .300/30. With his hit/power combination and advanced profile, it honestly wouldn’t shock me if he’s just as good or even better than Torkelson longterm.
3. Jordan Walker, STL
2021 (Lo-A/Hi-A): 82 G, 366 PA, .317/.388/.548, 25 2B, 14 HR, 14 SB, 9.0 BB%, 23.8 K%, .231 ISO
There were breakout prospects in 2021, and then there was Jordan Walker. The Cardinals 2020 first-round selection imposed his will all season across both Single-A levels hitting for a high average while flashing his immense raw power. I’m sure the 14 HR in 366 PA came as no surprise, but the .317 AVG and 23.8% strikeout rate sure did. Entering the 2020 draft, the concerns with Walker’s profile centered around his contact skills and swing and miss tendencies. Maybe those were a bit overblown as Walker didn’t look overmatched in the slightest during his first taste of professional baseball.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) September 15, 2021
Is he going to continue hitting north of .300? Probably not. However, I’m willing to slap a 50-grade hit tool on Walker with the potential for 55 if his improvements in 2021 stick in 2022 and beyond. Add in his plus or better power with projection for even more, and his ability to add 5-10 SB annually and you have a potential all-star corner infielder in the making that could flirt with top-10 status at either first base or third base. But as is the case with Nolan Gorman, Walker’s path to an everyday role in St. Louis is murky with Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt under contract through 2027 and 2024 respectively, both of which won gold glove awards in 2021. My guess is that by the time Walker is ready in 2023, the NL will have the DH so he can slot there until Goldschmidt leaves via free agency.
4. Jose Miranda, MIN
2021 (AA/AAA): 127 G, 591 PA, .344/.401/.572, 32 2B, 30 HR, 4 SB, 7.1 BB%, 12.5 K%, .228 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Jose Miranda from my second base prospect rankings article:
For the first two months of the minor league season, you’d have a difficult time finding many hitters hotter than Jose Miranda. The 23-year-old infielder slashed .345/.408/.588 in 47 Double-A games, earning a promotion to Triple-A in late June. The Miranda show didn’t stop there either as he was just as good in Triple-A with 17 homers in 80 games and a .343/.397/.563 slash line. Miranda brings minimal speed to the table so his fantasy value is heavily focused on his bat. Luckily, Miranda’s plus contact skills and above-average to plus raw power give him a considerable chance to be an impact bat at the Major League level.
While he doesn’t walk a ton (6.3% in MiLB), Miranda consistently puts the ball in play and has shown exceptional zone awareness and pitch recognition. There’s .275+/25 upside in Miranda’s profile, all he needs is chance. That could come early in 2022, depending on the health of oft-injured Josh Donaldson.
5. Nolan Gorman, STL
2021 (AA/AAA): 119 G, 523 PA, .279/.333/.481, 20 2B, 25 HR, 7 SB, 7.3 BB%, 22.0 K%, .202 ISO
If you’re banking on him being a third baseman longterm, you’ll likely be disappointed. Here’s my blurb on Nolan Gorman from my second base prospect rankings article:
As someone that once had Nolan Gorman in my top-15 overall (Yes, I got a tad overzealous), I’ve actually become one of the lower around on him in the industry these days. Let me clarify that I’m still high on Gorman in a general sense and think he’s going to be a good, but not great fantasy player. His easy plus or better raw power finally began translating more frequently in games this past season with 25 homers, a .481 SLG, and a .202 ISO in 119 games. That power looks even better at the keystone, which will likely be his defensive home due to the presence of Nolan Arenado at the hot corner. However, I’m not sure he’s a 30+ homer bat like I once believed. Still, a 25-30 homer profile will play just fine at this position and Gorman has the contact skills to hit around .260-.270 as well.
6. Miguel Vargas, LAD
2021 (Hi-A/AA): 120 G, 542 PA, .319/.380/.526, 27 2B, 23 HR, 11 SB, 8.3 BB%, 16.4 K%, .207 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Miguel Vargas from my first base prospect rankings article:
Despite him ranking well within my top-100, Miguel Vargas remains one of the most underrated prospects in baseball. Which is rather surprising given the organization he plays for. After debuting back in 2018, all Vargas has done is hit, hit, and hit some more. However, up until 2021, not much game-power had materialized. In 2018 and 2019 combined, Vargas hit .314 in 788 plate appearances but with only seven home runs to go with it. That high AVG continued in 2021 at.319 and Vargas added 27 doubles and 23 home runs as well. About time!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 20, 2021
Vargas has always displayed plus raw power, but struggled to translate that into game power with his higher groundball rate. That all changed in 2021 with the highest flyball rate of his professional career by a wide margin. With his contact skills, plate discipline, and raw power, Vargas has a real chance to develop into an above-average offensive corner infielder at the Major League level with .275+/25 upside. Fast-forward to mid-2022 and he could be even higher in my rankings.
7. Jhonkensy Noel, CLE
2021 (RK/Lo-A/Hi-A): 70 G, 290 PA, .340/.390/.615, 14 2B, 19 HR, 5 SB, 5.9 BB%, 21.4 K%, .275 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Jhonkensy Noel from my first base prospect rankings article:
If you looked up “hitting machine” in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Jhonkensy Noel looking back at you. And yes, I’m sure everyone under the age of 25 just called me a boomer or said “who the bleep still uses a dictionary?” Google it then you young whippersnappers. The point is, Noel can mash. As a 19-year-old, Noel terrorized Lo-A pitchers with a .393 average and 11 homers in 38 games, earning him a mid-season promotion to Hi-A where he excelled as well. Noel is overly aggressive at the plate and I’d love to see that walk rate tick up, but he doesn’t strike out much and can drive the ball with authority consistently to all fields. If you’re in an OBP league, I’d flip him and Pratto here, but regardless, Noel is a top-50 caliber prospect thanks to his .270/30+ upside.
8. Brett Baty, NYM
2021 (Hi-A/AA): 91 G, 385 PA, .292/.382/.473, 22 2B, 12 HR, 6 SB, 11.9 BB%, 25.5 K%, .181 ISO
While 2021 was a positive year for Brett Baty from start to finish, there is still one notable concern in his profile. But first, let’s discuss the positives. Baty performed admirably across two levels in 2021, posting a .292/.382/.473 slash line, 12 homers, a .181 ISO, and an 11.9% walk rate in 385 PA. This continued out in the Arizona Fall League as well with Baty spraying line drives all over the field and finishing with a .292 AVG and .373 OBP in 25 games.
Brett Baty with ANOTHER extra base hit, cranking a triple to right center.
110 mph EV
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) October 17, 2021
This is the profile most evaluators expected when Baty was taken 12th overall back in the 2019 draft. Baty was considered an above-average hitter with above-average power, but not a standout in either department. That remains the case now two and a half years, but Baty has developed a bit of a free-swinging nature at times, chasing too many pitches outside the strike zone. This was an issue both during the minor league season and in the AFL as well where he struck out 30.4% of the time. Now might be a good time to sell high on the Mets 3rd base prospect, but I’m still expecting him to develop into a solid Major League regular with .275/20+/5 potential.
9. Coby Mayo, BAL
2021 (RK/Lo-A): 53 G, 216 PA, .319/.426/.555, 14 2B, 9 HR, 11 SB, 13.4 BB%, 18.5 K%, .236 ISO
If any prospect from this tier can vault up into tier one in 2022, Coby Mayo would be my pick. Mayo met and then blasted through expectations during his first professional season, hitting for a high average, plenty of power, and showing an exceptional plate approach. The power has always been his calling card and could make Mayo a middle-of-the-order masher down the road with 30+ homer potential annually in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. But Mayo is quickly proving that he’s much more than a power-only bat and could settle in as a 55-grade hitter longterm as well with .270+/.370+ potential. Add in a handful of steals annually and Mayo has fantasy force written all over him. I’m usually terrible with comps, but Austin Riley’s name keeps popping in my head with Mayo. If that doesn’t generate some drool in the corner of your mouth, then I don’t know what will.
10. Dustin Harris, TEX
2021 (Lo-A/Hi-A): 110 G, 466 PA, .327/.401/.542, 21 2B, 20 HR, 25 SB, 10.1 BB%, 15.7 K%, .215 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Dustin Harris from my first base prospect rankings article:
We’re now entering the Twilight Zone. And by Twilight Zone, I mean the section of the rankings where we’ll find the biggest breakouts at this position from the 2021 season. Leading the charge in this breakout section is the Rangers Dustin Harris. After hitting for a high average in 2019 with minimal power, Harris’ power took a massive step forward in 2021. Across 110 games in Lo-A and Hi-A, Harris cranked 21 doubles and 20 homers to pair with 25 steals and a stellar .327/.401/.542 slash line.
While those 25 steals need to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s worth noting that Harris is an average to above-average runner and could be one of those rare corner infielders that can chip in double-digit steals annually early in his career. Add in an above-average to plus hit tool and above-average power, and you have a well-rounded offensive first base prospect that could post some .275+/20+/10+ seasons down the road. Harris is 100% for real.
11. Trey Sweeney, NYY
2021 (RK/Lo-A): 32 G, 138 PA, .261/.384/.548, 4 2B, 7 HR, 4 SB, 15.9 BB%, 22.5 K%, .287 ISO
Every time I updated my 2021 FYPD rankings, Trey Sweeney was a name that kept creeping higher and higher. The Eastern Illinois University standout dominated in his final season on campus with a .382/.522/.712 slash line, 14 home runs, and nearly double as many walks (46) as strikeouts (24) across 48 games. That performance vaulted him into the first round of the 2021 draft and into a good player development organization. Not to mention the ballpark and lineup that he’ll one day call home. Sweeney projects as an above-average bat with plus raw power that could settle in as an above-average offensive performer at the hot corner. The third base position is fairly unblocked in the Bronx at the moment, but it remains to be seen if Anthony Volpe moves over there in the coming years.
12. Curtis Mead, TBR
2021 (Lo-A/Hi-A/AAA): 104 G, 458 PA, .321/.378/.533, 38 2B, 15 HR, 11 SB, 7.4 BB%, 15.5 K%, .212 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Curtis Mead from my first base prospect rankings article:
Another relative unknown outside of deeper dynasty leagues entering 2021 was Curtis Mead. The former Phillies farmhand quietly put together an impressive showing in 2021 with 55 extra-base hits, 11 steals, and a .321/.378/.533 slash line in 104 games. Mead doesn’t possess big-time corner infielder power, but the profile is strong throughout with .280/15+/10 potential longterm. He played both corner infield spots in 2021 which is ideal flexibility in this Tampa Bay organization as the two spots they aren’t crowded at are the corners. Mead will likely continue to be undervalued a bit as he doesn’t have that one standout tool that most desire, but don’t let yourself fall into that group. Mead is a very good hitter that will find a role somewhere in the Majors, whether that’s with Tampa Bay or elsewhere. We could be looking at a Jeff McNeil type of player.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) October 15, 2021
13. Blaze Jordan, BOS
2021 (RK/Lo-A): 28 G, 114 PA, .324/.368/.590, 8 2B, 6 HR, 1 SB, 7.0 BB%, 18.4 K%, .266 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Blaze Jordan from my first base prospects article:
Although his 2021 season consisted of a mere 28 games, that’s all it took to vault Blaze Jordan up into some top-100 rankings. The 18-year-old has long been known for his prestigious power, but the hit tool and approach were question marks and allowed him to fall to the Red Sox in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft. I’m not sure 28 games ie a big enough sample size to quiet those concerns, but Jordan’s .324 AVG and 18.4% strikeout rate are a phenomenal start. On the flip side, he only walked 7% of the time, but again, small sample size. If Jordan can at least sniff a 50-grade hit tool longterm, his elite right-handed raw power would make him a major power source at Fenway Park with the potential for 30-homers annually. He’s going to be one worth monitoring closely in 2022.
14. Elly De La Cruz, CIN
2021 (RK/Lo-A): 61 G, 265 PA, .296/.336/.538, 18 2B, 8 HR, 10 SB, 5.3 BB%, 30.2 K%
The raw tools for Elly De La Cruz are off the charts and could make him a top-25 fantasy prospect by the end of 2022. De La Cruz racked up 35 extra-base hits, eight homers, and 10 steals in 61 games with a .296/.336/.538 slash line, but needs to improve his approach at the plate to maximize his tantalizing tools. If he can become more patient and selective, watch out. De La Cruz has the offensive skill set to be a fantasy beast in time.
— Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley) September 10, 2021
15. Eddys Leonard, LAD
2021 (Lo-A/Hi-A): 107 G, 492 PA, .293/.390/.539, 29 2B, 22 HR, 9 SB, 10.4 BB%, 23.6 K%, .246 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Eddys Leonard from my second base prospects article:
While Jeter Downs is trending the wrong way, Eddys Leonard’s stock is soaring. The Dodgers versatile infielder was even taken inside the top-100 of the recently concluded Toolshed Industry Prospect Mock draft. It’s not hard to see why as Leonard is coming off a 22-homer/9-steal showing in 107 games with a .296/.390/.539 slash line. Leonard might not possess that one standout tool, but he could wind up as 55 across the board offensively. He’s also displayed a mature approach at the plate, giving him similarly enticing value in OBP formats. Leonard started 20+ games at 2nd, 3rd, and short this past season, and that versatility should be beneficial longterm as he attempts to crack the Dodgers lineup in a couple of years.
16. James Triantos, CHC
2021 (RK): 25 G, 109 PA, .327/.376/.594, 7 2B, 6 HR, 3 SB, 6.4 BB%, 16.5 K%, .267 ISO
During the Industry Prospect Mock Draft recap episode on Fantrax Toolshed, it was mentioned that James Triantos’ hit tool grade could be 70. Not 60, S-E-V-E-N-T-Y!. That’s incredibly high praise for any prospect, especially for an 18-year-old high school bat that was just drafted less than six months ago. On top of that plus or better hit tool, Triantos has also flashed above-average power that will likely tick up into plus territory once he fills out his frame and adds bulk. The swing is compact with electric bat speed and exceptional barrel control. Even if he only adds minimal speed, the bat has a strong chance to really stand out at either shortstop or third base. He’s a great FYPD target in the 12-15 range and I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking him a few picks higher than that.
17. Mark Vientos, NYM
2021 (AA/AAA): 83 G, 349 PA, .281/.352/.581, 18 2B, 25 HR, 0 SB, 9.5 BB%, 28.7 K%, .300 ISO
This ranking might seem modest given Vientos’ performance in 2021, but there are two reasons for this. Firstly, this position for prospects is exceptionally deep. And second, Vientos hasn’t been able to correct his strikeout issue that began popping up in 2019. After sitting at a modest 24.2% in 2019, Vientos struck out 28.7% of the time in 2021. He still walked a decent amount and hit for plenty of power with a .581 SLG and .300 ISO, but I’m wondering if he’s more of a .250-.260 hitter with 25-30 homers annually than one that can maintain his .281 AVG from 2021. And with zero speed to speak of, that keeps him closer to 150 overall for me.
18. Jonathan Aranda, TBR
2021 (Hi-A/AA): 100 G, 411 PA, .330/.418/.543, 22 2B, 14 HR, 5 SB, 10.2 BB%, 18.5 K%, .213 ISO
Here’s my blurb on Jonathan Aranda from my first base prospects article:
Aranda had a very impressive 2021 campaign, maybe even more than Curtis Mead. The 23-year-old hit .330 with 14 homers and five steals in 100 games between H-A and Double-A and has a profile that’s not far off from Meads.
I’ll add more after doing a statistical dive the other day. Aranda was one of 18 prospects in 2021 (Age under 24 with 150+ PA) with a walk rate above 10%, strikeout rate below 20%, and an ISO above .200. The hit tool and power make Aranda very intriguing for fantasy purposes, but it’s going to be difficult for him to breakthrough in Tampa Bay.
19. Deyvison De Los Santos, ARI
2021 (RK/Lo-A): 62 G, 255 PA, .295/.370/.489, 16 2B, 8 HR, 3 SB, 10.2 BB%, 26.3 K%, .194 ISO
On a recent episode of the Fantrax Toolshed podcast, my esteemed co-host Chris Clegg had Deyvison De Los Santos in his projected top-25 prospects for 2024. I wasn’t quite as high on him, but he was one I considered for my top-25 as well in that episode. We’re far from the only two that feel this way either as others across the industry have expressed their high praise for the Diamondbacks’ third base prospect. De Los Santos projects as an above-average hitter with above-average or better power as well. We’ll have to see how the frame fills out to determine if he’ll be able to add 5-10 steals annually to that, but even if he doesn’t, the hit/power combination has already caused him to fly up rankings and that ascent is likely to continue in 2022. Go get this guy in dynasty leagues.
20. Nolan Jones, CLE: I’m not saying I’m fully out on Nolan Jones, but he’s not someone I’m targeting in dynasty right now. The passive nature has hurt his power and overall approach, and the platoon splits might cause him to never be a full-time starter.
21. Jorbit Vivas, LAD: Oh look, another talented Dodgers infield prospect. I swear they have a tree in Vin Scully’s backyard that grows these guys. Vivas has hit well over .300 in each of the last two seasons and brought more power and speed to the table in 2021 as well. Like Valerio, Vivas could make another massive jump up prospect rankings in 2022.
22. Connor Norby, BAL: After a breakout final collegiate season at East Carolina, Norby vaulted up into the 2nd round where Baltimore selected him 41st overall. The power and speed are both 50-grade, but Norby is easily a plus hitter and could settle in as a top-of-the-order threat.
23. Gage Workman, DET: Workman took advantage of the Single-A environment to swipe 31 steals in 118 games, but was rather disappointing at the plate with a .246 AVG, 30.06% strikeout rate, and only 12 home runs. There’s certainly more power in this profile and possibly a fringe-average hit tool with a little speed as well, so don’t be too quick to write him off.
24. Zack Gelof, OAK: The Athletics 2nd round pick this past summer had a banner professional debut. Gelof slashed .333/.422/.565 with seven homers and 13 steals and projects as a 55-hit, 55-power, 50-speed player as long as Oakland doesn’t mess him up. Let’s just say that I’m not a fan of this organization when it comes to player development.
25. Alex Binelas, BOS: Acquired in the Hunter Renfroe trade, Alex Binelas fell down draft boards after a lackluster final collegiate season. But he turned things around in the minors with a .309 AVG and nine homers in 36 games. There’s a solid hit tool here with plus raw power.
26. A.J. Vukovich, ARI: The approach certainly needs work (20.3 K-BB%), but Vukovich has demonstrated around average contact skills, plus raw power, and solid speed as well. If the approach improves, his ranking is sure to follow.
27. Euribiel Angeles, SDP: It’s quite possible that Euribiel Angeles is more of a utility infielder, but I’m willing to roll the dice on him in dynasty due to his contact skills, speed, and potential for additional power.
28. Kody Hoese, LAD: It was a difficult 2021 season for the Dodgers 2019 first-round selection. In 69 games between rookie ball and Lo-A, Hoese slashed just .196/.247/.250 with a pair of home runs and only 10 extra-base hits total. I’m still a believer in the skills that got Hoese drafted as a first-rounder, but 2022 is going to likely be a make-or-break year for the 24-year-old.
29. Rece Hinds, CIN: Rece Hinds possesses easy plus power but I’m not sure the hit tool ever reaches 50-grade. With that said, I can see a path to him being a low-AVG/OBP, 25-homer bat.
30. Joe Perez, HOU | 31. Wes Kath, CHW | 32. Austin Shenton, TBR | 33. Jake Burger, CHW | 34. Elehuris Montero, COL | 35. Izaac Pacheco, DET | 36. Luis Toribio, SFG | 37. Sherten Apostel, TEX | 38. Brendon Davis, LAA | 39. Alexander Mojica, PIT | 40. Ryan Vilade, COL
Media Credit: MLB Pipeline, Bailey Srebnik (@xwOBAiley), Smiley N. Pool/Dallas Morning News
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