1. Jake Burger, JR, Missouri State
Burger is the top third base prospect in the draft this year for one reason: his power. He will struggle to be an average defensive third baseman in pro ball, and I’d bet he gets moved off the hot corner. But his bat is one of the most powerful in college baseball this year. On the year, he hit 333/.448/.663, with 22 home runs, 42 walks, and 36 strikeouts. There are concerns about an arm bar in his swing, something he will need to work on. He reminds a bit of Eric Jagielo as a draft prospect.
2. Drew Ellis, SO, Louisville
Drew Ellis has no questions about whether he will remain at third base. The big question with him is will he sign? As a draft-eligible sophomore, he’s got more leverage than most draft prospects. Plus he’s in a top program, and he could likely be a top ten (or better) pick next year. To go along with above average defense, he has a powerful bat with good plate discipline. On the year, he hit .362/.453/.695, with seventeen home runs, 37 walks, and 37 strikeouts. It wouldn’t surprise me if a team jumped on him in the first round.
3. Joe Dunand, JR, North Carolina State
Dunand could be one of the more underrated college bats this year - but that’s a common refrain among the top ten here. He’s hit .287/.368/.632, with eighteen home runs, nineteen walks, and 45 strikeouts. His big issue is contact, noted by the low BA and the high K/BB ratio. But the power is legit, and he’s good enough to play shortstop in college, so his defense is well above average. Oh, and he’s the nephew of A-Rod.
4. Andrew Bechtold, SO, Chipola JC, FL
Bechtold has destroyed juco pitching this year. He’s hit .419/.532/.676, with twelve home runs, 24 stolen bases, 49 walks, and 44 strikeouts this year. However, this is a year after he struggled at Maryland. So, are you drafting him thinking the juco breakout is real, or at the very least that his struggles as a Freshman have been fixed? He won’t be an asset defensively, and will likely have to move off third at some point, so you’re betting on the bat. I could understand someone putting him third, or as low as 8th, behind Benge, depending on your read on the bat.
5. Dylan Busby, JR, Florida State
Busby is very similar to Dunand when it comes to offensive potential. However, he lags behind defensively, and may fit better at first base or in a corner outfield spot. On the season, he’s hit .317/.401/.608, with fourteen home runs, nine steals, 22 walks, and 56 strikeouts. He's also a ball magnet, with 27 HBP in his college career. What gives him a big boost is his performance in the Cape last summer, where he was one of the better hitters: .322/.425/.567 with four home runs. However, he showed even worst contact issues, with thirteen walks to thirty strikeouts in ninety at bats. If a team thinks they can fix the strikeout issue, they will pick him pretty early.
6. Jacob Gonzalez, Chaparral HS, AZ - committed to TCU
The son of Diamondbacks great Luis, Jacob is not similar to his dad at all. He’s bigger, less athletic, and hits from the right-hand side with a swing no where near as pretty as his father’s. But, he’s got good raw power which should help if he does have to move to first base. One could rank him higher, but the TCU commit sounds like it is going to be a tough one to break. If all goes well, he could be a first rounder in three years.
7. Will Toffey, JR, Vanderbilt
I am tempted to rank Toffey third on this list. There are concerns about his power translating to pro ball and wood bats. Defensively, he is above average at the hot corner. He has great plate discipline, with 48 walks to only 29 strikeouts this year. He’s hit .350/.476/.594 with eleven home runs this spring, after hitting .283/.392/.402 in the Cape last summer. He did struggle as a sophomore with the bat, and that could dampen some people’s expectations of him. But best case, he could be a Bill Mueller type of player.
8. Garrett Benge, JR, Oklahoma State
I feel like I have Benge ranked too low, to be honest. But you could rearrange 3-8 in any way, and it would be hard to argue. They are close. Benge crushed the ball as a freshman in junior college, struggled at Oklahoma as sophomore, and has been an offensive force as a junior. On the year, he’s hit .304/.437/.533, with ten home runs, 49 walks, and 39 strikeouts. He did well in the Cape last summer, hitting .321/.390/.396, with six walks and nine strikeouts. The zero home runs in 176 wood bat summer league at bats does bring concerns about how his power will translate to pro ball. But he could be a high average, high on base percentage player and still be valuable at third base.
9.Ben Ramirez, Eastlake HS, CA - committed to Southern California
Ramirez was supposed to be a top of the draft talent given his looks earlier in his high school career. That hasn’t panned out, but he still has some of those tools. Defensively, he should be an above average third baseman. Offensively, he needs some work to develop a more powerful swing. Adding muscle will help as well, as he’s tall and lanky at 6’3”, 180. He’s committed to USC, and I honestly think he would be better off going to college. If he progresses in college the way many hoped he would in high school, he should be a top three round talent in a few years, maybe even a first rounder.
10.Nick Egnatuk, Immaculata HS, NJ - committed to Pittsburgh
Egnatuk popped up last summer and raised eyebrows with a powerful right-handed swing. Defensively, he should be able to stick at third and has played shortstop in high school. However, he has shown the rawness that is expected from a cold weather prospect - especially when it comes to dealing with breaking balls. If a team really buys into his long-term potential, he could be drafted much higher than anticipated. But, like Ramirez, I expect him to end up in college.
Presented without comment, third basemen 11-20. Feel free to ask any questions about these players, or players not listed, in the comments below.
11. Evan Mendoza, JR, North Carolina State
12. Kyle Datres, SO, North Carolina
13. Drew Lugbauer, JR, Michigan
14. Tyler Hardman, Temescal Canyon HS, CA - committed Oklahoma
15. Carl Stajduhar, JR, New Mexico
16. Casey Schmitt, Eastlake HS, CA - committed San Diego State
17. Rylan Bannon, JR, Xavier
18. Buddy Kennedy, Millville HS, NJ - committed North Carolina
19. Brendan Venter SO, McLennan JC, TX
20. Dane Myers, JR, Rice