Padres’ Minor League Depth: Top 5 Third Basemen

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(Andrew Woolley/Four Seam Images via AP Images)

The third base position is one of weaknesses in the Padres’ farm system.

There are no young, powerful third basemen in the minors after Hudson Potts, and that could be an issue for the team eventually. Fernando Tatis Jr is considered a shortstop now, but you can see him sliding over to the position eventually. Perhaps this thought process is why the team has not stockpiled talent at the position.

There are some capable prospects in the lower level who can play third, but Giron, Rosario, and Melean could easily play elsewhere when it is all said and done.

Here is a glimpse at the position in the minors:

1- Hudson Potts

Potts slugged 20 homers this season in Fort Wayne. Power was not supposed to be a great asset for him, so the Padres were certainly happy with his production in that category. At 18, he has great skill and has developed well for the team. The #24 overall pick in the 2016 draft struck out 140 times in 491 at bats, while only walking 23 times. The Padres like that he is aggressive, but they want him to stay within himself as he moves up the system. He has shown ability at third and that looks to be his position moving forward. The right-hander will start in Lake Elsinore this season and could have a big year in the Cal League.

2- Ruddy Giron

The infielder can play all over the place, but his bat has regressed a bit. At 20, it is way too early to throw in the towel on Giron, but he does need to make some changes. He is able to drive the ball, but has only hit 19 homers in almost 1,500 minor league at bats. The right-handed hitter has quick actions and hands, but is susceptible to quality breaking pitches. If he can lay off the off-speed and get his pitches to hit, his bat might come back on track and he could re-emerge as a top-30 prospect contender. He will start off the 2018 season in Lake Elsinore again and could see a lot of time at multiple positions.

3- Eguy Rosario

The little infielder can swing the bat and he was rewarded for his hard work with a taste of action in Fort Wayne in 2017. He struggled, hitting .206 in 18 at bats, but at the age of 17, he gained so much experience. The Padres are not being shy about promoting players early in their development. Rosario can play second and third base, but has little power presently. The power could come in time as he has shown the ability to drive the ball into the gaps. He is a plus runner, stealing 33 total bases this year. Rosario will also start in Lake Elsinore, and that makes the top three on my list at the same affiliate. Obviously, Potts will get the lion’s share of the playing time, but the other two men could factor in time.

Ruddy Giron (Larry Goren/Four Seam Images via AP Images)

4- Kelvin Melean

The Padres are really stocked with young infielders, and Melean is another one to add to the list. The 19-year-old made it to Tri-City this year, where he was a bit overmatched with the older talent. He played second base, third base, and shortstop for the team and made 15 errors in 513 innings. He looks a bit stiff. Shortstop will not be likely for him, but he could eventually be a serviceable utility option. The right-handed hitter has a lot to go with his swing still.

5- Jason Pineda

This young man was selected out of a high school in the Bronx in 2017. The 17th-round pick has decent potential, though he has had some issues defensively at third base in his professional career. Pineda is a right-handed hitter and has good size. The 18-year-old is 6-foot-2 and 202 lbs and should gain muscle and strength in time. Pineda put up a .223/.304/.331 batting line last year for the AZL Rookie team in 121 at bats and 38 games. He committed 10 errors last year at the hot corner in 136 innings as his footwork needs adjustment. He will start in Arizona this spring and hopefully make the jump to Tri-City later this season.

Honorable Mentions

Carlos Luis

This 19-year-old has pretty good size and has shown some power at third base. The right-handed hitter went 8-28 last year in the DSL Rookie league where he slugged one homer and drove in three runs. Luis is 6-foot-2 and 175 lbs and needs to put on weight. He will start the year in the Dominican Republic, but could get a call to Arizona relatively soon.

Luis Guzman

Another 19-year-old Dominican player worth monitoring is Luis Guzman. The right-handed hitter has a knack for getting on base, recording a career .370 on base percentage in the minors. In 63 games last season, Guzman put up a .236/.346/.324 batting line, while walking 32 times and striking out 30 times. He generally makes contact and is still young enough to develop in time. He will start his 2018 in the DSL.

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