Keaton It Real: The Buyer’s Guide to 3B
I know it’s early for some to be thinking about whether to phone it in for the year or go for the title. But this series is going to span over a few weeks so I figured I’d start it now and then, as the title suggests, you can use it as a guide down the road. In this series, I’m going to go position by position and highlight a few names I would target if I am going all in for a title this year, and a few names to target for a rebuild. Here are the third basemen.
If You’re Competing:
Carlos Santana CLE, Age: 33
Santana’s batted ball profile this season has taken a huge step forward, and he’s seeing results. His exit velocity is up 5(!) miles an hour (to 94MPH) and that’s really been the catalyst for his success. With that as the launching point, he’s barreling well above average and has a hard hit rate over 50%. Santana has always been a good play in OBP leagues, walking nearly as much as he strikes out (both in the mid-teens), and with these harder hit balls, it’s lead to the best average and slash line of his career. Because of his age, it should take a ton to acquire him in dynasty leagues, but he’ll be worth it.
Mike Moustakas, MIL, Age: 30
Acquired by Milwaukee last season, Moustakas has been a pillar of consistency in his batted ball profile and it’s lead him to much success. Now in a hitter-friendly park in Milwaukee, nothing has changed. His exit velocity is above average and his launch angle is elite and he routinely barrels balls. As an added bonus with Milwaukee, at least for this year, he has multi-position eligibility which makes him a useful target. Another plus for Moustakas is that he doesn’t strike out nearly as much as you would expect for a power bat, typically sitting in the mid-upper teens. He is a bat that can lay down some consistent power without sacrificing ratios, which is a handy asset to have.
If You’re Rebuilding:
Ke’Bryan Hayes, PIT, Age:22
Third base is a pretty loaded position in the minors right now and one of the guys I like a lot is Hayes. Drafted in 2015, he had a difficult adjustment to pro-ball in his first season but since has continued to improve season over season. He doesn’t have a ton of power but enough that should play and be effective at the major league level. His calling card is his hit tool and feels for the zone. He’s continually hit near .300 and kept his walks and strikeouts in the mid-teens. He also adds some compelling speed, tallying 27 steals in his best season in the minors. Now getting his first taste of Triple-A this season, Hayes could be a potential in-season call-up or at a minimum, a September call-up for the Pirates.
Nolan Jones, CLE, Age: 21
Last season Jones really made the leap in his progression, slashing .283/.405/.486 and launching 19 homers, walking at a stellar 20% clip while he did it. Third base was a focal point in the draft last year with some top of the first round talent, and it seems like it buried Jones’ performance a bit. Jones has carried over his success to this season, slashing .295/.422/.371 so far this season. The interesting thing about his stat line is the lack of power displayed so far but it should be coming along shortly. Jones has probably just as good a ceiling as the other top third base prospects but has been a bit quieter compared to likes of Nolan Gorman, Nick Senzel and Austin Riley, so he might be a high reward buy low target compared to those others.
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