Now that the season is over we will review each position in the minor league system during the 2019 season. This week we will look at the third base position. I will focusing on guys who played the majority of their games at this position.
Previous Position Reviews:
Toro was a 5th round pick in the 2016 draft. He had a semi-breakout in 2018 but in 2019 he really put everything together. He started the season in AA and hit really well in the Texas League. In 98 games he slashed .306/.393/.513 with 22 2B, 16 HR, 70 RBI. Toro was promoted to AAA where his numbers got even better as he hit .424 with 1.112 OPS and 10 BB/5 SO in 16 games. This earned him a promotion to Houston where he had a .688 OPS in 25 games. A truly breakout season for the 22 year old third baseman. Hopefully he can carve out a role with Houston next season.
2019 Stats: 114 G, .324 BA/.411 OBP/.527 SLG, 31 2B, 4 3B, 17 HR, 80 RBI, 157 wRC+
Tanielu has been in the system since 2014 (14th round pick) but has consistently produced at every level. Batting average obviously doesn’t tell the whole story but the lowest he has hit in his minor league career was .285 in 2016. He is a career .295 hitter in 534 games. In 2019, he played in AAA and slashed .296/.360/.520 with 39 2B, 19 HR in 125 games. Tanielu has started to move around on the infield and even though the majority of his games were at third, he played a decent amount at 1B and 2B too. He is eligible for the rule 5 draft and could be appealing for a team that is in a rebuild.
2019 Stats: 125 G, .295 BA/.360 OBP/.520 SLG, 39 2B, 3 3B, 19 HR, 84 RBI, 110 wRC+
Shaver was another guy who had a semi-breakout season. He started the year in High-A and slashed .270/.365/.464 with 23 2B and 6 HR. He was eventually promoted to AA where the doubles turned into HRs. In 50 games in AA he hit 15 HR and posted a .500 SLG. Overall he had a .842 OPS and 21 HR, 72 RBI in 113. This was good for a 140 wRC+.
2019 Stats: 113 G, .248 BA/.361 OBP/.481 SLG, 28 2B, 21 HR, 72 RBI, 140 wRC+
THE REST OF THE PACK
Perez is a high upside prospect who was a 2nd round pick in 2017. He has struggled with some injuries but finally got on the field in 2019. He showed some power connecting on 7 HR with 5 of them coming in the first 27 games of the season. He really struggled to close the season though hitting just .136 over the final 23 games. He is just 20 years old and still has a ton of upside.
2019 Stats: 50 G, .188 BA/.246 OBP/.365 SLG, 7 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 27 RBI, 83 wRC+
The Astros signed Martinez in the summer of 2018 and he made his professional debut this season playing in the DSL at 17 years old. He played really well though slashing .313/.439/.383 in 66 games, good for a 140 wRC+. That also came with a 15.3 BB% and 10.3 K%. He also played quite a bit at shortstop (27 games) but most were at third base (32 games).
2019 Stats: 66 G, .313 BA/.439 OBP/.383 SLG, 6 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 19 SB, 140 wRC+
Mendoza repeated rookie ball in the GCL this season. While the slash line wasn’t great, he showed off some of his attributes. He drew 19 walks to just 17 strikeouts in 40 games and stole 10 bases. He doesn’t have a lot of power, but that may never really be his game. He played all over the infield but the most games were at third.
2019 Stats: 40 G, .235 BA/.344 OBP/.280 SLG, 6 2B, 9 RBI, 10 SB, 91 wRC+
The Astros have possibly the best third baseman in all of baseball in Alex Bregman, but they have some depth behind him too. Toro is a legit prospect and could see more time in Houston. Tanielu is solid depth if an injury was to occur. Then they have some nice upside guys down at the lower levels in Perez and Martinez. Perez should be in full season ball in 2020 and hopefully can put together a breakout season. This position is doing pretty well compared to some others in the season.