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State of the Royals Farm: Third Base

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Not so hot at the hot corner

Kansas City Royals Photo Day Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images

I’ll just jump right in and discuss Hunter Dozier, a guy who I have a meme-worthy crush on - which is a bit inflated of an idea. I have liked Dozier since the Royals drafted him, though I would rather have preferred Hunter Renfroe. I have a not-so-hard, not-so-fast rule of leaving guys who have played in the majors off my prospect lists so Dozier gets his blurb here. I still think he’s an everyday regular at 3B and fits best there. He’s wasted at 1B or RF because he’s a decent defender at the hot corner and the bat pressure is a bit lighter. I have an idea though...instead of trying Cuthbert at second base, why not Dozier? He was a shortstop in college and he wouldn’t be the biggest second base ever, even if he is bigger than most.

When I sat down to write this position, I thought of a couple names immediately but as you’ll see, it was a struggle to get any deeper. If you thought first base was thin, keep reading (or don’t, because you probably get the picture now).

Having said all that...

AAA

AA

Mauricio Ramos - 24 years old; .288/.326/.406 110 wRC+

Mo was signed back in 2010 as an 18-year-old international free agent. He has finally broken into the upper levels of affiliated ball but he is now 25 years old. He is actually not too bad a hitter at the plate but he has been a bit older for his level at each stop. At his ceiling he has a utility profile and he is not great defensively, nor does the power project much at the big league level.

A+

Wander Franco - 22 years old; .220/.259/.337 61 wRC+

After posting solid numbers at the plate at ages just fine for his level, Franco hit a wall upon his promotion to the hitter hell that is the Carolina League. Franco joined the organization a year after Ramos above, when Franco looked like this:

Mike Janes - Four Seam Images

Photo from Mike Janes - Four Seam

He has filled out a bit more but is never going to be confused for Japhet Amador. Instead he is a slender third baseman with some speed and good bat to ball skills. Franco had a shoulder injury a few years back that doesn’t appear to have any ill effects on his arm. It’s another utility profile but he’s got good enough contact skills that he could BABIP his way to a couple good seasons, and isn’t a zero in the power department because of it.

A

This feels like a cop out, but seriously...there is nobody in A or AAA worth really talking about. Mike Hill struck out 32% of the time as a 24 year old, Jeckson Flores is a career .237/.333/.304 hitter, and David Edwards is technically a living human being who plays baseball.

Advanced Rookie

SeinfeldShrug.GIF

Low Rookie

Tyler Straub - 22 years old; .270/.381/.320 107 wRC+

Straub was undrafted out of Texas-San Antonio but there is some potential under the radar talent here. He’s well-sized and though he does not possess above-average raw power, I could see his contact ability play it up a bit. I also like his discipline at the plate (he walked more than he struck out!). I’m not exaggerating when I say there actually is potential for five tools here, results-wise. He will need to hit every where to prove himself given his background, but if the power plays up and he hits his 80th percentile outcome, he could be an everyday regular (a dream return for a NDFA).

Emmanuel Rivera - 20 years old; .249/.317/.373 93 wRC+

The bat on Rivera is pretty light, and he didn’t hit well at all in either level of rookie ball the past two years. His forte is his excellent glove at the hot corner. When he hits on women he says “I’m Manny Machado at the bag, and Brett Wallace at the plate.”

Again, I’m sorry this list doesn’t run deep. It barely classifies as running shallow either. There is just...no one here. That’s why it’s important for Dozier to play third baes because (a) Cheslor Cuthbert can’t and (b) there is no one behind him. That also means there is a lot of pressure on whomever is the third base after Mike Moustakas possibly leaves. To me, it’s Hunter Dozier easily, but some will still take Cuthbert over him.

Previous versions:

Introduction

Catchers

First Base

Second Base

Short Stop