Top third base prospects for 2024


MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2024 Top 100 Prospects list at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 26, with a one-hour show on MLB Network and Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.

Four of the five best third-base prospects from this time a year ago — Gunnar Henderson, Brett Baty, Josh Jung and Miguel Vargas — graduated to the big leagues in 2023. Henderson was a unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year, while Jung was an All-Star and helped the Rangers win the first World Series championship in franchise history.

Yet the hot corner remains a hot position for talent. Seven of our current Top 10 third base prospects should make an impact in the Majors in 2024. Junior Caminero cracked the Rays’ postseason roster, Noelvi Marte posted an .822 OPS in 35 games with the Reds and the Tigers’ Colt Keith dominated Double-A and Triple-A at age 21, to name just three.

While all 10 of these third basemen are formidable hitters, it’s unclear how many of them will stay at the position in the long term. None grades as better than an average defender and sluggers Coby Mayo (Orioles) and Michael Busch (Cubs) in particular seem destined for first base.

1. Junior Caminero, Rays (2024)
2. Noelvi Marte, Reds (2024)
3. Colt Keith, Tigers (2024)
4. Coby Mayo, Orioles (2024)
5. Tyler Black, Brewers (2024)
6. Brady House, Nationals (2025)
7. Michael Busch, Cubs (2024)
8. Curtis Mead, Rays (2024)
9. Aidan Miller, Phillies (2027)
10. Yohandy Morales, Nationals (2025)
Complete list »

Top 10 prospects by position:
1/16: RHP
1/17: LHP
1/18: C
1/19: 1B
1/22: 2B
1/23: 3B
1/24: SS
1/25: OF
1/26: Top 100

Hit: Caminero, Keith, Black, Mead (60)
Caminero’s power stands out more than his hitting ability — and he’s a career .316 hitter who finished 11th in the Minors in batting (.324) last year as a 19-year-old. Keith and Mead also have hit better than .300 as pros while Black controls the strike zone better than all of them.

Power: Caminero (70)
Caminero produces plus-plus power to all fields and his bat speed and exit velocities already rank among the best in baseball despite his youth. He ranked fifth in the Minors in slugging (.591) and sixth in home runs (31), then hit his first big league blast off Tim Mayza in October.

Run: Black (60)
Though third base isn’t typically a position that showcases speed, Black is a plus runner who puts his wheels to good use. He led the Minors with 12 triples last year and ranked 11th with 55 steals in 67 attempts. Interestingly, he swiped just 20 bases in 117 college games at Wright State.

Arm: Mayo (70)
Mayo has one of the stronger arms in the Minors, though it won’t be quite as useful if he winds up at first base. He improved his throwing accuracy in 2023 but is still erratic at the hot corner.

Field: Caminero, Marte, House, Miller, Morales (50)
The best defender on this list is House. He’s athletic for a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder and can make most plays at third base with his average quickness and plus arm.

Highest ceiling: Caminero
Caminero has one of the highest ceilings among all the prospects in the Minors, projecting as a .280-.300 hitter who could produce 40 homers per season while getting the job done defensively at third base. He raked in High-A and Double-A and didn’t look overmatched with Tampa Bay in his age-19 season.

Highest floor: Caminero
The worst-case scenario is that Caminero never tones down his aggressiveness and merely hits .250-.260 with 25-30 homers per year. That still would make him an occasional All-Star at the hot corner.

Rookie of the Year candidate: Busch
Busch has mashed in the upper levels of the Minors for the last two years, winning Pacific Coast League MVP honors in 2023 after leading the Triple-A circuit in slugging (.618) and OPS (1.049) — both second in the Minors — and ranking second in the PCL in batting (.323) and third in on-base percentage (.431). Hopelessly blocked with the Dodgers, he got a path to regular playing time (likely at first base) with his trade to the Cubs two weeks ago.

Highest riser: Black
After a fractured left scapula and broken left thumb hampered him in his first full pro season in 2022, especially in terms of power, Black drew no consideration for our preseason Top 100 Prospects list a year ago. Following a healthy .284/.417/.513 with 55 extra-base hits and as many steals in Double-A and Triple-A, he’ll rank in the middle of our new Top 100 when it drops on Friday.

Humblest beginning: Caminero
Caminero signed for just $87,500 out of Dominican Republic, receiving the 13th-highest bonus in the Guardians’ 2019 international class. When the Rays were looking to clear 40-man roster space in November 2021, they swapped right-hander Tobias Myers to Cleveland for Caminero. Eight months later, the Guardians designated Myers for assignment and he has bounced around three more organizations since.

Most to prove: Mead
He didn’t have a bad 2023, but Mead’s .294/.385/.515 line in Triple-A was his worst in three years of full-season ball and he batted a soft .253 in his first taste of the Majors. With Isaac Paredes and Caminero ahead of him on the Rays’ third-base depth chart, Mead’s lack of athleticism and defensive versatility may make it difficult for him to find a regular role in Tampa Bay.

Keep an eye on: Brayden Taylor
The Rays added yet another talented third baseman when they signed Taylor as the 19th overall pick in the 2023 Draft. He set Texas Christian records for single-season (23) and career (48) homers during the spring and posted an .877 OPS with five homers and 11 steals in his 25-game pro debut.

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