Top Third Base Prospects 2021 (www.mlb.com)

MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2021 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.
Though there has been very little turnover from last year’s Top 10 3B Prospects list, with eight players

MLB Pipeline will reveal its 2021 Top 100 Prospects list on Friday, Jan. 29. Leading up to the release of the Top 100, we’ll examine baseball’s top 10 prospects at each position.

Though there has been very little turnover from

, with eight players making a second consecutive appearance, there is a new name at No. 1 in Spencer Torkelson, the 2020 Draft’s No. 1 overall pick.

One of eight former first-round picks on this year’s top 10, Torkelson supplants Alec Bohm (Phillies) atop the list after the latter exhausted his prospect status en route to a runner-up finish in the 2020 National League Rookie of the Year Award race. The Tigers are the only organization to place multiple players on this year’s Top 10, with fellow newcomer Isaac Paredes joining Torkelson on the list.

Far from a new face, Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) should see his run of five years as a top third-base prospect end in 2021 with his likely graduation to the Majors. In doing so, he will pass the torch to Nolan Jones (Indians), Nolan Gorman (Cardinals) and Jonathan India (Reds), all of whom appear on the list for a third straight season.

The Top 10 (ETA)
1) Spencer Torkelson, Tigers (2022)
2) Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates (2021)
3) Nolan Jones, Indians (2021)
4) Nolan Gorman, Cardinals (2022)
5) Josh Jung, Rangers (2021)
6) Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox (2021)
7) Brett Baty, Mets (2022)
8) Kody Hoese, Dodgers (2022)
9) Jonathan India, Reds (2021)
10) Isaac Paredes, Tigers (2021)
Complete List »

Top Tools

Hit: Torkelson, Hayes, Jung (60)
Torkelson produced a .337 average at Arizona State and batted .340 in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Jung posted a .316 average while reaching Class A Hickory during his 2019 pro debut after batting .348 during his three-year stay at Texas Tech. Hayes raked at a .376 clip and recorded a 55.4 percent hard-hit rate with an average exit velocity of 92.8 mph in 24 big league games last season.

Power: Torkelson (70)
A combination of physical strength and bat speed allows Torkelson to generate massive power from line to line including elite raw power to his pull side. He showed that he could get to that power when he hit 25 home runs to shatter Barry Bonds’ ASU freshman record and then led the Pac-12 in home runs (23) as a sophomore. Overall, Torkelson went deep 54 times in 129 college games.

Run: Hayes (60)
Hayes has gotten faster as he’s matured, improving his speed from average to plus. He ranked in the top 21 percent of all Major Leaguers in sprint speed last season after recording double-digit steals in three straight Minor League campaigns (2017-19).

Arm: Dalbec (70)
The plus-plus arm that Dalbec used to deliver low-90s fastballs and effective sliders in college serves him well on the infield.

Field: Hayes (75)
Recently named to his third straight MLB Pipeline All-Defense Team, Hayes is a three-time MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner who committed just 17 errors in 331 Minor League games en route to the Majors, where he tied for fourth among MLB third basemen with three outs above average despite playing in only 24 games.

Superlatives

Highest ceiling: Torkelson
Torkelson’s hitting ability and power could make him one of the sport’s premier offensive players in his prime, giving him the potential to hit in the middle of a big league lineup for years to come.

Highest floor: Hayes
Hayes is a safe bet to make positive contributions as a nearly elite defender who can also impact games using his bat, power and speed.

Rookie of the Year candidate: Hayes
After a sixth-place finish in last year’s NL Rookie of the Year Award race, Hayes is an early favorite to take home top honors in 2021 as a potential across-the-board contributor.

Highest riser: Dalbec
The 2016 fourth-round pick hit eight homers in his first 80 Major League at-bats in ’20, finishing the year ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 100 prospect.

Humblest beginning: Paredes
All eight first rounders on this year’s list signed for seven figures, while Dalbec received an over-slot bonus of $650,000 as a fourth-round pick. Paredes, on the other hand, was signed by the Cubs for $500,000 out of Mexico in July 2015 and didn’t blossom as a prospect until he was traded to the Tigers two years later.

Most to prove: Paredes
Paredes scuffled in his first big league exposure, batting .220 with a .568 OPS in 34 games after making his debut on Aug. 17 at age 21. He showed that he could hit fastballs well but struggled against good secondary pitches, posting a .107 average on breaking balls.

Keep an eye on: Jordan Walker, Cardinals
Walker showed some of the best power in the 2020 Draft before the Cardinals selected him 21st overall and signed him for $2.9 million. He should have no trouble getting to it in the pro ranks, thanks to his easy bat speed and the tremendous leverage and projectable strength in his 6-foot-5 frame.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.



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