Sizing up the Padres Third Base Prospects

The San Diego Padres have stacked the deck at third base with prospects. At least three players offer All-Star type potential, and anyone of them could be forced to move off the hot corner. The Padres have released several third basemen along the way, making every stop have just one to watch.

Highest ceiling:

Edinson Rincon

Coming into short-season ball, few expected the meteoric rise of Rincon. His patient approach and an already mature body at 19 proved he was more than capable offensively. He has the type of power craved at the elite position to go with a solid foundation and approach that requires little maintenance. The glaring question is his defense, although everyone believes he can stay at third base with more experience. Regardless, his bat will play anywhere on the field.

James Darnell

A strong, lean frame, an affinity to pitch selection and knowing when to turn aggressive make Darnell a complete hitter that will continue to boost his power numbers in the coming years. He has high average, high power written all over him and will be an asset to any offense. Defensively, he has trouble with some throws, and that goes back to balance and footwork. He is another bat that will play anywhere.

Closest to the majors:

Logan Forsythe

A solid foundation with an easy swing generates speed through the hitting zone. With his ability to square up balls and an uncanny feel for the strike zone, Forsythe has burgeoning power. There are times, however, when he can be too passive early in the count, especially with runners in scoring position. If he can take advantage of hittable pitches early, Forsythe could be a terror offensively. He is sure-handed defensively and has the ability to stick at third. There has been talk of moving him to second or catcher but no immediate plans have been made.

Sleepers:

Brayden Drake

Taken early in the draft, Drake was sent up to Fort Wayne early and never seemed to find a rhythm. A contact hitter that has room to grow, Drake profiles more as a high average guy than one that will create damage with one swing by shooting balls over the wall. If he can find regular playing time at a position littered with talent, Drake could make a move.

Need to make their move:

Ramon Mercedes

Formerly known as Yefri Pena, he was suspended for a year after lying about his age and identity. While his timetable has been accelerated, Mercedes has significant power in his bat and is surprisingly agile. He is, however, slated to play at the most stacked position within the system.

The jury is still out:

Felix Cabrera

Moved to third base because of needs, Cabrera struggled defensively at the hot corner. He has quick wrists and hands and a solid batting eye. He does not have the power traditionally expected at third but has the tools to hit for a high average with gap power. Cabrera is a very hard worker that the Padres remain high on.

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