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Organizational Depth: Third Base

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In this series, I hope to write up some thoughts, statline scouting, and aggregation of scouting blurbs on our organization’s depth, one position at a time.

I’ll be going by level (MLB, AAA, etc.), only highlighting those playing that position this season, ignoring players making spot starts.

In my first edition of this series, I covered CF:


Here, I’ll cover third base. I’m going from detailing one of our best and deepest positions to discussing one of our shallowest positions. Sure, some strong-armed SS prospect might end up at 3B in the future. But just looking at the guys currently playing 3B for us is a sobering conversation.

MLB: Luis Rengifo, Anthony Rendon, (Cole Tucker, Miguel Sano, Luis Guillorme, Ehire Adrianza, Niko Goodrum)

Obviously, Rengifo’s a stud. He’s hitting well, defending good enough, and his positional versatility is super helpful to us when filling out lineups. However, he’s actually played more 2B this season (24 games to 20 at 3B). Still, I couldn’t leave him off because he’s played the most 3B out of anyone on our team.

Problem is, when he’s covering 2B, ever since Rendon’s (and Drury’s) injury, third base is a rotating door. The guys from Tucker to Goodrum started between 3-8 games each. It’s simply a really unstable positional situation. Rengifo himself has been oscillating between 2B and 3B.

It’s a repeat of last year all over again, when we tried to bring in Eduardo Escobar and Mike Moustakas to try to fill in the Rendon-sized (and Urshela-sized) void. Despite Rendon’s 43 games played last year, he still led the 2023 Angels in games started at 3B.

All in all, it’s just pointing to us needing a long-term guy at 3B. Maybe it’s Rengifo. Maybe it’s someone from the minors. Maybe it’s someone we haven’t even drafted or signed yet.

AAA: Hunter Dozier (released), Charles Leblanc, Drew Ellis, Elliot Soto

The situation here is even murkier. Hunter Dozier just got released three days ago. Leblanc’s playing time is split between 1B, 2B, and 3B. None of the three non-Dozier guys are super exciting. They’ve all played serviceably so far, but they’re all 28 or older, none of them were particularly interesting prospects, and none of them have had particularly interesting major league careers.

AA: Cole Fontenelle (IL), Arol Vera, Ben Gobbel

Cole Fontenelle, drafted in 2023 alongside Schanuel as a 7th rounder, is one of our more exciting prospects. He has shown to have a solid hit tool so far and some decent speed on the base paths (19 SBs since being drafted). We saw him for a bit during spring training and he was holding his own. Decent glove and range as well. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious lower body injury a few weeks ago that led to him getting stretchered off the field, effectively ending his season. When he gets back, assuming that injury doesn’t cause any long-term consequences, he should still figure to be a candidate for our third baseman of the future.

Arol Vera was a SS prospect who’s now relegated to being a utility guy. He used to be pretty highly rated within our system, but his hit tool just never came along, and his development fell by the wayside. We initially signed him for $2M, and we may already be regretting that decision. He’s still young, and he might yet figure it out, but he’s been superseded by Kyren Paris, Denzer Guzman, and if he’s not careful, Capri Ortiz and Adrian Placencia. No matter how good your speed and glove are, it doesn’t matter if you only hit 39 wRC+ in AA. He might benefit from a temporary demotion.

Ben Gobbel started off the season in high-A and quickly mashed his way into AA. As an undrafted FA in 2022, he was moved up to low-A pretty quickly (2023) and then high-A (2024). At high-A, he boasted a wRC+ of 144. That and the promotion of Paris to the main squad likely necessitated his promotion. Unfortunately, the gap between high-A and AA is pretty significant. He’s hitting better than Vera (55 wRC+ in his first 13 games at AA), but that’s a pretty low bar. I suspect he will adjust, but I’m also skeptical whether he will ever have more than brief stints in the bigs.

A+: Ben Gobbel (Promoted), Cam Williams

With Ben Gobbel’s promotion, the everyday role fell to Cam Williams. Williams is a 26 year old in high-A, which probably tells you all you need to know about our positional depth at 3B. He is hitting pretty well, and it seems like he has hit well (149 wRC+ this season) at all of his destinations so far (complex with the Royals, low-A and high-A with us), but he also has a career 39.5 K% in the minors. He also has a career 13.4 BB%. This is a three true outcome hitter. His path to the majors is uphill both ways.

A: Cristian Garcia, Caleb Bartolero

I couldn’t find much about either of these players. Garcia is 6’1″ 168lbs (quite lean). He hit pretty well in ACL, and while he’s been meh at low-A, he’s also only 19 and super raw. Unfortunately, he can’t hit and can’t hit with power yet, but it’s kind of telling of the state of our system that he’s in low-A already. As he’s progressed, his K% has continued to rise, which is also concerning, though he does also have a solid BB%. Otherwise, he’s a pretty nondescript prospect.

Bartolero was an undrafted college player from the Troy Trojans. (Yes, that’s the school/mascot combo.) There’s not much to go off of here either. He played a tiny amount of Complex League after the draft and has played 25 games with the 66’ers. His bat has been somewhat underwhelming, and he’s 24. It’s a long road ahead.

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