Positional Grades: Third Base

Positional Grades: Third Base

Third base is actually the most difficult position within the diamondbacks organization for the simple reason that we're not even completely sure just who the options are. Most of the prospects in the farm system who came up at the hot corner are exploring other options, whereas many who did not are now adding third base to their positional repertoires.

Even Chad Tracy, the club's apparent third baseman of the present, has spent significant time both at first base and in right field.  He could find himself back at one of those positions again soon, as he went on to make 23 errors at third after signing a three-year extension in mid-May.  Tendonitis in his left knee may have contributed to this defensive slide as well as his mid-season offensive slump.  How well the knee heals in the offseason will be a large factor in determining Tracy's future role with the ballclub.

You might think that the man slated to replace Tracy would be Jaime D'Antona, who had a resurgent season with the bat at AA.  But James is currently learning the catcher position in the AFL in order to shore up that organizational uncertainty.  He's even spent time at first base this year.  Whichever position he winds up at will certainly receive a boost in our eyes.

Two of Arizona's highly regarded middle infield prospects have seen some time at the hot corner this year as well.  Alberto Callaspo is unlikely to ever see regular time there, as his wheels would be wasted at a position that demands reaction time more than speed.  Mark Reynolds might have seemed like a good fit there, but he's played nearly everywhere now, and has been concentrating on left field in the AFL.  He'll hit wherever they play him.

Believe it or not, there are actually some third basemen in the organization that seem to be set there.  But by and large, these players do not have as high of ceilings as those we just mentioned. 

Brian Barden keeps hitting, but still hasn't gotten a call to the majors.  He'll be 26 next year, and it will be the 4th straight season that he's spent at Tucson.  Should he not get a chance upstairs in '07, he'll undoubtedly leave as a sixth year free agent.

In the lower levels, Ricardo Sosa has strung together some nice seasons.  But while the Cuban has a minor league average of .287, he hasn't displayed much plate discipline or enough power for a third sacker.  The Diamondbacks took Andrew Fie as their third position player in this year's draft.  The soon-to-be-19-year old looks like a nice raw talent, but he's still getting used to his body and isn't likely to reach his full potential for another several years.

Basically, this looks like a softer position than the spoiled Diamondbacks organization is used to seeing, unless a couple of these utility guys actually settle in as third basemen.  Here's hoping that Chad Tracy regains his 2005 form with the bat and his early 2006 form with the glove.   

Positional Grade: B+      

Read more from Keith Glab at BaseballEvolution.com

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