Minor League Depth — Third Base

With power hitting down throughout baseball, classic thirdbasemen are increasingly difficult to find. Most teams want a player who hits for power while having the arm and quickness to play the position. In 2011, however, there were only five thirdbasemen who hit 20 HRs and only ten who hit 15.

The Pirates are no exception.  Their system doesn’t have any players who profile as regular thirdbasemen in the major leagues. At most levels they’ve been filling the position with players who project as utility players, or who normally play other positions and are just filling in. Nevertheless, there are a couple players who could be productive major leaguers.

Parentheses indicate that the player may not open at that level.

Indianapolis (AAA)

Josh Harrison

The acquisition of Casey McGehee probably assures that Harrison will return to Indianapolis. He should be the most frequent thirdbaseman, but other infielders will probably move over at times as the Indians are likely to be shuffling players between positions a lot. This probably would include Chase d’Arnaud, Jordy Mercer and Yamaico Navarro. Harrison himself will probably see time at other positions, including second, left, and maybe short, as the Pirates get him ready for a possible utility role in the majors.

Altoona (AA)

Elevys Gonzalez, Jeremy Farrell

Gonzalez opened the 2010 season in extended spring training and then moved to West Virginia as a backup. He doesn’t have any outstanding tools and the Pirates seemed to regard him more as an organizational player. Since then he’s hit better and better, and established himself as a potential major league utility player. He finished second in the Florida State League in batting in 2011 and should be a regular at Altoona in 2012. If Jarek Cunningham isn’t in AA, Gonzalez could move to second, which is probably a better position for him. That would leave third for Farrell. He’s not strong defensively and had only a so-so year at the plate for Altoona in 2011, so he figures to return to AA.

Bradenton (High A)

(Andy Vasquez), (Chase Lyles)

Bradenton doesn’t have an obvious candidate for third base. Vasquez and Lyles are both organizational players. Vasquez had a good year at West Virginia in 2011, while Lyles didn’t hit much. The Pirates could try experimenting by moving somebody.

West Virginia (Low A)

Chris Lashmet, Eric Avila, (Andy Vasquez), (Chase Lyles)

If the Pirates don’t follow through on their apparent plan to move Dan Gamache to second, he’ll probably be the thirdbaseman for the Power in 2012. If they do, it’ll probably be some combination of Lashment and Avila. Lashmet figures to be an organizational player. Avila looked like a potential prospect a year ago, but he struggled badly at West Virginia last year and figures to return.

State College (Short-Season)

There’s no clear candidate to play third regularly at State College in 2012. The Pirates will probably draft more than one college infielder and at least one of them likely will see time at third. The position also could be covered by infielders moving from other positions, most notably Yhonathan Barrios.

Gulf Coast League Pirates (Rookie)

Dilson Herrera

Herrera was one of the Pirates’ more prominent Latin American signings prior to the 2011 season and had a good debut in the Venezuelan Summer League. He was listed as a shortstop when he signed, but he played third in the VSL and so is the best candidate to play there in the GCL in 2012.

Share This Article


Wilbur Miller joined the site in July 2010. He has long been known for his excellent Player Profiles, which he brought to the site in February 2011, combining them with the existing Pirates Prospects Player Pages. Wilbur maintains the player pages section of the site, and provides regular articles to the main portion of the site, including a weekly Prospects Trend piece, featuring the best and worst prospects from the previous week.

Winter League Playoffs 1/6 — Hernandez Goes 4-for-4; Welch Homers

Next Story »

Winter League Playoffs 1/7 — Singh Takes Loss; Hernandez Sparks Los Caribes

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 John Lease

    I’d assume that Alvarez will be playing third at AAA for awhile, unless of course THIS new, thinner readier Alvarez is the real deal.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AGRPLJJRC5GNBYXDY6LHF2U6DU white angus

      enough with the “thinner” stuff, please.  it was all BS so why even bring it up?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AAA6OIZ6BEXI4DX3XLNMN4ZVCY Robert

        Alot of players struggle early in there carear.  Pedro has the ability and I believe he will bounce back big time this season.

  • Lee Young

    Since we’re dregging up stuff, that Miguel Sano sure would look good at 3rd. :)

    Just kidding, just kidding! :)

    I never realized how thin we were at 3b in our organization. Hard to believe that we might have more middle infield depth than 3b depth. Wow!

    I have ‘pounded’ Pedro as much as the next fella, but I sure hope he turns it around this year. Then, we won’t have to worry about our minor league 3b depth.

  • Lee Young

    uh, that should be ‘dredging’…..not ‘dregging’.

Latest Analysis

  • Jose Tabata

    The Details of Jose Tabata’s New Swing

    1 day ago

    On Friday I wrote about how Jose Tabata talked to Marlon Byrd over the off-season, aimed at changing his swing to add some leverage, lift the ball, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    What Led to Keon Broxton’s Breakout Year in Altoona?

    2 days ago

    Keon Broxton used to be one of the top prospects in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ farm system. Baseball America ranked him as high as tenth in the system ...

    Read More
  • Adrian Sampson

    Don’t Forget About This Pitcher When Creating Your Pirates Dream Rotation

    3 days ago

    If you’re setting up a dream rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the not-too-distant future, then you’re going to be throwing out names like Tyler Glasnow, Gerrit ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Jose Tabata Changed His Swing After Talking With Marlon Byrd

    4 days ago

    Yesterday, Jose Tabata put one on the roof of the batting cages over the left-field fence at Pirate City. Today, he added two more. By that pattern, ...

    Read More
  • Antonio Bastardo

    How Ray Searage is Trying to Fix Antonio Bastardo’s Control Issues

    4 days ago

    Tony Watson has established himself as one of the best left-handed relievers in the game. Out of 142 qualified relievers last year, he ranked 21st in WAR, ...

    Read More
  • (Photo Credit: David Hague)

    Q&A: Will PNC Park Burn Down When Neil Walker Eventually Leaves?

    4 days ago

    Last week we started a Q&A article that will run every Friday. Right after the first article went up, we got a lot more questions. Normally I’ll ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles