About eight years ago Major League baseball saw the influx of a host of high quality third baseman. The arrival started with the debut of players like Kevin Youkilis and David Wright in 2004 and continued with Ryan Zimmerman in 2005. The string of hot corner studs slowed after this stretch and was capped by the arrival of Evan Longoria in 2008.
Baseball is a cyclical game and the development of young third baseman has stagnated over the last several years. That trend may be shifting as the minor leagues play host to several players that have impact potential. The Nationals’ Anthony Rendon and the Rockies’ Nolan Arenado are two of the top hot corner prospects in the game, and they are joined by players like Miguel Sano, Nick Castellanos and Mike Olt, among others. These players appear poised to ascend upon the Major Leagues and become the next wave of great third baseman.
Focusing on Rendon and Arenado offers an opportunity to compare two extremely talented players. Heading into the 2011 college season Rendon was considered by scouts to be the top position player in the draft class and was arguably the top player available overall. After injuring his ankle the prior year, Rendon battled shoulder issues last spring, an injury that ultimately kept him from playing the field for much of the season. Concerns over his injury history and the overwhelming emergence of pitchers like Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer, combined with his Scott Boras affiliation sent him sliding in the draft. The Nationals popped him with the sixth overall pick and signed him to a Major League deal worth north of $7 million. Read the rest of this entry »