After skipping things last week due to time restraints, we return today by looking at a position that is currently filled by Todd Frazier and may not be open for a while given his contract status. While it may seem a bit similar to the State of the Farm series, the purpose here is to look at the current Reds and the contract status of the players at each position and get into potential internal replacements for when those current Reds contracts expire.
Expires after the 2014 season: No one
As noted above, Todd Frazier has third base locked down for the time being, but he hasn’t been the incumbent long enough that if he doesn’t keep performing he will keep his job. Injuries also open up spots and with Frazier’s ability to move around, even injuries to others could open up a spot at third base.
Potential third basemen to come up during or after the 2014 season: Neftali Soto, Henry Rodriguez and Travis Mattair.
The top bet here would probably be Neftali Soto. He is already on the 40-man roster which gives him the edge over Mattair since it wouldn’t require a roster move to add him and he gets an advantage over Rodriguez as a more prototypical third baseman with his power potential. Soto moved back to third base after a few years at first and performed better than he had in the past. The pitching at Triple-A has held him back from hitting for as much power as he has in the past though. Henry Rodriguez, if he gets back on track, could have his bat working well enough that he could be called up and play third as well as move around to other positions. While he doesn’t profile as a starting third baseman, his ability to move around could give him an advantage depending on the situation. Travis Mattair is behind the 8-ball a bit because unlike the other two, he is not currently on the 40-man roster which makes it tougher to bring him up to the Reds. He is easily the best defender among the group though and if he can find consistency, his bat can be servicable.
Most likely to take over: Neftali Soto
His power and 40-man roster spot give him an edge over the other two.
Wild card pick: Travis Mattair
Mattair could stand out if he finds consistency in his bat because it would put him on par offensively with the other two and his defense stands out among the group.
Expires after the 2015 season: No one
Todd Frazier is still under team control, but as noted above there could be an opening.
Potential third basemen to come up during or after the 2015 season: Juan Silverio and Seth Mejias-Brean
Despite being further down the chain, I have to say that Seth Mejias-Brean is the safer bet here. Mejias-Brean is well rounded in his game where he is at least solid across the board and has strong defense. He spent 2013 with the Dayton Dragons outside of the final few games when he was promoted to Bakersfield. His strong plate discipline and defense gives him a leg up. Juan Silverio was actually named as the best defensive third baseman in A-ball by Baseball America, and while the tools are there to be quite good, he posted a .916 fielding percentage at the position in 2013 so there is still work to be done. At the plate he can tantalize, but his aggressive approach leaves plenty to be desired. His 109 strikeouts to just 11 walks in 2013 shows that he is still quite a ways away from having the plate discipline to handle Major League pitching.
Most likely to take over: Seth Mejias-Brean
His plate discipline is what makes me more confident that he can be ready before Silverio is. His game is well rounded, but the plate discipline difference between the two is a giant gap.
Wild card pick: Juan Silverio
As noted, Silverio has very poor plate discipline. It isn’t something that many guys can overcome and improve upon drastically, but if Silverio can make adjustments to get to an acceptable level, he does have the tools to be a good third baseman both in the field and at the plate.
For more from this series, click here.