Yesterday we kicked off a running series of updates looking at the Oakland Athletics farm system. The 2011 MLB Amateur Draft is starting June 6 and we thought it would be helpful to take a look at each position in the A's organization. Yesterday we began with second base. Today we're moving on to third base. We'll be taking a look at the position throughout the A's organization and then provide a quick rundown of some of the top prospects in the upcoming draft.
The third base position is arguably the weakest position in the organization. The A's aren't getting much production at the big league level, and the minors are really not much better. They get solid fielding from some of their third basemen, but for a corner position, the offense is pretty weak.
Oakland Athletics: Kevin Kouzmanoff, Andy LaRoche
Sacramento Rivercats: Josh Horton, Josh Donaldson
Midland Rockhounds: Stephen Parker, Jason Christian
Stockton Ports: Leonardo Gil, Michael Gilmartin
Burlington Bees: Tony Thompson, Nino Leyja
If you look through the Oakland A's minor league farm system, you'll see each team mixing and matching guys at third base trying to find some kind of answer. Stephen Parker and Leonardo Gil have emerged as the starters at AA and A, but neither is worth writing home about at this point. The other option is getting Adrian Cardenas developed into a capable defensive player at third or second, but I don't think anybody is holding their breath for that.
The baseball draft is often about grabbing the best player available. The A's will probably go that route, but they definitely need to grab a third baseman at some point. The best third baseman in this draft is Anthony Rendon and I would bet every penny I have that he won't be around when the A's make their first pick of the draft. There are some other impressive talents courtesy of Keith Law's Top 100:
Travis Harrison, Tustin HS (CA)
Nick Delmonico, Farragut HS (Tenn), C/SS
Jason Esposito, Vanderbilt
You can view more draft-eligible third basemen at mlb.com.