Sizing Up The Third Base Prospects

Vechionacci Has the Highest Ceiling

PinstripesPlus.com analyzes the Yankees' third base prospects. Which third base prospects has the highest upside? Which are the ones ready to make a Major League impact soon? Who needs to make their mark quickly?

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Highest Ceiling

Marcos Vechionacci: Eric Duncan's transition over to first base just solidified Vechionacci's place in the farm system as the top third base prospect. A switch-hitter with a very mature approach at the plate, 'Nacci' has very good gap power which should translate into home run power as he fills out his 6'2" and 170 pound frame. He compliments his offensive game with above average speed for a corner infielder and, despite being 19-years old, his clutch hitting ability is advanced beyond his years.

The Venezuelan native split the 2005 season playing both shortstop and third base before moving over to the hot corner to take advantage of his quick reactionary skills and strong arm. The only thing preventing Vechionacci from becoming a household name among prospect followers is a current lack of home run power, but many scouts believe it is inevitable that his power will increase as he matures. 'Nacci' projects to be a heart-of-the-order hitter who has Gold Glove caliber defensive ability.

Closest to the Majors

Andy Phillips: It appears Phillips will finally get his chance to get a significant number of at-bats with the New York Yankees in 2006. After smacking 48 home runs in 734 at-bats at the AAA level while hitting a combined .311 over that stretch, Phillips has little to prove at the minor league level. If given the opportunity to play everyday at the big league level, Phillips could hit .300+ with 20-25 home runs. Playing a majority of his games at third base in 2005, Phillips can also play both second base and first base as well.

The "Sleepers"

Kyle Anson: One of bigger crimes at the minor league level will be if Anson is in fact moved to catcher full-time in 2006 and beyond. Easily one of the best defensive third baseman in all of minor league baseball, the Yankees want to move Anson to catcher to increase his versatility and help him reach the big league level. He has the strongest infield arm in the farm system and his hands are a vacuum, sucking every would-be hit into his glove. Offensively, he's a patient hitter and his lack of power projects him to be more of a Bill Mueller type at his peak. His defensive ability at third base is too special for him to become a full-time catcher.

Need to Make Their Move

Nate Phillips: Drafted out of high school in the 6th round of the 2004 MLB Draft as a shortstop, Phillips was tried out at catcher in Spring Training a year ago before moving over to third base in Extended Spring Training in 2005. Drafted as an apparent power hitting middle infielder, Phillips' bat hasn't progressed as quickly as some had hoped. His defense at third base is more of a work in progress and he needs a few things to break his way in order to force his way into the everyday lineup at the lower minor league levels, let alone resurrect his fading prospect status.

The Jury is Still Out

Tony Roth: The Creighton University product hit a modest .270 in limited duty with the Staten Island Yankees. He's a gamer in the field and in the batter's box, but he doesn't have a plus tool in his game, which limits the kind of exposure he'll need to get certain opportunities. The good news is, the Yankees aren't exactly stacked at the third base position at the minor league level, a big reason why Roth has been training with the Trenton Thunder in Spring Training. Until he proves it over the course of a full season, the jury is still out on Roth's place among the third base prospects.

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