A Look At The Minors: Third Base

Top 3 Prospects

1. Eric Avila

2. Elevys Gonzalez

3. Jeremy Farrell

Notable: Yonathan Barrios, Maximo Rivera

Eric Avila

Third base is a very weak position for the Pirates and at the front of it is the unimpressive Avila. Avila was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, spent 3 years in the DSL before breaking out in 2009. He made the jump to the US last year and performed very well, earning him a promotion to A ball. So far this yar though Avila has struggled to adjust. He has decent hitting skills and is versatile enought to play 2B, SS and 3B but hasn’t shown much power yet so he profiles better as a middle infielder (although at 21 his power still has a chance to develop).

April: .149/.200/.162 (.362 OPS)

May: .258/.324/.403 (.727 OPS)

June: .198/.278/.259 (.537 OPS)

July: .234/.234/.319 (.553 OPS)

Elevys Gonzalez

Gonzalez profiles best as a SS but due to the presence of another Gonzalez, Benji he has played mainly 3B during his pro career. He was signed out of Venezuela in 2008 and only played one year in the VSL before moving to the US. In 2009 during his first year in the states he played short season ball and did fairly ok but 2010 is when his prospect status took off. During last season Gonzalez displayed more power and better plate discipline. He was rewarded for his performance by being promoted to A+ this season. Gonzalez has performed well this season but he still has a long way to go in his development.

April: .379/.455/.500 (.955 OPS)

May: .269/.324/.409 (.732 OPS)

June: .245/.292/.347 (.639 OPS)

July: .333/.377/.528 (.904 OPS)

Jeremy Farrell

Farrell was drafted in 2008 and began playing in A- ball one league below Pedro Alvarez. He had decent seasons his first two season but didn’t appear to be a prospect. Last season while playing in A+ his prospect status climbed a little bit when he had a strong surge and ended up being named to the league All Star game. Farrell has displayed a little power potential but hasn’t done so on a consistent basis (his career high in HR is only 9). He also has strike outs problem but has shown progress towards improving. One big drawback for Farrell is that his defense is very weak and might ultimately cause him to move to 1B. He will be eligible for the Rule V draft this upcoming offseason but likely will go unselected.

April: .329/.391/.519 (.910 OPS)

May: .263/.360/.400 (.760 OPS)

June: .266/.326/.342 (.667 OPS)

July: Has Not Played

Yonathan Barrios

 Barrios was signed out of Columbia in 2008. He played in the VSl during 2009, struggled but was surprisingly promoted to the states in 2010. However Barrios missed all of 2010 with a hammate inury. He was actually a SS when signed but is rather stocky so a move to 2B or 3B is probably going to be in his future. Already this season he has spent most of his time at 3B. He debuted in the GCL this season and has done quite well, which is why I placed him on my notable list. With his stocky size and good bat speed the Pirates are hoping he develops more power. One final note there seems to be no consesus on how to spell his first name some spell it Yonathan and other Jonathan.

Season: .299/.382/.433 (.815 OPS)

Maximo Rivera

Looking way down into the system you’ll find Rivera in the DSL. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009 f0r 165K (which was the Pirates biggest international signing bonus the Pirates handed out that year). He is a projectable player who gets his value almost solely from his upside. He has shown signs of some raw power and has some pretty good speed. He has played all over the infield this season but profiles as a 3B. He has yet to take off in the DSL so he might need one more season there in 2012.

Season: .236/.297/.331 (.627 OPS)

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