Mets vs. Braves: Third Base Prospects

Wilmer Flores obviously stands out

Continuing our comparisons between the Braves and Mets farm systems, we take a look at the crop of third base prospects in each system. Which system is deeper? Which prospects have the most power? The highest ceilings? Take a look at this comparison between the two rival NL East farm systems.

The Two Farm Systems: Neither organization is very deep at most infield positions down on the farm but third base is one spot where both farm systems offer some long-term intrigue, even after the Mets traded Jefry Marte to the A's for outfielder Colin Cowgill in December. The depth isn't great but it has really become a tough position to build depth at in recent years.

Arguably the top third base prospect in either farm system is New York's Wilmer Flores. At least offensively he is the closest thing to a 'sure thing' between the two clubs, especially after hitting an even .300 with 18 home runs [50 extra-base hits in all] between high-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton last season. The 21-year old has really just started scratching the surface of his power potential too and he shows great plate discipline, and rarely strikes out. Defensively he's just okay though, showing enough arm strength and soft enough hands but his range is quite limited. He will make all of the routine plays though.

The Braves have their own high-ceiling third base prospect too in the form of Dominican native Edward Salcedo. In fact, with a bit more power potential and a ton more speed [17 home runs, 21 stolen bases last season], he offers a significantly higher ceiling. However, while the power-speed combo is special, his plate approach needs a lot of work and therefore is not nearly the polished bat that Flores is after striking out a whopping 130 times in 130 games. And while Salcedo's superior athleticism could make him a better long-term fit defensively, the fact is he is extremely erratic in the field.

Like Salcedo, New York's Aderlin Rodriguez, another native from the Dominican Republic, offers a ton of power potential. And it's not just long-term power potential, it's 'now' plus power. However, just like Salcedo he is too inconsistent with his offensive approach and strikes out too much. He doesn't have half of Salcedo's athleticism either and doesn't really project to fit at third base down the road. But the power has to be taken seriously.

The biggest 'sleeper' prospect at third in either organization is Atlanta's Kyle Kubitza, a third round pick out of Texas State in 2011. The left-handed batter has a ton of patience at the plate [he drew 73 walks last season], above average speed for a corner infielder, and average to potentially above average power potential. He shows enough arm strength and range at third to stick there too, but he'll need to play with a bit more calmness as he progresses up the minor league ladder. There's some real potential here.

Both farm systems offer some potential long-term utility types and/or organizational players as well, including New York's Zach Lutz and Dustin Lawley, and Atlanta's Joey Terdoslavich and Joe Leonard. Leonard, a right-handed batter, is the better defensive player among the quartet but the power potential is average at best and probably a shade below, and the bat is a tad too inconsistent right now.

Terdoslavich, a switch-hitter, is a more consistent hitter right now and he has shown some excellent gap power [he had a remarkable 74 extra-base hits in 2011], but he shifted over to mostly first base after getting demoted back down to Double-A Mississippi last season. He fits in better long-term as a reserve type player.

Lutz and Lawley are essentially the same players; good body types, solid average power, average hitters with sound plate discipline, and serviceable defense who can split some time in the outfield. Like Terdoslavich and Leonard, they profile better as potential big league utility corner guys.

While the Mets don't really have much in the way of a potential long-term third base project in the short-season leagues right now, Atlanta does have one with some intrigue to him in the form of Mike Dodig. Last year's tenth round pick has the size and athleticism to potentially develop a nice power-speed combination in the coming years, but the 19-year old left-handed hitter has work to do to polish not only his offensive approach but his defensive game in the field too.

How Do They Compare In...

Power: Just from a depth standpoint of current third basemen the Braves might have a slight edge here given that Salcedo's plus power mixes well with Kubitza's above average potential, thus canceling the combination of Flores and Rodriguez. However, that depth beyond those two are not legit starting corner prospects right now. Advantage: Even

Hitting For Average: Flores gives the Mets an advantage here, especially if Terdoslavich, a quality hitter, has indeed begun to move over to first base more. Advantage: Mets

Defense: This is where the Braves have a bit of an advantage. Flores is the best defensive third baseman for the Mets and he's average at best. Salcedo has more upside with the glove, however unlikely he is to tap it, and Kubitza can pick it. Advantage: Braves

Overall Potential: Flores is really the only viable third base prospect for the Mets if you consider the fact that Aderlin Rodriguez is going to have to move over to first base at some point. The Braves on the other hand have two quality third base prospects right now in Salcedo and Kubitza, and Dodig has the chance to become one. Advantage: Braves

Highest Ceilings: Edward Salcedo (Braves), Wilmer Flores (Mets), Kyle Kubitza (Braves), Aderlin Rodriguez (Mets), Mike Dodig (Braves)

Best Power: Aderlin Rodriguez (Mets), Edward Salcedo (Braves), Wilmer Flores (Mets), Kyle Kubitza (Braves), Joey Terdoslavich (Braves)

Best Average: Wilmer Flores (Mets), Joey Terdoslavich (Braves), Kyle Kubitza (Braves), Zach Lutz (Mets), Dustin Lawley (Mets)

Best Defense: Kyle Kubitza (Braves), Edward Salcedo (Braves), Wilmer Flores (Mets), Joe Leonard (Braves), Josh Satin (Mets)

Best Speed: Edward Salcedo (Braves), Kyle Kubitza (Braves), Mike Dodig (Braves), Joe Leonard (Braves), Josh Satin (Mets) Recommended Stories

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