We continue our positional breakdown today with the hot corner. Third base is another position where the Mets won’t need anybody anytime soon, but they have plenty of guys at that position worth mentioning. Zach Lutz is just about major league ready, but he is continually being hindered by injuries, most recently concussion symptoms that prevented him from getting a September call up and will keep him from winter ball as well. When he’s healthy he can hit, and easily would have hit 20 homeruns this past year if he could have played a full season. If he ever gets healthy and is able to play for long periods of time, he will be a useful piece for the Mets.
After Lutz there is a bit of a drop off all the way to A-ball until there is another legitimate prospect at third base. Jefry Marte spent 2011 playing third base for St. Lucie, putting up a modest .248/.313/.346. However, playing advanced-A ball at just 20 years old the numbers aren’t nearly as important as the raw tools, and Marte has a chance to have average major league power, which could one day make him an everyday third baseman in the big leagues. Marte is at least two years away from the major leagues and needs to make a lot of progress defensively, so it should be a while until there is another homegrown third baseman pushing for the big leagues.
Also in A-ball is slugger Aderlin Rodriguez, who had a breakout 2010 with 14 homeruns, and followed that up with 17 homeruns in 2011 as a teenager in full season A-ball. Rodriguez still has holes in his game, but he has as much power as anyone else in the organization. He may not stay at third base, but for now he’s part of a strong group of Mets third basemen who are all a few years away from the major leagues.
The short season clubs also had noteworthy players at third base, with Brian Harrison and Richard Lucas both seeing time in Brooklyn. Harrison hit eight homeruns in 48 games in 2010 after being drafted in the 13th round, although he did not fair as well in 2011. Richard Lucas was forced to high A in 2010 to accommodate Marte, which did not work well for him, and then was forced back to Brooklyn in 2011 to accommodate Marte and Rodriguez, where he took full advantage of being older than his competition hitting .300/.385/.472. Lucas has gotten lost in the crowd, but he would be intriguing to watch if given a chance to play at the appropriate level. Further down, Elvis Sanchez and Pedro Perez are a couple of notable names from the Dominican Summer League.
The Mets have Lutz at third base, who provides immediate depth when healthy, which is an important role to fill. Beyond that, the Mets are years away from having a homegrown third baseman in a position to make an impact, although the guys they do have certainly have a chance.