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Third Basemen in the Red Sox System

If I had to make an educated guess I'd have to say that third base is the weakest position in the Red Sox organization. Bill Mueller has done a lot better than any of us could've hoped for the last couple of years and Kevin Youkilis is a guy that we all really want to see get a chance to play. After that there's not a whole lot in the Sox organization. They really don't have much in the way of depth and the only guys that may turn into prospects are hanging around at the lowest levels of the minors. Things won't be better next year either as the team drafted only 1 third baseman in the 2005 draft. Let's see what we have down there in the minors.

Dave Berg - Berg has been all over the infield for the Paw Sox, but since the team traded Tim Hummel the 35 year old Berg has been getting most of his work in at third base. He gets on base thanks to a lot of singles and 48 walks, enough to lead the International League, but he doesn't have an ounce of power. He hasn't hit a triple or a home run all year. He has a lot of major league experience (1600 AB's over 7 different seasons) and plays a few positions so it's possible that Boston might use him in an emergency, but that's really not something we want to have to resort to.

Jared Sandberg - If Sandberg wasn't known for being Ryne Sandberg's nephew he likely wouldn't be known at all. He has a little bit of pop in his bat, but his .221/.297/.406 line in 630 major league AB's combined with his horrible defense (21 errors in 86 games for Portland this year) suggest that he's never going to be a useful player on a major league roster. He does have his positives like the ability to draw a walk and hit a home run, but the negatives more than make up for whatever little upside the 27 year old might have.

Chad Spann - Coming in at #16, Chad Spann was the only third baseman that Baseball America listed on the Red Sox list of the top 30 prospects. Next year Spann likely won't appear on that list at all. At the age of 21 he has a .239/.318/.382 line for Wilmington. His power is average, at best, he doesn't draw a lot of walks, and he strikes out in a quarter of his at bats. Unless he turns things around in a big way he's going to drop off the radar completely.

Andrew Pinckney - At 23 years old, Pinckney is a little bit old to be playing in low A, but he's putting up decent numbers for Greenville with a .316/.363/.539 line so far this year. He was named the Red Sox minor league offensive player of the month last month and he's already come a long way from being selected in the 34th round last year. He's not walking a whole lot, but he's not striking out too much either. He needs to be promoted and start playing with guys his own age before we can really tell if he's going to have any real ability, but he's someone to pay attention to for right now.

Matt Mercurio - Mercurio has adapted to pro ball pretty quickly. The .329/.462/.534 line in 73 AB's is a bit of a small sample, but it's better than anything he did in four years of college ball at Florida Southern. He was taken in the 16th round of this year's draft and is more than holding his own in Lowell. He's only struck out 9 times while walking 16 and has 9 extra base hits. If he continues to hit this well he'll see some time in Wilmington or Greenville before the year is done and we could be seeing him in Portland sometime next year. He's too far away to get excited about, but he is a sleeper to keep your eye on.