Third base might be the Rangers' most uncertain position, and its future is more unclear than at any point since the start of the decade. One of as many as six current Rangers could conceivably be the primary third baseman next season, as could someone from the outside.
Texas (MLB) - Chris Davis, Ramon Vazquez
Oklahoma (AAA) - Travis Metcalf
Frisco (AA) - Johnny Whittleman
Bakersfield (A+) - Erik Morrison
Clinton (A) - Jonathan Greene
Spokane (A-) - Matthew West
AZL (RK) - Johan Yan
DSL (RK) - Emmanuel Solis, Miguel Moreno
Top 3B prospects:
1. Johnny Whittleman - disappointing season overall but doesn't look out of place in AA
2. Matthew West - 2007 second round pick has held his own but has not shown power
3. Jonathan Greene - basically a default choice, not having a bad year
4, 5. Johan Yan/Emmanuel Solis/Miguel Moreno - three bonus babies who haven't really made inroads as legitimate prospects...Moreno has hit a little, while Yan and Solis could have futures on the mound
Top 3B prospects in baseball (loosely ordered):
Pedro Alvarez (status uncertain) PIT, Mike Moustakas KC, Matt Gamel (DH?) MIL, Josh Vitters CHC, Matt Dominguez FLA, Todd Frazier (SS) CIN, Neftali Soto CIN, Brett Lawrie (Utility?) MIL, Allen Craig STL, Kevin Ahrens TOR
Top 3B organizations:
1. NY Mets - David Wright, Dan Murphy
2. Tampa Bay - Evan Longoria
3. Chicago Cubs - Aramis Ramirez, Josh Vitters
4. NY Yankees - Alex Rodriguez
5. Kansas City - Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas
Where the Rangers fit:
That all depends. If Davis stays here and can handle it defensively, he figures to be one of the more productive third basemen in baseball. If Michael Young moves here, it probably continues to be average to a little below average. If we see a stop-gap, this spot figures to bat last in the lineup and be among the weaker in the league.
Hank Blalock appears to be done with the position, at least in this organization. Davis has drawn better reviews in the majors than he did last year in the minors. Ron Washington seems to have some faith in him defensively here, though it is unclear whether that's against the backdrop of a short term or long term solution. My money is on his stay being short, however, as Davis moving to Michael Young's most natural destination leaves the one guy with a a big contract without a position. I have never seen Young play this spot, but I have to think that the best bet is that he spends the bulk of his remaining time in Texas at the hot corner.
German Duran and Metcalf will be default options, though neither looks at all likely to hit enough to handle the position full time. Whittleman should open back at Frisco and is the one viable prospect in the system. West will likely get his first taste of full season ball in Clinton.