More than half of the players featured in last year's top third base prospects -- Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Walker, Josh Jung, Brett Baty, Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand -- have since graduated to the majors, so you'd think the position would be depleted in the minors.

But it's not. It's so much deeper, in fact, that I've made the executive decision to expand this list from 10 names to 12. That's a refreshing change of pace from first and second base, where I was stretching to get to 10. In fact, I could probably go as deep as 15 here and still come up with better prospects than the ones rounding out those lists. (For what it's worth, the Reds' Sal Stewart, the Rockies' Sterlin Thompson and the Reds' Cam Collier would be my next three at third base.)

  • Top Prospects: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF | P

What's crazy is we've already seen third base go from being one of the shallowest positions in Fantasy to one of the deepest in just a year's time, and well, there are only 30 of those jobs available in the majors. It's fair to assume, then, that several of the players featured here will wind up playing elsewhere. They're not all defensive standouts, and some have already dabbled at other positions like second base and left field. But for the most part, their bats are good enough that they'll be of interest regardless of where they wind up.

Note: This list is intended for a variety of Fantasy formats and thus weighs short-term role against long-term value. Not all of these players will contribute in 2023 — most, in fact, will not — but among prospects, they're the names Fantasy Baseballers most need to know.

1. Junior Caminero, Rays

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2023: High-A, Double-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .324 BA (460 AB), 31 HR, .976 OPS, 42 BB, 100 K
Major-league stats: .235 BA (34 AB), 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 BB, 8 K

There's no greater testament to Caminero's talent than the fact that the Rays, who remain ever deliberate in their promoting of prospects, pushed him from Double-A straight to the majors soon after his 20th birthday. He's a budding superstar -- an Adrian Beltre-caliber bat at the hot corner (maybe shortstop on occasion -- and is in contention to be the first prospect off the board in redraft leagues.

2. Noelvi Marte, Reds

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .279 BA (348 AB), 11 HR, 18 SB, .812 OPS, 43 BB, 70 K
Majors-league stats: .316 BA (114 AB), 3 HR, 6 SB, .822 OPS, 8 BB, 25 K

Though there was a sense Marte was losing steam as he ascended the minor-league ladder, his final stop in the majors this year seemed to validate the rosiest reports from his teenage years. His exit velocities were top of the scales, which is almost overkill at a place like Cincinnati, and he was a blur on the base paths. Once he began elevating more over the final three weeks, his numbers really took off.

3. Coby Mayo, Orioles

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2023: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .290 BA (504 AB), 29 HR, 45 2B, .974 OPS, 93 BB, 148 K

Mayo's 6-foot-5 frame always gave him the look of a slugger, and appearances became reality in 2023 as he not only delivered a massive power outcome but also backed it up with optimal exit velocities and launch angles. His strikeout rate has improved as he's climbed the ladder, and his walk rate has become nothing short of elite, making him a potential first-division regular, even if he's forced to slide over to first base.

4. Colt Keith, Tigers

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2023: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .306 BA (507 AB), 27 HR, 38 2B, .932 OPS, 60 BB, 121 K

Keith lived up to his most optimistic projections last year, going from being a fringe top-100 guy to a fringe top-25 guy, and between his above-average contact rate and penchant for line drives, there's real hope he can hit for average as well of power. Of course, it's a fine line between Nolan Arenado and Brandon Drury-caliber production, and Comerica Park might end up pulling Keith down closer to the latter.

5. Michael Busch, Dodgers

Age (on opening day): 26
Where he played in 2023: Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .323 BA (390 AB), 27 HR, 1.049 OPS, 65 BB, 88 K
Major-league stats: .167 BA (72 AB), 2 HR, 3 2B, 8 BB, 27 K

After failing to break in as a second baseman, Busch has now shifted over to third base ...where he's unfortunately still blocked by Max Muncy. In most any other organization, he'd have found his way into the lineup by now -- and things have to come to a head soon, whether that means trading him or moving him to an even less premium position like left field. The bat is simply too good to languish forever in the minors.

6. Curtis Mead, Rays

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, Triple-A, majors
Minor-league stats: .287 BA (247 AB), 9 HR, 22 2B, .879 OPS, 36 BB, 49 K
Major-league stats: .253 BA (83 AB), 1 HR, 1 3B, 3 2B, 7 BB, 21 K

We've reached a point with Mead where legends of his hitting prowess are outpacing fact, and it's kind of a make-or-break skill given that he's a defensive liability no matter where the Rays put him. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt while everyone else is -- and it's true that elbow and wrist injuries may have stifled his numbers and exit velocities a bit -- but 2024 should be clarifying in many respects.

7. Tyler Black, Brewers

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2023: Double-A, Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .284 BA (450 AB), 18 HR, 55 SB, .930 OPS, 88 BB, 100 K

Black didn't attract much Fantasy attention in his first two professional seasons, but he demanded it in Year 3 with his eye-popping walk and stolen base totals. The on-base prowess is enough to stake out his future in Milwaukee, but the big question in Fantasy is how much power he'll offer. His pull tendencies and eventual home venue help his cause, with a best-case outcome being something like a speedier Alex Bregman.

8. Brady House, Nationals

Age (on opening day): 20
Where he played in 2023: Low-A, High-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .312 BA (340 AB), 12 HR, 9 SB, .862 OPS, 26 BB, 89 K

To whatever degree House's stock tumbled due to injury and underachievement in 2022, it was restored threefold in 2022 as he climbed two levels and more than held his own as a 20-year-old at Double-A. There are plate discipline concerns, but he legitimately clobbers the ball in a way that's not even fully appreciated by the numbers yet. Most project him for 30-plus homers in his prime.

9. Zach Dezenzo, Astros

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2023: High-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .305 BA (358 AB), 18 HR, 22 SB, .914 OPS, 42 BB, 106 K

Dezenzo generates the sort of exit velocities accessible to only a select few batters, which makes him a darling pick for certiain prospect publications. But his 2023 numbers were inflated by a .407 batting average at High-A Asheville to open the year, suggesting he's a more complete hitter than he actually is, and the speed may have been a mirage, too.

10. Justyn-Henry Malloy, Tigers

Age (on opening day): 24
Where he played in 2023: Triple-A
Minor-league stats: .277 BA (487 AB), 23 HR, .892 OPS, 110 BB, 152 K

Malloy's on-base skills verge on superhuman, and while that's not of direct consequence in all scoring formats, it does improve the odds of the Tigers clearing a path for him, whether it's at third base or left field. His home runs are more a product of his launch angle than his exit velocities, which could present a problem in a venue like Comerica Park, but the scouting reports also suggest he's strong enough to grow into more power.

11. Graham Pauley, Padres

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2023: Low-A, High-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .308 BA (481 AB), 23 HR, 22 SB, .931 OPS, 60 BB, 93 K

Pauley is an overachiever by basically every measure, seemingly lacking both the strength and speed to put together the 20/20 campaign he just had. What he's missing in ability, though, he makes up for with instincts, showing a premium batting eye and a knack for lifting to ball to his pull side, where it's more likely to leave the yard. He might end up being the player Jake Cronenworth once looked like he'd be.

12. Brock Wilken, Brewers

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2023: Rookie, High-A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .285 BA (165 AB), 5 HR, .887 OPS, 33 BB, 47 K

The 18th pick in the 2023 draft is largely unproven and may yet get swallowed up by upper-level pitching, but provided he doesn't, his swing is geared for the sort of massive power production that can stand on its own in Fantasy. The batting eye he showed in college looks like it should carry over as well (he reached a .414 clip in his first professional season), making Wilken potentially another Max Muncy type.