Prospect Watch: Top 10 third basemen

Bryant, Gallo, Sano bring plenty of power to the hot corner

Prospect Watch: Top 10 third basemen

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

If chicks dig the long ball, then there's no doubt third base is the sexiest position among prospects. It's home to the three best power prospects in the game in Kris Bryant (Cubs) and Joey Gallo (Rangers) -- the last two Minor League home run champions -- and Miguel Sano (Twins). It will be interesting to see how many of these guys remain at the hot corner in the long term, because position changes have been hinted at for at least eight of them, and only Jake Lamb (D-backs) projects as a quality defender.

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MLB.com Columnist

Lindsay Berra

Players, coaches discuss impact of the infield shift

Players, coaches discuss impact of the infield shift

MLB's new Commissioner, Rob Manfred, got people's attention right out of the gate.

In an interview that aired on ESPN on Sunday, his first official day at the helm, Manfred responded to a query by Karl Ravech by saying he was open to the possibility of doing away with defensive shifts. This stirred up immediate chatter in social media, on sports radio and among sportswriters, which was a good thing, according to the game's 10th Commissioner.

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Lindsay Berra is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts

Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts

New Commissioner Rob Manfred certainly wasn't speaking in binding terms when he floated the possibility of eliminating or limiting the defensive shifts that have become so prevalent in baseball. In fact, he was simply replying to a question about any "radical" changes he might consider. That said, the impact of shifting is a topic many executives, coaches and players have bandied about in the office or locker room at a time when offensive production is at its lowest levels in decades.

But as is the case with so many of the game's evolutions in circumstances and strategy, the players themselves will probably dictate the direction taken here. Shifts, after all, are the byproduct of historical data, and they inherently create present and future areas of vulnerability on the field. And so it is incumbent upon the hitters to disrupt the data with revolutionary results.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Arbitration-eligible Crawford gets $3.175 million

Giants shortstop avoids hearing, agrees to reported midpoint between player, team

Source: Arbitration-eligible Crawford gets $3.175 million

The Giants have avoided arbitration with shortstop Brandon Crawford by agreeing to a one-year, $3.175 million deal, a source told MLB.com's Paul Hagen on Tuesday.

The club has not confirmed the agreement.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dave Winfield's favorite player: Giancarlo Stanton

Dave Winfield's favorite player: Giancarlo Stanton

Dave Winfield knows what it means to be a great outfielder. The Hall of Famer was a 12-time All-Star who won seven Gold Glove Awards and six Silver Slugger Awards.

Winfield's favorite big leaguer to watch these days? Giancarlo Stanton.

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Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

My Favorite Player

My Favorite Player

Baseball players are fans, just like the rest of us. Who do they love to watch? Former Major Leaguers weigh in, with new opinions added all the time.

Dave Winfield
Giancarlo Stanton
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Astros legend Bagwell to rejoin organization

Former first baseman will aid players as guest Spring Training instructor

Astros legend Bagwell to rejoin organization

HOUSTON -- Jeff Bagwell, who has been largely out of baseball since he decided not to remain as hitting coach of the Astros following the 2010 season, will return to the organization after accepting an offer from the team Tuesday to become a guest instructor at Spring Training.

Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said Bagwell will be in Kissimmee, Fla., for a few days in March, marking his first appearance in spring camp in five years. Ryan and manager A.J. Hinch had worked for weeks trying to get Bagwell back in the fold, and Bagwell told Ryan on Tuesday he would lend his knowledge to the Astros.

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Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Crushing can in face has Blackmon in shape

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Crushing can in face has Blackmon in shape

There are a lot of great ways to stay in shape during the offseason. You can get into winter sports. You can work out while wearing terrifying oxygen masks. Or, if you're Charlie Blackmon, you can pump up those face muscles by smashing a beer can with them. 

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MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Manfred ready for Majors from Day 1

New Commissioner ahead of baseball curve thanks to advanced 100-day plan

Manfred ready for Majors from Day 1

NEW YORK -- Rob Manfred's first day in the office as Major League Baseball's 10th Commissioner was, well, normal.

"It has been more routine than I would have expected, in the sense that I'm just dealing with the kind of everyday issues that come along," Manfred said on Monday afternoon.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Commissioner Rob Manfred's letter to fans

Dear Fans:

On the night of August 14, 2014, I left a Baltimore hotel after being elected Commissioner of Baseball. As I began to reply to the overwhelming number of congratulatory messages coming in, it hit me that I'd just been entrusted to protect the integrity of our National Pastime and to set a course that allows this great game to continue to flourish -- now and in the years to come. Needless to say, I was deeply honored by the trust the owners placed in me.

Today is my first day as Commissioner, and I am incredibly excited to get to work. I am grateful to Commissioner Selig for his expertise and friendship. His leadership set a direction that led to historic success.  

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Reds lock up Mesoraco with four-year pact

Homegrown catcher avoids arbitration, makes long-term commitment

Reds lock up Mesoraco with four-year pact

CINCINNATI -- Keeping their young and blossoming talent in the organization has been something the Reds have done the past few years. Homegrown players such as Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Johnny Cueto were all signed to multiyear contracts as they approached their years of arbitration eligibility.

Catcher Devin Mesoraco became the latest Reds-developed player to join that list. On Monday, Mesoraco and the club avoided arbitration by agreeing to terms on a four-year, $28 million contract.

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Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eaton enjoys reporting duties at Super Bowl Media Day

White Sox center fielder serves as correspondent for Comcast SportsNet Chicago

Eaton enjoys reporting duties at Super Bowl Media Day

CHICAGO -- For the immediate future, Adam Eaton is more than satisfied to serve as the catalyst at the top of the White Sox batting order and anchor center field for what looks to be an up-and-coming team in 2015.

But on Tuesday in Phoenix, the charismatic Eaton got thrown into the fire in a new profession as part of Super Bowl Media Day at US Airways Center. Eaton, an outstanding interview in his everyday baseball venue, and his wife, Katie, served as correspondents for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dyson, Royals avoid arbitration with 1-year deal

Dyson, Royals avoid arbitration with 1-year deal

The Royals have avoided arbitration with outfielder Jarrod Dyson by agreeing to terms on a one-year deal worth $1.225 million. The club confirmed that the sides reached a deal, but did not disclose the terns.

The agreement was first reported by Kansas City Star and confirmed by a source to MLB.com. Dyson will receive a $25,000 bonus if he reaches 350 plate appearances in 2015 and a $50,000 bonus if he is named an All-Star.

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Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hot Coco, Freese make All-Blizzard lineup

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Hot Coco, Freese make All-Blizzard lineup

If you're located along the East Coast, you know that there's a blizzard coming. A snowpocalypse. Snowzilla. SNOW MERCY.

In honor of the storm, we decided to put together an All-Blizzard team of MLB players. Check it out below.

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Giles aims to build on stellar rookie campaign

Giles aims to build on stellar rookie campaign

LAKEWOOD, N.J. -- Ken Giles lost his job this winter.

Giles said in September that he planned to spend much of his offseason working at an indoor baseball facility near his home in Peoria, Ariz. He said he hated sitting around the house in the offseason, so his weekday shifts kept him busy.

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Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Pipeline Perspectives: Quinn the top Minor League burner

After impressive AFL showing, Phillies prospect primed to take stolen-base crown

Pipeline Perspectives: Quinn the top Minor League burner

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

The Florida Panhandle produced several notable speedsters for the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. The fastest of them all was Gulf Coast Community College outfielder Terrance Gore, who rode his quickness alone to a spot on the Royals' postseason roster last fall.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stanton chronicles offseason in Network feature

Stanton chronicles offseason in Network feature

MIAMI -- How Giancarlo Stanton goes about knocking baseballs out of the park starts with running sprints in the sand. The offseason for the Marlins slugger is not entirely about getting a little rest and relaxation; it's also about pushing his physical limits in preparation for the 2015 season.

Stanton reveals some of his exhausting training tips on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on "The Offseason: Hope in Chicago and Miami," the latest episode of "MLB Network Presents." Peter Gammons interviews the two-time All-Star, who also discusses his recovery from facial fractures sustained after being struck in the face by a pitch in September.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline Perspectives: Turner to turn heads with steals

Part of trade with Nats, Padres prospect has carried college success into Minors

Pipeline Perspectives: Turner to turn heads with steals

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

We feel the need. The need for speed.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Castellanos off to Texas for defensive refresher course

Tigers third baseman to focus on his range, quickness, lateral movement

Castellanos off to Texas for defensive refresher course

DETROIT -- Nick Castellanos spent last offseason at home in Miami taking ground balls from Omar Vizquel in preparation for his return to third base. This offseason, his followup work is taking him next week to Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, Lubbock.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilhelmsen will move his way into any role for Mariners

Versatile reliever is a 'long shot' to earn spot in deep rotation

Wilhelmsen will move his way into any role for Mariners

SEATTLE -- Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen proved his versatility -- and personality -- once again at last weekend's FanFest with several impromptu singing and dancing performances atop the Mariners' dugout at Safeco Field. But the looming question for Wilhelmsen now figures to be where exactly he fits into Seattle's pitching plans when the games begin this spring.

Wilhelmsen is a unique talent, and not just in terms of his entertainment value for fans and fellow relievers. After getting out of baseball and working as a bartender from 2004-08, the lanky right-hander became one of the game's better human-interest stories by landing a bullpen job with the Mariners in 2011 and saving 53 games as Seattle's closer from '12-13.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nationals preparing for new right side of infield

Recent acquisition Escobar shifting from short to second; Zimmerman moving to first

Nationals preparing for new right side of infield

The Nationals might have a new Opening Day starter in Max Scherzer, and the infield standing behind the right-hander figures to look plenty different as well.

With Spring Training less than a month away, Washington is set to move trade acquisition Yunel Escobar from shortstop to second base, and longtime third baseman Ryan Zimmerman to first. While both of these shifts are down the defensive spectrum -- in other words, to easier spots -- that doesn't mean they don't come with challenges.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Flores focused on improving, doing job

Shortstop already training in Florida in advance of spring camp

Flores focused on improving, doing job

NEW YORK -- Most of the compliments fell to Lucas Duda last summer, and rightfully so. But perhaps no Mets player benefited from trainer Mike Barwis' voluntary Michigan fitness camp more than Wilmer Flores, who showed up to Spring Training noticeably lighter, trimmer and quicker than he had been the previous year.

The result was a shortstop who transformed from a defensive laughingstock into one with actual potential to stick at the position.

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Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

On 10th anniversary of signing, Iguchi reflects on '05 title

An active player in Japan, ex-South Side infielder brings family to Chicago for SoxFest

On 10th anniversary of signing, Iguchi reflects on '05 title

CHICAGO -- Tadahito Iguchi was invited to the July 17-19 weekend honoring the 10-year-anniversary of the 2005 White Sox World Series championship, when the weather would be much warmer in Chicago and the promising 2015 squad would be in action against the Royals.

There was just one problem. Iguchi joins A.J. Pierzynski, Mark Buehrle, Juan Uribe, Brandon McCarthy and Brian Anderson (Minor League deal with the White Sox) as the only currently active players from that historic team. So the first baseman for the Chiba Lotte Marines brought his whole family from Japan to Chicago this past weekend to take part in SoxFest's first pitch for the anniversary celebration.

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Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Phil Rogers

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Mr. Cub never felt underappreciated by generous owner despite salary restrictions

Banks, Wrigley formed relationship to remember

Ernie Banks wasn't just the all-time leader in love of the game. He was at the top of the charts in trust too.

At a time when the reserve clause allowed baseball owners to hold onto players almost like personal property, with salaries limited to levels that are now unthinkable, Banks landed in the lap of Cubs' owner Philip Knight Wrigley in September 1953. They formed a lasting relationship that benefited both men.

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Phil Rogers is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards prospects make strides with offseason work

Tuivailala refines pitches in AFL; Scruggs adapts to outfield in winter ball

Cards prospects make strides with offseason work

ST. LOUIS -- Experience gleaned from September callup experiences led both Xavier Scruggs and Sam Tuivailala to extend their 2014 seasons with an eye on improving their respective chances for a return to the Majors this year.

After closing the regular season with the Cardinals, Tuivailala reported almost immediately to the Arizona Fall League, where he made 12 more appearances. There, he worked extensively with Cardinals Minor League pitching instructor Jason Simontacchi to refine his curveball and changeup.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mays man of the hour as Giants return to New York

Mays man of the hour as Giants return to New York

NEW YORK -- About 75 men, all old enough to remember John F. Kennedy's assassination or even Sputnik, gathered on Saturday in the ballroom of a midtown Manhattan hotel and lined up in two parallel rows to form a path between them. They stared expectantly at the ballroom's double doors as if they awaited a bride's entry.

All they really wanted to see was the best man.

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Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pablo Sandoval hits a half-court shot sitting down

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Pablo Sandoval hits a half-court shot sitting down

Pablo Sandoval is an accomplished professional baseball player. He is a two-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion and, this past offseason, a highly coveted free agent who ended up signing a five-year deal with the Red Sox. But that isn't enough. He wants to conquer the world of trick-shot basketball, too.

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Brewers' Clark live tweets 'The Bachelor'

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Brewers' Clark live tweets 'The Bachelor'

If it's Monday night during the offseason, there's only one thing for a ballplayer to do: Watch The Bachelor, of course.

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Reliever Herrmann agrees to Minor League deal

Reliever Herrmann agrees to Minor League deal

ANAHEIM -- The Angels signed veteran reliever Frank Herrmann to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training, the club announced Tuesday.

Herrmann posted a 4.26 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP and a 2.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio while making 95 appearances for the Indians over the past three years. The 30-year-old right-hander posted a 2.33 ERA in 15 Major League appearances last year, but he had a 6.37 ERA in 28 games for Triple-A Columbus.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana, Escobar to engage in shortstop competition

Santana, Escobar to engage in shortstop competition

MINNEAPOLIS -- When Paul Molitor took over as Twins manager from Ron Gardenhire, one of the major questions was how he'd handle the shortstop position in 2015.

Gardenhire opted to play Danny Santana mostly out of position as a rookie last season, as he made twice as many starts in center field than he did at his natural position with 62 starts in center and 31 at shortstop. It was mostly out of necessity, as the Twins didn't have a capable everyday center fielder and Eduardo Escobar had a breakout season at shortstop, hitting .275 with 35 doubles in 133 games.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.