2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Crying Tiers of Joy: 2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

From Eddie Mathews to Ron Santo, from Mike Schmidt to Wade Boggs, from Chipper Jones to Adrian Beltre; the hot corner has remained a staple of power and production for centuries. Third basemen made up ten of the top 50 fantasy hitters in 2016, including the 2015 AL and 2016 NL MVP’s. With so many options to choose from, third base is one of, if not, the deepest position in fantasy baseball.

 

The top 30 third basemen have been grouped into six tiers, with the top and bottom player of each tier profiled below.

Honorable mentions include: Brandon Drury (ARI), Yulieski Gurriel (HOU), Jose Reyes (NYM), Jedd Gyorko (STL), Ryan Schimpf (SD), Hernan Perez (MIL), Matt Duffy (TB), and Johnny Peralta (STL).

 

Tier 1

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Can Kris Bryant be the first to win back to back MVP’s since Miguel Cabrera? (Courtesy of Chicagostylesports.com)

1. Kris Bryant CHC

2. Nolan Arenado COL

3. Josh Donaldson TOR

4. Manny Machado BAL

 

The reigning NL MVP, Kris Bryant, should be the first third basemen taken in 2017. Bryant was called up in 2015 after mashing 43 home runs at the AA and AAA levels. The minor-league player of the year impressed immediately in the majors, as he hit 26 home runs and drove in 99 RBI’s, resulting in him winning the Rookie of the Year.

The 24-year-old crushed 39 bombs with over 100 runs and RBI’s, which is easily repeatable for many years to come.

Two main reasons why Bryant lands atop this list is because of his steal upside and the lineup in which he plays in. Bryant is athletic for his 6-foot-5 230-pound stature. He stole 13 bases in 2015, and eight in 2016, which gives him a good floor of steals compared to Arenado, Donaldson, and Machado, who combined for nine.

Also, batting ahead of Anthony Rizzo and other elite hitters in the Chicago Cubs offense will give Bryant a great chance to, once again, lead the league in runs. These two factors will help propel him ahead of the other elite third base options.

 

Manny Machado has all of the potential in the world. After having back to back 35 plus home run and 100 run seasons, he remains in the elite category of third basemen.

Machado has batted primarily third in 2016, and still failed to reach the 100 RBI plateau, which is unnerving, as he is set to primarily bat second in 2017. Don’t get me wrong, Machado still has elite value in the two hole, as he will bat around .300, while being a great source of runs, but if you’re looking for 100 RBI’s, Machado may fall short once again.

Machado also failed to steal a base in 2016, after stealing 20 bags in 2015. This may have been a way to limit the stress on his surgically repaired knee, or may have been due to the fact that the Baltimore Orioles were last in stolen base attempts per game, with .2.

The lack of stolen bases and RBI’s compared to Bryant, Donaldson, and Arenado forces me place Machado at the bottom of tier 1.

 

Tier 2

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Will 2017 be a breakout season for veteran Kyle Seager? (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

5. Kyle Seager SEA

6. Jonathon Villar MIL

7. Adrian Beltre TEX

8. Matt Carpenter STL

9. Todd Frazier CWS

10. Evan Longoria TB

11. Anthony Rendon WAS

12. Justin Turner LAD

 

Kyle Seager has been a consistent source of 160 hits, .270 average, and 24 home runs per season, but 2017 will be the year he breaks out.

Seager will bat behind Jean Segura, Robinson Cano, and Nelson Cruz, which will give him a great chance to finally surpass the 100 RBI mark.

The 29-year-old’s isolated power numbers have jumped from .185 to .221, showing that he has the potential to increase his power numbers as he continues through his prime years.

According to fantasypros.com, he is being selected as the 59th player off the board, and the 6th third basemen. Although Seager’s value does warrant a pick at this position, there are many other third basemen that offer similar value at a much lesser cost.

 

Justin Turner exploded onto the scene in 2016, having a career year, batting .275 with 27 home runs, 79 runs, and 90 RBI’s. The 32-year-old inked a 4-year, $64 million deal, that will lock him in as the everyday third basemen and three-hitter of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the near and distant and future.

Turner provides a great floor of value, as he has a career batting average of .282, while managing to have respectable strikeout and walk rates. I believe Turner is more than likely to repeat his power numbers, and could be a sneaky source of 100 RBI’s come 2017.

 

Tier 3

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Can Jake Lamb recover from his atrocious second half n 2016? (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

13. Jake Lamb ARI

14. Maikel Franco PHI

15. Alex Bregman HOU

16. Jose Ramirez CLE

 

Jake Lamb is currently being severally overlooked, as he is being selected as the 19th third basemen, and 165th overall player in drafts.

Lamb finished 2016 with a .249 batting average, 29 home runs, and 91 RBI’s. This stat line may seem underwhelming, but Lambs first half of .291, 20 home runs, and 61 RBI’s suggests that there is elite potential here.

The 26-year-old will join a healthy Arizona Diamondbacks lineup that includes A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, and David Peralta, which will give him the opportunity to repeat or surpass his career high RBI total. Lamb will end up on the majority of my teams in 2017, as his ADP is much too low for his potential.

 

The sneaky top 20 MVP candidate in 2016, Jose Ramirez, will be another cheap source of production at third base in 2017. Ramirez is being selected as the 14th third basemen, which I believe is fairly high, although his ADP of 124 gives him significant value.

The 24-year-old will bat in the middle of the Cleveland Indians lineup, and depending on Michael Brantley’s health, may be behind Edwin Encarnacion, Francisco Lindor, and Jason Kipnis, which will give him an incredible opportunity to drive in runs.

Ramirez, a career .275 hitter, is continuously improving, as he batted .312 with 11 home runs, 76 RBI’s, and 22 stolen bases in 2016. Investing in the young Indian will be highly beneficial come 2017.

 

Tier 4

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Miguel Sano’s strikeout rate is a red flag heading into 2017. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

17. Miguel Sano MIN

18. Jung-Ho Kang PIT

19. Eduardo Nunez SFG

20. Ryon Healy OAK

21. Yangervis Solarte SD

 

Miguel Sano is currently being selected as the 128th player, and 15th third basemen in 2017. After hitting 18 home runs in 80 games in 2015, Sano increased his totals to 25 in 116 games in 2016. Miguel Sano’s power potential is juicy, although his 2016 strike out rate of 36% is a huge red flag.

Sano’s strikeout rates have continuously increased, which suggests that Sano may strikeout at an obnoxious rate again in 2017. Sano, who has already had a problem finding a position, may experience serious issues if his bat continues to struggle. I believe Sano is being drafted to high, as you can draft safer options in Maikel Franco or Jake Lamb later in drafts.

 

Yangervis Solarte is my sleeper of the year. The 29-year-old is primed for a breakout season, as he will have an everyday role for the first time in his career. He totaled 15 home runs and 71 RBI’s in just 109 games, which would have put him on pace for 22 home runs and 105 RBI’s.

Solarte will be the starting third basemen and cleanup hitter for the San Diego Padres in 2017. This will give him plenty of opportunity for RBI’s and runs, as this young Padres lineup could surprise people.

The ascension of young studs Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, and Manny Margot, can immensely improve the Friars underwhelming offense, which will positively impact Solarte’s stats.

His ADP of 319 makes him the 32nd third basemen taken off the board, which means he is currently going undrafted in majority of leagues. Solarte will make an incredible late round pick if you miss early on a third basemen.

 

Tier 5

2017 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings

Nick Castellanos’ fractured hand held him back in 2016, so will he improve in 2017? (Courtesy MLive.com)

22. Nick Castellanos DET

23. Mike Moustakas KAN

24. Adonis Garcia ATL

25. Eugenio Suarez CIN

26. Pablo Sandoval BOS

27. Travis Shaw MIL

28. Martin Prado MIA

29. Danny Valencia SEA

30. Yunel Escobar LAA

 

Nick Castellanos had his 2016 cut short due to a fractured left hand, although in 110 games, he managed to hit 18 home runs, while scoring 54 runs, and driving in 58 RBI’s. The Tigers six-hitter remains a solid source of runs and RBI’s while sporting a respectable career average of .265.

Castellanos is very safe option for later in the draft, and if he continues to progress, could be a top 15 third basemen. His current ADP of 239 makes his the 25th third basemen selected, which would be a price well worth paying.

 

Yunel Escobar has quietly been a solid fantasy producer his entire career, as he has a career batting average of .283, and has batted .314 and .304 in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Escobar hasn’t managed to play over 140 games since 2013, but if he can make that happen in 2017, he will be a great fantasy asset.

The 34-year-old will bat leadoff for the Mike Trout lead Los Angeles Angels. The talent behind him along with his great batting average gives him a chance to be an above average run scorer in 2017.

His ADP of 366 makes him the 37th third basemen being selected, which in my mind is astronomical. He will go undrafted in almost all leagues, although he offers great value in deeper leagues with large rosters.

 

You can ‘Like’ The Game Haus on Facebook and ‘Follow’ us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Avery!

What Can We Expect from Super Prospect Yoan Moncada?

September is a big month for the MLB. The last full month of the regular season, teams in contention battle for playoff sports, while teams in the cellars of each division get the opportunity to give some of their prospects MLB experience. September 1 is huge for most teams as rosters expand from twenty-five players to the full forty man roster. This gives each MLB team room for more rest for the regular starters, or provide extra relief in a bullpen that has been hammering out innings for the past five months.

One such example of this is the Boston Red Sox promoting Yoan Moncada Friday in lieu of the roster expansions. The Red Sox are currently only using 39 of their 40 roster spots. The Red Sox also have four catchers on their roster, along with a handful of bench depth guys that the team can designate for assignment to clear room for Moncada. Getting Yoan to the big leagues will not be an issue for the Red Sox.

One issue for the Sox, however, could be trying to control the insurmountable hype that will surround Moncada as he makes his first couple major league appearances. Moncada signed with the Red Sox out of Cuba for a record $31.5 million (Aroldis Chapman held the previous record at $16.25 million). Moncada is ranked number one on both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospect Ranking lists, backed by his season and a half in the farm system. The hype is real for Moncada, as his production and potential screams a generational talent that most teams would salivate getting the opportunity to build around. An example of this talent can be seen in the GIF below.

 

Yoan Moncada knocking himself in on an inside the park homerun during his time in the minors. No, this gif is not sped up, that is just how fast he is.

Yoan Moncada knocking himself in on an inside the park homerun during his time first couple months in the minors last season. No, this gif is not sped up, that is just how fast he runs. GIF courtesy of MiLB.com

 

Moncada has demonstrated plenty of talent in his season and a half in the minor for the Red Sox. In 187 games, Moncada has compiled 94 stolen bases, a slash line of .287/.395/.480 (Batting Average/On Base Percentage/Slugging Percentage), and a slow but steady improving glove as he has been shifted from second base to third base. Moncada is only 21 years of age, and is projected to start adding power as he adds more muscle mass to his frame. Moncada will have a floor of 15 home runs and 30 stolen bases annually. The ceiling on Moncada, however, is astronomical. I would compare his potential production to Alfonso Soriano in his prime, or a regular 30+ homerun and 30+ stolen base player, if the power comes around for Moncada.

The ceiling is very high for a player like Moncada, but can we expect that kind of production when he makes his first couple appearances? Short answer, no we cannot. Moncada, despite being a switch hitter with a career batting average of .287, has a K rate of 30.9% and a .246 batting average in 45 games in Double A right now. What this means is Moncada is a little unpolished of a hitter as he has faced stiffer competition. Moncada is only 21 years old, so the Red Sox can give him another season or two before giving him full-time duties, though the ideal plan would be for him to be ready by Opening Day 2017.

The nice thing for the Red Sox is that playing time will be a given for Moncada, as the only true competition he faces is from the incumbent Travis Shaw, who has cooled off significantly since his hot April. Shaw owns a .248 batting average this season and has never been a source of power for the Sox. The lack of hitting from Shaw means that Moncada will have a longer leash while playing, or in other words, does not have to worry about not hitting well since the Red Sox have limited options to replace him.

The future is bright for young Yoan Moncada. Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson of the AP

The future is bright for young Yoan Moncada. Photo courtesy of Brynn Anderson of the AP

Moncada is a player who is surrounded by a lot potential and hype ever since his record breaking signing in 2015. Rough around the edges, the Red Sox are giving him the chance to be an everyday third basemen for the club, as the only other potential starter has been less than stellar so far this season. If he produces anywhere close to his ceiling, the Red Sox will have added a very good complimentary piece for their potential playoff run. If Moncada continues his K% rate from the minors, then the Sox do not miss out on any production that they could have gotten from elsewhere. It is a perfect scenario for the Red Sox and only time will tell whether Moncada will be an integral piece for the playoff run or, at the very least, will just be gaining some valuable MLB experience.

 

All stats courtesy of baseball reference and fangraphs.

Red Sox and Sandoval Need to Part Ways

Pablo Sandoval Yahoo Sports

Photo Courtesy of Yahoo Sports

The Boston Red Sox signing Pablo Sandoval to 5-year, $95 million deal before the 2015 season has looked like a mistake from the start. Sandoval was coming off a heroic postseason with the San Francisco Giants in which he collected his 3rd World Series ring at the young age of 27.

The Red Sox brought in Sandoval, along with another top free agent Hanley Ramirez, with the hope of adding to the Panda’s ring collection. Instead, a combination of weight issues and lack of production have led to Sandoval losing his starting job, and more recently, being placed on the DL with a “shoulder” injury.

The contract looked like a mistake seemingly before the ink dried when Sandoval, who earned the “Panda” nickname presumably in part because of his round physique, showed up to 2015 spring training out of shape.

It did not appear to be a huge deal at first. Sandoval had never looked particularly athletic, but, it didn’t matter because he could hit. Before joining the Red Sox, Sandoval was a career .294/.346/.465 hitter, with an impressive post season resume.

While his weight was sometimes a point of emphasis for the media, Sandoval got away with it for one simple reason; he produced at the plate.

That changed when he joined the Red Sox though. In 2015, his first season in Boston, Sandoval posted career lows in BA, OBP%, and SLG%. It was by far the worst season of Sandoval’s career.

Somehow, even with all of the disappointment of 2015, Sandoval is off to an even worse start in 2016. He lost his starting 3rd base job in spring training to Travis Shaw. Through the first week and a half of the regular season Sandoval logged a mere 7 plate appearances, drawing a lone walk and striking out 4 times.

The only AB he had of note was when his swing caused him to break his belt, in a moment that perfectly mirrors his time with the Red Sox so far; embarrassing, and even a tad bit sad.

Sandoval and the Red Sox are at the point where they are better off without each other. To the Red Sox, Sandoval can be DFA’d, subsequently released, and deemed a mulligan. A situation that would cripple some team’s payroll flexibility, is something that the Red Sox can afford to do given their market.

It will rid them of a punchline for the headlines and of a wasted bench spot as Travis Shaw and sometimes Brock Holt have proved to be better options at the hot corner than Sandoval. Even the organization thinks they are better off without Sandoval on the 25-man roster, as they seemingly made up a shoulder injury in order to stash him on the DL.

It will most likely be impossible for the Red Sox to trade Sandoval as is, and it would be foolish for another team to claim him on waivers and take on his contract, but it shouldn’t matter to the Red Sox because they are simply better without him.

Sandoval also appears to be better off without the Red Sox. He could find himself a starting gig on a lesser team on a 1-year deal and do what it appears he wants to do, play his way into shape. Maybe he could strike lighting and regain form with a new club, something that won’t happen with an organization willing to hide him on the DL.

The Sandoval era in Boston needs to come to an end, so both player and team can move one and be better off.