Top 20 Third Basemen – Fantasy 2017
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These rankings are for your standard 5×5 rotisserie leagues, enjoy!
Updated April 21st, 2017. Overall Rankings can be found here.
‘Movement’ column signifies the change in rank at this position, from the last update (April 1st, 2017).
My thoughts preseason…
Proposal to for an extra 3B slot?
This is one of the deepest positions in recent memory. The reason my tier from number five to 14 is so big deals in part with the depth present at the hot corner. Players like Jake Lamb and Alex Bregman are nice assets to have, each with their own concerns and upside for the coming year, yet one could make the case for targeting almost any player among this crop as a favorite for success. Into the 20s you’re looking at the high BA floor of a guy like Yulieski Gurriel, who admitted to fatigue at the end of last season, or a player like Eugenio Suarez, who moved back to his natural 3B role last year and saw a 20HR/10SB return at the age of 25. They seem much less interesting when compared to some of the bigger bats at the position, but they’re much more appealing options in comparison to other players in the bottom half of their position.
The possibilities are honestly endless. I find it had to imagine the construction of a fantasy team without at least two third basemen. Value and ability to replenish power if you choose to target speed early – Trea Turner and Starling Marte come to mind – will make the top 20 at third base fly off the board before you even hit 200 overall.
With all the concentrated power, it’s clear to see I’m much lower than the consensus on a guy like Jose Ramirez, who put together a 20 steal, .300+ average season, but possesses one of the lowest hard hit rates in the league. The case for Ramirez as an outfielder to polish up some of the steals and mitigate some average problems of the other big power bats is much stronger than trying to cram him into your corner infielder spot in a roto league. My main crux is the inevitability that we end up with a .280 player who can’t get back to 12 home runs and has value built purely on the 20 stolen bases. He was a top 50 player last year, but at the third base position, I’m much more inclined to look at him for an outfield spot if he falls past the 110 overall mark. Targeting a player like this, unless you believe in a power uptick, inside the top 100 is a risky proposition.
Contrary to my lukewarm feelings about Ramirez, I’m excited to see how Maikel Franco plays in his second full season at the major league level. There are worries about almost everything, from conditioning, which he addressed this offseason, to where his ceiling actually is. What I keep coming back to is the production already on his resume, and expectations of that to at worst be the perennial Maikel Franco season. Near .200 ISO that should stick, already a 25 HR season under his belt, and a power bat with good plate discipline. There are 30+ HR seasons in his future, and as the Phillies grow in might, rounding out their pitching heavy base of Major League talent, Franco should become the cornerstone of Philadelphia.
Debate: Donaldson v. K. Seager
Surprising right? But this is something I actually had a bit of trouble deciding. My problem is that Donaldson is the fourth in the ‘superstar’ tier. I want Bryant-Arenado-Machado all over him, and while Donaldson is on almost all lists a top 15 player, I’m having trouble convincing myself that his 40+ home run 2015 wasn’t the peak of his performance. That’s not to say he isn’t a first round talent, but with how consistent Kyle Seager has been in his career, and the seemingly unstoppable trajectory he is on with improvement from an offensive perspective, I can’t help but wonder if some of the hope for the Mariners’ 2017 success can be funneled into Seager producing even better than his 2016 line.
While Fangraph’s Steamer does take somewhat of a conservative approach in projections, it’s bearing on Donaldson is a .275 season with 90/90 counting stats and 30 home runs. Does that sound familiar? Well, that’s because it’s nearly identical to Kyle Seager’s 2016, where he posted .278 average with 89 runs, 99 RBIs, and 30 homers. These are simple comparisons, and again, I emphasize the point that Donaldson has been and is an elite talent, there are scenarios where Seager can outproduce or match his draft slot more often than Donaldson can produce another top 25 season. These thoughts have made me opt for a guy like Corey Seager are Carlos Correa in the back end of the first round, knowing there is a strong chance Kyle Seager will be on the board when players in the 45-55 overall range come to the surface.
Will I have Seager and Donaldson back-to-back when my overall rankings come out? No, but the 50 slot gap that we’re currently seeing between the ADPs of these two will be a bit smaller on my board, and I think for good reason.
I’m very hesitant to draft based on position scarcity, but team construction is a different story. I’m not going to take three first basemen in my first ten picks even if some great value presents itself, but buoying a mediocre player’s value simply because he’s a relatively productive player at a weak position is flawed.
Third base this year has a big impact on this exact conundrum of team construction. With how deep the position is, you really have to think about the implication of any pick you make that fills the 3B or Corner Infielder slot on your roster. Mock draft and look to what holes you’ll need to fill in consecutive rounds to properly appreciate this depth we have been given.
Photo via the Flickr Creative Commons, thanks to AP3 for the shot of Bryant.
Statistics via Fangraphs.com.
Position eligibility is determined via NFBC.com. If you desire the rank of a player at another position, feel free to comment below.