Happy New Year everyone. To help ring in the New Year, today we will be taking an early look at the Third Base from a Fantasy Baseball perspective. With this in mind, here are the 2016 Third Base Fantasy Baseball Rankings.
Early 2016 Third Base Fantasy Baseball Rankings
1) Josh Donaldson, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Donaldson had a very good first season for the Blue Jays as he won the AL MVP . While his HR numbers could drop back slightly (he had a 21.8% HR/FB ratio) which was well above his previous career high (14.6%) he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with at the plate and the best at his position.
2) Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs
Bryant put the rest of baseball on notice as he hit .275 with 26 HR and 13 SB during his rookie season. The scary thing is he’s only 23 and this is just his starting point. He could easily hit 30+ HR this season while maintaining his other numbers if things break right.
3) Nolan Arenado, 3B, Colorado Rockies
Arenado had his breakout season last year, hitting .287 with 42 HR. He also showed that his numbers were not a Coors Field only phenomenon as 22 of his HR came away from Coors Field.
4) Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore Orioles
Machado is another young player (only 23) who is coming off a breakout season and has contributed to Third Base being a much more top heavy. Even if his numbers slip a little bit, Machado should easily provide at least 25/15 numbers while hitting north of .280.
5) Adrian Beltre, 3B, Texas Rangers
Beltre is in an unique spot where he doesn’t stack up very well against the top four players at his position but still holds more value than the rest of the players at Third Base. Even though Beltre’s power has gone down to the 20+ HR range, he still hits for a very strong average and should have plenty of opportunity to score/drive in runs in 2016.
6) Todd Frazier, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Frazier was traded from the Reds to the White Sox during the off-season. One thing that prevents Frazier from being ranked higher is the unknown of whether his pre-All Star break numbers (.284 AVG 25 HR) or his post All-Star break numbers (.220 AVG 10 HR) is closest to his actual ability. Assuming it’s somewhere closer to the middle, Frazier provides strong HR/SB totals but is likely to hit somewhere around .250.
7) Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
While Longoria appears to be past his peak (even at the age of 30), he is still a solid if not spectacular option at 3B. Even with his production down over the last couple seasons, he is still hitting 20+ HR while producing strong HR/RBI totals. One thing that got him ranked below Frazier is a lower power ceiling.
8) Kyle Seager, 3B, Seattle Mariners
Seager has been a steady player over the last few seasons. Last year was his fourth consecutive season where he hit 20+ HR. While his HR numbers have steadily risen, the confines of Safeco Field appear to be holding him back. Last season, he hit .295 with 19 HR on the road while only hitting .237 with seven HR at home. If/when he leaves the Mariners, this could have a positive impact on his Fantasy Value.
9) Matt Carpenter, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals
Carpenter has always managed to score lots of runs and hit for a solid batting average. The big question is how much of his power outburst from last year (28 HR) is for real. Last season, he had a 15.8% HR/FB rate which was well above his previous career high (7%). Draft him for the Runs & Batting Average but temper your expectations when it comes to the power numbers.
10) Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
In a season mostly devoid of bright spots, Franco provided a ray of hope for the Phillies hitting .280 with 14 HR. Given a full season, power totals in the 20-25 HR range is very realistic. One other positive thing to note is that his .280 AVG appears to be sustainable as his BABIP was a modest .297.
11) Pablo Sandoval, 3B, Boston Red Sox
It is safe to say that Sandoval’s first season in with the Red Sox went very poorly. While the Red Sox did pay way too much for him, it can be argued that he was also unlucky as well. His BABIP of .270 was 37 points below his career total and his HR/FB rate was also below career averages. There’s also a good chance that his second season with the Red Sox goes better.
12) Jung-Ho Kang, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates
Kang is also eligible at shortstop. After a slow start, Kang’s bat heated up later in the season as he hit .310 with 11 HR after the All-Star break. Kang should provide power in the 15-20 HR range but repeating last year’s .287 AVG may be a tall order as this was aided by a .344 BABIP.
13) Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Minnesota Twins
Plouffe should continue to provide 20 HR power along with a batting average somewhere around .250. The last couple seasons he has also been a strong RBI source as he has driven in 80+ runs the last couple seasons.
14) Justin Turner, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers
Personally, I thought Turner was going to regress in 2015. However, he proved me wrong as he hit .294 with 16 HR. Even with his BABIP regressing to within one point of his career total, he still managed to hit .294. The big question of how much of his power outburst (16 HR in 439 PA is sustainable). His HR/FB rate of 13.9% last year is well above his 8% career total.
15) David Wright, 3B, New York Mets
In 2015, Wright was limited to 38 games. While he did perform respectably (.289 AVG, 133 wRC+), the larger scope of things indicates that his production is on a downward slope. Even in 2014, his power numbers were substandard (8 HR in 586 PA) and if 2015 were any indication; his days of being a strong stolen base threat appear to be numbered.
16) Mike Moustakas, 3B, Kansas City Royals
Moustakas is finally starting to show some of the promise that made him a high-level prospect as he hit .284 with 22 HR last season. This season, 15-20 HR power seems reasonable but his AVG could be in for some regression as his BABIP was 26 points above his career total last season.
17) Brett Lawrie, 3B, Chicago White Sox
Lawrie is on the move again, this time to the White Sox. While he managed to stay healthy last season, his numbers were underwhelming as he hit .260 with 16 HR and a 94 wRC+. While the move from Oakland to Chicago may give him a few extra home runs, his .260 batting average was also aided by a BABIP 20 points above his career total.
18) Martin Prado, 3B, Miami Marlins
Prado has settled into a rhythm where he will give you a solid batting average (.291 career hitter) but he’s not going to steal many bases and his HR total will be somewhere around 10. There is little indication in the numbers that either of these trends is likely to change this year.
19) Matt Duffy, 3B, San Francisco Giants
Duffy had a very strong season with the Giants as he hit .294 with 12 HR & 12 SB. While his power & speed numbers should stay around the same ranges next year, the one question mark is how strong will his batting average be. Last season, he had a .336 BABIP. If this total moves closer to the .300 range, his batting average could slip to the .265-.275 range.
20) Chase Headley, 3B, New York Yankees
Outside of his 2012 season, Headley has provided modest power (10-15 HR). While he hit for a stronger batting average when he was younger, he hasn’t hit above. 259 over the last three seasons. While you could do worse than Headley, his ceiling appears to be very low.