What struck me about the fantasy baseball third baseman rankings for the 2022 season is how deep the position remains. The top few options at third might not be as dominant as the position once was, but if I have to settle for Alec Bohm or Bobby Dalbec as my starting third baseman, I'm fine with that. I expect both to have even better seasons this year than last.
They both could end up in the top 10 of third basemen this year and be near the top of the rankings next year. One player who is there now whom I would not have projected there at this time last year was Austin Riley. Riley hit .303 and 33 round-trippers in 2021. Based on his supporting advanced stats, the power is real but the average is not. Riley has an ISO (isolated power) of .227 last year. The NL average ISO was .165 for comparison purposes. Riley also had a ridiculous .368 BABIP last year. That's not happening again. His average will drop, but I think he can easily hit 30 home runs again.
Speaking of 30 homers, you know who else I like to hit that benchmark? Ke'Bryan Hayes. He's definitely a "plant my flag" player, and I could look either really stupid or really smart by doing so. But I love his power potential. The MLB HardH% (hard-hit percentage) has been under 39 percent. Hayes, however, in his approximately 450 MLB at-bats, has a HardH% of more than 48 percent. Now healthy, I am expecting big things from Hayes this season.
If I fail to get Hayes or he disappoints, I'm not worried though. As I said, the position is deep and I'm happy to get a guy like Bohm. Bohm is definitely one of my favorite "post-hype" prospects who was disappointing last year after bursting on the scene in the shortened 2020 season. But I'm also willing to go deep at third and if necessary grab my CI from these rankings as well. Speaking of which, one of the more hyped players I recall in all of my years of doing fantasy baseball was Evan Longoria.
Longoria is definitely getting long in the tooth and I'd be surprised if he's still a starter in 2023. But he currently is for 2022, and Longoria is still getting it done. His underlying advanced stats tell an even better story than his cumulative stats. He had an ISO of .221, a career-high HardH% of 54.5 percent, and most interestingly a walk rate of over 12 percent. That walk percentage is a 10-year high. Depending on your league scoring, Longoria could be a sneaky late-round pick at third base.
See my 3B rankings below for other players at the hot corner I like.
2022 Fantasy Baseball: Third Base Rankings
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.