As the MLB season approaches, it's time for fantasy baseball players to prepare for their draft. Here's a look at the best third basemen for your fantasy baseball team, along with tiers to help you prioritize during your draft.
1. ALEX BREGMAN, ASTROS
Lou Gehrig is the only other player who’s ever had a 30-homer/50-double/90-walk/10-steal season. Albert Pujols in his prime is another name he conjures. AJ Hinch says he’s never been around anyone who loves baseball as much as Alex, and you won’t have a player on your roster you love more.
2. JOSE RAMIREZ, INDIANS
In 2018, Ramirez joined Howard Johnson as the only third basemen in history to have a season with minimums of a .270 AVG, 35 HRs, 100 Rs, 100 RBIs and 30 SBs. Jose did all that despite batting .165 with 2 HRs in his last 38 games. Heads up for a move to second if the Indians send Jason Kipnis to the outfield, the bench or another team.
3. NOLAN ARENADO, ROCKIES
He’ll be the hottest commodity on the midsummer trade market if the Rox fall out of contention, which is noteworthy because his career OPS away from Coors is almost 200 points lower. Nobody has delivered the .297-40-126-104-2 average season he has since 2015.
4. ANTHONY RENDON, NATIONALS
Rendon has finally fulfilled his promise, splicing nearly identical, splendid campaigns back-to-back. He’s a .300 hitter whose HR-RBI-R segment of his fantasy account wafts just barely below the elites. He’s a ticking time bomb ready to go off for that one precedent-busting year he’s yet to marshal.
5. KRIS BRYANT, CUBS
He grappled with a sore shoulder throughout 2018 that ravaged his stats, but Bryant eschewed offseason surgery. His tumble out of Tier 1 stems from the possibility we haven’t heard the last of that condition. Unencumbered, his .288-31-91-106-9 mean of the three prior seasons is credibly repeatable.
6. WIL MYERS, PADRES
In his two complete seasons, Myers has gone 28/28 and 30/20 (HRs/SBs), but a dedication plaque with his name on it has been placed at the entrance to San Diego’s training room. His run/RBI yields are solid, but nothing exceptional.
7. EUGENIO SUAREZ, REDS
Eugenio’s insistent march of improvement persists. His triple crown stats (.283-34-104) were replicated by only the much-more heralded sextet of J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich, Manny Machado, Trevor Story, Javier Baez and Arenado. (An aside: Suarez and Martinez used to be Tigers, for whom they received Alfredo Simon, Dawel Lugo and two nondescript minor leaguers.)
8. MIGUEL ANDUJAR, YANKEES
Andujar was plenty good as a rookie, but having drawn only 25 walks, is he in danger of being exposed? Maybe not. All of his strikeout metrics were right around league average, and he made contact on 91.8% of his swings at pitches in the zone. Note that his more nuanced ratings would be C+, B-, A-, C+, D+.
9. MATT CARPENTER, CARDINALS
His protracted streaks wreak havoc in weekly leagues, but he’s consistent per annum. Batting at the top of the order makes for inharmonious high-HR/low-RBI relationships. With Matt’s come-out-of-his-shoes, pull approach now fully evolved, the needle isn’t moving on a blah AVG emasculated by a net loss of 23 hits to shifts — this despite going 8-for-8 when he bunted.
10. MATT CHAPMAN, A’S
Given his 24 HRs, 100 runs and .278 AVG, Chapman’s RBIs lagged at 68. A possible explanation: He batted with runners in scoring position 23% fewer times than the average player. Taking into account that qualifier and his post-All-Star American League extra-base hit leadership, we envision more strides in 2019.
11. JOSH DONALDSON, BRAVES
Donaldson isn’t too old (33) to recapture a representative chunk of his past glory, but he’s absorbed a lot of wear and tear. SunTrust Park carries a gapingly inferior longball rate to right-handed hitters compared to Rogers Centre, and if he bats second (as expected), his RBI opps will be diminished.
12. TRAVIS SHAW, BREWERS
Shaw lifted 25% more fly balls than in 2017, helping account for career lows in AVG (.241) and BABIP (.242), plus a 15% decline in RBIs even as he topped 30 home runs for the second straight time. Having sold out for launch angle, this is his probable profile going forward. Qualifies at second base.
13. JUSTIN TURNER, Dodgers
He’s not among the 20 third basemen who hit even 15 HRs last year, and he’s never had a run nor RBI total exceed 90, but Turner is capable of those things. He’s also the lone player at the position (2,000+ ABs) to have stroked .300 since 2014. Durability is another story; he’s missed nearly 200 games in that span.
14. VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR., BLUE JAYS
Guerrero is right up there with Harper and Acuna in candidacy for Prospect of the Century. The expectation is that he’ll surface in Toronto by May, at which point he’ll be entirely prepared to deliver a stat line similar to Acuna’s of 2018. After that, there’s no identifiable ceiling.
15. RAFAEL DEVERS, RED SOX
There was a lot of gun-jumping two years back when Devers seriously shredded for the first 20 games of his career. Since then, he’s hit .240 with 23 HRs in 595 ABs. He’s only 22 and with a sunny future, but the current forecast is partly cloudy.
16. EVAN LONGORIA, GIANTS
Longoria might be just the second third baseman (Eddie Mathews) to blow into the game with 11 seasons of 15 or more homers, but a career that once seemed to be a conduit to Cooperstown peaked six years ago. Age and AT&T Park have made matters worse. A renaissance is doubtful.
17. MAIKEL FRANCO, PHILLIES
Precariously close to being banished after a rocky 2017 season, Franco did enough last year to again tease — but not quite secure — legitimacy as a top-half third baseman. A similar measure of the progress he signposted with career-best home run and strikeout percentages would finish the job.
18. EDUARDO ESCOBAR, DIAMONDBACKS
Now we know why the Snakes hustled to hand out a three-year extension here during the World Series: They intended to move on from Paul Goldschmidt, install Jake Lamb at first base and make Escobar their third sacker. He’s a “Steady Eddie” whose lack of name recognition often makes him a value buy.
19. KYLE SEAGER, MARINERS
Lefthanders batted .190 when they hit a ground ball between first base and second base in 2018. Seager’s contribution was a net loss of 19 hits to shifts — third most in the majors. His AVG tanked to .221, although he still virtually assures 20-25 HRs and 80 RBIs.
20. MATT DUFFY, RAYS
In an environment where the game-wide batting average was the lowest of the DH era, a high one takes on more importance. That’s what Duffy provides, as well as a dozen steals and the illusion that your scrawnybuttself might actually be able to play independent ball if you could only get a tryout.
21. Mike Moustakas, Brewers
22. Yolmer Sanchez, White Sox
23. Colin Moran, Pirates
24. Miguel Sano, Twins
25. Todd Frazier, Mets
26. Brandon Drury, Blue Jays
27. Jeimer Candelario, Tigers
28. Zack Cozart, Angels
29. Hunter Dozier, Royals
30. Jedd Gyorko, Cardinals
31. Renato Nunez, Orioles
32. Jung Ho Kang, Pirates
33. Yangervis Solarte, Giants
34. Martin Prado, Marlins
35. Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals
36. Pablo Sandoval, Giants
37. Christian Arroyo, Rays
38. Austin Riley, Braves
39. Patrick Wisdom, Rangers
40. David Bote, Cubs