By JB Branson and RotoRob
Welcome back to another of our 2016 Fantasy baseball cheat sheets. Now that we’re into the offseason, we enter the “review” period of the season, while beginning to make plans for 2017. So these rankings represent our view of the landscape at third base as of the end of the 2016 season… with an eye towards 2017 (but, in most cases, without the assistance of knowing how players’ roles or homes may change). Much can happen between now and then, and even a great casino like Bodog Sports probably would have a tough time predicting how things are going to play out this offseason.
Note as well that all of these players qualified at third base for 2016; they may not all remain qualified at the position for 2017, so be sure to check your individual league eligibility rules.
Need a third baseman for your Fantasy baseball team this offseason? While you wonder whether adding Wade Davis will improve the Cubs’ chances of repeating, we look at the top 45 players at the position as of the end of the 2016 season. Special thanks to JB (@JBsFantasyHelp) for his excellent work with the rankings.
Third base saw some changes this year, thanks to some nice young talent joining the ranks as well as some established players earning qualification. Look at some of the newbies this year — Daniel Murphy, Jonathan Villar and Eduardo Nunez all qualified at the hot corner for 2016, while youngsters like Miguel Sano, Ryon Healy and Hernan Perez started to make their mark. Old standbys stepped up: Kyle Seager showed he’s a more complete player; Adrian Beltre still has plenty left in the tank; Maikel Franco took a huge step forward early before fading; and youngster Nicholas Castellanos also made nice strides before getting hurt.
This is no longer a shallow position as it was heading into the 2015 season, and thanks to some nice surprises (Villar and Nunez, we’re looking at you), there’s a lot more depth here as we begin to think about 2017.
Last year’s rankings are in parentheses.
1. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (17): This massive man-child stayed healthier last year, improving his numbers nearly across the board en route to his first MVP trophy. What is Bryant’s power prime going to look like? Hell, he’s such a celebrity now that he’s been on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but sorry ladies, he’s getting married soon (see video below). He also qualifies at Outfield.
2. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (4): Baseball-Reference suggests that Arenado, at this current age, most similarly compares to Scott Rolen. Imagine him having a Rolen-like career without the injuries and with the benefit of Coors Field. Arenado is a franchise player already.
3. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles (14): For Machado’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings.
4. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays (1): Voted Toronto’s best player in 2016, Donaldson had another MVP-type effort and has proved extraordinarily durable, although his extra-base pop was down a smidge this year.
5. Jonathan Villar, Milwaukee Brewers (43 at SS): For Villar’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings.
6. Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners (6): Seager turned in his first 30-homer campaign in what was easily the finest effort of his career.
7. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals (12): For Carpenter’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings. He also qualifies at First Base.
8. Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals (13 at 2B): For Murphy’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings. Murphy also qualifies at First Base
9. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (2): Beltre turned in another amazing season both on offense and on the field. He’s now just 58 hits shy of the magical 3,000 mark for his career.
10. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (7): For Rendon’s profile, see our Second Base Rankings.
11. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (5): Longoria was again very healthy last year as he has been in recent seasons, but it’s a surprise to see him most compared to Geoff Jenkins on Baseball-Reference.com. Anyone else shocked by that?
12. Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox (3): The Homer Derby champ from 2015 has been very durable and in moving to the AL last year, pounded 40 long bombs for the first time. He also enjoyed a nice season on the basepaths, but his BA took a beating.
13. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (NR): Part of the young core the Astros have built that has them perhaps one veteran from contention, Bregman actually upped his walk rate in Houston over what he had done in Triple-A — a fantastic sign for a young player. The upside here is tremendous.
15. Justin Turner, Free agent (45): We recommended Turner as a waiver wire pickup in June last year, and it was a great call as he raked to the tune of a .330 mark that month and then hit even better in July before cooling. In 2016, he built on that with his most productive campaign.
16. Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins (NR): By cutting Trevor Plouffe, the Twins have opened up the hot corner for Sano, who didn’t really have a full-time home on the field last year. If Sano stays healthy, expect him to make a run at 35 homers in 2017. Sano also qualifies at Outfield.
17. Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies (44): Franco broke through for a career high in homers last year, but his walk rate and BA went south.
18. Eduardo Nunez, San Francisco Giants (45 at SS): For Nunez’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings.
19. Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks (32): Could Lamb be dealt to the Yankees as some rumours suggest? If he could combine 2016’s power with 2015’s hitting, we’d really be onto something here.
20. Nicholas Castellanos, Detroit Tigers (19): Castellanos makes an ideal second Fantasy third baseman if you’re holding a stud you’re worried about slipping due to age or injury.
Others to Consider
21. Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals (23)
22. Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates (37 at SS): Kang is also listed in our Shortstop Rankings. (Watch out for Kang’s legal situation before investing in him.)
23. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (18 at SS): Baez is also listed in our Second Base Rankings.
24. Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros (NR)
25. Hernan Perez, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Also qualifies at Outfield.
26. Jose Reyes, New York Mets (4 at SS): Reyes in also listed in our Shortstop Rankings.
27. Yasmany Tomas, Arizona Diamondbacks (45 at OF): Tomas also qualifies at OF.
28. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds (47 at SS): For Suarez’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings.
29. Yangervis Solarte, San Diego Padres (39): Also listed in our First Base Rankings.
30. Ryon Healy, Oakland Athletics (NR)
31. Danny Valencia, Seattle Mariners (50): Valencia also qualifies at Outfield.
32. Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals (16 at 2B): Gyorko is also listed in our Second Base and Shortstop Rankings.
33. Martin Prado, Miami Marlins (20)
34. Wilmer Flores, New York Mets (19 at SS): Flores is also listed in our Second Base and Shortstop Rankings. He also qualifies at First Base.
35. Brandon Drury, Arizona Diamondbacks (NR): Drury also qualifies at Outfield.
36. Adonis Garcia, Atlanta Braves (NR)
37. Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): Shaw is also listed in our First Base Rankings.
38. Trevor Plouffe, Free agent (26)
39. Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates (21): Harrison is also listed in our Second Base Rankings and qualifies at Outfield.
40. Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians (27): Also qualifies at Outfield.
41. Jhonny Peralta, St. Louis Cardinals (12 at SS): For Peralta’s profile, see our Shortstop Rankings.
42. T.J. Rivera, New York Mets (NR)
43. Cheslor Cuthbert, Kansas City Royals (NR)
44. Tyler Saladino, Chicago White Sox (NR): Saladino is also listed in our Shortstop Rankings and qualifies at Second Base.
45. Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros (NR): Gonzalez is also listed in our Shortstop Rankings and qualifies at First Base.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who’s too high, too low or missing.