2015 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Third Basemen

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Historically third base has been viewed as one of the shallower positions in fantasy baseball, but that’s simply no longer the case.  There’s been an infusion of young talent at the position, and there’s potentially more on the way.  Couple that with the veterans who still have the ability to produce and there are a significant number of options for fantasy owners.  Who’s the best?  Who is more name value?  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:

 

1. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
2. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
3. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
4. Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds
5. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
6. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
7. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
8. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
9. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
10. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
11. Josh Harrison – Pittsburgh Pirates
12. Pablo Sandoval – Boston Red Sox
13. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
14. David Wright – New York Mets
15. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox

Thoughts:

  • Josh Donaldson would’ve been among the best options in the league if he had stayed in Oakland.  As it is he hit 29 HR with 98 RBI and 93 R and his .255 average has more upside (does anyone really believe his 13.5% line drive rate, after marks of 22.5% and 20.6% the previous two seasons).  Now move that to a significantly better home ballpark and a loaded middle of the lineup?  There should be big days ahead.
  • It was a down year for Evan Longoria, hitting .253 with 22 HR.  Of course you can also argue poor luck (.285 BABIP, 20.4% line drive rate, 19.0% strikeout rate) and there is every reason to believe that his power should increase (10.8% HR/FB compared to a career mark of 15.4%).  Don’t undervalue him.
  • No one is going to question the upside of Nolan Arenado, but can he produce away from Coors Field?  Last season he hit .269 with 2 HR on the road and if he doesn’t start generating power his ultimate value will be capped.
  • Was Josh Harrison’s 2014 breakout for real or was it just a mirage?  There’s definitely reason to believe and you can find out why we feel that way by clicking here.
  • Remember when David Wright was one of the elite players in the game, not just one of the best 3B?  Those days have clearly come and gone as injuries have helped to limit his SB potential and zapped him of his power.  In 535 AB last season he managed 8 HR and 8 SB and, while we would expect an improvement off of those putrid numbers, don’t think the player who once went 30/30 is suddenly going to reappear.  For more on our thoughts of Wright, click here.

Make sure to check out all of our early 2015 rankings:

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16 comments

  1. Ryan says:

    I’m in a 10-team, Roto 5×5 league that allows each team to keep 8 players on 3-year deals (or players coming off of their rookie or 2nd seasons on a 5-year deal). Standard lineup (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 3 OF, 5 SP, 3 RP), but we do have both DH and U slots.

    Thus far I have settled on the following 6 keepers:

    Hitters:
    Trout (Year 1)
    M. Cabrera (Year 3)
    Altuve (Year 1)
    Rendon (Year 1, on a 5-year deal)
    Cespedes (Year 1)

    Pitchers:
    Scherzer (Year 3)

    So I have 2 slots left, and need to choose from:

    Cobb (Year 1)
    Teheran (Year 2, on a 5-year deal)
    Arenado (Year 1, on a 5-year deal)
    S. Castro (Year 1)
    Mesoraco (Year 1)
    Chris Davis (Year 1)
    A. Wood (Year 1)

    Right now I am leaning towards Cobb and *either* Castro or Arenado…would you hold on to Nolan, particularly given he can bea 5-year guy for me?

    All thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    • Matt says:

      I would hang on to Cobb and Arenado. Cobb out of the bunch is probably a no brainer as he is not far from being an ace and someone you can run out each week no matter what. Castro is a little flaky and you really never know what you are going to get. I believe that he will be gone to make room for Russell. Its either that or Baez to make room for him. Yes, Arenado struggles away from home but what other 3B plays 81 games at Coors? He is 24 and .269 on the road is not terrible. he doesn’t strike out much and for a 24 year old that has power, that is a good sign. Oh, and he plays at least another 8 games in Arizona…so almost 90 games in extreme hitters parks? Yes please.

    • Bob says:

      Cespedes??? IMO keep Cobb, Teheran (or Wood)and Arenado. The way I see it is Cobb, Teheran and Wood are all top twenty five starting pitchers while Arenado and Rendon should end up both being top three third basemen in the next year or two. As for Cespedes I don’t think he’s anywhere near a top twenty outfielder, meaning he’s not even a low end number two OF’er. The only reason you would be keeping Cespedes is out of position scarcity which is something you would be able to assess better than the rest of us. I was in a league similar to this and you have done quite well with your five year contract players which is the reason I suggested you keep both Teheran and Arenado over Cespedes. As for Cobb, he is the no-brainer.

  2. fiji.siv says:

    Sandoval plays in Boston now.
    Cabrera played 10 games at 3B last season, making him 3B-eligible in Yahoo.

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    fiji – I generally use 20 games as the guideline, but if he’s eligible he’s obviously the top choice.

    Ryan – I’d definitely prefer Arenado over Castro over the long-term. At the same time, I could make an argument for Wood (who I’m significantly high on) or Mesoraco. Could you package a few of these guys for a better option?

    • Ryan says:

      RotoProf,

      Will certainly try to do that…

      I also love Wood, but figure I can get him in the draft, probably in our second round (equivalent to round 10). That’s also why I’m leaning towards keeping Cobb as my #2…I don’t want to keep Teheran, have to option to draft Wood, and then puzzle over if I really want two Braves SPs over their next few years (this from a Braves fan). Scherzer/Cobb/Wood as my top 3 would be nice.

      It’s the 5 years of Arenado that is so attractive, vs. the 3 of anyone else (i.e. Mesoraco)…course, who knows what happens over those years.

      Thanks much for the response!

  4. Mike says:

    I’m in a 12 team H2H Keepers League.

    I would like to get your opinion on which one of these two players I should keep for the upcoming season.

    Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado – which one of these two players have higher ceilings and who would you select if you were to keep one of them for next 2-3 years.

    Thanks

  5. Mike says:

    I’m in a 10 team H2H keeper league where you can keep 5 players for any length and no cost. My first 4 are Cabrera, Trout, Kershaw, and Cano. I’m deciding between Beltre and Corey Dickerson. Any thoughts?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Long-term it’s Dickerson because we don’t know how many years Beltre has left. That said, on the short-term Beltre is the significantly better player and if you are making a run for it (which you seem to be) he’s the better choice.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks for confirming my decision. I’m hoping Dickerson falls to me in the draft. How far would you suggest reaching for him in my format? Is he worth a first round consideration since he has tremendous keeper upside?

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          It’s hard to say, not knowing who else is out there. First may be a stretch, but also not unrealistic

  6. Michael says:

    I’m really liking Donaldson for this season too, but the league I’m in is only letting us keep two keepers this year.. We have traditionally have kept up to four and this change has me all messed up. Here are my top 4

    McCutchen
    Kershaw
    Cano
    Donaldson

    Last season I traded Stanton and Wacha for Donaldson and Kershaw after the all star break. I was banking on rolling all four of these guys and now I’m stuck with a big decision. I’m leaning towards Kershaw and McCutchen because we have payouts for CY Young and MVP awards. Thoughts?

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