by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Remember when third base was considered a shallow position? Those days are well behind us, as some of the premier players in the game now come from the position (Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado & Kris Bryant). The value doesn’t stop there with numerous youngsters developing (i.e. Maikel Franco), veterans who can still produce (i.e. Adrian Beltre) and solid players in the middle (i.e. Kyle Seager). Of course, despite the depth those top options are so good they are worth reaching for. How do things fall beneath them? Let’s take a look:
1. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
2. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
3. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
4. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
5. Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox
6. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
7. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
8. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
9. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
10. Maikel Franco – Philadelphia Phillies
11. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
12. Trevor Plouffe – Minnesota Twins
13. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
14. Brett Lawrie – Chicago White Sox
15. Matt Duffy – San Francisco Giants
- On the surface it would be easy to place Manny Machado into the top tier of third base options, especially after he hit .286 with 35 HR, 86 RBI, 102 R and 20 SB in ’15. There are questions across the board, but most notably with his average as he failed to deliver line drives (17.8%) and popped the ball up often (14.1%). We will go into great detail in the near future, but don’t be surprised if he regresses. He’ll remain a top option, but he’s not a player to reach for.
- Anthony Rendon struggled with injuries in ’15 so it would be easy to write him off. When he was on the field he still showed power (271.630 average distance on non-groundballs in August & September) and he has always proven capable of hitting for a strong average and kicking in 8-12 SB. The total package is still there.
- While Adrian Beltre & Evan Longoria are clearly on the downside, does that mean that they can’t contribute? Don’t write them off based on their age.
- Maikel Franco hit .280 in the Majors last season, but with a lack of line drives (18.2%) and a lot of popups (14.8%) there’s obvious risk that the number regresses. That is going to limit his appeal, especially with little speed (someone like Kyle Seager could kick in 7-10 SB) and the depth at the position.
- The questions with Trevor Plouffe surround his playing time, not his potential. That said the team appears to be committed to utilize Miguel Sano in the outfield, which keeps 3B clear for Plouffe. In other words don’t ignore him.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2016 rankings: