by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Remember when third base was among the weaker positions? It seems unfathomable now, as it is littered with not only some of the elite in the game but various solid options (and others who could emerge to be even more than that). Things have gotten so deep that there are definitely notable names you won’t find among our initial Top 10. Who made the cut? Let’s take a look (keep in mind these will also be expanded as we grow closer to draft day as well):
1. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
2. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
3. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
4. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
5. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
6. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
7. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
8. Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox
9. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
10. Jonathan Villar – Milwaukee Brewers
Just Missed – Jose Ramirez, Adrian Beltre, Justin Turner
- Anthony Rendon’s spot on these rankings is likely the one that will draw some of the bigger questions, and it’s one that we are going to continue to evaluate. That said, it’s easy to overlook that he actually hit .270 with 20 HR, 12 SB, 85 RBI and 90 R last season. That’s five-category production, and it’s also easy to envision the average rising a little bit more. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing him.
- Alex Bregman forced the Astros hand and reached the Majors a year after being selected, hitting .264 with 8 HR and 34 RBI over 217 AB. He showed ample extra base potential (13 doubles and 3 triples), though you have to wonder if he can maintain his 28.2% line drive rate or that type of power pace. There’s a lot to like and significant upside, and his spot on these rankings truly speaks to the depth at the position (though it’s possible he jumps up a spot as the offseason progresses).
- Will Todd Frazier stick in Chicago? That’s a big question, as his value is completely tied to his power. Barring a change in approach, if he’s traded to a less friendly home ballpark his value will likely plummet.
- It certainly appeared like Jonathan Villar broke out in ’16, with 62 SB and 19 HR. Of course he continued to swing and miss far too much (25.6% strikeout rate) and there’s reason to question his power total (19.6% HR/FB, 24.1% fly ball rate). He should remain one of the better stolen base threats in the league, but with a regression in his power and the risk in his average we have to keep his potential value in perspective.
Source – Fangraphs
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings: