by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There was a time where third base was viewed as one of the shallower positions in baseball, but over the past few years that has dramatically changed. Now you can find several of the premier players at the hot corner, and the intriguing names go far beyond the Top 15. It’s a position that you could potentially wait on, especially if you miss out on the elite, though that doesn’t mean you want to ignore the top tiers. Who are the best of the best? Who are intriguing names? Let’s take a look:
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. Todd Frazier – Chicago White Sox
8. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
9. Jonathan Villar – Milwaukee Brewers
10. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
11. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
12. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
13. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
14. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
15. Jung-Ho Kang – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Many view Matt Carpenter’s value as stemming mainly from his positional versatility. While that helps (in many leagues he is eligible at 1B, 2B and 3B), that’s not the only good thing he brings. Injuries helped to limit him somewhat, but he backed up his power breakout from 2015 (63 extra base hits, including 21 HR) while also showing the ability to hit for a strong average. As long as he stays healthy Carpenter figures to be one of the most valuable fantasy assets in 2017.
- It’s easy to overlook Anthony Rendon, but in a healthy 2016 he showed the ability to contribute power (20 HR) and some speed (12 SB) while hitting for a solid average (.270). He has a good discipline of the strike zone (6.4% SwStr%, 22.8% O-Swing%) and could also increase his power. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking him.
- Evan Longoria turned back the clock in 2016, hitting .273 with 36 HR. While there’s nothing unbelievable in regards to his average, on the surface, he appeared to be swinging for the fences a little bit more (46.8% fly ball rate, compared to sub-41% marks in three of the previous four seasons) and there is the risk of more strikeouts (11.9% SwStr%). If the power drops (he had hit 22 or fewer in three of the previous four seasons), the average could plummet. There’s value, but at a deep position there’s also a ton of risk.
- There is some uncertainty hanging over Jung-Ho Kang, as he needs to sort through several off the field issues. There’s value if he’s able to avoid suspension and play a full season, but that’s not a given.
- There are several intriguing names that just missed the Top 15, including Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, Ryon Healy and Maikel Franco. It goes to show you just how deep the position has become.
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings:
|Starting Pitcher||#1-20 |02/27/17|