2018 Preseason Rankings: Top 15 Third Basemen: Identifying The Risks In A Deep Position

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Third base has become one of the more intriguing and deep positions.  Not only is there a group of elite options, but there’s a “next tier” that could join them in any given season.  That takes us down through #9, and even after that there are some highly intriguing options.  That doesn’t mean that there aren’t “land mines” that you want to avoid, as the hype could easily outweigh the output.  Who are the players to target?  Who should we avoid?  Let’s take a look at how the rankings currently look:

1. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
2. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
3. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
4. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
5. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
6. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
7. Jake Lamb – Arizona Diamondbacks
8. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
9. Nick Castellanos – Detroit Tigers
10. Eugenio Suarez – Cincinnati Reds
11. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
12. Mike Moustakas – Free Agent
13. Travis Shaw – Milwaukee Brewers
14. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
15. Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins

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Thoughts:

  • Alex Bregman showed how good he could be in the second half of ’17, hitting .315 with 11 HR, 44 RBI and 48 R over 267 AB. It’s easy to get excited and want to push him higher up these rankings, and it’s not impossible that he jumps up a few spots.  He brings elite plate discipline, the potential for more power (39 doubles, 5 triples, 19 HR in ’17) and the ability to steal some bases.  He has Top 5 upside, something we’ll discuss in more detail in the coming weeks.
  • It was a breakout season for Nick Castellanos, and while he appears primed to move to the outfield there’s little reason to think he won’t continue producing. Power is his best tool, and a 30+ HR season for the soon to be 26-year old seems likely (he had 36 doubles, 10 triples and 26 HR in ’17 courtesy of a believable 14.3% HR/FB).  His strikeout rate will have to be monitored, but the power will help to offset it.
  • Kyle Seager is often a popular name, and it’s very likely that he turns into one of the more over-drafted players. The risk is in his .249 average, having begun taking a home run-centric approach (51.6% fly ball rate).  That only continues to put his average at risk (limited BABIP), but if it also turns into more strikeouts due to increased aggressiveness?  That’s something to watch, but there’s enough risk to be cautious.
  • You can argue that Miguel Sano has more power than almost anyone on these rankings, but with that comes health concerns as well as a poor average (35.8% strikeout rate). He’s much better suited for those in OBP formats, especially with power up across the game.
  • It would be easy to overlook Adrian Beltre, based on his age, and assume that he’s bound to slow down. That’s a mistake, and it’s something we discussed previously.  You can read the article by clicking here, but continue to value him as a solid option for the upcoming year.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
--
Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

16 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Blind compare:
    Would you rather at third base:
    .250/.327/516 hitter with wRC+ 123

    or

    .249/.323.450 hitter with wRC+ 106

    The first one is Matt Chapman in the second half (it excludes 11 games he played in the first half to which even he admitted was jitters.) The second player is Kyle Seager. In OBP leagues I take Matt Chapman, since he has 35+HR upside in his bat.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I’m not a big believer in Chapman myself. He swings for the fences all the time and has a propensity for strikeouts, which is an extremely poor combination. There’s a good chance he hits closer to .200 than even .250

      • Chris says:

        Power wise his underlying metrics are similar to his teammate, Khris Davis (Chapman is much younger, though physically larger) He also doesn’t have much of a platoon split, and made improving contact on all pitch types (FB, SL, Chng). I understand your fear of the strikeouts, but I think with due diligence you will find something here.

  2. Sean D says:

    Do you think Castellanos is primed for a 30-35 homer campaign? His hard hit rate was elite last year

  3. CJ says:

    I’ll never understand how anyone could be high on Jake Lamb. His numbers against lefties is nothing short of embarrassing. I have never seen anything like that from a full time player. In weekly leagues he is unusable if he’s facing at least 2 lefties that week.

  4. Alex says:

    Is the Moustakas ranking due to an unknown team landing? He broke out last year and still can’t outrank old man Beltre, less pop Suarez, or 2nd half fading Lamb.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      That’s part of it, though there’s also risk in his average (strikeout rate, chases far too many pitches) and may not be able to maintain the power spike.

  5. Nick says:

    Not surer why Travis Shaw would be that low after a monster season. Is that all because he is a FA? Thought about using 1 of 3 keeper spots on him because it would be a last round draft pick for him. Any reason to avoid Shaw?

  6. Neal says:

    Freeman has 3b eligibility in Yahoo (amyeb elsewhere too?) Where does he rank as a 3b?

  7. Double J says:

    Why so low on Justin Turner?

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