Top 15 Third Basemen (2019): Do The Questions Outweigh The Positives?

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Third base has long been considered a strong fantasy position, and that remains to be the case moving into 2019.  Is it the strongest?  There are some great options, but there are also some questions clouding the outlook for some of the bigger names (like Alex Bregman, Kris Bryant and Miguel Andujar). 

With that being said, here are a few things to remember as you review the rankings (and if you want to see even deeper rankings, make sure to order our 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide that includes a Top 30, by clicking here):

  • A player being ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value that he holds.
  • These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019.

Who are the names we should trust?  Who should be ignored? Let’s dive in and take a look:

  1. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
  2. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
  3. Anthony Rendon – Washington Nationals
  4. Javier Baez – Chicago Cubs
  5. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
  6. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
  7. Eugenio Suarez – Cincinnati Reds
  8. Matt Chapman – Oakland A’s
  9. Josh Donaldson – Atlanta Braves
  10. Wil Myers – San Diego Padres
  11. Travis Shaw – Milwaukee Brewers
  12. Miguel Andujar – New York Yankees
  13. Max Muncy – Los Angeles Dodgers
  14. Jurickson Profar – Texas Rangers
  15. Eduardo Escobar – Arizona Diamondbacks

Thoughts:

  • We’ve already discussed Alex Bregman in our shortstop rankings, which you can view by clicking here.  Obviously those concerns remain, though his ranking among third baseman won’t raise as many eyebrows (and that goes to show you how strong shortstop appears to be heading into 2019).
  • Matt Chapman had a bit of a breakout in 2018, hitting .278 with 24 HR, 68 RBI and 100 R over 616 PA.  His power is for real, but the question has always been his ability to consistently make contact.  He showed major improvements at the highest level in ’18, with an impressive 8.8% SwStr% and 24.5% O-Swing%, and he was able to maintain it throughout the season.  Don’t be surprise if his performance only improves.
  • Why is Miguel Andujar outside the Top 10 after an impressive rookie season (.297, 27 HR, 92 RBI over 606 PA)?  He’s going to be able to hit for a solid average, but it’s easy to expect a regression given his propensity to chase outside of the strike zone (39.4% O-Swing%) and pop the ball up (14.5% IFFB).  Throw in the risk that his power somewhat stagnates, and he could be more of a .275/25 type player.  That’s solid, and I wouldn’t argue with him anywhere from #9 down (but he definitely would not be ahead of Chapman).  We’ll dig in a lot deeper later this week.
  • Was Kris Bryant’s struggles solely based on his shoulder injury?  That would be an easy excuse, but things aren’t quite that simple as there are questions about his Hard% (which has been suppressed for the past two seasons) and his ability to produce as opposing pitchers have thrown him fewer fastballs.  He should remain among the better options, but he also isn’t guaranteed to return to his elite numbers.
  • There are a lot of questions facing Wil Myers, but his ability to go 20/20 (and push 30/30) when healthy is something that is not debatable.  As long as he pairs it with a .260+ average he’s going to be a strong fantasy asset with the potential to be a stud.  If he can find a position and stay on the field there’s a lot to like, but if we don’t get clarity he will start to drop down the rankings a bit.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball



8 COMMENTS

  1. Cubs fired Chili Davis after regressions from Bryant, Rizzo and Contreras. Davis changed their swings and I heard that he told them to hit the ball on the ground more. Pretty much the opposite of what everyone else is teaching at this point. I still think hitting and pitching coaches matter. Thoughts?

    • To an extent they matter, though ultimately if the player is struggling that badly I’d like to think they would go back to what was working. Also, it’s not just fewer HR but also a reduced Hard% in back-to-back seasons that sticks out.

    • I will admit to being conservative with Vlad, but a lot of that comes down to how soon you expect him up. If the Blue Jays are going to keep him down for whatever reason, it’s going to suppress his 2019 impact. Once up, he should be a Top 10 option at the position

  2. Any thoughts on Rafael Devers? Been holding onto him for a couple years now. I know he’s young, but starting to wonder if he could still become a top 5 3B.

    • I don’t see him getting there. The best way to describe it is this excerpt from the Draft Guide:

      “He didn’t show an ability to hit the ball hard (34.4% Hard%), doesn’t offer much speed, and therefore is hurt by his groundball rate (46.2%), and he struggled with his popup rate (15.7%). Throw in a relatively poor approach, with a 13.1% SwStr% and 37.3% O-Swing% bringing questions to his strikeout rate (24.7%), and it’s hard to anticipate a significant improvement.”

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