We’ve talked about depth of the middle of the infield, but it has nothing on third base. Third base is, by far, the deepest position in Fantasy Baseball for 2017, with 15 or so players I’d be fine with as starting options in a 12-team league.
What’s more, four of those players are going to be first round picks. As deep as the position is, they deserve to be there because they set themselves apart from their competition.
Let’s take an early look at the 2017 third base tiers for Fantasy Baseball.
*Note, we are going with 5×5 category rankings.
These are the consensus four that you will see go first at the position, and in every conceivable draft, in the first round. But one of the big topics in 2017 drafts will be the correct order to pick them. I’m OK with any order, but I prefer to take Josh Donaldson first. There were questions whether he could live up to his MVP season of 2015, and he had another terrific year for the Jays in 2016. Losing Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista may push him down a spot, but he’s still going to dominate in what is still a loaded Toronto lineup … Speaking of MVP, Kris Bryant breaks into the first round officially in 2017 drafts. The only problem with Bryant is that I think we’ve seen his ceiling already. There isn’t much room to go up from his 2016, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s just a “his name isn’t Mike Trout” thing … Nolan Arenado has Coors Field in his back pocket, which gives anyone a boost already. The thing is, unlike Corey Dickerson, Arenado’s bat could play well in any stadium. He’s still one of the more underrated stars of the game … I wrote about Manny Machado in my shortstop preview. Because of his shortstop eligibility he’s last among the four; you’re more likely to play him at shortstop than you are at third base.
I wrote about Matt Carpenter in my first base preview… For years, Kyle Seager has been a consistent option you can pick in Round 8, knowing you’ll get him. But last year, he saw a spike across the board, setting career-highs in homers (30), runs (89), RBIs (99), walk-rate (10.2 percent), ISO (.221), average (.278), on-base percentage (.359), slugging (.499), wOBA (.363) and WRC+ (133). Do I think Seager regresses slightly? Yeah, I do. Well, come to think of it, do I think that Seager may have just improved last year? Well, yeah, I do. That’s why he’s right in the middle between where he was entering 2016 and where he finished the year. Perhaps Corey Seager doesn’t have the “best Seager in baseball” title to himself, yet … I’m the high man on Alex Bregman, and I can live with it. I mean, I was counting down the days until he got his promotion during the summer. After a brutal, brutal 1 for 32 start to his career, Bregman’s bat came to play at the big league level. His .264 average is actually respectable after he finished July batting .045. In August, he raised it up to .274 and over the final 15 games of the season, he batted .323. Bregman’s playing time is safe no matter who they add. He can play third base, his natural shortstop or even left field. Don’t be afraid to reach for Bregman.
I wrote about Jonathan Villar in my shortstop preview… Adrian Beltre feels like Frank Gore to me. Every year, I want to stay away from him, but he just keeps producing at an elite level. I’m going to take my usual cautious approach into drafts next year, too, but the position is deep enough that I’m OK taking a chance on him. If the bottom finally falls out, I know there are options waiting for me on the wire … I’m interested in seeing where Justin Turner lands, but what a transition he’s made from bench player for the Mets to one of the best bats in the Dodgers’ lineup. It’s been multiple years of this, so I’m buying in fully … Todd Frazier is empty home runs. You’ll always take power, but as we saw last year, there’s plenty of it to go around. He doesn’t have the elite tag next to him anymore.
How deep is third base that this is finally where Anthony Rendon shows up? While health is always a concern with Rendon, the talent isn’t. It was nice to see him swipe 12 bags last year. Expect much of the same this year, too, as Dusty Baker is giving green lights left and right on the bases … Know who Jose Ramirez reminds me of? His teammate, Michael Brantley. He’ll have the chance to prove his 2016 was real. I’m a believer … The bounce-back season from Evan Longoria was great, but I’m not betting on another 36 homers. The 22-21 that he hit in 2014-2015 seem more likely.
Jung Ho Kang
It’s about upside at this point, and this tier shows that off. I’ll have Yoan Moncada higher than a lot of experts, but I’m OK with that. He’s going to be off the boards in the first five rounds in 2018, and a first-round pick in 2019. Get ahead of it this year, folks … It’s weird thinking that in 196 games, we are kind of disappointed with Miguel Sano’s production of 43 home runs and 118 RBIs with his 124 wRC+. His strikeout rate is through the roof, which we knew, but he’s also doing what you drafted him to do – hit home runs … Jake Lamb cooled off extraordinarily, but he can rake against righties. The power is real, folks … I’m expecting a bounce-back season from Jung Ho Kang. I don’t know whether it was the knee or the allegations that caused a massive slump, but I like Kang as a value pick this year … Javier Baez has the position fluidity that will help him out next year, but based on his playoff performance, he’ll go higher than I’ll want to take him. His bad World Series seemed to make some people come back to Earth on him, though. Remember, we don’t care about his defensive abilities … He’s older, sure, but remember the hype that we had not even a calendar year ago when it was announced that Yulieski Gurriel and his brother Lourdes Gurriel were going to sign with an MLB team? After a year off of baseball, I don’t think I’m quite ready to write him off after 137 plate appearances.
Ryon Healy will be among my favorite sleepers this season. He’s the perfect corner infielder who has Top 12 potential at the position … I’m low on Maikel Franco. I didn’t trust his 2015 80-game audition, and he kind of disappointed with the hype that he had heading into 2016. His batted ball stats are eerily similar, though, I think he’ll be a waiver wire guy for most of 2017 … I wrote about Eduardo Nunez in my shortstop preview… If I miss out on my early targets and just decide to wait at the position, I’m going to be targeting Mike Moustakas in the late rounds, assuming he recovers from his torn ACL he suffered early in the 2016 season … I’m still trying to figure out what Hernan Perez is. I like the speed/power combination, but he feels similar to the Tyler Naquin experience in 2016 with his .322 BABIP. If you need speed late, he’s a decent target.
The beginning of Nick Castellanos’ season was fun. That’s it, though. Nothing more to see here, folks … I wrote about Jose Reyes in my shortstop preview… I hope David Wright isn’t done. He shouldn’t be drafted, but it didn’t feel right (Wright?) to have a third base article without him in it.