2018 Fantasy Baseball: Third Basemen 11-20
Third base is likely the deepest position on the diamond. So far, two points per game has been the line of demarcation between a fantasy regular and a player that really shouldn’t be in the regular lineup. Third base has nineteen such players. The obvious implication is that you can afford to wait on draft day or you can spend less in that auction for your third baseman. As we did in the last piece, we are using total points to drive our rankings, but we will also include each player’s five year averages in the standard categories.
Total points is the preferred format of choice for those that play daily fantasy sports, but it also is a growing format in standard season long leagues. Total points encompasses more of what a player does offensively because it includes more offensive events in its formula. More importantly, it includes negative events (strikeouts, base running outs, and double plays) in its formula.
Total points = Total Bases + Runs + RBI + SB + BB – Strikeouts – GIDP – Caught Stealing
Justin Turner—Los Angeles Dodgers
.302, 15 HR, 49 Runs, 56 RBI, 4 SB, 36 BB
5 Category: 17 DRS: +6
6 Category: 19
How does Turner rank so high? This is where looking at individual seasons helps more than the aggregate. He has three seasons in a row where he has produced well above two points per game with last season being a clear top ten finish at the position. So, we are betting on more as long as he can remain healthy. Health is the main reason he doesn’t crack the top ten. Attendance still matters in most formats.
Todd Frazier—Free Agent
.240, 30 HR, 79 Runs, 83 RBI, 12 SB, 59 BB
5 Category: 8 DRS: +8
6 Category: 6
One of the reasons why I love total points is that we cease to be a slave to individual categories. Frazier has a low batting average, but the other categories are strong. In this case, he suffers because of the strikeouts, but it more accurately mirrors who he is as a player. The music will stop eventually and he will find a home. He has been talking about his willingness to play other positions and if that is the case he could see a slight bump in value.
Alex Bregman—Houston Astros
.274, 14 HR, 60 Runs, 53 RBI, 10 SB, 35 BB
5 Category: 13 DRS: -5
6 Category: 17
Betting on the come is always a difficult venture. We can expect Bregman to grow, but how much will he grow? As you can see, on a per game basis we didn’t really see growth last season, but that would ignore numbers like BABIP and exit velocity. In other words, he was better than his numbers would suggest. He could graduate to 20 home runs and 15 stolen bases next season. That would make him a borderline fantasy regular.
Maikel Franco—Philadelphia Phillies
.255, 21 HR, 59 Runs, 71 RBI, 1 SB, 36 BB
5 Category: 18 DRS: -4
6 Category: 20
The category rankings are almost exclusive predicated on his partial year to start his career. His per 162 stats would put him comfortably in the middle of the pack at the position. The per game rates reveal a player that seems to be stuck in reverse. That being he will have more support in that lineup and while that usually has little effect on rate statistics, it should help the counting numbers.
Jake Lamb—Arizona Diamondbacks
.248, 17 HR, 56 Runs, 60 RBI, 5 SB, 48 BB
5 Category: 21 DRS: -13
6 Category: 16
When a player like Lamb represents the midpoint of the position you know you have a deep position. The last two seasons are far more relevant and the reason why he ranks higher than the composite rankings would suggest. He still has some holes in his game (swing and miss) but he is a productive player that would fit very well on someone’s fantasy bench.
Travis Shaw—Milwaukee Brewers
.262, 20 HR, 59 Runs, 69 RBI, 5 SB, 40 BB
5 Category: 11 DRS: +3
6 Category: 12
The Shaw trade has to be the highlight of the David Stearns era in Milwaukee. You usually don’t get a premium run producer for a middle reliever. This is especially true for a middle reliever that ends up missing most of the season. These kinds of deals border on clairvoyant Of course, Shaw is really not that good and Tyler Thornburg should be healthy again. Still, he is a credible bat at a position with a lot of credible bats.
Mike Moustakas—Free Agent
.248, 19 HR, 49 Runs, 55 RBI, 1 SB, 31 BB
5 Category: 27 DRS: -8
6 Category: 30
Moustakas certainly is becoming a free agent at the right time given his performance last season and over the last three seasons in general. Believe it or not, he was actually better in 2015 than 2017 according to total points. While total points is driving the train it is difficult to ignore his poor showing in the conventional numbers. Much of that can be blamed on his injuries, but a low batting average and low walks game kill his value as an offensive performer.
Eugenio Suarez—Cincinnati Reds
.258, 16 HR, 60 Runs, 56 RBI, 6 SB, 44 BB
5 Category: 15 DRS: +5
6 Category: 15
This is a bet on continued growth. Even if he simply sustains where he is at he is clearly a top 20 third baseman. What is particularly encouraging has been the development in his plate discipline. Last season, he drew more than 80 walks. This makes him an intriguing six category performer even if the other numbers don’t necessarily show this. The per 162 numbers might be a better predictor than what we see above.
Miguel Sano—Minnesota Twins
.256, 24 HR, 59 Runs, 65 RBI, 1 SB, 54 BB
5 Category: 16 DRS: -6
6 Category: 13
There is no bigger difference between traditional fantasy value and total points value than Sano. I have to admit it baffled me this past season when he seemed to crush dinger after dinger, but still couldn’t get past the top twenty in total points. Those strikeouts are a killer in that format, but the placement here is a bet that this will be the first season he is able to be relatively healthy.
Nick Castellanos—Detroit Tigers
.268, 18 HR, 55 Runs, 75 RBI, 2 SB, 36 BB
5 Category: 14 DRS: -21
6 Category: 17
Castellanos is a bit of a riddle in terms of fantasy value. On the one hand, he exploded to drive in more than 100 runs and hit more than 20 home runs for the first time last season. On the other hand, he is a butcher with the glove and his team has been stripped of much of its talent. The saving grace for him is the fact that he is eligible at third base and in the outfield for virtually every platform. That makes him a nice depth piece in any format.