2014 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Player of the Year — Third Base

As we continue through the breakout series, we must keep in mind one guiding principle. What constitutes a breakout player? You might be tempted to think it is the best player at a particular position, but that’s not the case. This is a player that was not highly thought of at the beginning of the season for one reason or another. In order to find that guy, we are going to look at the top six players at each position according to runs created.

Runs created is an advanced statistic that incorporates everything a player does offensively to estimate how many runs he is actually worth to his team. It’s always interesting to compare those totals with the number of runs a player actually produces. That can be calculated by adding runs and RBI and then subtracting home runs. Since we are looking at breakout fantasy players, we will focus on the standard fantasy categories.

Once we identify the top six guys, we will whittle that down to the top three break out guys at the position. Again, it’s not necessarily about who is the best player, but who is the biggest surprise. Third base likely won’t have many outrageous surprises like we have seen at other positions, but there are one or two guys that have been pleasant surprises on the season. First, let’s take a look at the top six guys.

PRE

AVG

HR

Runs

RBI

RP

RC

SB

Matt Carpenter

51

.285

7

81

49

123

80

5

Adrian Beltre

12

.323

17

64

65

112

79

1

Todd Frazier

227

.279

21

68

66

113

77

17

Josh Donaldson

81

.249

25

78

84

137

76

7

Kyle Seager

140

.273

19

53

78

112

74

5

Evan Longoria

24

.254

16

67

70

121

65

4

 

Breakout Player of the Year: Todd Frazier—Cincinnati Reds

Remember, this isn’t about who is the best third baseman in baseball. This is about the guy that came from the depths to surprise the fantasy world. Of course, “the depths” is relative depending on the position. At some positions, there were undrafted guys that entered the top 20 percent at their position. Frazier was drafted in the vast majority of leagues but was considered a fantasy backup by most. However, when you look at his previous two seasons, this kind of jump shouldn’t have been the biggest surprise in the world.

He hit 19 home runs in each of the past two seasons, so 21 home runs (as of August 23rd) shouldn’t be a huge shock. He will likely end up somewhere between 25 and 30 home runs by the time the season is over. Still, he had an .829 OPS in 2012 when he first became a regular. So, his .798 OPS this season is not a significant jump forward. What is more likely is that he stayed constant while the rest of the position took a step backwards. If the season ended today, he would be third in runs created.

Runner Up: Kyle Seager—Seattle Mariners

Again, we aren’t talking a breakthrough here. What we are looking at is a player that is getting progressively better each season while the rest of the position seems to be taking a step back. In actuality, Seager’s development is actually fairly normal. We just don’t see it as often as we used to. He has gotten a little bit better each season (.738, .764, .813) and the numbers reflect that improvement across the board. All that being said, his average draft position is still pretty much in line with who he is as a player. He is not a dominant performer and probably never will be. He will likely settle in as a .260-.280, 25-30 HR guy from here on out.

Honorable Mention: Matt Carpenter—St. Louis Cardinals

A lot of people have been focusing on how Matt Carpenter has fallen short in terms of expectations this season. He still leads all third basemen in runs created. Sure, he created 125 runs last season. There is no way he will get there this season, but if he finishes strong he could reach 100 runs created again this season. Looking back, there was no way he was going to produce those same numbers, but he has an outside chance at scoring 100 runs and driving in as many as 70 runs. He’ll also draw more walks this season than he did last season.

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1 Comment

  1. Big Mike
    August 26, 2014 at 1:09 pm — Reply

    Nolan Arenado is hitting .308/.349/.519 with 14 HR, 52 RBI, and 54 runs in six weeks’ fewer plate appearances than anyone on this list (except Beltre) due to a DL stint. In wRAA, Arenado is the number 2 third-baseman in all of baseball, behind only Beltre and again, despite missing six weeks. Considering he went in rounds 18-20 in most 12-team drafts, I think you may have made a mistake leaving him off this list.

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