2017 Fantasy Baseball: Positional Power Rankings– Third Basemen
Third base might be the deepest position on the diamond. Some of you will be more surprised by the players not on the list than the ones on the list. Obviously, that will raise more questions so we immediately go to the methadology for coming up with the list. The primary statistic used is one I call alternative offensive value. It averages batting average and secondary average together. That is destined to eliminate players that may have superior counting statistics, but we are looking for the players actually producing the best.
Secondary average may be unfamiliar to some of you. It calculates everything a player does that does not include batting average. So, we are looking at what I would like to call isolated power (an actual thing), isolated patience, and isolated speed. When you combine that with batting average you get a statistic that looks like batting average but is a whole lot more descriptive.
1. Anthony Rendon— Washington Nationals
Key Stats: .297, 16 HR, 43 Runs, 51 RBI, 4 SB
The Nationals have scored more runs than any team in the NL. That happens when you have players like Rendon playing the way they do. He may not have the counting numbers of some of the other guys on the list, but he hits for power and he gets on base. Those are the hallmarks of great players even if their basic numbers may not look so great.
2. Marwin Gonzalez— Houston Astros
Key Stats: .319, 14 HR, 36 Runs, 49 RBI, 3 SB
When you lead the league in runs scored you have players that have out of context seasons. Gonzalez plays third base, shortstop, first base, second base, and left field. He has played more games at third than any other position, but he is the best super utility guy in the game today. That makes him as valuable as any player in the fantasy game.
3. Kris Bryant— Chicago Cubs
Key Stats: .262, 16 HR, 51 Runs, 33 RBI, 6 SB
Runs and RBI say more about the team than the individual. Sure, better players typically score more runs and drive in more runs than lesser players. Still, judging a player on those numbers alone is foolish. Bryant’s 33 RBI make it look like he is having a down season where it is really about the entire team. Granted, he was better last year, but not that much better.
4. Justin Turner— Los Angeles Dodgers
Key Stats: .384, 8 HR, 38 Runs, 33 RBI, 2 SB
Turner has 3.9 bWAR and he missed time. It’s hard to say this looking at his counting numbers, but he could be a darkhorse MVP candidate in the National League. When you consider that the MVP usually comes from a winning team he already has that going for him. If he stays healthy the rest of the way he could get the honors.
5. Miguel Sano— Minnesota Twins
Key Stats: .278, 20 HR, 50 Runs, 60 RBI, 0 SB
We see a theme running through all of these players. The Twins are where they are largely because Sano has taken a huge step forward with his development. Teams that surprise have players that play above their head. Sano has been much better once they moved him back to third base.
6. Jake Lamb— Arizona Diamondbacks
Key Stats: .281, 18 HR, 52 Runs, 65 RBI, 4 SB
As it turns out, Lamb was not a flash in the pan. He has coupled with Paul Goldschmidt to give the Dbacks one of the best one-two punches in the middle of their order. Unlike the other guys, he has enjoyed the added run producing opportunities and is on pace to drive in 120 runs. The mistake is thinking that makes him better than the guys above.
7. Jose Ramirez— Cleveland Indians
Key Stats: .327, 15 HR, 59 Runs, 42 RBI, 9 SB
It’s hard to believe the Indians are barely above .500 with the amount of talent they have on their team. They still have the best odds of advancing to the World Series even though their record is barely keeping them in playoff contention. Ramirez has steadily gotten better each passing year and quietly has been one of the best fantasy players in baseball.
8. Travis Shaw— Milwaukee Brewers
Key Stats: .297, 18 HR, 45 Runs, 61 RBI, 7 SB
The value of a good bullpen is undeniable, but when you trade good everyday players for relief pitchers you usually lose. The Red Sox wanted to bolster their bullpen and traded what seemed like a mediocre regular to the Brewers. He is now better than mediocre and that reliever hasn’t thrown a single pitch for the Red Sox.
9. Joey Gallo— Texas Rangers
Key Stats: .191, 21 HR, 47 Runs, 41 RBI, 5 SB
How could he be in the top ten? He hits below .200. Batting average is a relic of a bygone era. Bill James tried himself in the 1970s to bury it and we’ve been trying every decade since. We are making steady progress and putting Gallo on this list is an example of that progress. AOV may not be a perfect metric, but this ranking is closer to the truth than just his batting average.
10. Jedd Gyorko— St. Louis Cardinals
Key Stats: .301, 12 HR, 34 Runs, 41 RBI, 5 SB
Sure, Nolan Arenado’s absence is glaring and given his overall value I’d much rather have him, but Gyorko has been the more valuable hitter this season so far this season. Like with Marwin Gonzalez, Gyorko has been a multiple position player. That makes him a pretty valuable fantasy commodity.