2018 Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten Fantasy Third Basemen
The offseason is speeding along, so we are speeding up the ranking process. We are including total points and the traditional numbers and rankings in the same articles. The overall rankings will be a rough composite of the two systems. It has been awhile since we have seen total points, so we will include a crash refresher course to help reacquaint everyone with the process and reasons behind it.
Essentially, total points is a more efficient and accurate way of grading out an offensive performer. It includes almost everything a player does offensively into one tidy number. This includes positive and negative events, so sometimes the rankings can look radically different than the five and six category rankings. Total points will be the driver of this show, but we will also show the aggregate conventional numbers over the past five seasons. We will include each player’s ranking in five and six category formats as well.
Total Points = Total Bases + Runs + RBI + SB + Walks – SO – CS – GIDP
Josh Donaldson—Toronto Blue Jays
.281, 33 HR, 98 Runs, 98 RBI, 6 SB, 82 BB
5 Category: 2 DRS: +3
6 Category: 2
The world has gone crazy now that Manny Machado is on the chopping block. He is younger and might have a longer career, but no third baseman would have a larger impact in the short term than Donaldson. There is some rumor that he could be on the move and that would largely impact his final ranking. The Cardinals seem to be the biggest team on his tail. That would be a better destination for him at this point then staying in Toronto.
Nolan Arenado—Colorado Rockies
.289, 30 HR, 84 Runs, 101 RBI, 2 SB, 42 BB
5 Category: 3 DRS: +20
6 Category: 3
If there were an additional fielding component to fantasy baseball then Arenado would be a clear cut number one on the list. He has been on another level the past three seasons, so some people would put him number one based on that alone. The lack of walks hurt him in six category leagues and in total points, so he will have to settle for the second ranking for now.
Kris Bryant—Chicago Cubs
.287, 31 HR, 106 Runs, 91 RBI, 9 SB, 82 BB
5 Category: 1 DRS: +2
6 Category: 1
Depending on the format, Bryant still has outfield eligibility. In those leagues, he might be valuable enough to leapfrog either Arenado and/or Donaldson. Third base is such a deep position it could come in handy to be able to draft two good third basemen and shift Bryant to the outfield. The question for him is not whether he will continue to be valuable, but whether he will ever produce huge run/RBI numbers.
Adrian Beltre—Texas Rangers
.308, 23 HR, 77 Runs, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 47 BB
5 Category: 6 DRS: +6
6 Category: 11
Most people know Beltre as a player that just reached 3000 career hits this past season. Sure, that guarantees him a spot in Cooperstown, but stopping there would ignore the magnitude of his career. Depending on how long he plays, he will break into the top four third basemen in the history of the sport. The combination of offense and defense has been something to behold even if most fans haven’t clued into his greatness. Unfortunately, he has been breaking down physically even if his overall game hasn’t been affected.
Matt Carpenter—St. Louis Cardinals
.275, 18 HR, 100 Runs, 72 RBI, 3 SB, 88 BB
5 Category: 9 DRS: +2
6 Category: 8
Like Bryant, Carpenter is eligible at second and first base in most formats. If the Cardinals do acquire Josh Donaldson then they can easily shift him over to second base. That kind of flexibility helps vault him above some other similar players that might put up more gaudy counting numbers. Carpenter ranks fifth here largely because his value in total points formats. Large walks and low strikeout totals are key here.
Manny Machado— Baltimore Orioles
.280, 26 HR, 83 Runs, 76 RBI, 7 SB, 43 BB
5 Category: 4 DRS: +6
6 Category: 5
Machado is the star of the offseason soap opera “As Machado turns.” The latest episodes indicate he actually won’t be dealt, but there is a long way to go before that gets determined. He has shortstop eligibility in some leagues, so he plays up for that reason. Still, the total points numbers leave a little to be desired because of the strikeouts that get added into the equation. Still, he is young and has a stellar defensive reputation, so someone might bid heavily on a Machado trade.
Kyle Seager—Seattle Mariners
.264, 26 HR, 79 Runs, 85 RBI, 5 SB, 60 BB
5 Category: 7 DRS: -2
6 Category: 4
Seager is kind of yeoman in comparison with these guys. He plays nearly every day and so he puts up impressive counting numbers even if you wouldn’t think of him as an elite performer. So, obviously, the format dictates how high you would pick him. If you are playing in daily fantasy leagues you might wait awhile to pick him up, but in traditional leagues he is usually highly underrated.
Jose Ramirez—Cleveland Indians
.278, 12 HR, 67 Runs, 51 RBI, 15 SB, 44 BB
5 Category: 12 DRS: +5
6 Category: 11
Ramirez finished the season at second base last season, so he could start there in 2018 or at third base. Obviously, multiple position flexibility adds to his value. It also helps that he has had back to back brilliant seasons. It makes it much less likely that he is a flash in the pan. So, some will draft him higher than eighth and that works just fine. He has the speed element that the rest don’t have, so such a ranking would be very defensible.
Evan Longoria—San Francisco Giants
.265, 26 HR, 80 Runs, 87 RBI, 3 SB, 53 BB
5 Category: 5 DRS: +11
6 Category: 6
Trades like these can go either way. The Giants are almost always competitive and when you pool Longoria with the likes of Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Crawford. Plus, you know they will likely add more before all is said and done. Yet, that park isn’t kind to power hitters, so it could end up hurting him. I’m betting on the latter, so he drops a few spots even though the conventional numbers are strong.
Anthony Rendon— Washington Nationals
.277, 16 HR, 73 Runs, 66 RBI, 8 SB, 55 BB
5 Category: 10 DRS: +7
6 Category: 10
The composite numbers for Rendon aren’t all that helpful. He’s been the girl with the curl for his entire career. When healthy he’s a borderline star. When he’s banged up he’s just another guy. Unfortunately, he’s been more banged up than the other guys, but last season he demonstrated what he could do when healthy. You can wait on him and roll the dice that he will be healthy again.