Third base is an interesting position within fantasy baseball. There are a number of players that have produced huge seasons in the past, so it has the appearance of being a deep position. But last season most of those players seemed to fall flat on their face. We will take a look at the top 24 guys this time around because some of them will be eligible at multiple positions and there is not a ton of separation as you will see. Remember that the the Per 150 numbers are three year averages.
Pedro Alvarez— Pittsburgh Pirates
Per 150 Numbers: .236/30/64/85/4
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 14
The former top draft pick hasn’t quite lived up to the hype he came into the Pirates organization with. The power is there as you will see no other third baseman on our list with 30 home runs on a per 150 game basis. Some are capable to be sure, but that is a good enough demonstration of what he is capable of. Unfortunately, he doesn’t make enough contact to justify the trouble.
Nolan Arenado— Colorado Rockies
Per 150 Numbers: .277/17/66/69/8
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 13
Sometimes you have to ignore the impulse to look at the home ballpark and grade a guy up or down. Most fantasy leagues don’t neutralize numbers, so you really shouldn’t care one way or the other. If healthy, Arenado should produce 20 home runs and all of the requisite numbers that accompany that.
Adrian Beltre— Texas Rangers
Per 150 Numbers: .320/27/85/81/1
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 3
Sometimes long-term deals do work out and now Beltre is going into the final year of one of the great long-term contracts in modern history. Beltre is likely headed to Cooperstown when all is said and done. Unfortunately, he is closer to the end than he is his prime, so we will likely see the numbers start to dip some.
Matt Carpenter— St. Louis Cardinals
Per 150 Numbers: .295/9/94/64/3
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 12
Carpenter plays a dangerous game as it pertains to fantasy production. When you don’t bring power or speed to the table then your value is completely wrapped up in your batting average and ability to produce runs. Unfortunately, your ability to produce runs is dependent on your teammates. In this case, Carpenter is still in good shape, and I’d be willing to bet he produces more power numbers.
Nick Castellanos— Detroit Tigers
Per 150 Numbers: .260/10/48/62/2
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 23
The former Futures Game MVP had the look of a can’t miss prospect coming into 2014. I wouldn’t say he missed as much as he fouled it off. Most prospects don’t hit the ground running completely and Castellanos was no different. I’m willing to bet we will see significant improvement in his second full season.
Lonnie Chisenhall— Cleveland Indians
Per 150 Numbers: .261/15/56/52/3
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 21
Chisenhall hit over .350 in March, April, May, and June. He hit about .220 the rest of the way. So, will the real Lonnie Chisenhall please stand up. Fortunately for the Indians, the addition of Brandon Moss means they can play Carlos Santana at third if they have to. So, Chisenhall will be on a short leash if he gets a full-time opportunity at all.
Josh Donaldson— Toronto Blue Jays
Per 150 Numbers: .270/24/83/86/7
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 6
The Blue Jays pulled a fast one on the Athletics when they procured the star third baseman in exchange for Brett Lawrie and prospects. Lawrie hasn’t produced much since his rookie season while Donaldson seems to get better every year. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, much of his value comes in his defense and patience, but some leagues include an on base component.
Todd Frazier— Cincinnati Reds
Per 150 Numbers: .259/23/71/76/10
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 10
Last season saw an uptick in Frazier’s production after several seasons with very similar numbers. I’m willing to bet he has taken a small step forward. I wouldn’t quite call him a fantasy stud, but he has certainly solidified himself as a fantasy regular. Plus, he played a good amount at first base, so he is eligible at multiple positions.
David Freese— Los Angeles Angels
Per 150 Numbers: 272/14/63/70/2
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 20
When I say over it is only because I’m forced to choose. I really think his rank is pretty close what you are going to get. Freese represents the problem with putting too much stock in postseason performance. He dominated in the World Series back in 2011 and everyone thought he was a budding star. Well, as it turned out he just happened to get hot for the right seven game stretch.
Chase Headley— New York Yankees
Per 150 Numbers: .262/20/72/73/11
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 8
2012 was one of those magical seasons that good players have at some point in their career. Headley has always been a plus defender and average offensive performer overall. That one season is still skewing some people’s perceptions. It also is skewing the per 150 game numbers a little.
Chris Johnson— Atlanta Braves
Per 150 Numbers: .287/13/50/70/4
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 18
Johnson is the anti-Headley. He doesn’t play much defense and he almost never draws a walk, so most stat-savvy fantasy players dismiss him. You probably shouldn’t completely because he is a line-drive machine. He will hit for decent average unless he completely falls off the table and that isn’t likely to happen.
Brett Lawrie— Oakland Athletics
Per 150 Numbers: .261/17/70/66/11
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 16
I know we are supposed to bow at the altar of Billy Beane and genuflect daily, but I’m just not getting this trade at all. Lawrie hasn’t done much offensively since his rookie season. Yes, he has a good glove but you essentially traded a better version of him away. If you had to deal Donaldson I would have rather gotten top grade prospects in return.
Evan Longoria— Tampa Bay Rays
Per 150 Numbers: .266/27/81/89/3
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 7
I keep expecting a breakout season from Longoria and I’m going to keep betting on it. Like a stopped clock, it’s bound to be right once or twice. Unfortunately, the Rays seem to be in rebuild mode, but they have enough talent on that roster to surprise some people. They will need Longoria to play huge in order to do it.
Manny Machado— Baltimore Orioles
Per 150 Numbers: .278/17/78/67/5
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 11
He might be the Andrelton Simmons of third basemen, but I’m gambling on a step forward for Machado. Everyone knows he has the glove and the pedigree. He just has to put it all together. A healthy season would be a start and there is no reason to believe that he won’t be able to do that much in 2015.
Casey McGehee— San Francisco Giants
Per 150 Numbers: .249/9/48/64/2
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 24
In the perverse game of musical chairs, McGehee moves to the Giants so the Marlins could make room for Martin Prado. Prado was moved so the Yankees could make room for Chase Headley long-term. San Francisco is not a good place for a guy that is already struggling to hit homers, but he’s a tad better than the numbers above.
Mike Moustakas— Kansas City Royals
Per 150 Numbers: .230/17/55/60/3
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 22
Danger. Danger Will Robinson. Here is another sucker bet based on last year’s postseason run. Sure, Moustakas was better than what he did for the majority of last season and maybe ever so slightly better than the numbers above, but he isn’t the guy you saw in October. At least he isn’t capable of doing that for six months.
Trevor Plouffe— Minnesota Twins
Per 150 Numbers: .249/20/66/73/2
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 19
This is as close to a push as I can see, but I will vote under. Plouffe is one of those guys you keep waiting to take the next step and he never really takes it. In this day and age, a .250 hitter that hits between 15 and 20 home runs is not a bad player. He’s just not quite good enough to be a fantasy regular.
Martin Prado— Miami Marlins
Per 150 Numbers: .289/12/70/69/8
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 15
The move to Miami will likely be a good one for Prado. He goes back to third base where he is more comfortable and he is likely to get more consistent playing time. You could even argue that the Marlins are a better offense than the Yankees. He still will have some positional flexibility next season which means these numbers will play up a bit.
Aramis Ramirez— Milwaukee Brewers
Per 150 Numbers: .291/22/73/88/5
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 5
When we bet the under it is almost completely based on a lack of durability. Father time catches up with all of us and it is beginning to catch up with Ramirez. With some additional health he could become a borderline Hall of Famer. As it stands, he should be good for .280/20/80/80 with some decent health.
Alex Rodriguez— New York Yankees
Per 150 Numbers: .269/23/92/78/12
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 4
There are very few sure things in this world, but if there was one it would be that ARod is not the fourth best third baseman in the game. The trade of Martin Prado does solidify things for him at DH, but solid and Arod are not words that go hand in hand these days. I couldn’t even begin to forecast what he will do this season, but you can’t completely dismiss him either.
Pablo Sandoval— Boston Red Sox
Per 150 Numbers: .280/16/66/79/0
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 17
We see more postseason hype. However, I do have to give Sandoval one thing: he has produced in multiple postseasons. So, maybe the Red Sox paid more for October than they did for the first six months. I give him the over because he is moving into a better hitter’s park, but he won’t be much better than what you see above. At least he won’t be better until October.
Kyle Seager— Seattle Mariners
Per 150 Numbers: .262/21/67/79/9
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 9
One of the things you have to guard against are the increased expectations that a new contract will bring. Seager signed a 100 million extension in the offseason. He is still the same player and he has been incredibly consistent. You just can’t expect him to be a star player when he hasn’t been that before. He will be a top ten overall third base prospect in most fantasy leagues.
David Wright— New York Mets
Per 150 Numbers: .294/18/78/80/15
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 2
Captain America has turned back into Steve Rogers in recent seasons. He is still very good overall, but he is no longer a top three third baseman. I would expect slightly better numbers given the influx of offensive talent that is coming into New York, but he likely will never be the 30 home run threat again.
Ryan Zimmerman— Washington Nationals
Per 150 Numbers: 279/24/85/90/5
Per 150 Third Base Rank: 1
Zimmerman is the posterchild for the problem with per 150 game rankings. The numbers actually show that he is a good sleeper candidate if he could remain healthy. Of course, that’s the issue with Zimmerman. He will be moving to first base full time this season, so there is hope on that front, but I just can’t envision any scenario where he produces the best numbers among third basemen.