One of the truths in all fantasy sports and particularly fantasy baseball is that people put way too much emphasis on draft day. I get it. It’s the most exciting day of the year. There are so many great players in the game today and you want to see which ones you will wind up with. However, as we have seen so far, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. The best fantasy players are the players that take advantage of the waiver wire early and often. So, we are reverse engineering that fact by showing what the top twelve players at each position on draft day have done so far this year according to Yahoo ranks in six category leagues.

So many players these days are multiple position players, so we are simply ranking players that are primarily third basemen. We grant the fact that some of them may actually rank higher at other positions and are still eligible at those positions. Again, this is more of a fun look back to see where these guys are now. Some of them are where we thought they would be. Others are not. Numbers are accurate through August 10.

Nolan Arenado– Colorado Rockies

Preseason: 1

Current: 4

Numbers: .308/26/75/87/2/43

For those wondering, the last number is the number of walks. If Arenado has one weakness it is that he has not developed into an elite hitter in terms of plate discipline. However, he is elite in just about every other way. He is on pace to drive well over 100 runs for the fifth year in a row. He doesn’t steal bases either which doesn’t matter in real baseball, but tends to prevent you from being elite in fantasy circles.

Jose Ramirez– Cleveland Indians

Preseason: 2

Current: 8

Numbers: .251/16/61/64/24/47

Ramirez burst on the scene in 2017 and continued his amazing rise in 2018. He started slumping towards the end of the season and that carried over to the first half this year. He has bounced back in a big way and his numbers are starting to resemble what he has done the past two seasons. More than anything, when he can steal 30 bases it makes him look like an elite fantasy prospect when the rest of the numbers are solid, but not great.

Alex Bregman– Houston Astros

Preseason: 3

Current: 2

Numbers: .277/28/89/74/4/86

I’m down with OBP (yeah you know me). I’m down with OBP (yeah you know me). The difference between five and six categories can clearly be seen here. Bregman is far from ordinary otherwise, but his ability to draw walks is his elite skill. The Astros are trucking right now, so there are tons of run producing opportunities up and down that lineup. Steals are the only thing he is missing. His eligibility at shortstop obviously helps his fantasy value as well.

Manny Machado– San Diego Padres

Preseason: 4

Current: 10

Numbers: .267/26/67/70/4/43

Machado has been a mild disappointment, but his numbers are still really good considering he plays half of his games in Petco Park. The Padres are a team on the rise, so he bears watching the rest of the way. He’s a hot streak away from putting up the numbers everyone expected when he signd that huge contract. So far it has been money well spent. With or without the numbers he has given that lineup some credibility it didn’t have before.

Kris Bryant–Chicago Cubs

Preseason: 5

Current: 6

Numbers: .291/22/85/55/2/58

The worst thing that happened to Bryant was winning the Rookie of the Year and MVP in back to back seasons. It was impossible for him to live up to those kinds of expectations. He has been a disapointment for the past three seasons, but when you look at the numbers critically there is nothing really wrong with them. The key for Bryant is staying on the field. Like other players, his multiple position flexibility helps.

Anthony Rendon–Washington Nationals

Preseason: 6

Current: 3

Numbers: .314/25/82/90/2/47

Rendon is the premier player on the upcoming position player market and as such will get a huge payday. As we have seen with Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, huge paydays tend to inflate expectations. Guys don’t magically become better players when they get paid, but it also depends on who is doing the paying. Stick him in a market like New York and he could go nuts. He could also wilt under the pressure. It will be an interesting offseason for Rendon.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.– Toronto Blue Jays

Preseason: 7

Current: 21

Numbers: .274/13/42/51/0/36

This one isn’t his fault. The Blue Jays manipulated his arbitration clock by stashing him in the minors for the first several weeks. He hasn’t been brilliant, but most rookies aren’t. He is steadily improving and when the season is over he will likely have close to 80 RBI. That’s pretty good for less than five months of big league action. Watch the hype machine get revved up again in the offseason.

Eugenio Suarez–Cincinnati Reds

Preseason: 8

Current: 9

Numbers: .257/32/63/74/3/47

Suarez continues to fly under the radar. He is not as good all the way around as the other third baseman in front of him, but you can’t argue with the numbers and anyone that can produce 40+ home runs deserves his praise wherever he can get it. From here, he can get a little more patience and maybe become an elite fantasy force. It also helps that the Reds seem to have some young phenoms filling in some key lineup spots.

Matt Carpenter–St. Louis Cardinals

Preseason: 9

Current: 28

Numbers: .217/10/44/31/6/46

Carpenter is the first true disappointment at the position. Third base is as stable a fantasy position as there is in all of sports. Carpenter has been banged up for much of the season and finally returned to 100 percent last week. The struggle for a player in his situation is the desire to want to catch up all at once. He won’t approach his numbers from previous seasons, but if he just plays his game he can get back up to some form of respectability.

Josh Donaldson–Atlanta Braves

Preseason: 10

Current: 7

Numbers: .259/26/66/68/3/70

Donaldson isn’t the MVP he once was, but he has quietly put up some very good numbers. Couple him with Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna and you can see why the Braves are in first place. The key with him has always been health. When he plays full time he puts up numbers. Coming into the season, no one was sure if he could remain healthy and things looked shaky early on, but he’s where he normally would be at this point.

Miguel Andujar– New York Yankees

Preseason: 11

Current: 50+

Numbers: .128/0/1/1/0/1

Andujar has been out most of the season and he might not ever get his position back. He can fill a third base spot for someone ably, but third base is a pretty deep position in baseball. Andujar is a perfect example of an opportunity for fantasy owners. If you made a change early on then you could maybe even come out ahead. If you held onto him and hoped for the best then you are probably stuck in the second division.

Matt Chapman– Oakland Athletics

Preseason: 12

Current: 11

Numbers: .253/25/72/65/0/53

Chapman has +15 DRS again this season. He has +29 runs last season and +19 in his first season. He should win his third consecutive Gold Glove award. Unfortunately those numbers don’t help you, but they put Chapman’s value in perspective and help explain why the Athletics are so good. Add him to Matt Olson and you can see why the A’s seem to overachieve. Both have steadily improved offensively as well. They aren’t elite hitters, but when you match them with their defense you can see why they are elite overall.



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