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2022 Third Base Primer (Fantasy Baseball)

2022 Third Base Primer (Fantasy Baseball)

While baseball, unfortunately, remains in a lockout as I begin this article, fantasy baseball prep never sleeps. Regardless of your league type, knowing the player pool is essential, and especially the intricacies of each position. When it comes to the hot corner, the position is certainly hot at the top, but it cools off in a hurry. Imagine this position as a hot bath. It feels great when you first get in, letting the hot water soothe all your aches and pains, but the longer you sit there, the colder the water gets until you can’t take it anymore and step out. That’s exactly how this position feels this season in drafts, so knowing where and when to attack third base is crucial.

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Third Base ADP (Since Jan. 1)

Let’s start with some ADP, shall we? There have been 115 NFBC DCs since the calendar flipped to January, and here is how this position is being drafted along with min and max picks.

Rank Player Team ADP MIN MAX
1  Jose Ramirez CLE 3.63 1 8
2  Rafael Devers BOS 17.93 8 28
3  Manny Machado SD 23.06 15 30
4  Adalberto Mondesi KC 53.03 32 85
5  Austin Riley ATL 63.38 33 92
6  Nolan Arenado STL 83.23 62 100
7  Alex Bregman HOU 99.31 31 119
8  Kris Bryant SF 102.68 79 123
9  Anthony Rendon LAA 116.86 88 146
10  DJ LeMahieu NYY 118.46 91 148
11  Ke’Bryan Hayes PIT 132.77 103 168
12  Luis Urias MLW 151.91 123 180
13  Yoan Moncada CWS 154.84 120 193
14  Ryan McMahon COL 164.5 130 191
15  Justin Turner LAD 169.96 119 220
16  Matt Chapman OAK 194.81 142 239
17  Eduardo Escobar NYM 200.25 168 266
18  Josh Donaldson MIN 208.09 166 260
19  Eugenio Suarez CIN 208.58 166 262
20  Jeimer Candelario DET 211.86 162 268
21  Abraham Toro SEA 252.33 208 302
22  Jonathan Villar NYM 265.68 223 325
23  Gio Urshela NYY 280.18 203 349
24  Alec Bohm PHI 288.59 231 359
25  Cavan Biggio TOR 289.04 227 363
26  Luis Arraez MIN 297.79 197 356
27  Josh Jung TEX 306.95 179 707
28  Patrick Wisdom CHC 331.21 247 400
29  Hunter Dozier KC 345.6 303 417
30  Mike Moustakas CIN 347.3 273 398
31  Joey Wendle MIA 348.5 282 432
32  Yandy Diaz TB 349.66 280 406
33  Ha-Seong Kim SD 350.7 266 460
34  Evan Longoria SF 350.84 281 400
35  Brian Anderson MIA 367.61 292 434
36  Wilmer Flores SF 372.92 287 445
37  Josh Harrison OAK 378.34 300 446
38  Jose Miranda MIN 392.41 316 467
39  Tyler Wade LAA 424.41 343 500
40  J.D. Davis NYM 427.77 361 512

 

Gotta Pounce Early

You could make a strong argument that the third base position is the shallowest in fantasy this year outside of catcher. First base is in the mix too, but it gets pretty dicey after the top 6-7 options are off the board. At the top, you have a consensus top-five overall selection, Jose Ramirez. The consistency that Ramirez has shown in the power/speed department is scary, but in an extremely positive way. In his last four full seasons, Ramirez has averaged 32 HR, 26 SB, 99 R, and 94 RBI, and he was on a near 50/30 pace during the shortened 2020 season. Locking up his power/speed blend early from this shallow position is killing two birds with one stone. Don’t be afraid to take him as high as No. 2 overall, and maybe even No. 1 if he gets dealt to a team with a better offense to put around him.

After Ramirez, both Devers and Machado are going in the 2nd round more often than not and are fine selections there. Both offer high-end production in four categories with the ability to at least add 5-10 steals as well. I’d have no issues taking either of them where their ADP currently is. However, the player directly behind them is a strict avoid for me. When are we going to learn our lesson as a community when it comes to Adalberto Mondesi? Sure, he has the ability to carry fantasy teams for weeks, but the risk vastly outweighs the reward, especially when it will take a top-50 pick or so to secure his services.

Austin Riley, Nolan Arenado, and Alex Bregman are three of my favorite targets this season. None will provide speed, but they all can contribute solidly in the other four categories and have very reasonable price tags. Ideally, I’ll have my starting third baseman by the time these three come off the board, as it starts getting murkier in these third base waters after pick 100. But here’s the problem: Everyone else knows third base thins out quickly, and they’ll be trying to get their starter early as well. If you don’t select one of the top seven, you have to bet on guys like Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon, and DJ LeMahieu staying healthy and productive for a full season. We’re not even sure where Bryant will sign yet either. This isn’t a trio I’ll have many, if any, shares of this season.

Upside Plays After Pick 100

If you miss out on the elite options and aren’t inspired by the guys in the 100-125 range, there are a few options you could go after in the middle rounds if you’re seeking a positive ROI. That all starts with Ke’Bryan Hayes, currently the 11th third baseman off the board around pick 133 on average. A wrist injury limited Hayes for the vast majority of the 2021 season, hence the suppressed stat line. However, some of his metrics were  highly encouraging, including a 45.8% hard contact rate, 90.2 mph AVG EV, solid approach, and a 7oth percentile sprint speed. With his profile, a .270/20/10 season is well within reach, which would make him a great value where he’s being taken in drafts.

Outside of Hayes, Luis Urias took a step forward in 2021 and could do the same again in 2022. But my other two favorite targets in this range are Yoan Moncada and Ryan McMahon. I’ve been vocal about my frustrations with Moncada for a while now, but after pick 150 is very reasonable for someone who put up a .315/25/10 season back in 2019. Let’s just hope he runs a little. As for McMahon, he’s consistently produced but still flies under the radar in drafts. In each of his last two full seasons, McMahon has exceeded 20 home runs and 80 RBI with an average around .250 and a handful of steals as well. It’s far from a sexy profile, but you know what you’re getting with him, which is more than you can say about the others in the back end of the top 200.

The Post-200 Dandies

OK, dandies might not have been the right word, but once I get past pick 200, there are four players I’ve found myself targeting frequently.

Josh Donaldson (MIN): If you shy away from the former AL MVP because of his durability issues, I wouldn’t blame you. But when Donaldson is on the field, he’s still producing like a top-150 player. In 2019, Donaldson racked up 37 home runs, 94 RBI, and 96 runs scored, and had 26 homers, 72 RBI, and 73 runs last season in 543 plate appearances. On top of that, JD’s quality-of-contact metrics were exceptional, and he maintained his strong plate approach. We can likely only bank on 125-130 games from him, but those could be 125 highly productive games that lead to a positive ROI.

Barrel Avg EV xSLG xwOBACON Hard-Hit
17.4% 94.1 mph 0.542 0.388 52.7%

Eugenio Suarez (CIN): It’s funny: I never imagined myself with any shares of Eugenio Suarez this season. But, hey, the power speaks for itself. Suarez has registered a barrel rate of 13.8% or higher in each of the last three seasons and still cranked 31 homers in just 574 plate appearances last season. He finished the season strong too, with a .355/.446/.790 slash line and seven home runs in the month of September. The AVG won’t be great, but draft him for the power and multi-positional eligibility, and cross your fingers that he can hit .220-.230 or so.

Alec Bohm (PHI): The 2021 season was far from kind to this former top-25 prospect. In 417 plate appearances, Bohm slashed an uninspiring .247/.305/.342 with just seven home runs. Not exactly what we expected from the hulking third baseman in his first full Major League season. However, Bohm still recorded a 92 mph AVG EV and a 49.5% hard contact rate through his struggles. It’s quite possible he was slightly overvalued as a prospect, but when you’re pushing pick 300 in your drafts, I’ll take a chance on Bohm taking a step forward in 2022.

Jonathan Villar (NYM): It’s hard to say if Villar will sign as a starter, but he always seems to find his way into a regular role. His days of posting 19/62 or 24/40 campaigns are behind him, but it’s hard to find a potential 15/15 player this late in your draft who also qualifies at shortstop as well. In 2021, Villar racked up 18 homers and 14 steals in 505 plate appearances with the Mets. Just keep an eye on where he lands following the lockout.

In conclusion, I’d recommend trying to lock down your third baseman within the top 100 picks. But if that’s not possible, there are still some solid options throughout your draft.

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