The Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen

The theme continues as we make our way to the final infield position – the right side of the infield is getting weaker from a fantasy perspective, as the left side of the infield is getting stronger. With Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado joining the ranks, along with breakouts from Chase Headley, Will Middlebrooks, Todd Frazier and others, the third base position is primed for a run of quality and depth that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Even the top-10 only has three members over 30 years old (and David Wright just turned 30 last month).

The trend continues on the minor league side of the equation, as six out of my top 50 prospects are third basemen. This includes potential high-end talent in Rendon, Castellanos, Sano, Olt and more. In addition to that, there’s a whole wave of SS prospects that are unlikely to stick at the position long-term, and may end up at the hot corner. In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that four to five more top-50 prospects have the potential to end up at the position.

I think we’re pretty close to a renaissance for the position, and the biggest difference between the growth at shortstop and third base is that the revolution isn’t just approaching on the horizon, it’s here now. The position is deep and getting deeper, although it’s still impossible to touch the guy at the top.

And now your top 50 dynasty league third basemen, with commentary:

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The Top 50 Dynasty League Shortstops

Now things are finally starting to look up. The difference between SS and 2B positionally is pretty eye-opening once you start including prospects, as 2B only has one top-40 prospect and SS has six. It really makes me think twice about ranking the dual eligibility guys on the SS list – although if I did it in reverse, the SS crop would look much weaker. However, when you look at just the values for 2013, the positions look closer to equal in value.

As with its middle infield counterpart, SS has a clear tier at the top and backs it up with prospect firepower. And I’ll start on that subject by answering an obvious question. I did rank Jurickson Profar at SS because that is his natural position and one which he will be playing in short order in the majors, despite the fact that he has 2B eligibility only in most leagues heading into 2013. So the exciting part is that although the position is gradually improving, there’s a lot more help coming – and we may not be too far away from another fantasy golden age at the position.

However, clearly we’re not there yet. In 2012, there was not a single shortstop to hit more than 25 HR and Derek Jeter was the only shortstop that hit over .300. There was only one triple-digit total in any counting stat at the entire position, and that was Jimmy Rollins’ 102 runs scored. This lack of high-end production is what allowed guys like Martin Prado and Marco Scutaro to be top-10 shortstops in 2012. This is going to change over the next couple of years and it’s going to be led by the first name on this list.

And now your top 50 dynasty league shortstops, with commentary:

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The Top 50 Dynasty League Second Basemen

Things start to get a little better after this one, I promise. It wasn’t too long ago that 2B was a position that you could get real offense at. Now it’s reduced itself to a mud-slinging battle with SS as to which is the weakest non-catcher position in the game. It’s not like we’re talking about 10 or 15 years ago, either. In 2009, seven 2B hit 25 or more HR. In 2012, it was two. In 2009, there were eight 2B with more than 80 RBI. In 2012, there were two.

So fine, you’re probably thinking maybe there’s just less power and the rest of the rotisserie categories will swing in the other direction. Not true. There were six 2B with 100+ runs scored in 2009 and there were two in 2012. There were eleven 2B in 2009 who hit .285 or higher and there were seven in 2012. Expand that to guys who hit .300 and it’s six to three. Even in stolen bases, there were seven 20 SB seasons in 2009 and only five in 2012.

It’s a rough position and there’s really very little coming in the minors. The top four prospects at the position are comprised of two legit 2B, one who’s a big base stealing threat (DeShields) and one who’s a high floor, low ceiling guy (Wong). The other two are Eddie Rosario and Jedd Gyorko, who are more likely to end up at their natural positions (OF for Rosario, 3B for Gyorko) in time than stay at 2B. On top of that, even the SS prospects who may not stay at THAT position (Bogaerts, Baez, etc) are more likely ticketed for 3B because they have the arms for it. The best the second base position can hope for is that Jurickson Profar (who I ranked as a SS) sticks at 2B and Alen Hanson has to move over for defensive reasons. Then it might have some potential studs on its hands. But as is, it’s bad and getting worse as the Canos, Kinslers and Pedroias of the world age.

And now your top 50 dynasty league second basemen, with commentary:

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The Top 50 Dynasty League First Basemen

Now we’re moving into a category with some meat to it – and not just because a number of these names could politely be referred to as “plus-sized”. We’re not exactly in a golden age for the 1B position in fantasy, but there’s still plenty of talent up towards the top. It’s when we get into the teens and beyond at the position where things are starting to get a little muddy. And after that, it just becomes one enormous wasteland. The great 1B we’re accustomed to seeing are getting older, and the next wave coming to take their place have not exactly worked out as planned so far. This isn’t likely to get much better over the coming years, as first base prospects are not exactly plentiful. So if there are going to be reinforcements on the way, they’ll have to start migrating from other positions on the diamond.

One other thing you’ll notice, which was much less of an issue at catcher, is that I’m only ranking players once positionally through out this entire series. That means, while guys like Buster Posey, Joe Mauer and Nick Swisher may have 1B eligibility, you’re unlikely to be using them there because their other eligibility is much more valuable. If you want to see how Posey stacks up against the rest of the 1B crowd, you can find that in the Top 500 that’s coming out at the end of the project. Also, I’ve included all DH-only players in with the 1B crowd because creating a DH-only list is pretty useless (until the National League adopts it).

And now your top 50 dynasty league first basemen, with commentary:

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The Top 50 Dynasty League Catchers

These days, there is still little doubt as to what the weakest overall fantasy position is in the game – and we’re about to dive into it. It doesn’t really matter whether you’re looking at guys who are in their peaks now or prospects who could potentially replace them down the line, the offensive bar at catcher remains very low. In fact, just looking at the second half of the top-15, it’s littered with players that haven’t proven their worth in the majors yet or are at some stage of coming back from a serious injury.

Even when you move down the list and start talking about potential replacements for some of the older guys at the position, outside of the two top catching prospects (d’Arnaud and Zunino), all of the other minor league catchers are either low upside, light years away or staring down a potential position switch. On the major league side, there are some former top prospects hanging around the list, but it’s mostly a bunch of guys for whom you’d be constantly searching for replacements if you owned them.

The complicating factor of this position, however, is that once you get beyond the top couple of names (or even just the top name, depending on how you feel about that second tier), there is potentially very little differentiating value between the middle of the top-10 and the outskirts of the top-15. What you lose in upside at this position, you gain in depth – with names like Grandal, Napoli and Lucroy residing in the mid-teens. You could make a legitimate argument to put any of these guys in the top-10 and you wouldn’t get a huge argument from me. The difference between Wieters at #5 and Lucroy at #15 is much less than the 10 or so spots would indicate.

And now your top 50 dynasty league catchers, with commentary:

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The Top 50 2012 Signees For Dynasty Leagues

Because I was so verbose with the Top 150 prospects, and nearly half of this list overlaps with a list rife with commentary, this is going to be a shorter version. A much shorter one, in fact. Minor league drafts are likely coming up soon for those of you in dynasty and keeper formats, so hopefully this list will be a nice cheat sheet if your league only uses previous year signees as a draft pool.

For this list, I’ve included all players who have signed during the 2012 calendar year. That means high-profile international free agents like Darvish, Cespedes and Soler are included along with all of the 2012 draftees and more standard international free agents (16 year olds). Obviously these players are more likely to be a long ways away from the major leagues, so a lot of the list is based on upside, since we have a better idea for that as opposed to a level of certainty. And importantly, while we counted down from 150 in the Dynasty Prospects List, all other lists in the rankings package from here on out are going to count from #1 on down the line.

So for your continued long weekend enjoyment, the Top 50 Dynasty League 2012 signees:

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The Top 150 Dynasty League Prospects, Part 5 (#30-1)

Today is Day Five. Over the next 27 days, this site will be dedicated almost solely to the task at hand – the 2013 Dynasty League Rankings. If you’re looking for background on both the content you should expect and the dates you should expect them, check out the 2013 rankings homepage. And we’re kicking off the month-long project with the list that I’ve gotten the most questions about since the off-season started. The only difference between the original schedule and what you’ll see this week is that I’ve broken the Top 150 out into five parts, not three. Each day of the week, you’ll get thirty more guys until we culminate Friday with #1.

First, I have a couple of disclaimers specific to the prospect list before we jump in. These rankings are for fantasy purposes only, and do not directly take into account things like an outfielder’s range or a catcher’s pop time. Of course, these things do matter indirectly as they affect a player’s ability to stay at a particular position. So, while Austin Hedges may be a top-50 prospect in baseball, due in large part to his defensive value, he’ll be much lower in these rankings because his upside isn’t nearly as great for fantasy. Additionally, these rankings will take into account a player’s parent organization – so a pitcher likely to call Petco or Safeco home, will get a bump. Same with hitters who are likely to play at Coors or in Arlington. But most importantly, the intention of this list is to balance the upside, probability and proximity of these players to an active fantasy lineup. So, in a vacuum, I’d rather have the #104 player on this list than #105 on my dynasty league roster right now, based on all of those factors.

Additionally, if you want to delve any further into the list or have specific dynasty league questions, either post them in the comments section below, catch me on Twitter at @dynastyguru or send me an e-mail to dynastyguru [at] gmail [dot] com and I will answer all of them. If you just want to say hello or tell me I’ve over/under rated someone you love/hate, that’s great too. I’m a firm believer that an ongoing dialogue is always more helpful than a singular monologue, and the goal of this is to be an additional resource in guiding your team to a championship.

So without any further ado, here is the final installment of the 2013 Top 150 Dynasty League Prospect list:

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