The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League Third Basemen, Nos. 1-20
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The hot corner has lost some valuable commodities in recent years, as the like of Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion no longer qualify, and it’s yet to gain ascendant talent like Anthony Rendon. Still, The Bringer of Rain proved he was more than a one-time wonder with a second straight dominant season that pushed him to the top of the third base rankings, and there’s plenty of promising prospect talent behind him:
1) Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays (Age 29, Previous Rank: 7)
Donaldson has established himself as one of the best players in baseball over the past two years, and even more so in the fantasy world. His .840 OPS ranks second-highest among qualified third basemen over that span (third if you include no longer eligible Miguel Cabrera). This winter’s trade that sent him north of the border will do him a favour as it allows him to escape from pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum to hitter-friendly Rogers Centre. Additionally, hitting in the middle of the intimidating Toronto lineup will help him collect more runs and RBI. He also steals five to 10 bases a year. Although steep drops he saw in his average (.301 to .255), BABIP (.333 to .278), and LD rate (20.6 percent to 13.5 percent) are a tad concerning.
2) Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Age 23, Previous Rank: 8)
Slotting in someone with zero MLB experience this high may seem aggressive and bold. But for a 22-year-old who crushed a minor league-leading 43 long balls and slashed .325/.438/.661 between Double-A and Triple-A in his first full season, this is a proper ranking. He’s ready to flash immediate impact at the MLB level in 2015. The former USD Torero’s enormous potential should stand out for a long time in this era of ever-declining offense. He strikes out a lot, and there’s a little uncertainty if he can stick at third base. Wherever he ends up on the field, you’ll struggle not to fall in love with a guy who provides 30+ home runs and 100+ RBI on the regular.
3) Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles (Age 22, Previous Rank: 4)
Machado’s injury-plagued 2014 won’t hurt his value by much as he’s just entering his age-22 season. Yes, he’s even younger than heralded top prospect Kris Bryant. Though the devastating knee injuries he had may cost him some mobility, there’s a plenty of room for him to improve his offensive value. In limited playing time, he did show more over-the-fence power on a per at-bat basis. On the other hand, it seems like he’ll never walk enough to be an OBP machine. If he keeps up with his power game, he’ll be much more valuable than he was in 2013 for further into the future.
4) Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (Age 29, Previous Rank: 2)
The former ROY had a mediocre campaign by his standards in 2014. He posted a career-low in walk rate (8.1) and ISO (.151), as well as OBP (.320) and SLG (.404), hence his OPS was a career-worst by more than one hundred points. What caused his offensive collapse is also career-low BABIP (.285) and HR/FB ratio (10.8 percent). So if these numbers get back to the levels they used to be at, so does his production. Meanwhile, his loss in average fly ball distance (291.1 in 2013 to 279.5 in 2014) is worrisome. In a worst case scenario, he’ll be a third base playing Mark Teixeira in his 30s.
5) Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (Age 35, Previous Rank: 5)
He’s entering his age-36 season, but Beltre has shown very few signs of decline. He’s been the most fearsome offensive threat at the hot corner (if you don’t count Miguel Cabrera) in the past three years, as his .320 average, 85 HR, and 271 RBI totals in that span rank higher than any other third baseman. Another encouraging factor is that he’s gotten more patient as he ages. His walk ratio has improved over the last 4 seasons, last year it was nearly a double of what it was in 2011. His bad legs might cause him missing some playing time though. Beltre will give you another superior fantasy season in 2015, unless you try to touch his head.
6) Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners (Age 27, Previous Rank: 11)
The UNC product has turned the page and quietly evolved himself into one of the better third basemen in the game, earning a huge contract extension in the process. In each of his 3 full seasons, Seager cleared the 20 HR threshold and hit around .260. His RBI total since 2012 (251) ranks second most behind only Beltre and runs scored (212) ranks 5th most among guys manning the hot corner. He’s also stolen 29 bases over the same time span. As the older Seager stepping into his prime, you can expect him to repeat his 2014 numbers, with a 30-home run campaign not seeming out of reach.
7) David Wright, New York Mets (Age 32, Previous Rank: 3)
Wright is in quite the same circumstance as Longoria. The difference is that Wright is three years older. He’s coming off of his worst campaign where he had a career low OBP (.324), SLG (.374), and ISO (.105). Last year, he failed to top 10 home runs in a season for the first time since reached the bigs. He walked at a 7.2 percent clip, the lowest since his rookie year. With so much negativity surrounding him, you can count on him for a comeback season in 2015. He may not hit .300 again, but a guy who can put up a .280 average, smash 15 HR, drive in and score 70+ runs while swiping 10 bases is a valuable asset in the fantasy world.
8) Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (Age 23, Previous Rank: 13)
In his sophomore season, Arenado showed improvement on the offensive side of his game, putting up an average 20 points higher and trotting around the diamond eight more times than in 2013 even though he played less due to a fractured finger. The average jump wasn’t fueled by luck, as his BABIP actually dropped a bit from .296 to .294. In his prime, he’ll hit 25 bombs and drive in somewhere around 85 runs yearly while hitting near .300. Furthermore, hitting in the middle of the Rockies lineup and playing half of his games at Coors Field won’t cost him anything.
9) Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds (Age 29, Previous Rank: 19)
After a somewhat disappointing 2013 campaign, Frazier put up the numbers everyone who saw his breakout 2012 expected, and made the National League all-star team. He probably won’t hit 29 home runs again, but his .273/.336/.459 slash line last year is repeatable. He stole 20 bases in 2014, most by a third baseman. This trend is likely to continue as he’ll get the green light from Bryan Price. For the next few years, he could be a rare multi-time 20-20 guy for the hot corner, with 80 runs and RBI annually. Even if he falls short in stolen bases, the overall package is quite attractive.
10) Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins (Age 21, Previous Rank: 6)
His 2014 was lost to a torn UCL in his throwing arm that pushed his timetable back a year, but it had nothing to do with his Brobdingnagian power potential. Even after losing a year of development, the San Pedro de Macoris native is still a couple years younger than his peers at AA, where he’s likely to start 2015. Moreover, for the second straight year, Sano is the youngest player in the top 10 of this TDG ranking. Like Kris Bryant, he strikes out at a more-than-acceptable rate and his enormous frame may force him to move over to first base or corner outfield. No matter where his future home is though, he should be the powerhouse of your offense for years to come.
11) Pablo Sandoval, Boston Red Sox (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 12)
Kung Fu Panda is moving from a brutal hitters’ park in San Francisco to a hitting paradise in Boston, so it would not be surprising to see a significant boost from his .279/.324/.415 2014 slash line. Sandoval hasn’t broken the 20 homer barrier since 2011, but he stands a good chance of doing it this year. He should also see gains in runs and RBI as part of a more potent Red Sox lineup. One potential snag is motivation, which has been a problem in the past. Will his fat new contract trigger some complacency? Sandoval is still in his prime but his size and aggressive style of play could lead to increased risk of injury and perhaps an early decline.
12) Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 9)
He missed more than half the 2014 season with a leg injury, but still hit close to his career averages at .280/.343/.449. Zimmerman is expected to be fully healthy entering the new season and will be moved to first base, which should help him stay on the field every day. Now 30 years old, we have not seen any drop off at the plate. The move across the diamond puts a little more pressure on his bat but it won’t be a problem. We should expect about 25 home runs, a .280 average, 90 runs and 90 RBI. Zimmerman is a very solid 4 category fantasy producer and should remain so for several more seasons.
13) Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 2 at 1B)
Davis followed up his MVP-caliber 2013 season with a hugely-disappointing .196/.300/.404 slash line that ruined the seasons of many fantasy owners. He managed to whack 26 lovely long balls, but that was less than half the 53 homers from the previous season. He was suspended 25 games for Adderall usage and missed the stretch run, meaning he wasn’t available in fantasy playoffs if an owner somehow survived him. Some say a lack of Adderall was the reason why Davis had a poor year in 2014. If so, then maybe good things are in store for 2015 as Davis has received permission to use the ADHD drug next year. Davis is a risky player to own simply because it is impossible to know what to expect from him. His fantastic 2013 season won his owners a lot of championships but given what happened the following year you can’t safely invest a ton of resources into him hoping for another MVP-caliber season. Even in a down year, Davis can still be relied upon for big power numbers but his batting average and strikeouts can kill you.
14) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 27)
Gallo’s stock soared more than any other prospect last year. Entering the season he was a fringe top 100 prospect, but he started blasting homers so hot and heavy that he shot his way into the top 10 picture with lightning speed. He cooled off a bit in the 2nd half after a promotion to AA, but still finished the season with 42 dingers and cemented himself as an elite prospect to watch in 2015. He may struggle to hit for average, but this kid will hit a LOT of home runs in the warm air of Arlington. When he appears is likely tied to his ability to make adjustments, as his 39 percent strikeout rate in Double-A, isn’t going to propel him to the big leagues.
15) Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 6 at 2B)
Carpenter benefitted from some flukishly high BABIP and RISP rates in 2013 to garner MVP consideration for his 126 runs scored and .318/.392/.481 slash line. Predictably, he suffered a large regression last year that saw his slugging fall by more than 100 points, bringing his slash line to .272/.375/.375. He still managed 99 runs, but only 59 RBI despite amassing more than 700 plate appearances. Those are good but not great numbers. Moving forward we should not expect to see anything approaching his mammoth 2013 totals again. Carpenter’s best attribute is his batting average, which is an especially valuable and often overlooked fantasy commodity in this day and age of rapidly dwindling averages around the league. Carpenter’s build and skillset bode well for his ability to maintain his fantasy value well into his 30s.
16) Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 2 at C)
Santana’s fantasy value depends a lot on his positional eligibility in your league. If he still qualifies at catcher he has tremendous value because he plays 150+ games and hits a lot of home runs. If he has lost his catcher eligibility and is limited to corner infield his value takes a big hit but he is still a valuable commodity, especially in OBP leagues. Santana suffered from a very unlucky BABIP last year, dropping his average all the way down to .231. You may remember it was well below .200 for most of the season. That horrific average may have obscured the fact he hit 27 home runs and 85 RBI, which is fantastic production for pretty much any position. Santana’s 132 wRC+ over the last two seasons ranks him as one of the top 20 hitters in baseball. The guy can hit no matter what position he plays. He is an under-appreciated player.
17) Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 16)
His numbers were not very sexy (.259 AVG, 11 homers, 50 Runs, 66 RBI, 2 Steals), but that is not a bad start to a career for a 22 year old third baseman. His .700 OPS was essentially league average at a very young age. We should see steady improvement from Castellanos over the next few years. Expect him to develop into a perennial top-10 three-bagger with the potential to be in the top five.
18) Chase Headley, New York Yankees (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 14)
Few players have been as up-and-down over the course of their career more than Headley. He has finally escaped the confines of Petco Park and landed in the hitter’s haven of Yankee Stadium. His inconsistency will likely continue but we should see a nice uptick in his stats across the board, especially runs and RBI. Headley is sneaky on the basepaths too. He can net you 10+ steals per year. He’s gotten up to 17 twice.
19) Aramis Ramirez, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 17)
The only thing that can keep Ramirez from hitting is the injury bug, which has caused him to miss chunks of time the last two seasons. His age is rapidly advancing, but he is just one of those guys who was born to hit. If he is on the field he will produce good numbers for your team. His production likely outweighs his trade value at this stage. Ride him as long as you can but you better get a backup plan ready.
20) Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 23)
Franco’s prospect stock has yo-yo’d quite a bit in recent years. His excellent 2013 campaign got a lot of people excited, but he began the 2014 season very poorly, causing many to lose faith. He turned it on as the season progressed and ended up with a decent overall stat line. His 2014 OPS of .727 in Triple-A was 200 points lower than his .926 OPS in Hi-A and AA in 2013. Opinions are split on this guy. Despite disparate numbers over the last two seasons, Franco remains very much the same player. He was likely overvalued in 2013 and will likely be undervalued in 2014. If you believed last year, hold tight.
Commentary by Kazuto Yamazaki and Nick Doran
[…] 2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: TheDynastyGuru.com ranks the top 20 third basemen for keeper/dynasty leagues. […]
I don’t understand why Rendon wouldn’t be ranked at 3B, but Chris Davis was.
Rendon was eligible at 2b and 3b. Davis was eligible at 1b and 3b. They get ranked where they’re most valuable.
Where would you rank Rendon as a 3B? I have Kipnis and Rendon, so my primary lineup will have Rendon at 3B.
and I don’t understand Wright above Arenado in a Dynasty setting OR a redraft setting.
I can only speak for myself but, I had Wright above Arenado by one spot on my listing. I try to take a longer view than just looking at last year. Wright posted a .307/.390/.514 slash line in 2013 and a .306/.391/.492 slash line in 2012. He was clearly injured last year, and that affected his totals. My rankings was a bet that he could return at least most of the way to pre-injury form.
As for Arenado, he was certainly impressive last year, but his isolated power spiked 75 points, and it’s not clear if that’s a sustainable jump, exactly. He doesn’t really walk, either, so if he reverts back to a .267 average instead of a .287 average, there’s a substantial swing in value. None of this is to say I think that’s what will happen. I think Arenado is exceedingly valuable, but he also posted eight more home runs in 22 fewer games, and that might not be a realistic representation of his talent going forward.
One injury-plagued year doesn’t erase his lengthy track record of superstardom. He is getting older and will have to prove himself healthy, but don’t write off Wright just yet (see what I did there). Arenado will eventually pass Wright but I think they are both ranked pretty close to where they should be.
I admit Wright’s shoulder scares me still. It wasn’t “fixed” which makes it hard to be confident in his health. Bigger picture for me however, is context. This isn’t WhoWillHaveTheBetterYearGuru.
Do you have stats on the % of leagues which actually have 15-20 game requirements for eligibility? Miggy played 10 games at 3B last year, making me wonder how many leagues there are where he in fact does not have eligibility as you say.
No stats, but that’s the agreement we used to facilitate our rankings. It’s something we can revisit if there’s an overwhelming reason to use a 10-game limit. I believe ESPN and Yahoo both use 20 for season to season eligibility.
I believe the standard at Yahoo is 5 games started at a position or 10 games played at the position.
Every fantasy league is different when it comes to position eligibility. We can’t make a list that fits everybody perfectly. We rank the player at what we believe is his most advantageous position in the majority of fantasy leagues. If a player has added eligibility in your league consider it a nice bonus.
Yahoo is 5 games in season, not season to season, generally.
That is just incorrect. As a counter example, Encarnacion had 9 starts at 3B in 2013, and kept his eligibility all through 2014. Because their rule is 5 starts. It would be ridiculous to have different inseason and season-to-season rules: adding eligibilities in June and taking them away in January.
It’s fine if you want to stick with the ESPN standard for your rankings, but Yahoo’s position rules are pretty objectively cut and dry (minor leaguers excepted).
I’m sure I am not alone in thinking Bryant’s ranking is ambitious to say the least despite being hypnotized by his eyes. I mean would you be surprised if Bryant ends up as something similar to a Chris Davis, who you have down a #13? As in a guy who takes a while to adjust and ends up as a .265 30 HR+, but still strikes out too much?
I might put him right next to Longoria and Seager depending on where you sit in the contention cycle. I mean if you aren’t , I don’t think you take Bryant over either.
It is an ambitious ranking, and I think Davis is an interesting name to bring up, less because of what he’s been recently, and more because of how he destroyed the minor leagues and struggled to adapt to the majors (as you pointed out). I think we’re all a bit enamored of Bryant and don’t foresee the same struggles that plagued Davis, but I’d hesitate to say any of us foresaw those struggles for Davis either.
Of course where you are on the win-curve matters, but we rank in a vacuum and Bryant has the bonus of an extremely long career in front of him, as well as a chance for 2015 impact. Your point is well met though, and one I think that’s worth keeping in my for all readers.
where is Josh Harrison being ranked? I believe he’s 2B eligible but wasn’t there.
We used a 20 games played cutoff for eligibility. Harrison had 17 at second.
Springer was killed bc of his K% and questioned about his PCL stats, but Bryant walks on water. That 27% K% will go to 30% from historical metrics and his 21 errors at 3B will only patriots, I mean deflate, this young core of bats. This all while they have options for 3B and an open LF. BA podcast literally scoffed at the idea Bryant was a 3B which blew me away and I always though LF was his future anyway.
I would like to point out Franco won 2 best tools awards from BA at 3B in the intl league all while not having a high K% with good ct% and obvious plus raw.
Am I being an ass here or is there some substance to how far apart these 2 rank?
It was open knowledge Franco was working on his approach to start last season and then he finished on fire which carried over into winter ball which he failed producing in last season. (Run on anyone?)
Yep, I’ll take Bryant over Franco for upside, but Franco not being a big bonus baby or owning pedigree from the draft seems to have his value suppressed. (Long post asshole here)
Well if anecdotal, small sample and arbitrary endpoint evidence don’t carry the day, what will?!?
Look, there’s more to players than their K rates. Bryant has a two-strike approach where Springer doesn’t. That doesn’t stop him from whiffing more, but means the slide up might not be as dramatic (Springer’s was a nine percentage point jump).
Some had Franco ranked a bit higher than this, but most had him around this range, and it’s a consensus ranking. There’s a legitimate possibility that he ends up at 1B (although I don’t know that I’d say likely) which harms his value considerably. Bryant moving to the OF is also a negative, but not to the same degree, and on some level, 35+ HR power is what it is no matter where it’s coming from. Bryant has that (and the ability to hit for average) while Franco does not.
Also, whether you always thought that Bryant was a LFer doesn’t factor into our rankings in the slightest, and if you have to ask whether you’re being an ass, well…
Also, pedigree certainly plays a part in some instances, but I resent the implication that the same people who were high on him last year would suddenly think he’s a piece of garbage because he wasn’t a bonus baby. You might want to find a better way to ask questions than hurling assumptions around.
which assumptions did I hurl? If Franco was a big bonus baby or a 1st round pick he would be viewed differently, just like every other example.
Why is Bryant capable of hitting for a higher avg? I think its a valid thought that PCL Ps are less aggressive and especially to a guy like Bryant, so that BB% may be inflated.
Franco hit over 30 HR in pitcher friendly environments in ’13.
Bryant hit 40 in hitter friendly env.
Bryant takes pitches which is a skill that Franco does not own at this point, but Franco makes more contact and from reports its hard contact which correlates with BABIP per Fantistics Perri. (Batted ball speed off the bat which hit/fx provides. Perri said his findings on Fantistics radio; .80)
Whats the success rate of 30% K% hitters in MLB? A 3% increase for Bryant is modest.
3B or LF matters just as AA 2B of OF matters.
Franco to 1B will matter more. I just don’t see Franco to 1B anytime soon from org statements and current scouting reports.
The assumption that I laid out for you in my response and the one that you just repeated. I literally *just* left a comment responding to your statements about Bryant’s K rates, and you come back and repeat the same stuff. I don’t know what else you want me to say. I explained our reasoning behind it already.
The scouting reports differ greatly between Franco and Bryant. Bryant has near-top of the scale power. Franco makes hard contact but his swing isn’t nearly as leveraged as Bryant’s his (hence more contact). But you read the scouting reports so I don’t know why I’m explaining this to you.
Pulling up Franco’s success in A-Ball and comparing it to Bryant’s success in Double- and Triple-A rings false. You can’t just compare numbers like that and pretend they’re equivalent. I understand the home parks/leagues were drastically different, but so is the talent level. Especially since Bryant’s two home parks play relatively neutral to home runs, and he did hit 22 in Chattanooga, which isn’t exactly a hitter’s paradise.
I don’t think Bryant is the next coming of jesus here, but stop pretending that there can’t be a reasonable case for the separation between the two players. You don’t see Franco moving to first anytime soon, which is great, but you’re not in charge of whether he does so, so we might weight the chances of that happening significantly differently.
You make some good points. Bryant does have some red flags in his record that indicate he might not be the next coming of Miguel Cabrera. The prospect hype on Bryant has reached epic proportions and it is unlikely he will live up to expectations, at least not this year. I would not be shocked if Bryant fails to become a star. I have seen plenty of can’t miss prospects fall on their faces over the years (look at Bogaerts and Polanco last year for example). All that said, he is a great prospect who I would love to have on any of my fantasy teams.
It might be very aggressive to have Bryant ranked as the #2 third baseman (I had him #4 on my list), but he is a light years better prospect than Maikel Franco in my opinion. I am just not willing to risk my fantasy team on Franco’s chances of becoming a star player. Franco might be a good fantasy player some day but I am not that optimistic. It is hard to rank him higher than guys who are already proven major league run producers.
How about Sano vs Bryant?
To me, Sano did his damage in pitcher friendly leagues while Brynat shoved in hitter env. There’s already reports of Sano looking really good in BP and his path to 3B is not competitive.
Not downplaying Bryant, but it seems in a dynasty league an owner of Brynat could flip him to the owner for Sano plus more. Thinks that’s a viable concept?
It’s almost like using Moncada to get Betts plus while Betts PT is in question. Or vice versa I guess
Was offered Arenado and Hamels for Donaldson . 9 keepers max league. My keeprs as of now are: Rendon, Donaldson, Bogaerts, A-Gon, Cargo, Kemp, Harvey, Gray, Iwakuma. Basically I’d be downgrading Josh, and upgrading Iwakuma. Thoughts?
Just giving this a bump in case you didn’t see. thanks
How big is the league? I think the difference between Iwakuma year-to-year isn’t as big as Donaldson to Arenado right now. That said if it’s a deeper league I get the move due getting younger on both ends of this deal. If there’s adequate replacements available though, I might hold onto Donaldson.
Thanks for responding. It’s a 16 team league and I agree with you, which is why i haven’t pulled the trigger. Cole is hard to pass up here, though. Donaldson, in a friendly ballpark could be a beast.
I’d probably make the move in a 16-teamer
What do you think of swapping Longoria for Sano in a 12 team dynasty? My other 3B are Arenado and Seager. Thanks
What do you think of swapping Longoria for Sano in a 12 team dynasty?mMy other 3B are are Arenado and Seager. Thanks