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The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Third Basemen, #1-20

WELCOME BACK!!! Despite a scorching hot stove (I can’t believe the player you’re thinking of did or did not sign with the team you thought they would!), January and February can be some of the darkest months of the year (figuratively and literally). But fear not, restless readers. The Dynasty Guru is here to the rescue.

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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2019 consensus rankings by looking at our 1-20 dynasty third basemen.

1) Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians, (Age:26 Previous Rank NR)

Ramirez is the best third baseman in Major League baseball. This also makes him one of the best baseball players in the world. In 2018 Ramirez finished in the top of five of runs, RBI, home runs, walks, stolen bases, and OPS. Hard not to be a riser when it looks like you’re using Game Genie cheats to play Baseball. Now let’s figure out how he did it, and if we can count on the Game Genie going forward.

Over the past three years, he’s significantly improved his ISO, Pull%, BB%, and Fly balls. He’s a switch hitter, so you might think, oh maybe he’s taking the ball the other way. No, he’s not, 33 of his 39 homers came from him batting left-handed. Guy loves to pull the ball.

The switch-hitting third baseman has become one of the elite players in the game. Easily a top five dynasty asset, and he should continue to produce solid numbers for years to come. We’re unlikely to get seasons quite as good as 2018, but he’ll provide a chance for 30 homers and 30 stolen bases for years to come. Congratulations if you own him, he’s freakin’ incredible. (Patrick Magnus)

2) Alex Bregman, Houston Astros, (Age:24 Previous Rank NR)

Bregman had himself one hell of a breakout in 2018. Essentially becoming the Nolan Arenado of the American League, he played outstanding defense while also crushing the ball. Last season he posted an astounding .396 wOBA, which was good for top 3% in the league. Of course, when you’re eclipsing the 30 homers, stealing 10 bags, and walking more than you’re striking out; that’s going to happen.

All signs point to Bregman having another outstanding year in 2019, and being a fantastic dynasty asset thereafter. The 24-year-old is more likely to hit homers in the mid-twenties rather than thirty-plus, as he significantly outperformed his xSLGing. Still, he checks all the boxes of a fixture as your dynasty third baseman, providing power, speed, potent ratios, and strong counting stats in an optimal lineup. Oh, and he’s only 24. Expect years and years of fantastic production. (Patrick Magnus)

3) Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies, (Age:27, Previous Rank 2)

Hey, have you heard that Colorado is a great place to hit baseballs? The Rockies have what appears to be a robot constructed from the future to optimize third-base play. Four straight years of upper-thirties to low-forties home runs, five years of a .280+ batting average, and three straight years of being in the top 7% in wOBA. To say that Nolan Arenado has established himself as an elite option at third base still feels like an understatement. The dude is a terminator, or a man made from clay that the Rockies sculpted for Coors field. Regardless of how this terminator came to be, he is a great fit for Coors.

Now for a bit of necessary skepticism. There are two concerns over Arenado’s future performance. The first being that his offensive skill set ticked down ever so slightly in 2018. Arenado saw declines in his average, ISO, barrel%, and launch angle. Again, they were all still elite, just nitpicking the 27-year-old. Next, there’s the issue that Arenado’s numbers on the road are significantly worse than his numbers at home, and he is in the final year of his contract. That deserves watching because if he’s not in Coors it’s likely he’ll be lower on this list next year. (Patrick Magnus)


4) Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs, (Age:  Previous Rank 1)

The Cubs’ third baseman stock has fallen due to injury. There’s some major concern over Bryant’s shoulder and his long term performance. Perhaps a buying opportunity here for dynasty owners who are rebuilding, or the need to sell to immediately. Which might it be?

Traditionally the slugger has posted ISOs over .200+, and had little trouble surpassing 25 home runs. His streak of three seasons with 25+ home runs came to a sudden stop in 2018 when he was only able to eke out 13.  Bryant also saw declines in his exit velocity, ISO, and slugging. His baby-blue eyes, though, remained mesmerizing.

Bryant dealt with a substantial but ambiguous shoulder injury throughout 2018. The power-hitting third baseman’s injury was enough to warrant significant concern from our injury specialist Dr. Mike Tanner, which is a big ol’ red flag. Dr. Tanner’s recommendation is to keep an eye on Bryant’s spring performance. Look for displays of power as confirmation that he’s truly past the injury. If he is, well then he’s dynasty gold. (Patrick Magnus)

5) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 8)

The King of the North is coming. A 70-grade hit tool paired with 70 in-game power, and then a tremendous track-record of making the minor leagues look like they are T-ball. Vladdito is going to be an absolutely amazing baseball player. In Double-A last year he batted over .400 and destroyed 14 baseballs in 266 at-bats. Then he was promoted to Triple-A, where he managed to walk more than he struck out (11.7% BB, 7.8% K), and hit another six homers.

Guerrero has put up video game numbers in the minor leagues, shown a flair for the dramatic by hitting a walk-off homer in Montreal, has shown some amazing dance moves,  and will be making his major league debut this year. The future all-star looks to be just as fun as he is talented. Most likely impossible to acquire at this point in your league, but if you own him; enjoy the ride. (Patrick Magnus)


6) Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals, (Age: 28. Previous Rank 4)

The world keeps on turning, burning, and Rendon just keeps doing what he does. Rendon put up fantastic numbers in 2017, and then guess what? He had an almost identical season in 2018. There are some interchangeable numbers between the two seasons(25 vs 24 HRs, 81 vs  88 RBI), and even areas managed to outdo himself in 2018. Most impressive was the quality of contact Rendon made; increasing his barrel% by nearly 4%. The lead to an impressive .543 xSLGing, which was good for top 4% in the MLB.

We could debate which was the better season, but the point here is that the Nationals’ third baseman is not showing any signs of slowing down. Though depending on your belief in defensive metrics it does look like he took a bit of a step back there (good news we don’t care). Rendon continues to show excellent batted ball data, plate skills, and will most certainly extend his streak of great counting stats. Buy, buy, buy. (Patrick Magnus)


7) Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds, (Age:27, Previous Rank 17)

Though some believed there was no way he would block Nick Senzel, Suarez proved the haters wrong and held off the top draft pick, so let’s get into why. Suarez’s approach at the plate is fantastic, though he swings and misses a little more than we’d like (23.4% K-rate). However, the major change between pre and post breakout here is the authority he displayed when hitting baseballs. He actually swung the bat more, maintained his strikeout rate, decreased his walk rate, and increased his contact. Specifically: his hard contact (45.5% in 2018).

The results? Above average exit velocity, launch angle, and average home run distance, and a slashline of .283/.366/.536.The above-average home run distance is of particular importance because we can speculate that the power increase is not simply a component of playing in the Great American Ballpark (further proof- Suarez hit 19 of his homers at home and 15 away).

There’s a reason the Reds signed Suarez to an extension in 2018, and that’s because he’s going to be very good for a while. At 27 years of age, playing in Great American Ballpark, playing third base, and displaying all the signs of growth an analyst could ask for. We’re super stoked for Suarez for the next three to five years. (Patrick Magnus)


8) Rafael Devers, Red Sox, (Age:22, Previous Rank 6)

Oh, the beautiful awkwardly-shaped Baby Devers. The youngster’s first full season in the bigs didn’t quite live up to the massive amount of hype that accompanied him. Poor batted-ball luck (.281 BABIP), some pretty gruesome defense (-3.0 Def WAR), and too many ground balls (46.2%) resulted in an underwhelming season. So, are we buying low on the baby third baseman, or are we trying to sell as post-hype?

The overall numbers didn’t look great for the Boston third baseman, but there were still positive takeaways. For starters, he had the same amount of homers as years on this earth, and he also snagged five bases. Next, while his plate discipline wasn’t perfect, it was damn good for his age (7.8% BB and 24.7%K). Not everyone can be Juan Soto, and with a couple of adjustments to his approach (and some better batted-ball luck), we’re still looking a dynasty stud. Buy low where you can. (Patrick Magnus)


9) Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics, (Age:25, Previous Rank 29)

Chapman had an incredible 2018, slashing .278/.356/.508. Everything looks legitimate and sustainable when analyzing Chapman, with the exception of his batting average. Chapman’s BABIP jumped to .290 to .338, and that’s likely unsustainable even though he crushes the ball (he finished in the top-five in exit velocity). Chapman has managed to possess a BABIP above .300 only once in the minors.

There’s still hope for Chapman’s average as well. Take a look at his batted-ball data from 2018.

Year | TeamLDGBFBISOExit Velocity (MPH)
2018 | Athletics20.440.339.3.23093

Those ratios are very close to the sweet spot for hitters. Just a few percentage points lower in ground ball percent, either a tick up in line drives or fly balls would be nice. The exit velocity and ISO are provided as well to further illustrate that those numbers are significant since he’s hitting the ball with so much authority. In addition he also increased his contact rate and distributed the ball to all parts of the field. Sign us up for all the shares of Chapman. (Patrick Magnus)

10) Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers, (Age:28 Previous Rank: 16)

A big boy who was once considered a bench bat has turned into an elite power threat. Hitting over a combined 63 homers the past two years, Shaw has become a force at the plate since his arrival to Milwaukee. The league took notice of Shaw’s new found power and started pitching around him. Shaw managed to bump his walk rate to 13.3%, as the majority of the pitches he saw in 2018 were out of the zone.

There’s certainly risk of platoon here, but it doesn’t seem like it would matter. He’s so good against righties that he’ll still put up numbers. Shaw smashed 30 of his 32 homers off of right-handed pitchers. So while his .239/.298/.426 career slash-line against lefties is ugly, he’ll still play well enough to be your primary dynasty third baseman. (Patrick Magnus)

11) Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 26)

Miguel Andujar is a recent top prospect who just hit 27 home runs in his first significant MLB action. So why does he feel somewhat underwhelming as a dynasty asset? Perhaps it is because the Yankees have not been shy about dangling Andujar as a potential trade chip. The reason? Defense. Some have suggested that Andujar should even be moved to right field. While no changes have been made, the buzz around Andujar heading into 2019 has been quite underwhelming. At this juncture, it seems his value could go either way up, or way down depending on what the Yankees do to marginalize his defensive shortcomings. In spite of this negative buzz, count me as an Andujar believer. He is, after all, a recent top prospect who just hit 27 home runs in his first significant MLB action. No matter where he plays, I like him to contribute with his bat. Let’s not overthink this. (Jonathan Merkel)

12) Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 5)

The Bringer of Rain has a new home in Atlanta, Georgia. All that matters for dynasty owners is health. Will he have it or not? We all know that Donaldson has been one of the most prodigious offensive players in the game since 2013, but his career hit a wall in Toronto beginning in 2017. Calf and shoulder injuries have lingered and sidelined him for 159 of a possible 324 games. When healthy, he did put up vintage numbers. This earned him a $23 million payday when the Braves placed their bet on Donaldson returning to form. I think it could happen, but long-term I’m at Tulowitzki levels of skepticism. For owners in win-now mode, this former MVP makes a solid target as he should come with a steep discount. And rightfully so. (Jonathan Merkel)

13) Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 9)

Nick Senzel returns to the upper echelon of our third base rankings, if only at a slightly lower position than he occupied last season. Senzel’s offensive prowess makes him almost certain to make a major impact in the bigs. But Senzel has two major questions to answer moving forward: 1) Where does he play for the Reds? and 2) How big of a factor is his vertigo? Question #1 is easy to answer. The Reds are eager to bring him up, and the clearest path to playing time is in the outfield now that Suarez and Gennett are dominating Senzel’s primary infield destinations. So… outfield it is! Long-term Senzel should earn multi-position eligibility, which will only boost his dynasty value.

As for vertigo, our own Dr. Mike Tanner informed us that Senzel’s seasonal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo “may have a tendency to creep up every spring or fall,” since it arises during seasonal changes. For dynasty owners, this condition is cause for legitimate concern, especially when one considers how much time the issue has already cost Senzel. Are we jumping ship? Clearly not, but like Dr. Mike said, the prognosis for Senzel is a long-term worry. Drafters can take him with confidence, and concern. (Jonathan Merkel)

14) Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers, (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 11)

Justin Turner has transformed himself into one of the most potent offensive players in the game, but he is now 34 and his injury history is longer than his luscious ginger mane. Like Josh Donaldson, Turner has nothing to prove. We all know he provides power and the elitest of ratios whenever he comes to the dish. Turner, in short, is an offensive weapon. What we don’t know moving forward is how often dynasty owners will get to deploy him as such. There’s the rub. Proceed with caution, and hope for the best. You just might get it. (Jonathan Merkel)

15) Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 21)

Austin Riley looks poised for an exciting career in Atlanta, even if its beginnings might be a year away. Josh Donaldson’s signing means Riley will continue to refine his craft at Triple-A until there’s cause for him to be promoted. Here’s to hoping he spends the extra time working on his plate approach. If there’s one obvious flaw with Riley, it’s that he strikes out too much and walks too little. For him to reach his full potential, some significant improvements will need to happen. Fortunately he has been lauded throughout his development as a high-character, great work-ethic type, so the ingredients for success are present. Indeed, it wasn’t that long ago he was viewed more as a pitcher than as a third baseman. Now look at him. There’s a good chance Riley will power his way into your fantasy heart very soon, assuming he hasn’t already. (Jonathan Merkel)

16) Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals, (Age: 18, Previous Rank: N/A)

The Nolan Gorman hype is real, and he makes his rankings debut as our 16th ranked third baseman. To be sure, Gorman, at 18 years of age, has a wide range of possible outcomes for his baseball career. No matter what, the guy looks like he will annihilate the baseballs his bat actually hits. As for all the pitches he misses? That’s what we call a “growth area.” Gorman reminds me of a young Austin Riley in that his monster power will play; the only question is, “Will his hit-tool develop?” One can only hope. His power is enough to dream on, and I like St. Louis to maximize his skillset and shore up his weaknesses.  (Jonathan Merkel)

17) Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 7)

Miguel Sano has a lot of work to do to rebuild his dynasty stock. Before last season we had him ranked as the 7th best third baseman due to his power and torrid pace in 2017. Then he stepped off the field and imploded. The more I see of Sano, the clearer it becomes that he may fail to become any more than the flawed player we already know. He still possesses the slugging power that made him a highly-regarded prospect, but he also continues to strike out too much capitalize on his power’s value. The best hope for dynasty owners is that they’re able to acquire him on a discounted draft price en route to a bounce-back season. It’s hard to imagine he could perform any worse than he did last year. And Sano will need a bounce-back season to keep his MLB career prospects afloat. Otherwise he may quickly become an afterthought in both MLB and dynasty circles. (Jonathan Merkel)

18) Jonathan India, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: N/A)

The Reds 5th Overall Pick in the 2018 Draft, Jonathan India, parlayed a dynamic final season at Florida into a first-round draft selection. While he got a chance to make 192 Plate Appearances at the tail end of last year, our first real look at him will come in 2019. The Dynasty Guru’s Jesse Roche has said of India, “As an advanced college hitter, India carries far less risk than his contemporaries. At his best, he showcases above-average tools across the board, with a high floor, but lower ceiling.” Above-average across the board? That’s a profile I can get behind. Sometimes it’s good to just let a talented guy play his way up the ladder until he proves that he just can’t hack it. I’m excited to see where that level is for India, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes one of 2019’s fastest moving prospects. (Jonathan Merkel)

19) Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: N/A)

Alec Bohm is the third member of the exciting 2018 draft class to crack our top 20, and he could end up being the best hitter of the bunch. Bohm is known for having an above-average approach at the dish, and for not selling out to tap into his 70-grade power. These are ideal traits in a young power-hitter. If Bohm is already adept at negating such common weaknesses, it will be fun to see how he continues to maximize his offensive value. While many question whether Bohm can stick at third, his bat alone should carry him up the ladder. And while he had a weak debut, don’t let that fool you. This guy can really hit. (Jonathan Merkel)

20) Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 25)

Jeimer Candelario almost feels like he’s being underrated. He sits behind first year guys Bohm, India and Gorman. Is there any chance Candelario, already an MLB regular, is being underrated as a dynasty asset? In short: No. He doesn’t have much power, and really doesn’t do anything outstanding offensively or defensively. He’s an average player in an above-average situation in Detroit. As a result he gets at bats. Good for him. What can he do for you? Well… he will play everyday. What is that tired old saying? “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll end up among the stars.” Candelario is the player you get when you shoot for the ground, and your arrow ends up on the ground. You can, and should, do better. (Jonathan Merkel)

 

Where They’d Rank*

Javier Baez- 9, behind Rafael Devers
Max Muncy- 12, behind Miguel Andujar
Wil Myers- 15, behind Josh Donaldson
Matt Carpenter- 16, behind WIl Myers
Ian Happ- 19, behind Josh Turner
Jurickson Profar- 20, behind Ian Hap

 

*ranks calculated as if all eligible were on the list.

The Author

Ian Hudson

Ian Hudson

Ian is an editor for The Dynasty Guru and a bowtie enthusiast. If you guessed one of those things about him you could probably guess the other.

He's also an attorney in Tampa, Florida.

Go Rays.

1 Comment

  1. Alex
    January 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Where would you put Machado if he goes to a team that asks him to be a 3B? Thanks to everyone for all these great write ups … this offseason has a lot of great info to read about thanks to DynastyGuru.

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