The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Third Basemen, #21-50
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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.
21) Nolan Jones, Cleveland Indians, (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 31)
The Indians top prospect is checking all the boxes you’d like him to in his age-21 season. Across two levels he hit for power, had an OBP near .400, and provided a respectable average. The true measure of his talent will come in ’19. Jones will face the jump from High-A to Double-A. Many consider this jump in competition the most challenging in the minors. He’ll be young for Double-A and is likely to spend the full season there. He profiles as a potential three-true-outcomes player. He is a high ceiling, high-risk prospect that could become an elite third baseman. He likely won’t make his debut until late 2020 or early 2021. (Mike Tanner)
22) Mike Moustakas, Free Agent, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 13)
Although there was less power in ’18 than in ’17, not a lot changed in his profile. He makes a tremendous amount of contact, doesn’t strike out much, and plays average defense at third base. The most troubling aspect of Moustakas’ situation is the lack of suitors for his services. His power should play anywhere, but the quality of the lineup may slightly bump his value up or down. He’s a perfect player to man your middle infield position for the next few years. (Mike Tanner)
23) Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 15)
The sharp decline for Seager in Seattle has been staggering. After ranking fourth in ’17 for us, he fell to fifteenth, and now to twenty-third. Sadly, his demise cannot be blamed on health or lineup concerns. His pull-heavy approach has played into the shift far too often, decimating his batting average. Unless he hits a line drive or home run, he is an easy out. Now on the wrong side of 30 years old, it is likely that he ends up lower on this list in ’20. (Mike Tanner)
24) Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 22)
It seems like Franco has been around forever, but he’s still only 26 years old. There is a lot to like about his profile and one glaring weakness. The positives are that he doesn’t strike out often, makes excellent contact, and hits for power. The glaring negative is that he does not hit left-handed pitching at all. If you play in a league that allows daily roster moves, he retains value for now, but he’s one signing away from being completely irrelevant. Top prospects Alec Bohm and Luis Garcia are a few years away, but unless Franco takes it to another level, he likely won’t be ranked in the top 50 next year. (Mike Tanner)
25) Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 14)
2018 was a complete disaster for Lamb. He endured multiple injuries and his game regressed in all areas. He struck out more, walked less, and his OPS dipped nearly 200 points. He will likely slide over to first base in ’19 and become a platoon partner with Wilmer Flores. Lamb cannot hit left-handed pitching, and in his age-28 season it is doubtful that the Diamondbacks allow him to face lefties at all. On a positive note, he will be a cheap source of power and counting stats hitting in the middle of the order. His long-term value is questionable at best. (Mike Tanner)
26) Johan Camargo, Atlanta Braves, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Camargo is better than most people may know unless you watched a lot of Atlanta’s games this past season. More importantly, if you compare his skills and stats with those of Dansby Swanson, he becomes even more interesting. If true skills win out, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Camargo become the everyday shortstop for the Braves. Camargo hits for average, modest power, has a solid OBP and excellent defense. He is a fantastic sleeper option in ’19. His value is sure to be much different in ’20, either as an everyday regular or a utility player. (Mike Tanner)
27) Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburg Pirates, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Hayes is one of my favorite third base prospects. He is a fantastic defender with great bat skills. He might be a better real player than fantasy player at the moment. The real gripe against Hayes is that his bat is a little light on power. Having said that, he’s only 21, and minor leaguers seem to improve with age and the current MLB ball (exhibit A Jesse Winker). I’d venture to guess that by mid-season in 2020 he will have locked down the starting third baseman job for the Pirates for the foreseeable future. (Mike Tanner)
28) Michael Chavis, Boston Red Sox, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 27)
A shortened 2018 season cut short by a suspension seems to have bumped Chavis off of a few dynasty radars. He remains the top prospect for the Red Sox with a pretty viable path to playing time at first or second base. He has a typical power approach. He strikes out a little too much but walks a fair amount. More importantly, he causes legitimate damage when he does connect (ISO has been above .200 at every stop the last two years). He likely doesn’t play regularly until early or mid-2020. (Mike Tanner)
29) Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 40)
Escobar is the perfect piece for a contending dynasty team. He is the ultimate accumulator. If he gets close to 600 plate appearances, then he will produce around 20 HR, 80 RBI & 80 runs with a decent average. Entering his age-30 season he will remain useful for a few more years. If you’re rebuilding, sell now for a non-elite prospect like Estuiry Ruiz or Hudson Potts. (Mike Tanner)
30) Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies, (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 41)
Despite a positive showing in High-A, Welker’s value is a bit murkier than one might expect. Tyler Nevin has emerged as a legitimate option at third base. The Rockies recent treatment of their prospects also dampens our excitement to own Welker & others. When an emerging prospect is ready for the majors, Colorado seems to prefer signing an aging veteran. Arenado’s future in Colorado is uncertain, but if he signs a long-term deal, he is unquestionably blocked. Although Welker’s power ceiling is lower than Arenado’s, he projects to be an everyday, quality third baseman. ’19 should bring more clarity to his value by facing superior competition and resolution to Arenado’s contact. (Mike Tanner)
31) Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles (Age 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Mountcastle has continued to increase his visibility by stringing consistently strong campaigns together as he moves up the minor league ranks. Coming into 2018 as Jesse Roche’s #85 overall prospect and sporting a solid career .289/.323/.453 minor league slash line, Mountcastle played the entire season in Double-A, hitting an impressive .297/.341/.464. You won’t be getting the high upside of Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. here, but Mountcastle has all the makings of a consistent second-tier fantasy third baseman and a possible impact player for the Orioles. (Ross Jensen)
32) Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins (Age 25, Previous Rank: 30)
In 2018, The Dynasty Guru characterized Anderson as a high-floor prospect with a strong sense of the strike zone, and a solid .275/.360/.490 type of ceiling. While the power isn’t quite to that level yet (.400 SLG in 2018), nothing from Anderson’s full-season pro debut really moves the needle from that analysis. What you will get is a young, solid all-around hitting third baseman that can man third base for you for another five-plus years. It’s only the confirmation of last year’s assumptions of Anderson’s floor/ceiling that prevent him from ranking higher. (Ross Jensen)
33) Colin Moran, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age 26, Previous Rank: 37)
After reportedly making significant swing adjustments in 2017, Moran’s MLB career began in 2018, kickstarted by a trade from the Astros to the Pirates. By almost all measures, his rookie-season debut must be considered a success. While he only mustered 11 home runs, Moran provided a solid .277 average in over 400 at bats. Moran’s career .290 career minor league batting average in over 1,700 at bats suggests that number is not an aberration. Moran looks like a solid candidate to hold down third base in the event that you miss out on one of the premier bats in the early rounds of your draft or find your team desperate to fill a hole due to injury. (Ross Jensen)
34) Edwin Rios, LA Dodgers (Age 24, Previous Rank: NR)
A Puerto Rican slugger from Florida International University, Rios has impressed fantasy owners by owning a career .528 slugging percentage across four years in the minor leagues. Last year, Rios spent the entire season in Triple-A, again posting solid offensive numbers highlighted by a .304 batting average. Owners should be cautioned that Rios is a bit of free-swinger, never drawing more than 35 walks over the course of a full season while topping 100 strikeouts in his three seasons of at least 100 at bats, which could cause him problems as he moves up to face major league pitching. Finding playing time in the crowded Dodgers infield could also prove to be a challenge for prospective Rios owners. (Ross Jensen)
35) J.P. Crawford, Seattle Mariners (Age 24, Previous Rank: NR/28-SS)
Fantasy owners are still waiting for Crawford, MLB.com’s #2 overall prospect in 2016, to live up to his potential. To date, Crawford hasn’t demonstrated that he can hit the ball above the Double-A level consistently enough to make a significant fantasy impact. In his second MLB stint, Crawford replicated 2017’s .214 batting average and seemed to lack much support from the Phillies field staff throughout the season. Further, Crawford’s batting average across the majors and the minors has now declined for three years straight. If he can ever fulfill the potential that made him so highly ranked, Crawford could end up being a steal in your league, particularly for those in OBP leagues. However, please remember, the trend is your friend. Right now the trend does not appear to be in Crawford’s favor. (Ross Jensen)
36) Mark Vientos, New York Mets (Age 19, Previous Rank: NR)
The Mets 2nd round pick in 2017, Vientos enjoyed a breakout season in the Appalachian League, where he posted a .878 OPS buoyed by an impressive .389 OBP. The 6’4 Vientos is seen as a prospect with strong power potential once his frame fills out, drawing comparisons to Manny Machado on the high end. However, at just barely 19 years old and still several levels removed from the major leagues, he has a long way yet to go to prove that such comparisons are worthy. Vientos is a good candidate as a high upside target for deeper fantasy leagues. (Ross Jensen)
37) Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants (Age 33, Previous Rank: 19)
There was a time when a young Rays Longoria was the most sought after asset at third base. After an age-32 season with the Giants in which Longoria could only muster a .244/.281/.413 line, those days are long gone. Most alarming is the precipitous drop in Longoria’s walk rate last season, which may indicate that Longoria is chasing more pitches as he struggles to find a hitting groove. There is always the chance that a premier talent like Longoria rebounds to put up statistics closer to his career averages (.268/.336/.477), but heading into his mid 30’s, banking on such a recovery is a risk. (Ross Jensen)
38) Sherten Apostel, Texas Rangers (Age 19, Previous Rank: NR)
For the second year in a row, the 6’4, 215 pound teenager posted an OBP above .420. Known for his raw power, the physical specimen out of Curacao has posted an OPS of .917 and .880 in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and is expected to add more power as he continues to fill out his frame. Perhaps the most impressive part of Apostel’s game currently is his ability to work a count, which has resulted in almost as many walks as strikeouts across 374 at-bats over the past two seasons combined (97 walks, 99 strikeouts). How high of an average Apostel is able to hit for in the higher levels of the minors remains a question mark, but it is worth considering stashing him for those seeking power and on-base potential. (Ross Jensen)
39) Todd Frazier, New York Mets (Age 32, Previous Rank: 28)
Over the last three seasons, Frazier has hit a combined .218. On the flip side, he has also managed to keep his OBP above .300 in each of those seasons and continues to hit home runs at a decent rate. The days of getting a .270, 30-homer third baseman with Frazier are well in the past. If you can stomach a batting average near the Mendoza Line, Frazier may be able to fill in as a decent source of temporary at-bats and power if a need arises on your time. Outside of that scenario, it is hard to recommend adding Frazier with a straight face. (Ross Jensen)
40) Zack Cozart, LA Angels (Age 33, Previous Rank: NR/34-SS)
After an All-Star year in 2017, Cozart moved to the AL, took on a new primary position (switching from shortstop to third base), and proceeded to suffer through an injury-plagued season marred by one of the worst offensive showings of his career. Cozart’s .219 batting average was a career low. After a career-high 24 home runs in 2017, Cozart was also only able to add 5 home runs in 224 at-bats, failing to offset his poor batting average. Though he is now 33 years old, entering 2019 healthy and only being two years removed from a career year bode well for a potential recovery season. (Ross Jensen)
41) David Fletcher, LA Angels (Age 24, Previous Rank: NR)
Eckstein Fletcher took over the starting second base job after Ian Kinsler was traded last season, and he was good enough to hold onto it for the remainder of the 2018 season. Fletcher figures to stay at second to start 2019, and he’ll likely once again be a consistently mediocre hitter. The best thing Fletcher did for his fantasy value was to somehow convince the Angels to let him bat leadoff, and he’ll be a useful fantasy asset for as long as he keeps that going. Fletcher may have more pop than the single home run he hit in 80 games last year (he hit 6 in 58 Triple-A last year) but it still probably won’t be enough to make him a worthwhile target unless he continues to produce run scoring opportunities in front of some guy named Mike Trout. (Matt Meiselman)
42) Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals (Age 30, Previous Rank: 24)
Gyorko has been a steady hitter for the Cardinals for three consecutive years, posting a wRC+ of 112-112-110 in 2016-17-18. It’s probably fair to be worried about the beginning of a decline for the 30-year-old infielder, but the bigger concern may actually be his playing time. Gyorko looked like the Cardinals 2019 third baseman at the beginning of the offseason, but the Paul Goldschmidt trade looks like it’ll move Matt Carpenter from first over to third. There will still be some at bats for Gyorko, and he’ll compete with Kolten Wong for playing time at second, but there’s now a decent chance that Gyorko spends most of the season as a backup and pinch hitter. He’ll likely produce when he plays, but the floor for Gyorko just got a lot lower. (Matt Meiselman)
43) Dermis Garcia, New York Yankees (Age 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Garcia won’t be a factor in 2019, but he’s been successful enough at the lower levels to warrant some dynasty attention. Garcia actually repeated Low-A last year, but he hit 15 homers with a .444 slugging percentage. Power is Garcia’s game, and it’ll certainly play well if he can find his way up to Yankee Stadium at some point in the future. It’s unclear if Garcia will stick at third base or end up moving to first, but he’s an interesting long term target nonetheless. He’ll also probably need to cut his strikeout rate (30.6% last year) but he’s someone who’s worth keeping an eye on. (Matt Meiselman)
44) Elehuris Montero, St. Louis Cardinals (Age 20, Previous Rank: NR)
Montero turned in some eye-popping numbers last year, specifically at Low-A where he hit 15 home runs with a 157 wRC+. It’s been a successful minor league career for Montero to this point, and at 20 years old he already has some High-A experience under his belt. He’s still a work in progress and 2019 is almost certainly out of the question, but there’s a lot of potential upside for someone with this much power. Dermis and Elehuris? It could be a bright future for this strangely rhyming combination of third base prospects.
45) Brandon Drury, Toronto Blue Jays (Age, Previous Rank: NR/26-2B)
2018 was a rough year for Drury, as he managed just a 44 wRC+ in only 86 total plate appearances with the Yankees and Blue Jays. It’s unclear if Drury will get a better shot in 2019 in Toronto, as the Blue Jays have a crowded infield depth chart with Vlad Guerrero Jr. now in the picture. The best path to playing time is probably overtaking Devon Travis at second base, but Drury’s production has been less than stellar for a couple years now. If he can find his 2016 form (when he hit 16 homers for the Diamondbacks) there’s a chance Drury can be a useful fantasy asset, but a lot is going to have to break right for him to get there. (Matt Meiselman)
46) Kyle Farmer, Cincinnati Reds (Age 28, Previous Rank: NR)
Farmer was part of the blockbuster trade that sent a chunk of the Dodgers’ roster to the Reds, and he’ll have a better chance of becoming fantasy relevant in Cincinnati than he did in Los Angeles. Farmer was primarily a third baseman for the Dodgers in his brief time in the majors last year, but he actually came up through the minors as a catcher, and that’s where he figures to get most of his playing time for the Reds. Farmer has been solid at the plate at every level, but it’s yet to translate into MLB success (.281 wOBA and 73 wRC+ in 2017, .278 wOBA and 76 wRC+ in 2018). Now 28, it’s probably unreasonable to expect much of a breakout, but steady contribution is in the cards if he can maneuver his way into a starting job. (Matt Meiselman)
47) Taylor Ward, Los Angeles Angels (Age 25, Previous Rank: NR)
Like Farmer, Ward is both a catcher and a third baseman. He’ll probably crack the lineup at third when he plays this year, but he’s more of a future asset than a present one. Ward is only 25, so even though he’ll almost definitely be a backup in 2019, his future is still fairly bright. Ward has crushed minor league pitching at all levels, and 2018 was his best season yet. He slashed .345/.453/.520 at Double-A last year, and then moved to .352/.442/.537 after being called up to Triple-A. Ward ended up struggling in his quarter-season in the majors, but given his track record, he’ll probably find success sooner rather than later. (Matt Meiselman)
48) Tyler Nevin, Colorado Rockies (Age 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Nevin is yet another distant prospect at the tail end of the third base rankings, and he’s another who has been extremely productive to start his minor league career. Nevin hasn’t been able to match his incredible rate stats from 2016 (with a perfect 1 for 1 at the plate, equating to a 1.347 wOBA and 724 wRC+) but he’s done just fine in more legitimate sample sizes. Nevin most recently hit 13 homers in High-A while slashing .328/.386/.503, and the potential future at Coors Field adds even more upside to this already enticing prospect. (Matt Meiselman)
49) Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age, Previous Rank: NR/47-2B)
Another out of position third baseman, Frazier is going to begin the season playing second for the Pirates. Frazier had a productive partial season in 2018, hitting 10 home runs with a .343 wOBA and 116 wRC+ in 113 games and 352 plate appearances. Frazier has only modest power and virtually no speed (14 MLB steals across three seasons) and he’s another guy whose fantasy value will largely depend on his role, specifically his spot in the batting order. The regular at bats against same-handed pitchers (lefties) may hurt his overall line, but the extra chances should also net him respectable counting stats. (Matt Meiselman)
50) Rylan Bannon, Baltimore Orioles (Age 22, Previous Rank: NR)
Bannon was part of the Orioles return for Manny Machado, and his production fell off dramatically after switching organizations. There’s still good reason for optimism, however, as Bannon’s dip coincided with a promotion to Double-A. Bannon also seemingly suffered from some extremely bad luck, as his BABIP (which had been in the .360s for two years) dropped all the way to .243 with the Orioles. The sample size was relatively small (122 plate appearances) and the 22 total home runs he hit across both levels last year is still very impressive. He’s probably still a year away from the majors, but Bannon has clearly flashed some dynasty league upside. (Matt Meiselman)
Where They’d Rank*
Joey Wendle- 35, behind Michael Chavis
Yuli Gurriel- 43, behind JP Crawford
*ranked as though all were included in the list
Dermis Garcia is getting tried out as a pitcher because of his ineptitude at the plate. This started in the middle of last season.
This is correct, and Garcia is far from my top 50 dynasty third basemen. However, the Yankees do intend for him to continue hitting. Two-way players are in vogue right now.
I know these rankings are a team effort and there is communication between everyone before they go up. Consequentially, I’d really like to hear some of the highlights that led to Elehuris Montero going right behind Dermis Garcia.
Actually, I think Dermis Garcia’s inclusion in the rankings is an oversight/mistake. Only one writer even ranked him. Meanwhile, eight writers ranked Elehuris Montero in their top 50.
You Gurus are aware that there is more to baseball than hitiing, right?
Absolutely! Most dynasty leagues tend to value hitting a little higher than defense though.
Regarding Moustakas, I’m assuming you mean he’d be great to man one’s corner infielder position, not middle infield position, for years to come. As to why no one seems to really want him on any MLB roster for the second straight year is beyond me.