The Dynasty Guru’s 2020 Top 50 Third Basemen, #1-20
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Without further ado, it’s time to continue our 2020 consensus rankings by looking at the 1-20 third basemen in dynasty leagues.
1) Alex Bregman, Houston Astros, (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 2)
Bregman is becoming one of the most productive offensive players in all of baseball. He put in his second year of over 100 runs and RBI, but as with most of Astros hitters, we saw his steals drop for the third year in a row. There is little chance we see the swipes return mostly because the Astros do not have to manufacture runs. However, there are some “concerning” factors in his profile. He has overperformed his expected BA, SLG, and wOBA the past two years. You can look towards Minute Maid Park with a 110 HR Factor for RHP, or maybe trash cans, for the cause of the overperformance. With that being said, Bregman is not going anywhere and should be a dynasty league contributor for years to come. (Shelly Verougstraete)
2) Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox (Age: 22, Previous Rank: 8)
2019 was Devers breakout season as he led the American League with 54 doubles and was second in hits with 201. He surprisingly swiped eight bags in the first half but he was also caught five times and another three times in the second half, so don’t plan on more than a few here and there going forward. Not only has Devers become more aggressive in the box but his bat-to-ball skills have increased. His contact% increased to a career-high 77.9% buoyed by his increase in his O-Contact%. (Shelly Verougstraete)
3) Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 3)
Another year has come and gone and Arenado just keeps producing. He was in the top ten in the National League in hits, doubles, home runs, and average. I am not sure he gets the love and attention he deserves because of Coors Field, but you better recognize! He just put up his fifth consecutive 37+ homer, 110+ RBI, and 97+ run season. He will also throw in a steal or two. He signed an extension last offseason but he has an opt-out in 2021 and there have been some trade rumors so he might not call Coors home for much longer. Even with those annoying trade rumors, Arenado is one of the best players in the league and will contribute no matter where he is playing. (Shelly Verougstraete)
4) Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 20, Previous Rank: 5)
One of the most hyped prospects in recent memory, Guerrero Jr made his debut north of the border in late April. With all the hype, it might be too harsh to be very disappointed in his performance. He was still first in MLB in Max Exit Velocity at 118.9 MPH. He also began to turn it around in the second half of the season by slashing .293/.349/.452. He has some work to do against LHP, as he only hit .215 against them this season. With his struggles, he decided to go to the gym for the first time in his career. Offseason pictures have Vladito looking ready to break onto the scene in 2019. (Shelly Verougstraete)
5) Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 1)
It was a roller coaster of a season for Ramirez. He only hit .213 but his xBA of .250 did not scream that he was overly unlucky. Just as he was in the second half of 2018, he was making poor contact by popping everything up (career-high IFFB% of 11.4%). However, he returned to the Jose Ramirez of old in the second half. His IFFB% dropped to 8.3% and he smashed 13 balls out of the park. He was then hit on the hand and broke his hamate bone, but managed to come back during the last week of the season hit another three home runs. So who is the real Jose Ramirez? Personally, I’m leaning towards the second half over the first half. Even with his struggles at the plate, he swiped 24 bags to keep his stock afloat. If the Indians keep the gang together (Please don’t trade Lindor), he should contribute in four categories for years to come. (Shelly Verougstraete)
6) Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 6)
There are three constant things in life. First, the sun rises in the east. Second, the sun sets in the west. Third, Anthony Rendon has an amazing season. His average of .319 and 34 balls hit over the fence were career-highs and the fifth straight season he has improved in both categories. He hits the ball extremely hard- his 56 barrels were the 12th most in MLB and his hard hit% of 46.6% was in the 88th percentile. His batting eye might be one of the best in the league. He saw more pitches (swing% decreased to 43.1), chased the ball less (chase% decreased to 20.4%), and increased contact in the zone up 1.7 percentage points.
With all the love, there is a bit of concern with his move to Anaheim. The HR factor of home runs to LF for an RHB is not as favorable as Nationals Park. Also, the Angels lineup is not as good as the Nationals’ has been the past few seasons. Both of those factors could cause his runs and RBI to decrease, but those factors are minor. Always place faith in great hitters and Anthony Rendon is a GREAT hitter. (Shelly Verougstraete)
7) Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 4)
Bad News: Bryant dealt with a shoulder injury in 2018 that limited his season to 102 games.
Good News: He did not hit the IL in 2019.
Bad News: xBA and hard-hit rates have declined for the third season in a row.
Good News: He can still pull the ball in the air (26.3%) which led to 31 home runs, even with his diminished power.
Obviously, there are some concerning marks on Bryant’s ledger but the guy just goes out there and produces. There is talk of him being moved this offseason but any move should benefit him since he would be going to a contender. (Shelly Verougstraete)
8) Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 8 2B)
Moncada broke out in a big way in his second full season in the major leagues. After leading the league in called strikeouts last year, he became more aggressive and saw his called strikes drop from 85 in 2018 to 39 this past year. Along with the aggressiveness, we saw his barrel%, average exit velocity, and hard hit% increase to career highs. With a BABIP of .406, I believe we have seen his career-high in batting average of .315. Even so, he is only 25 years old and the White Sox have improved their lineup greatly in the offseason. Moncada will give you many runs and RBI as well as a steal or two for many years to come. (Shelly Verougstraete)
9) Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 9)
There are a bunch of power hitters at third base, but none better than Matt Chapman. His exit velocity of 92.6 MPH and Hard Hit% of 48.7 is in the top 4% and 6%, respectively. Unfortunately, he does not get the most out of his power as his GB% has hovered around 40% the past two seasons. If he could elevate just a bit more and hit more line drives, we might see the batting average creep back up to .270-.280. We did see a career-high in home runs from Chapman in 2019. Yes, some of these could be from the Happy Fun Ball but he also increased his average distance hit from 302 ft. to 343 ft. In dynasty leagues, he should be a target if someone is scared about his second-half swoon. In Chapman, we trust. (Shelly Verougstraete)
10) Eugenio Suárez, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 10)
The Reds have made some interesting trades during their rebuilding phase but none was better than getting Eugenio Suarez from the Detroit Tigers for Alfredo Simon in the offseason of 2014. Since becoming an everyday player in 2016, Suárez has increased his home runs every year and hit a career-high 49 this year. Not only does Suárez hit the ball hard, but he also barrels up the ball better than league average. He hit a career-high barrel% with 14%, which put him in the top seven percent of the league. However, his 2019 season will be his career year from a power standpoint. His pull% increased from 39.4% to 50.3%, while hitting more balls in the air. Also, there is a bit of concern with his contact in the zone, as it dropped from 84.2% to 80.5%. Even with that being said, the improvements to the lineup the Reds have made this offseason, he should still contribute in runs and RBI. (Shelly Verougstraete)
11) Manny Machado, San Diego Padres, (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 2 SS)
The season Machado posted in 2019 wasn’t bad, yet somehow it felt disappointing. Probably inevitable, given the 140 wRC+ season he posted in 2018. He saw declines in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging, steals, and saw an uptick in strikeouts. So while we can look at 30+ homers, a handful of stolen bases, and a .200+ ISO, we can also be left yearning for the Machado we knew in Baltimore.
Despite Machado falling out of our top ten, we remain confident that he is nowhere near done being a strong contributor to dynasty teams. Third base is arguably the deepest position in dynasty, and the top players at this position are young super talented beasts. Look for a rebound campaign from Machado in 2020 with an uptick in just about every category he regressed in. He’s unlikely to get back to his 2018, but the 27-year-old is still a lock at the position for years to come. (Patrick Magnus)
12) Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 17)
A history of weight, disciplinary, and injury issues hung over Sano entering 2019, and those concerns should not be dismissed entering 2020 either. However, there are a ton of encouraging signs for the 26-year-old, which has led to a significant bump in our rankings. The 6’6″ beast occupying the hot corner in Minnesota isn’t going to win any batting titles in his career. But good Lord is he going to murder a ton of baseballs. In 2019 he barreled an astonishing 21.2% of the pitches he saw, while also posting a 94.4 MPH average exit velocity. That led him to a 57.2 Hard Hit% and a .537 XWOBACON. Sano will push 30+ homers annually, and if he can stay healthy for an entire season he could easily challenge 40+. A word of caution to those trying to lock up third base for the long term, as it’s likely Sano transitions off the position at some point. (Patrick Magnus)
13) Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins, (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 12)
Donaldson’s bounce-back campaign in 2019 was a success! The track record for Donaldson was long, and thus dynasty owners knew if he was healthy he would produce. While we did see a stellar return from Donaldson, I actually think there could be even better numbers to come: he underperformed his XWOBA, and many of the numbers he posted were in line with previous offensive campaigns. Particularly in batting average, as Donaldson is a career .273 hitter, and posted an xBA of .266 last season. Though he did swing and miss at more pitches in the zone, and at the age of 34 it’s very possible the bat speed that had him posting .270 is gone. Regardless, he’ll post strong enough numbers everywhere else that you won’t care. Well worth rostering on competing teams. (Patrick Magnus)
14) Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds, (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 22)
Mashers gonna mash. Moustakas had some fun playing in Milwaukee last season, rebounding from a slight dip in power numbers in 2018. While there may have been some concern with him leaving the confines of Miller Park, he put those to rest after he signed with the Reds. Great American Ballpark should keep the good times rolling for Moose. Though with Suarez locking down third in Cincinnati, Moustakas presumably slots in at second base. Which is a blessing for dynasty owners, because second base is putrid. Expect more of the same from Mouse, 30+ bombs, a BA in the 250-260 range, and plenty of counting stats on a team with an improving lineup. (Patrick Magnus)
15) Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies, (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 19)
Everything came together for the Phillies prospect in his second year in the minors. He mashed his way through three different levels with 21 homers and posted a .305/.378/.503 slash line. However, the majority of his power was generated in Double-A Reading, which is a notorious power haven. Bohm did not hit nearly as well on the road, and thus the power output expectations may need to be lowered. Still, his approach at the plate is solid, and he should be in the Majors as soon as 2020. There remains a distinct possibility that he eventually moves over to first base, but he should at least get the opportunity to prove himself at third in the Majors. (Patrick Magnus)
16) Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals, (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 16)
Despite a lackluster performance in 2019, there was no movement in our rankings for the Cardinals’ power bat. The 70 Raw power keeps the hope alive with Gorman, but the swing-and-miss continues to be a point of extreme concern. Thus there remains a variety of outcomes for the slugger, with a very high ceiling and very low floor. The stats at the moment don’t reflect the immense amount of power Gorman possesses, because frankly, the hit tool is a mess. Dynasty owners could live without the contact skills if his pitch selection was elite, but his BB% dropped to 5.7% in high-A last year, suggesting it currently is not elite. One year of struggles wasn’t enough to move him down our rankings, but I suspect his performance in 2020 might. (Patrick Magnus)
17) Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks, (Age:31 Previous Rank: 29)
Praised for his ability to accumulate counting stats in our write up last year, Escobar did just that in 2019. After a whopping 699 ABs he hit career highs in HRs, RBI, and runs scored. All while putting up a respectable .269 batting average. Assuming he continues to find playing time in Arizona, we can expect continued production for Escobar. Though I wouldn’t suggest that his 35 bombs will become the norm, he’ll still contribute in the mid 20’s. There’s nothing flashy about Escobar, and he certainly falls far from the elite production at the top of 3B, but he’s a steady contributor suited for contending teams. (Patrick Magnus)
18) Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees, (Age: 24 Previous Rank: 11)
Though we attempt to play the long game in dynasty, a single year can significantly alter the perception of a player’s future. For Andujar questionable defense, a year ending injury, and a crunched roster have altered our outlook. While ultimately we’re believers in the offensive talent of Andujar, we’re less aggressive with our ranking than we were last year. Still, there’s plenty of upside here. Andujar isn’t exactly a patient hitter, but he makes up for that with loads of contact. Prior to the shoulder injury, he was quite capable of hitting for power as well. If he’s healthy and has playing time there’s a high batting average with upper 20’s homers hitting in a strong lineup. At only 24 years old that’s still quite enticing in dynasty. (Patrick Magnus)
19) Nolan Jones, Cleavland Indians, (Age: 21 Previous Rank: 21)
The future looks bright for the Indians at third base. Jones has performed above league average at every minor league level he’s been assigned. As a fantasy hitter, he is an appealing prospect, with the sole issue being his strikeouts. However, unlike Gorman, Jones has a track record of being an incredibly patient at the plate. Last season he posted a 14.7% walk rate in Double-A, which is very, very good. It’s also, shockingly, the lowest rate of his career! Meanwhile, he’s put up plus power through his ascension as well. Almost major league ready, Jones is a promising prospect who should continue to rise up our rankings. (Patrick Magnus)
20) Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals (Age: 24 Previous Rank: NA)
A superb Major League debut has put Edman on the radars of many dynasty players. The helium and the hype are real with Edman, and we are going to add fuel to the fire. Contact is the name of the game for Edman, as he only struck out 17.5% of the time in his first 349 plate appearances. The contact isn’t completely empty either as he managed 11 bombs. Though a 5.3 barrel percentage and .441 xSLG indicate he was over-performing in the power department. However, Edman is very fast and I could see him closing in on 30 stolen bases if given the green light. Thus a strong average, double-digit pop, speed, and position flexibility make Edman very valuable. (Patrick Magnus)