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TDG 2021 RISERS AND FALLERS: THIRD BASEMEN

This is a companion piece to our annual dynasty league third basemen rankings. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.

Riser – Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 15, Current Rank: 9)

Nothing boosts a player’s dynasty enthusiasm like a scintillating MLB debut. Always a strong hitter as a prospect, Bohm took things up a notch in his rookie year, posting a 138 wRC+ in 180 PA. This line was propped up by a wholly unsustainable .410 BABIP. His isolated power (.144) was worse than expected, his K% (20%) rate was only a bit above average, and his xwOBA (.343) and predictive wOBA (the predictive counterpart to xwOBA, .344 for Bohm) were more good than great. On the bright side, his peak major-league equivalent K% was 14% in the minors, and his major league equivalent isolated power was well above average. Contact and power gains, and aging growth, should partially offset his BABIP regression in 2021. Given he’s already 24, and his minor league numbers suggested more all-star than superstar upside, I think he probably lacks that special stuff to crack the impregnable top-5 dynasty 3B. He should have no problem sticking in the top 10 for years to come, though. (Jordan Rosenblum)

Riser – Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 24, Current Rank: 12)

I certainly did not see Ke’Bryan Hayes’ 2020 coming. In 95 PA, he posted a .457 wOBA, .356 xwOBA, .361 pwOBA (predictive wOBA), and a completely absurd 55% hard-hit rate–without sacrificing contract (21 K% and an even better 17% deserved K% from Alex Chamberlain’s eminently useful Pitch Leaderboard). He did that all at the ripe young age of 23. This was particularly shocking given his Triple-A struggles in 2019, where he performed worse than league average (92 wRC+), and his general lack of power in the minors (10 HR in 480 PA in Triple-A in 2019, a career-high). He’s always had a strong ability to make contact though (15 K% MLB-equivalent in the minors), and good patience (10% MLB-equivalent BB%). His 2020 power surge could be the missing piece of the puzzle and help him outperform his minor league statistics (which suggested he’d be slightly above league average in the majors with the bat). He’s not going to be one of the best hitters in baseball moving forward like he was in 2020, but it’s also clear his power has taken a real step forward from his minor league days. Like Bohm, I don’t think he has top-5 dynasty 3B upside, but I could see him infiltrating the backend of our top 10 with a strong 2021. (Jordan Rosenblum)


Faller – Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 22, Current Rank: 38)

Many of the world’s greatest philosophers and scientists have tried to explain why Yandy Diaz fell 16 spots in our rankings, but none have come up with a satisfactory answer. He posted a career best 138 wRC+ in 2020, and was a rare player to walk (17% BB) more than he struck out (12% K, validated with a 13% deserved K%). He has bopped 16 homers in his last 500 PA across 2019 and 2020–nothing special, but enough not to complain either when paired with his superior plate discipline. Perhaps people are worried about his playing time–certainly fair given the Rays’ overall unpredictability–but they traded Nate Lowe so he has less competition than last year. He’s clearly the best offensive 3B on their team (sorry Joey Wendle), and probably the best offensive 1B too ahead of Ji-Man Choi. I’d bet on him finding everyday PA for awhile longer. As long as your analytical process isn’t merely based on gazing upon Yandy’s biceps–it isn’t wise to expect a sudden power outburst at age 29–you won’t be disappointed with this reliable backend option. (Jordan Rosenblum)

Faller – Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 7, Current Rank: 11)

I’m pretty impressed with my fellow colleagues for not dinging Kris Bryant further for his dumpster fire 2020. Even though he posted a meek .281 wOBA (.275 xwOBA, .306 pwOBA) and hasn’t eclipsed a .360 xwOBA since 2017, we only dropped him four spots to 11th. Normally, I’d say he’s an obvious trade target–and he’ll definitely bounce back in 2021–but my impression from my own pursuits is that it’ll still take a lot to land him. At the same time, I don’t think anyone has illusions of him returning to his 2016-2017 greatness; it’s hard to imagine him threatening the top 5 again. He was very good in 2018 and 2019 too though, and 147 PA in 2020 should not make you forget that. Just promise me you won’t put yourself through the needless trauma of looking at his Statcast page for 2020. (Jordan Rosenblum)

The Author

Bob Cyphers

Bob Cyphers

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