THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2021 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE THIRD BASEMEN: PLAYERS TO AVOID
This is a companion piece to our annual Top 50 Dynasty League Third Base series, which you can find here and here. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.
The talent at the third base is absolutely stacked right now. There are young, exciting major-league players, some old, reliable veterans, and plenty of future all-stars in the minor leagues. This position is lead by Rafael Devers, a 23-year-old smasher of baseballs who should remain at the top of the list for many years. The top-ranked prospects are Jordan Groshans and Nolan Jones, ranked 15th and 16th respectively, and have the potential to contribute to your fantasy team within the next couple of seasons. That being said, there are a few players who I will be avoiding this year and beyond.
Eugenio Suárez, Cincinnati Reds – Consensus Rank: 10
Since coming to Cincinnati in 2015, Suárez has been an above-average player and after hitting 34 and 49 home runs between 2018 and 2019, he became one of the fastest risers on our list. However, even with all of that power, he barely cracked the 100+ RBI mark. Obviously, that is not his fault as RBI is more team dependent but it should be part of player analysis. Prior to the 2020 season, he had to have surgery on his shoulder and it was uncertain if he would be ready for Spring Training. Well…then 2020 happened and he did not miss any time during the shortened season. Like many other players, Suárez boarded the struggle bus prior to the season and posted his worst stat line since the 2016 season. His zone contact% dropped to a career-low 78%, which is also four percentage points below the major league average. He was also taking many more pitches in the zone for strikes as well. Obviously, you can chalk some of the dips in performance to small sample size but at age 29, coming off a career-high in 2019, followed by shoulder surgery, I’m getting off this train before it is too late.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves – Consensus Rank: 20
If we are being honest (and why not…we are all friends here), I was never the biggest fan of Austin Riley during his time in the minor leagues. He has above-average power, but with his lack of walks and whiff-tastic approach, I never thought he would make enough contact to have that massive power play up. Outside of a 44 game sample in Triple-A and a few weeks, after he was called up to the major leagues, my concerns were correct. He has been a below-average major league player and hits more ground balls than you would expect. He chases the ball out of the zone far too often and even though he is a younger player, I’m skeptical that he can overcome at the major league level as it has been a part of his game since he was in the minor leagues. The way the Braves roster is currently constructed, he is stuck hitting seventh or eighth, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon, especially with his approach at the plate.
Eduardo Escobar, Arizona Diamondbacks – Consensus Rank: 30
After posting 118 and 109 wRC+ the past two seasons, Eduardo Escobar stumbled to a career-low 56 wRC+ with his paltry .212/.270/.335 stat line. While the 32-year-old has consistently been able to make contact, even above the major league average, I’m concerned about his almost four percentage point drop in his Sweet Spot%. Digging a bit deeper into this past season, right-handed pitchers have found a hole at the top of the zone that Escobar used to be able to make contact with. Now, it has become a place where most of his whiffs come from. Sure, this could just be a total 2020/small sample size thing but I don’t think so. He is getting older and now plays on a not so good Diamondbacks team…I’m moving far far away.