THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2022 TOP 50 DYNASTY LEAGUE THIRD BASEMEN, #31-50
Continuing with TDG’s consensus rankings with Third Basemen ranked #31 through #50. Read on!
31. Luis Arráez, Minnesota Twins (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 20 at 2B)
I’ve never really been sure what to do with Luis Arráez during drafting. Do I pass him by due to his low homer totals and minimal steals? Or do I focus on the fact that he’s a solid batting average stud who had the best walk-to-strikeout rate (0.90) amongst third basemen with a minimum of 450 plate appearances in 2021?
I just don’t know.
That being said, this could definitely be the time to get in on the ground floor with Arráez in drafts. He’s going around pick 350 in Fantrax leagues, and if some more power develops (as was a hot topic in the TDG slack the other day), oh baby! You’re looking at a seriously under-rated bat right here. (Taylor Case)
32. Trey Sweeney, New York Yankees (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Trey Sweeney burst onto the baseball scene for the Tampa Tarpons this year after being drafted by the Yankees in the first round of the 2021 draft. From what I can tell the big dude has a solid hit tool and big power, which was supported by a .518 slugging percentage in his first taste of pro ball. And that 14.0% walk rate! Holy moly!
He’s definitely a player I’ll be keeping an eye on, along with the rest of the interesting players the Yankees are helping develop up the middle. Need more convincing? Consider Sweeney’s 2021 slash with the Eastern Illinois Panthers as we part ways: .382/.522/.712. Wowza. (Taylor Case)
33. Blaze Jordan, Boston Red Sox (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 43 at 1B)
Blaze Jordan had quite the run in the Florida Complex League in 2021, putting up a 170 wRC+ and .408 OBP across 19 games before being invited up to low-A Salem. And while the sample was small, at the very least those numbers should temporarily quiet some doubts about his long-term hit tool. I know he came back to earth a bit after the promotion, but I’m doing my best to be positive here. And in that vein, I think it’s worth noting that while his strikeout rate took a hit, it still only rose to 21.1% in Salem. So, you ask, is he a target of mine in any leagues right now?
The teenager is built like a truck with the power to back it up, but at this point, I’m not sure how projectable his profile is for fantasy baseball. I can only hope that in 2022 the 19-year-old is able to put up similar numbers and continue to stay on the rise in 2022. (Taylor Case)
34. Brian Anderson, Miami Marlins (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 23)
Brian Anderson had a tough 2021, finishing off an unfortunately injury-filled season with a .715 OPS and only 264 plate appearances. It wasn’t the best, that’s for sure, and put a hold on what a few analysts thought would be a solid breakout year. Can he recoup that hype and take off next season, though!
Hmmm…now that’s a thinker.
My guess is yes. Hey, that rhymed. On the bright side, which admittedly is a little dimmer due to the current MLB climate, some steals came back! Much like Joey Wendle (see below), Anderson should have nice replacement value on the back end of fantasy rosters in 2022, with upside if he can stay healthy. (Taylor Case)
35. Eduardo Escobar, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 30)
Eduardo Escobar doesn’t get enough love. In 2021, we as an esteemed group of excellent humans ranked him as the #30 third basemen. In 2022, he fell to #35. In the interim there, all he did was hit 28 homers, drive in 90 runs, score another 77, and bat .253 while maintaining solid plate skills.
I’m sorry, what!?
Now, as an esteemed group of excellent humans who spends hundreds of hours ranking thousands of individual baseball players during the offseason, I say with absolutely no bias that our rankings are the best. But I do think that we are highly under-ranking Escobar. I have him at #16, well above the consensus, and I’ve never been wrong. Fade him at your own peril. (Taylor Case)
36. Gio Urshela, New York Yankees (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 18)
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t rank Gio Urshela this season. I guess if you’re looking for positives (which you should), he *currently* has a starting gig and shortstop eligibility and plays for the better team in New York.
His contact% took a hit (figuratively) and he started chasing pitches out of the zone at a higher rate, which led to a big step back in production. That’s not my bag baby. Add that to the fact that I expect the Yankees to sign some more infielders before the season begins, and who knows how secure his job will be come Opening Day. (Taylor Case)
37. Joey Wendle, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 31, Previous Rank: 41 at 2B)
Like Eduardo Escobar, Joey Wendle is another 30+-year-old player I’m a bit higher on than the consensus (30 T.C. vs. 37 TDG). There’s not a whole lot of flash to the final line, but 10-homer, 10-steal guys can be the savior of a dynasty team if you play your cards right!
I guess if you played them wrong too. Cards are hard sometimes. It’s okay. In any case, if you find yourself in a particular predicament where you didn’t snag a sexy little number at the top of the draft and need to recoup some value on the back end, Wendle just may be your guy. With consistent playing time (and yeah, yeah I know that’s not a given) I think he could provide sneaky fantasy value in 2022. (Taylor Case)
38. Curtis Mead, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 73 at 2B)
Curtis Mead has a really intriguing fantasy profile. His strong plate skills carried over from before the lost 2020 season, and simply scouting his statline should give reason for optimism. A.911 OPS with 15 homers and 11 steals across three levels (low-A, high-A, and triple-A)?? Nothing to sneeze it!
So why is he down at #38!?
For me, personally, it’s playing time. That Tampa infield is SOLID. Does he force his way in, regardless? Perhaps. But it won’t be easy. He’s worth tracking with high hopes, and perhaps an additional hope that he can find a new team with a more clear path to playing. (Taylor Case)
39. Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants (Age: 36, Previous Rank: 54)
Evan Longoria had himself a nice little season…when he was on the field. I’m not sure where his 12.0% walk rate and his best max exit velocity to date (since we started tracking those, at least) came from, but he will likely be a late-round target of mine in redraft leagues this year. For dynasty, the waters are a bit muddier.
Here’s hoping the San Francisco magic carries over for the last few seasons of his contract. My humble projection for next season would be something like 480 plate appearances, 20 dingers, 125 runs and RBI, and .260 batting average and two steals because why not. And for what it’s worth, I have him ranked at #34, a few spots ahead of the consensus. If you’re competing next year, he may be worth inquiring about in a trade. (Taylor Case)
40. Patrick Wisdom, Chicago Cubs (Age: 30, Previous Rank: NR)
Where the heck did Patrick Wisdom come from? Dude just waltzed into the Wrigley arena after various short stints with the Cardinals and Rangers and absolutely TORE IT UP last season.
Despite his 28 homers and solid .823 OPS, I’m not sure I entirely buy into the breakout’s longevity. He definitely brought his big boy bats up from triple-A this year, but a 40.8% strikeout rate too? That’s…well…that could be better. And if you’ve read anything from me over the last few years, it’s that I value batting eye above everything except a solid hazy IPA on Friday night at home. And Patrick Wisdom simply whiffs too much for my liking. Pair that k-rate with a 12% next season? Or even better, just strikeout 30% of the time? Then I might be all-in. Until then, I’ll just enjoy him from the bench. (Taylor Case)
41. Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 13 at 2B)
When the Reds signed Moustakas before the 2020 season, he was coming off of a highly valuable three year run. From 2017-2019 with the Royals and the Brewers, he had 101 home runs and a respectable .259 batting average. Those numbers were supported by max exit velocities above 112 MPH in all three years, and a cumulative 16.2% strikeout rate, a miniscule number for a hitter with his power. It seemed entirely reasonable, if not a bargain, to sign him to a four year deal.
The first two years of that deal have been, let’s say, underwhelming. After just two games with the Reds, Moose began his first IL stint entering COVID protocols. He followed that up with a quad bruise, a shoulder injury, an undisclosed illness, and a heel issue that turned out to be plantar fasciitis. That last affliction has proved to be too much for many aging athletes to overcome. It’s tough to know if we will see a healthy Moustakas, and even then, he may not have a full-time role. Joey Votto rekindled his career at first base and Jonathan India emerged as a mainstay at second base. His likely role would be a platoon at third base with Eugenio Suárez, capping his playing time. The power is still in there, but it’s unlikely he’s going to be in the lineup enough to make it useful. (Aaron Cumming)
42. Elehuris Montero, Colorado Rockies (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 57)
Montero is already draped in Rockies lore, as one of the players that came back when they traded away Nolan Arenado. He was joined by Austin Gomber, Mateo Gil, Tony Locey, and Jake Sommers in what many felt was an underwhelming package. While Gomber beat him to the majors, Montero was seen as the prospect with the highest potential. He has a lightning fast bat, and the power that you’d expect with that skill.
The problem with his game was that he was not only quick to the ball, but quick to swing in general. In 2019, he had an aggressive approach that led to a .245 OBP; this past year, he became more patient and jumped up to a .360 OBP without sacrificing power (28 home runs in 120 games). Reaching Triple-A, he should get his chance in 2022 to replace Arenado not just in the organization, but at the hot corner in Coors Field, too. (Aaron Cumming)
43. Jonathan Villar, Free Agent (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 16 at 2B)
Jonathan “Roller Coaster” Villar has reached the highest highs, but also dabbled with some of the lowest lows. His 2016 (92 runs, 19 home runs, 62 steals, .285 average) and 2019 (111 runs, 24 home runs, 40 steals, .274 average) seasons were unreal. And then he followed those up with seasons of a 72 wRC+ and 65 wRC+, in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Villar’s value comes from his stolen bases, and the fact that historically he wasn’t a total dud in the power department. Last season, he hit a respectable 18 home runs, but he only managed to swipe 14 bags in over 500 plate appearances. The fact also remains that he’s just not that great a hitter. Since he is still a free agent, the two most likely scenarios are that he signs with a good team to be a part-time player, or he signs with a bad team for them to establish value and trade him. Either way, he is a bad bet to accumulate runs and RBIs at a valuable clip. A reasonable projection for him would be around 12 home runs, 18 steals, 110 runs + RBIs, and a sub-.250 batting average. That doesn’t have a lot of value in most leagues, especially with a poorly aging skillset from a player on the wrong side of 30. (Aaron Cumming)
44. Yonny Hernandez, Texas Rangers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: NR)
Yonny Hernandez is one of the fastest players in baseball. He has enough speed to be a difference maker on a big league roster, and to help him get on base with a continually high BABIP. Paired with a career 14.8% walk rate, he has the makings of an incredible leadoff man. With all of those opportunities on base, he has averaged over 53 steals per 162 games across all levels.
The only thing standing in the way is the Rangers newfound infield depth. He has to contend with Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nick Solak, and Andy Ibáñez on the major league roster, not to mention to potential promotions of Josh Jung (#12 on this list), Justin Foscue, Ezequiel Duran, and Sherten Apostel (#48 on this list). Yonny didn’t exactly have a breakout in his major league debut last season, but he showed a good approach and solid defense. Considering that after 166 plate appearances, his next big league home run will be his first, the Rangers are likely to give those other players every opportunity to earn a bigger role before they would allow Yonny to run free. (Aaron Cumming)
45. Colton Welker, Colorado Rockies (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 42)
Following an 80 game PED suspension in 2021, Welker managed a 114 wRC+ in 23 games at Triple-A before a late season promotion to the major league club. He was underwhelming in limited action, but showed what he can offer. He is a capable, but limited defender. He has good plate discipline, but no standout skills. He is a solid player who can be a dependable bench piece, but isn’t expected to be a core contributor for the Rockies. He resides behind one of the team’s most consistent big league players, Ryan McMahon, and was presumably passed in the organization depth chart by #42 on this list, Elehuris Montero. If even the Rockies aren’t likely to rely on him, should we? (Aaron Cumming)
46. Wilmer Flores, San Francisco Giants (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 33 at 2B)
Flores might be the most consistent performer in all of baseball over the last seven seasons. It’s not great, but you know exactly what he’ll give you: a batting average around .265, 16 to 18 home runs, and endless joy. Since joining the Giants before the 2020 season, he upped his walk rate a bit and has maintained a 115wRC+ across both years. Being a member of that team ensures 2 things: he won’t get full playing time, and he’ll get the most out of his skills. He saw time at first base, second base, and third base in 2021. San Francisco’s other options there include Brandon Belt, Darin Ruf, Tommy La Stella, and Evan Longoria. Somehow, at 30 years old, Flores is the youngest of this group by nearly 3 years. Even as a right handed hitter, he will receive ~400 plate appearances and give you exactly what you expect. The days of hoping that Flores could be a true difference maker are over, but he is as stable as can be, and won’t hurt you if he needs to be thrust into your starting lineup from a bench role. (Aaron Cumming)
47. Rece Hinds, Cincinnati Reds (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
Hinds possesses two of the most extreme tools in the minors, with his powerful bat and cannon arm. After returning from a knee injury. He played exclusively at third base, but if his range remains limited, his arm and even a modest bit of athleticism will allow him to play a competent right field and keep his bat in play. That big bat has plenty of swing-and-miss in it, though. He’s been dubbed a three true outcomes player, but so far, he’s only really shown a proficiency at two of those outcomes; he still has a lot of developing to do with his plate awareness, let alone his plate coverage. Having only played 43 games at Single-A, Hinds will likely need a significant amount of time in the minors to iron out the details of his game. It seems like he fits the mold that the Reds seek out in their hitters (low average/big power), but at some point, they’ll hopefully realize that their tiny home ballpark will intrinsically inflate power and they should pursue better contact hitters. If that change happens, Hinds could see himself on the outside looking in. (Aaron Cumming)
48. Sherten Apostel, Texas Rangers (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 33)
Apostel joined the Rangers club in a trade with the Pirates, and many at the time thought the Bucs got fleeced. He has seemingly outgrown the ability to be a quality defender at third base, though, and has never really reached the offensive levels that scouts dreamed on. He is a big guy with big power who takes big swings and frequently misses big. Improving organizational depth (see the list of players in Yonny Hernandez’s write-up at #44) and increasing strikeout rates limit his upside. He ended 2021 with knee surgery, so he will have his work cut out for him to carve out a lasting place on the field. (Aaron Cumming)
49. Kody Hoese, Los Angeles Dodgers (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 29)
The Dodgers made Hoese a first round pick in 2019 after an impressive junior season at Tulane portended a new level of power. His pro debut was tainted by wrist and forearm injuries, but even with that caveat, it’s been pretty underwhelming. He has a seemingly well-rounded game both on offense and defense, but hasn’t shown any of those skills since being drafted. He will turn 25 this summer, and has only reached Double-A for 59 games, where he had a 30 wRC+. Yes, that’s right. Just 30. He was 70% worse than average. Being a part of the deepest organization top to bottom presents all sorts of hurdles for his path to big league playing time. He has already been, or will soon be, dropped from most publications’ top ten prospect lists for the club. His margin is thin to make good on his draft position. (Aaron Cumming)
50. Alex Binelas, Boston Red Sox (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
As part of the package that came back to the Red Sox when they sent Hunter Renfoe to the Brewers, Binelas fits the mold of many of Boston’s other corner infield prospects: great power, but with some swing-and-miss concerns. He had an up and down (and then slightly back up) career at Louisville, buoying his draft projections before being selected in the third round by Milwaukee. He has posted exit velocities above 110 MPH in the minors, no small feat for a player his age. If he can smooth out his swing without sacrificing power, he has a chance to be a decent contributor. He is blocked by all sorts of great players in Boston, but the benefit of the DH and J.D. Martinez entering the final year of his contract open a tiny window for Binelas starting in 2023. (Aaron Cumming)