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THE DYNASTY GURU’S 2024 PLAYERS TO TARGET: THIRD BASEMEN

This is a companion piece to our 2024 Dynasty League Rankings. The opinions below are my own and do not reflect the TDG consensus.

SPENCER STEER, CINCINNATI RED STOCKINGS, (AGE: 26, RANK: 15)

The lesser known of the three Spencers (Strider and Torkelson hog that spotlight) Steer had quite the rookie season in 2023 (after 28 games played in 2022). 74/23/86/15/.271 while playing in 156 games was not expected, as was appearing in at least 16 games at every position except shortstop and catcher.

This writer isn’t expecting a .271 average like 2023, but a .250 one with a statline of 80/25/80/10 with the multi-position eligibility plays in all leagues. With an impressive minor league career walk rate of 11.5% and an equally so K rate of 18.4%, Steer has produced near the same at the big-league level, 10.2% BB and 21.3% K, and there’s even room to improve.

Yes, yes, there is a log jam of talented outfielders in Cincinnati; with the signing of Jeimer Candelario and the need to find a spot for Jonathan India. Well, the news came out this past week that India is going to get some work at different positions, and he wasn’t a threat to Steer’s playing time anyway. This reminds me of the value Ben Zobrist provided for Joe Maddon-led teams, but Steer can actually provide some big HR and RBI numbers as well.

While there is a platoon issue with most players, and the right-handed Steer hits lefties very well, so he’ll never sit against one, but it is worth monitoring how he does against righties, as he had only a .256 average against them in 2023. But I’m going to go with the pudding, and the proof found there is that from August 4th on, Steer hit in the #3 or #4 spot in the lineup. The manager loves writing his name in the lineup card, no reason for that to change.

Steer is nearing his prime age and a 90/30/90/10 stat line is well within the realm of possibilities. With an ADP on NFBC of 105, one can grab a top option at 1B or 3B, then fill in the other spot with Steer rounds later. For Dynasty, inquire around your leagues, see if his current manager is worried about the Cincinnati log jam and if so, pounce.

JOSH JUNG, TEXAS RANGERS (AGE: 25, RANK: 9)

Jung is being drafted in early NFBC drafts at around pick 100, and other dynasty rankers that I respect have him ranked about there too. But not yours truly. I see a 100/40/110 season coming for the elder Jung with many to follow. While his K rate was higher than we’d like (29%) in his 515 plate appearances in 2023, his walk percentage was only 6%, well under his 10% in the minor leagues. There is potential to cut the Ks and increase the walks, which will only support a major breakout. Remember that Jung didn’t have a 2020 season, and only appeared in 153 minor league games in his career since being drafted in 2019 with the 8th overall pick. Hitting in the heart of a great lineup just adds to those counting stats.

Some may be scared off by his injury history, the big one in February 2022 to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he still returned for 49 games between Triple-A and the bigs, before starting the 2023 season in Arlington. A left wrist fracture, thanks to a Jorge Soler hotshot, kept Jung out for about five weeks in August-September last year. He was no worse for wear in the playoffs, where Jung slashed .308/329/.867 with three homers and 21 Runs + RBI. Shoulder injuries are worrisome, that is very true, and many may be put off by this fact. But do you feel the same way about Corbin Carroll? Carroll tore his labrum and also had something called “a posterior capsular avulsion,” which required surgery in 2021, and is a top-five Dynasty guy even with that.

Putting my money where my advice is, I moved Freddie Freeman and Nolan Arenado for Josh Jung and Mike Trout in the league I am commissioner, that’s how much I believe in Jung. There is no risk without reward, and with a middle name of Ryne like the Hall-of-Famer Sandburg, there are high hopes and a better-than-most chance of being a productive member of your Dynasty squad.

The Author

Phil Barrington

Phil Barrington

Fantasy player since 1999, specializing in OPS leagues. Accountant by day, fantasy writer by night. Spreadsheets are life.

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