Top Three 3B Sleepers for 2014
There is nothing more satisfying for a fantasy sports player than being able to brag that you picked the player that no one had ever heard of in your fantasy league draft - if that guy goes on to have a great year. You picked up the player that made your fellow fantasy leaguers ask “who is that?” on draft day, and he had the season of his life. I’ve been working tirelessly on your behalf, scouring team rosters so that I could present you with this analysis of the top sleepers at the third base position. Third base is a deep position, so there's no need to reach for any of these players. Just know that they are there, and also be aware that these are the type of players that can potentially provide real value to your team. Take comfort, they should be there for you in the mid and later rounds of your draft.
Matt Dominguez, Houston Astros
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 215 lb., Age 24
Matt Dominguez is a slick fielding young third baseman with a strong arm and lots of raw power. Having compiled a .256 career minor league batting average, baseball scouts never projected him to hit for a high average in the major leagues. His average slipped to .241 last season after he had hit .284 in 109 major league at bats in 2012. The good news is that Dominguez’s 2013 stats steadily improved as the season progressed. After starting out the first half of last season batting just .227, he found his groove and batted .260 after the all star break. He does have a powerful swing, and he didn’t hit his first home run until May 11th of last year, but he found his power stroke and ended the season with 21 dingers. If Dominguez can build upon the success that he had in the second half last season and develop into a more disciplined hitter he might prove valuable to your fantasy team in 2014. Chances are you may be able to pick him up with one of your last picks in your draft.
Projection: 525 AB, .254 AVG, 57 R, 20 HR, 72 RBI, 1 SB, .290 OBP
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 205 lb., Age 22
Nolan Arenado was expected to be the Rockies’ third baseman on opening day last season but instead he began 2013 in the minor leagues. He was called up to the majors in late April and although his defense, which helped him become the first NL rookie to win a gold glove at third base, was superb, his hitting was not. By July 20th he was batting just .239 but as the season wore on Arenado caught fire, batting .305 over his last 59 games. Arenado is a contact hitter who has the potential to eventually develop into a 20 plus homerun threat. Combined with his superior defensive skills Arenado should be the Rockies’ third baseman for the forseeable future. He should be available in the later rounds of your draft and has the chance to put up some solid numbers in a really good lineup.
Projection: 540 AB, .278 AVG, 67 R, 16 HR, 74 RBI, 2 SB, .305 OBP
Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays
Height: 6' 0", Weight: 225 lb., Age 24
Brett Lawrie is poised to have his breakout year in 2014. Blessed with amazing talent, Lawrie is capable of hitting for power and average and he also possesses decent speed for a player his size. So what has hampered Lawrie in his quest to become one of baseballs better third basemen? Injuries and a lack of maturity. After a 2013 season in which Lawrie was plagued by first half injuries, he arrived to camp this spring with a healthy body and a healthy and determined mental approach designed to elevate his game. His transformation actually started during the second half of last season. He batted just .204 in the first half of 2013 on his way to getting healthy, but once his body recovered, he made some adjustments and that helped him compile a .283 batting average during the second half of the season. If Lawrie can stay healthy he has the potential for a 20/20 season. With his potential and his ability to also play the shortstop and second base positions, Brett Lawrie could be a draft day bargain as he will most likely slip to the later rounds of your draft.
Projection: 550 AB, 286 AVG, 78 R, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 15 SB, .325 OBP