We're continuing our February rankings with our 2017 third base fantasy baseball rankings. This is where a ton of the mashers live, so pay attention and dig in!
This round of rankings features picks from Kyle Bishop, Nick Mariano, Bill Dubiel, Brad Johnson, Harris Yudin and Jeff Kahntroff. Today, Harris will examine the third base position, which remains extremely heavy at the top.
Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Base (February)
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Third Base Rankings Analysis: The Tiers
Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson. No surprise here. While we differ a bit on the exact placement of these stud third basemen, there is a clear, consensus top four. The same quartet made up the top tier of third basemen a year ago, but following an MVP season in which he belted 39 homers and eclipsed 100 runs and 100 RBI, Bryant has catapulted to the top spot— unanimously.
Bryant, Arenado, Machado and Donaldson should all hit anywhere from 30-45 bombs, with massive run and RBI totals and batting averages in the .280-.300 range. Each one is likely to come off the board in the first round — early second round at the latest — on draft day.
Four more guys make up the second tier, and any one of them can be a viable option for those who miss out on the core four. Brad and Jeff are convinced Jonathan Villar can duplicate his 2016 success, while the rest of us are a little skeptical. Last year, at age 25, Villar got his first crack at an everyday role and proceeded to post career highs in every major category, including a major league-leading 62 steals. However, a .373 BABIP and an uncharacteristically high .171 ISO indicate he could see his overall numbers drop just a bit.
As for Kyle Seager, Matt Carpenter and Adrian Beltre, you pretty much know what you are getting. Seager has improved his overall numbers with each passing season, slashing .278/.359/.499 with 30 HR, 89 R and 99 RBI in 2016, and will continue to hit in a potent Mariners lineup. Carpenter has developed 20-HR power, gets on base at a high rate and has the coveted multi-position eligibility. Beltre appears to be immortal, smacking 30 HR and hitting .300 for the fourth time in his career at age 37.
Making our way down the list, this tier pretty much rounds out the guys deserving of a starting spot in standard mixed leagues. Anthony Rendon, Justin Turner and Evan Longoria are all established veterans with strong pop and on-base skills. Todd Frazier has flaws with regard to his rate stats, but makes up for it with 40-HR power. Jose Ramirez is a five-category contributor who should only improve with experience, and Alex Bregman has as much untapped potential as anyone in the game.
My ranking of Jake Lamb isn’t to say that I don’t believe he can hit 30 bombs, drive in a ton of runs and improve upon his rate stats. He’s at 125 because I feel there are guys in the lower tier who can produce very similar stat lines and can be had later in drafts. As a result, I personally do not recommend paying up for Lamb in the seventh or eighth round.
While there’s an obvious drop-off here, there is still a ton of power to be had in the fourth tier. Miguel Sano, Mike Moustakas and Maikel Franco have more in common than just different variations of the same first name— they all have the potential to sniff 30 homers. Sano is one of the most polarizing fantasy players, coming in as low as 81 and as high as 193 on our list. Jung-ho Kang’s off-the-field struggles pose a concern for fantasy owners, but there is no question that he can smack 20-25 homers, as well, if he can stay on the field.
Jose Reyes and Eduardo Nunez are better served as middle infielders, but Ryon Healy, Eugenio Suarez, Nick Castellanos and Yangervis Solarte could all contribute enough across the board to serve as corner infield pieces in 2017.
The fifth tier is a mix of guys who used to occupy the top groups and young players who could soon climb the ladder. While Jhonny Peralta and Pablo Sandoval are on the back end of their respective careers, Hernan Perez and Yulieski Gurriel could see their fantasy stock increase with a strong 2017 showing. Gurriel is expected to serve as Houston’s everyday first baseman, and batting in a robust Astros lineup, could rack up counting stats at a high rate. He struggled across 137 plate appearances in 2016 to the tune of a .292 OBP, but remains a highly regarded hitter with the ability to contribute in many different ways.
Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar and Matt Duffy can be assets in Roto leagues given their above-average rate stats, and Jedd Gyorko has a ton of power, regardless of whether or not he earns a starting job.
The bottom tier leaves a lot to be desired. Many of these players hold value in AL- or NL-only formats, but should not be on mixed-league radars. This group includes three projected starters in David Wright, Chase Headley and Adonis Garcia, as well as top prospect Yoan Moncada. Otherwise, all you’ll find here are bench or platoon guys — some more talented than others — who aren’t likely to contribute in more than two or three categories.
For a guy who is not being drafted in mixed leagues, Brock Holt is an intriguing option. The 28-year-old could not only see some at-bats at third against righties and fill in around the diamond when injuries occur, but if Sandoval were to struggle — which, given his recent history, isn’t that far-fetched — Holt could be in line for an everyday role.