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2020 Offseason Third Base Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Mixed Leagues


It's never too early to start looking ahead to the next baseball season, so here we deliver our 2020 rankings to those of you looking to scratch your fantasy itch. Whether you're already eliminated from fantasy football contention, or you're getting a head start on next year's keeper selections, RotoBaller has got you covered. We've assembled a collection of stout minds, including the #1 ranked expert from 2018, Nick Mariano, to help you get a jump start on your competition for the upcoming season.

With the Winter Meetings approaching and free-agency starting to materialize, there will be plenty of movement with these rankings before the draft season gets into full swing. Be sure to check in frequently during the offseason as we'll have updated rankings as soon as big names begin to change places.

Today, we're heading to the hot corner. We have 13 of these third-baggers in our top-90, 19 in the top-120 and 24 rounding out the top-160. And that doesn't even cover two of my favorites! Folks, the third-base coach is telling us to slide right into the analysis, so let's hit it. With early ADP data coming in, let's see if we can score early for 2020.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Third Base Tiered Ranks - 5x5 Mixed Leagues (December)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season.

Ranking Tier Player Position Nick Nick G Riley
1 1 Nolan Arenado 3B 7 8 7
2 1 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 11 11 9
3 1 Jose Ramirez 3B 17 15 23
4 1 Anthony Rendon 3B 20 19 18
5 1 Rafael Devers 3B 24 17 17
6 2 Kris Bryant 3B/OF 48 47 48
7 2 Eugenio Suarez 3B 61 58 38
8 2 Manny Machado 3B/SS 65 40 60
9 3 Yoan Moncada 3B 75 62 88
10 3 Matt Chapman 3B 86 80 62
11 3 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B 81 88 74
12 3 Josh Donaldson 3B 106 73 80
13 3 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B 105 79 82
14 3 Eduardo Escobar 2B/3B 101 103 86
15 3 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B 102 104 98
16 3 Mike Moustakas 2B/3B 110 101 110
17 3 Jeff McNeil 2B/3B/OF 115 93 113
18 4 Yuli Gurriel 1B/3B 118 119 107
19 4 Miguel Sano 1B/3B 124 111 121
20 4 Danny Santana 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 113 113 161
21 4 Justin Turner 3B 129 131 135
22 5 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B 127 123 201
23 5 Hunter Dozier 1B/3B/OF 164 166 154
24 5 Miguel Andujar 3B 192 #N/A 131
25 6 J.D. Davis 3B/OF 198 228 203
26 6 Tommy Edman 2B/3B/OF 181 245 205
27 6 Renato Nunez 1B/3B 217 202 229
28 6 Scott Kingery SS/3B/OF 224 214 236
29 6 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B 230 242 221
30 6 Tommy La Stella 2B/3B 241 257 202
31 6 Jon Berti 2B/3B/SS/OF 227 #N/A 245
32 6 Gio Urshela 3B 204 #N/A 282
33 7 Matt Carpenter 3B 290 #N/A 207
34 7 Brian Anderson 3B/OF 271 259 288
35 7 Hanser Alberto 2B/3B 287 #N/A #N/A
36 7 Ian Happ 2B/3B/OF 306 #N/A #N/A
37 7 Kyle Seager 3B 328 #N/A 285
38 7 Howie Kendrick 1B/2B/3B 300 300 322
39 7 Evan Longoria 3B 307 #N/A 327
40 7 Starlin Castro 2B/3B 338 #N/A #N/A
41 8 Matt Beaty 1B/3B/OF 342 #N/A #N/A
42 8 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/3B/OF 382 #N/A #N/A
43 8 David Fletcher 3B 387 #N/A #N/A
44 8 Josh Rojas 2B/3B/OF 394 #N/A #N/A
45 8 Todd Frazier 3B 521 #N/A 350
46 8 Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B 472 #N/A #N/A
47 8 Rio Ruiz 1B/3B 487 #N/A #N/A
47 8 Neil Walker 1B/3B 498 #N/A #N/A

 

Tier One

We could split hairs and create a 1A/1B grouping within this, as Nolan Arenado and Alex Bregman are currently more reliable than the other three, but do note all three of us have Arenado ahead.

Both Arenado and Bregman hit 41 homers in ‘19, with Breg’s 234 R+RBI edging Arenado’s 220, though Nolan hit .315 to Bregman’s .296 average. Bregman’s suspiciously good 17.2% walk rate meant fewer balls in play, but helped keep the line moving for Houston’s run production. Personally, I’m not investing in Houston’s offense this high with potential punishment for involved players looming.

Jose Ramirez struggled throughout much of 2019, but flashed the power-speed talent in September and nearly posted a 25/25 season. Rafael Devers looked like a 21-year-old in 2018, with a promising 21 homers in 121 games but a .240/.298/.433 slash line. He did not look 22 in 2019, with a wild 32 homers and .311/.361/.555 line, 129 runs scored and 115 RBI in 156 games.

Given his signing with the Angels, Anthony Rendon falls a shade behind Devers to me. D.C. quietly provided stupendous home cooking, yielding a .314 ISO compared to .245 on the road. Rendon was wildly consistent otherwise, hitting .321 on the road (.317 at home) with a .412 OBP (.411) and a 39/44 BB/K split (41/42.) Hitting behind Mike Trout with Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton may keep his R+RBI totals up, but 25 homers appears more likely than 35 for 2020.

 

Tier Two

Kris Bryant rebounded with 31 homers and a .282 average after a shoulder injury tanked his 2018, but KB somehow only delivered 77 RBI despite batting fourth and fifth throughout the year. He compensated with 108 runs scored, but it was an odd trend given his lineup slot. As of now, Bryant may be dealt so you’re taking on some uncertainty.

Eugenio Suarez has tallied over 600 PAs in four straight seasons with increasing power output along the way. Still labeled as “hard to trust” by many, Suarez parlayed his cleanup role in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark into a 3B-high 49 homers, standing as one of seven players to post an ISO north of .300 in ‘19.

That 29.5% HR/FB mark is a regression candidate, but I’d expect his average to give a bit more than the power. His fly-ball rate went from 37.1% in 2017 and ‘18 up to 42.3% in ‘19, displaying a clear power approach and yielding tremendous results. He’s entering his age-28 season and should hold up as a bastion of power.

Manny Machado underwhelmed after signing a 10-year megadeal -- yes, 32 homers is underwhelming for him. He’ll be 27 in his ninth MLB season, very impressive, but he’s coming off a career-high 19.4% strikeout rate, career-low .256 average, as well as only five steals after swiping 14 in ‘18.

ESPN ranked Petco Park as the third-worst venue for hitters (per Park Factors,) making it difficult for me to gasp at Machado’s awful .219/.297/.406 slash, which rose to .289/.369/.513 on the road. Now a .230 home BABIP is a lock to improve, but his home average had been roughly 60 points higher at home in 2017 and ‘18 with friendly Camden Yards backing him. Reset expectations and break from the name value -- these aren’t baseball cards you’re drafting.

 

Tier Three

We have nine 3B-eligible players her within a 32-pick band, with a little something for everyone. I’ll try to focus on those who are solely third basemen and wouldn’t be discussed elsewhere.

Yoan Moncada went from raw power-speed pedigree to five-tool player in 2019, boosting his average by 80 points thanks to an insane .406 BABIP. That’s one way to mitigate a 27.5% strikeout rate! He only played 132 games, but tagged 25 homers with 10 steals alongside 162 R+RBI and the .315 average. Building on that with projections of 30 homers, 200 R+RBI and 12-15 steals is fine by me, but one must prepare for that average to drop towards the .260s. I feel comfortable splitting the difference between Nick G's rank of 62 and Riley's 88 with my own (and the composite) 75.

Matt Chapman popped 36 homers with 193 R+RBI, but his average dropped nearly 30 points from 2018. This is partially rooted in a five-percentage-point drop in line-drive rate (20.4% to 15.5%) but most of that went into his 43.1% fly-ball rate. Remember when he posted a 50.5% fly-ball rate as a rookie in ‘17? Hopefully, he doesn’t swing that far to the air, but if he maintains that trend then a .250 hitter with 35 homers at the heart of Oakland’s order makes for solid value.

Josh Donaldson won NL Comeback Player of the Year honors after logging a 96-37-94-4-.259 roto line over 155 games for Atlanta. This comes after injuries limited him to eight homers and a .246 average over 52 games in ‘18. Enterprising early drafters can get a discount while Donaldson remains a free agent, though they’d suffer if they apply Atlanta expectations only to see him sign in a lesser offensive environment. 

Then there’s the kid, Vlad Guerrero Jr., who played 123 games (514 PAs) as a 20-year-old rookie in the AL East. Hitting .272 with 15 homers is disappointing for a prodigy whose baseball card had a combined .381/.437/.636 slash line with 20 homers in 95 games (408 PAs), largely between Double- and Triple-A. Vladito didn’t appear overpowered at the plate, he had a manageable 17.7% strikeout rate, but his contact was iffy at best. 

The lowly 33.1% fly-ball rate suppressed his unwieldy power that flashed at the Home Run Derby. His 6.7-degree average launch angle ranked 265th out of 281 hitters with at least 200 batted-ball events, which makes homering difficult. My hope is that he can correct this in the offseason, but there’s no in-season development to bank on. His groundball rate was 49.2% in the first half and 50% in the second. Without any signs of growth as he banked experience, I have a hard time justifying the price. As such, I have him at 105, while Nick G and Riley hover around 80.

 

Tier Four

Yuli Gurriel turned a corner in July 2019, crushing 12 homers with a .408 average over 24 games after he’d hit only eight homers over the first three months. To reiterate, his production from one month practically mimicked his entire first half. He stayed hot in August, hitting .344 with seven homers and a second straight month of 49 R+RBI. He got hurt and slumped in September, hitting .206 with four homers. I think he's fair game beyond the 100th pick, but I much prefer him towards 120.

Miguel Sano and Danny Santana were touched on in our 1B breakdown, with Sano’s 50 HR upside and Santana’s 20/20 potential worthy of their draft slots. Justin Turner falls within six picks between us after an injury-laden 2019. Now 35 years old, Turner hasn’t eclipsed 550 PAs in either of the last three seasons. He still popped 27 homers in 135 games while hitting .290, the tools are there, but health remains a question mark.

 

Tier Five

Ryan McMahon’s development is roughly a year behind Dozier’s, but if that means McMahon may post a Dozier-2019 season then I’m here for it. Miguel Andujar may be dealt or stuck in spotty DH duty if his defense proves unreliable. Gio Urshela’s stellar glove and suddenly-viable bat will keep the pressure on, perhaps leading Andujar to be traded or left on the outside.

Despite ESPN’s Park Factors listing Kauffman Stadium as the second-worst venue for homers, Dozier posted an .850 OPS at home with a strikeout rate over 10 percentage points lower than on the road. However (and predictably,) 18 of his 26 total homers came on the road. We must bake in KC’s poor park, as well as Dozier’s being shielded from lefties -- he only had 138 total PAs in 70 games played against them -- into his modest ranking.

 

Tier Six

J.D. Davis, Tommy Edman are favorites already noted in my OF analysis. I expect both to soar in stock as the season approaches. Jon Berti was also touched on there with his 40-steal speed, though playing time avenues have suddenly become a concern in Miami with the Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar trades, as well as the Corey Dickerson signing adding to the OF equation.

Scott Kingery showed growth in ‘19, but fought hamstring injuries early and couldn’t finish out the season due to blurry vision in September. No matter, 19 homers and 15 steals in 500 PAs means you pay attention. I feel about 40-50 spots too low on him around the 225 range, I wager we'll see his ADP settle near the 175 range.

Gio Urshela is at the “end” of tier six despite his being my third-highest player of the eight. As I said with Andujar, I believe Urshela’s a better all-around player. The offensive renaissance began in 2018, when he hit .307 with an .815 OPS at Triple-A for the Yankees. It was enough for them to give him a shot in ‘19 when the spot opened up, leading to 21 homers and a .314/.355/.534 line in 476 PAs. We can’t project 600 PAs with the crowded roster, but I’ve got him around 500, while Steamer goes 539 at the moment.

 

Tiers Seven & Eight

Will you buy into Matt Carpenter for nothing? He’s just 34 years old, and two seasons removed from a career-best 36 homers and a .897 OPS. While 2019 was a l-o-s-t season for the veteran, he managed to hit .267 with eight extra-base hits (five doubles, three homers) in 60 September at-bats. He’s earned one down year, but the overall 84% zone-contact rate was quite the drop from 87.1% in ‘18 and his 90% career mark

Ian Happ is a great flyer after he earned NL Player of the Week honors to wrap up the regular season, while Howie Kendrick would be ranked much higher if we’d known Washington would re-sign him with a clear path to starting duties. Kendrick has hit above .300 in three straight seasons and swatted 17 homers in 370 PAs last year. We have no reason to believe the MLB/Rawlings will fix this inconsistent seam issue, making him a legitimate 20-25 HR bat with a .300+ average hitting near the heart of Washington’s order.

I’m snagging some late shares of Josh Rojas, whose MLB struggles (.217/.312/.312, 2 HR, 4 SB in 157 PAs) overshadowed his incredible MiLB stats on the year. Between Double- and Triple-A for Houston and Arizona, Rojas produced a stellar .332/.418/.606 slash line with 23 homers and 33 steals in just 479 PAs. Yeah, I’ll take a $0 lotto ticket on that action, though the Kole Calhoun deal does dampen his ceiling.

Matt Beaty provides some category juice after flashing nine homers and five steals in 268 PAs as a 26-year-old rookie, but you know consistent PT is hard to come by in LA. David Fletcher’s ceiling looks to be 10 HR and 10 SB, but his hitting .290 with 83 runs scored in 154 games shows the deep-league value of playing time. Those looking even deeper for upside can, of course, go prospecting with Pittsburgh’s Ke'Bryan Hayes, Philadelphia’s Alec Bohm, San Diego’s Ty France, and Boston’s Bobby Dalbec.

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