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2020 Third Base Rankings - H2H Points Leagues


Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a different strategy if you wish to truly compete. Rankings themselves are a different beast altogether, as category specialists like Mallex Smith and Dee Gordon (stolen bases), Kyle Schwarber and Franmil Reyes (home runs), and the majority of closers will be devalued. Hitters who draw walks and avoid strikeouts earn more points so plate discipline is rewarded and must be considered. For pitchers, the opposite obviously applies.

Third base is traditionally a target for power sources, but we need to look deeper to win in H2H. Players with better plate discipline like Justin Turner could prove to be more valuable. This position runs fairly deep, so there is no need to strike early if you miss out on the top choices.

All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings for the third base position, put together by analysts Nicklaus Gaut, Riley Mrack, and Pierre Camus. Check out our analysis of all other positions as well, coming soon!

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 H2H Points League Rankings

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 Name Position Nicklaus
Gaut
Pierre
Camus
Riley
Mrack
1 1 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 6 7 10
2 1 Nolan Arenado 3B 10 10 8
3 1 Jose Ramirez 3B 12 22 17
4 1 Anthony Rendon 3B 17 16 18
5 2 Rafael Devers 3B 14 25 21
6 2 Manny Machado 3B/SS 30 49 44
7 2 Kris Bryant 3B/OF 44 67 38
8 2 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B 65 39 66
9 3 Josh Donaldson 3B 47 69 60
10 3 Matt Chapman 3B 53 78 49
11 3 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B 73 59 62
12 3 Mike Moustakas 2B/3B 72 72 79
13 3 Eugenio Suarez 3B 90 95 77
14 3 Jeff McNeil 2B/3B/OF 85 82 108
15 4 Yoan Moncada 3B 101 98 78
16 4 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B 98 97 86
17 4 Eduardo Escobar 2B/3B 93 85 105
18 4 Yuli Gurriel 1B/3B 95 125 93
19 4 Justin Turner 3B 120 105 122
20 4 Miguel Sano 1B/3B 139 129 120
21 5 Brian Anderson 3B/OF 126 138 186
22 5 Renato Nunez 1B/3B 158 164 182
23 5 Tommy Edman 2B/3B/OF 144 205 161
24 5 Kyle Seager 3B 147 143 253
25 5 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B 179 179 196
26 6 Scott Kingery SS/3B/OF 178 186 197
27 6 Hunter Dozier 1B/3B/OF 191 189 200
28 6 Danny Santana 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 182 195 214
29 6 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B 204 191 199
30 7 Miguel Andujar 3B 235 217 181
31 7 J.D. Davis 3B/OF 227 232 177
32 7 Starlin Castro 2B/3B 153 160 348
33 7 Matt Carpenter 3B 292 230 201
34 7 Hanser Alberto 2B/3B 245 252 232
35 7 Evan Longoria 3B 243 209 325
36 7 Giovanny Urshela 3B #N/A 264 274
37 7 Asdrubal Cabrera 2B/3B 278 273 320
38 7 Tommy La Stella 2B/3B 340 358 249
39 7 Jon Berti 2B/3B/SS/OF #N/A 363 229
40 7 Travis Shaw 3B 295 322 309
41 7 Maikel Franco 3B 293 288 363
42 7 David Fletcher 3B 347 272 361
43 7 Colin Moran 3B/1B 316 283 397
44 7 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/3B/OF 357 331 #N/A
45 7 Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B #N/A 345 #N/A
46 7 Ian Happ 2B/3B/OF 354 347 337
47 8 Howie Kendrick 1B/2B/3B #N/A 367 335
48 8 Todd Frazier 3B 343 329 393

 

Tier One

Nolan Arenado hit .315 with 41 home runs, 118 runs batted in, and struck out just 14% of the time last year. Alex Bregman his .296 with 41 home runs, 112 runs batted in, and struck out just 12% of the time. Just as important, each saw more than 600 plate appearances, marking three straight such seasons for Bregman and five for Arenado over 650 PA. Which is the best pick at third base? Both. Or either.

Neither player provides a clear advantage over the other. You could argue in favor of the player with the longer track record who plays at Coors Field or the one who is younger and has the better supporting lineup. For what it's worth, Bregman finished as the top overall fantasy batter in points league if you played under CBS rules in 2019, averaging out to #2 across all platforms. Arenado was 12th in CBS and averaged out as 11th. ATC projections for 2020 have Bregman falling a bit due to some HR/FB regression (this came before the scandal, mind you). In fact, Arenado is projected to finish 10 spots higher than Bregman under Yahoo! points scoring. Bottom line: this decision is splitting hairs but I'd give the slight edge to Bregman everywhere except for leagues that don't reward walks, like Yahoo!

If you want a clear example of how knowing your league rules can make a big difference on draft day, look no further than Anthony Rendon. In standard points leagues played on ESPN, Rendon is projected to finish 13th among all hitters but 42nd in Yahoo! For players with extreme variations in strikeout/walk rates, special attention must be paid.

 

Tier Two

Eugenio Suarez has the inverse situation of Rendon due to a 28.5% strikeout rate that jumped five points from the previous two seasons. He's hitting the ball just as hard, but his plate discipline took a small step back in 2019 and now he's questionable for the start of the season due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. He should be knocked down a few ticks and could slip into tier three before the season begins.

Rafael Devers finally broke out, posting a superior 92.1 mph exit velocity that led to a .916 OPS. Most promising was the fact that he cut his strikeout rate down to 17% despite increasing his swing rate to 55%. He swung more but made more contact both in and out of the zone, hitting it hard when he did so. He wound up leading the majors with 90 extra-base hits on the strength of 54 doubles along with 32 homers and four triples. There's no reason to fear Devers in points leagues.

 

Tier Three

If anyone can wind up making all these rankings look foolish, it's Vladito. His rookie season wasn't quite what everyone expected considering the preseason hype. Still, plate discipline has never been an issue and the ceiling is high enough that he could finish near the very top of the position. ATC projections have him finishing 12th among third basemen in points formats; our rankings are a tad more optimistic but not by much. I'm likely to reach higher for him if the price is reasonable enough that he can be selected outside of the top-60 overall players.

Yoan Moncada has shifted eligibility from second to third base, making his power stroke slightly less valuable. He posted elite Statcast numbers with a 47.9% hard-hit rate, .291 xBA, and .478 xwoBACON. He also cut down on his unsightly 33.4% K% from 2018, down to 27.5% but also saw his walk rate drop by three points below the league average. His improvements in contact rate and a better lineup to support him are enough to keep him right around the top-100 overall players in H2H formats for both Nick and me, while Riley is even more bullish with him at 78.

 

Tier Four

Justin Turner is one of those perennially under-the-radar guys who is unexciting but solid. That's especially true in points leagues, where he is the perfect mid-round target to satisfy your 3B requirement if you filled up your roster at other positions first. He had an xBA in the 86th percentile last year and has been in the top 95% or higher three of the previous four seasons. His outstanding plate discipline (5.3 K-BB% over the last five seasons) is a huge asset in points leagues. For that reason, he is projected to finish as the 46th-best hitter in ESPN points leagues this year and is no lower than 73rd on any platform. Adding Mookie Betts in front of him doesn't hurt either. If we get confirmation that Turner will bat second rather than drop down to fifth or sixth in the lineup, he will get a boost in our rankings.

Miguel Sano is the anti-Turner, selling out completely for power and striking out 36.2% of the time in 2019, which was actually an improvement from the previous year. His .234 xBA is in line with his career mark of .228, but he also posted a ridonkulous 94.4mph exit velocity and 57.2% hard-hit rate. In weekly leagues, he will be a rollercoaster ride at the corner infield, so if you choose to get on, just strap in and hold on tight.

 

Tier Five

Truth be told, Brian Anderson is one of my favorite late picks at 3B/CI if I'm left waiting on that position. This is especially true in points formats since his plate discipline is slightly better than league average, but he can still provide 20 or more homers like last year along with at least 30 doubles. The fish should be somewhat better on offense this year (they have nowhere to go but up, after all) and Anderson will hit high enough in the order to both score and drive in runs.

It has been noted that my ranking of Tommy Edman is much lower than the industry and that doesn't just go for H2H formats. He became a buzzy name late last season when he assumed the second-base job in St. Louis and went on to hit .304 with 11 HR and 15 SB. My concern is two-fold: his power isn't legit and playing time isn't guaranteed.

Edman had never hit more than six homers in a minor-league stop and is rated as a 30 for Game Power and 40 Raw Power. A 12.1% HR/FB rate isn't outrageous, but it could wind up being an outlier for him. The main issue, however, is that I just don't see him filling in for Marcell Ozuna in left field every day. The Cardinals are more likely to keep Edman in a super-utility role, as he is a middle-infielder by trade. He can spell Wong and DeJong on occasion while playing the outfield once or twice a week. The Cards will want to find a place for the power bat of Tyler O'Neill or prospect Dylan Carlson, with Lane Thomas also being an acceptable option. I'm taking the under on Steamer's projection of 495 plate appearances, which have him repeating last year's season-long production of 11 HR and 15 SB with a lower .274 average, incidentally.

 

Tier Six and Lower

By the time you read this, J.D. Davis might be drafted within the first 100 players overall. I kid but at this rate who knows? Davis is suddenly everyone's favorite sleeper and has seen his ADP creep up to 174 in NFBC drafts. I might be too low on him, but it may not matter since someone will surely take him before me in every draft this year. The Statcast numbers are great (.308/.383/.548 x-slash line) to be sure. I still want to see more before diving in with both feet.

Yandy Diaz also posted great sabermetrics with an exit velocity in the 92nd percentile and .491 xSLG in 2019. His plate discipline has always been excellent, as his career 7.3 K-BB% shows. You could potentially grab a slightly less powerful version of Davis 60 spots later and turn out just as well.

I'm not apt to question our own rankings, especially since I'm one of the rankers... but why in the hell is Gio Urshela so low? It may largely be a playing time concern since we don't know what will happen with Miguel Andujar or if the Yankees will go out and sign a veteran to play the position the instant Urshela starts to slump. Early accounts have him set to start at third base while Andujar tries his hand at first base or settles for part-time DH duty. Aside from the .294 xBA which ranked in the 92nd percentile, he posted a low 18.3% K%. Unfortunately, that also came with a paltry 5.3% BB%, so don't expect many points from free passes. His 34 doubles make up for the difference though, as he should be a solid contributor and a top-100 hitter in this format.

At age 27, I'm not giving up on Maikel Franco just yet. His .281 wOBA was terrible to be sure, but a change of scenery can often do wonders. His low 15.3% strikeout rate means it won't hurt too much to take a chance on a player who has hit over 20 homers in three of his five seasons and may actually get more regular playing time in KC.

If I'm taking a chance on a veteran bouncing back, it's Evan Longoria. At 34, he's not washed up yet. He was hitting well until injury struck in mid-July. His typically minuscule walk rate jumped above league average, helping him post a respectable .274/.322/.498 x-slash line. If nothing else, he should pile up at-bats and be a consistent source of points.

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