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Breakout Candidates At 3B For 2023 Fantasy Baseball

Alec Bohm fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news

We’re currently amidst a renaissance at the third base position. Rafael Devers, Jose Ramirez, Austin Riley, and Nolan Arenado are among the game’s biggest stars.

The future of the position may look even better. Many of the league’s top young prospects, from Jordan Walker to Elly De La Cruz, are third basemen.

Coincidentally, many of those top third base prospects are set to start their first full seasons. Along with the incoming top prospects, a couple of more established young third basemen are ready to make the jump to stardom. Here are three guys at third base who should have some big seasons.

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Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

Current ADP: 88

Gunnar Henderson was bound to make his appearance on this list. It is required by law (statute 13-123021, check the book) to include Henderson in any conversation about baseball players who should breakout this year, and I am nothing but a law-abiding man.

The league’s unanimous number-one prospect is ready to start his first full season. Along with second-year catcher Adley Rutschman, Henderson is set to lead a surging young Orioles team.

In his 2022 debut, Henderson batted .259/.348/.440 with four HRs in 34 games. In that small sample, Henderson showcased his superstar-level athletic tools. Henderson’s max sprint speed of 29.1 ft/sec was in the league’s 91st percentile. His average throw speed of 88.4 mph shows his potential for gold-glove defense. If Henderson had enough at-bats to qualify, his average exit velocity of 92.4 mph would’ve been in the league’s 95th percentile.

Every rookie needs time to adjust, but it looks like Henderson didn’t even need that. Henderson should be eating early and often in 2023. For his potential as a top performer in all five categories, his ADP of 88.3 is not a terribly inflated number.


Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies

Current ADP: 198

In 2022, Alec Bohm made a name for himself as the starting third baseman for the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies. In that season, Bohm batted .280/.315/.398 with 14 HRs in 152 games.

Bohm made a series of improvements in 2022. The most dramatic of those improvements was his K rate decreasing from 26.6% to 17.5%. However, there's one piece of Alec Bohm’s game that has yet to be unlocked.

Coming up in the minors, Bohm was lauded for his raw power. While his career average exit velocity exceeds 90 mph, Bohm's home run totals don’t reflect the raw power that scouts loved as he came up. Often, raw power doesn’t translate to games well because a hitter has a poor command of the strike zone, a faulty approach at the plate, or a swing launch angle that is not optimal.

Bohm’s best current quality is his command of the strike zone, and there's nothing off with his approach at the plate; so, by process of elimination, Bohm's launch angle is the problem. Bohm’s launch angle was jacked up from around five degrees to 10.2 degrees, leading to increased home run totals.

From the limited number of swings we’ve seen during Spring training, it seems that Bohm’s launch angle has finally become optimal.

Bohm’s floor for 2023 is around 15 HRs, with similar contact numbers to his 2022 season. If his raw power tool can finally translate in-game, Bohm’s ceiling for 2023 should be 20-25 HRs. Bohm is worth drafting at his floor in the late rounds, but he becomes a bonafide steal if he can reach that ceiling.


Josh Jung, Texas Rangers

Current ADP: 249.3

Josh Jung made his long-awaited debut last season. In 26 games, the Rangers' top prospect batted .204/.235/.418 with five homers.

While not the output many had hoped for, Jung showed signs of the trait that could make him a top 10 third baseman in fantasy — his top-of-the-line power tool.

Jung famously homered in his first major league at-bat. While five homers isn’t an eye-popping number, Jung only had 20 hits, giving him a home run for every five at-bats (that is very good).

His name is currently at the top of the Rangers' depth chart at 3B. There is little depth at that spot in the Rangers’ system, giving Jung everyday player status for the near future.

Now fully recovered from the torn labrum that delayed his debut, Jung looks very ready to round out a Rangers lineup that has already shown impressive power numbers (eighth in the league in homers in 2022).

Most of Jung’s 2023 projections have him as a 20-HR bat. If he was to get to that number — which he likely will — it would be a radical overperformance of his 249.3 ADP.

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