Five Under the Radar Sleeper 3rd Basemen in 2014
Welcome to Session 3! Please come in and have a seat. Can I get you a bagel or something to drink? Okay, I just wanted to ask. Say, if you don’t mind my saying so, your demeanor appears a bit sullen today. The past few sessions about first basemen and second basemen have been very productive. So, may I ask what’s on your mind? Hmm, so you’re feeling hopeless and irritable and you’re losing sleep? I see. How about your appetite? OK, let me scribble some notes here. Do you find it difficult to focus? Uh huh, just as I suspected. You’re suffering from depression. But don’t worry; the CBT tactics we discussed yesterday will help you with these feelings. It’s a process that takes a little time. May I see your list of available third basemen in your dynasty league? Wow! No wonder you’re depressed. I can’t believe you haven’t jumped off a bridge! Machado, Longoria, Wright, Beltre, Cabrera, and Alvarez are all keepers on other teams? This is an urgent situation. But don’t fear, I see some guys on this list who can ease your pain. Are you ready?
Brett Lawrie has been a sleeper for several years, but still hasn’t reached his potential. Injuries have slowed the 24-year-old righty slugger, costing him big chunks of time the past two seasons. In August, his first full month in the Jays lineup in ‘13, Lawrie slashed for a .346 BA, .495 SLG, and .892 OPS, demonstrating the skills Toronto fans have been expecting for years. Alas, he fell back to earth in September, finishing the season with 11 HR and 9 SB in 401 AB. In two-and-a-half MLB seasons (1,045 AB), Lawrie has launched 31 HR and stolen 29 bases while hitting .269. Those aren’t impressive numbers. But they aren’t terrible. Sift out the games he missed for injuries in ’12 and ’13 and this guy is averaging about 15 HR/15 SB per season. Last August was no aberration. Grab this kid while the price is still low and look for 20/20 this year.
Kyle Seager splashed onto the scene as a 2B in 2012 and promptly added his name to fantasy watch lists with 20 HR and 13 SB. The 26-year-old Mariner is a 3B now, and his production is 3B-worthy. Last season, he hit .290 with 21 HR, 39 doubles and 8 SB. Playing in Seattle keeps Seager off the radar, but his numbers won’t permit him to toil in obscurity any longer. A top five finish at the hot corner is a real possibility for Seager this season. Grab him!
Everybody loves Colorado hitters, so set your sights on Nolan Arenado. We know the soon-to-be 23-year-old’s glove is top notch (in ’13, he became the first NL rookie to with a Gold Glove at 3B), so his job on the diamond is secure. He didn’t go off at the plate (.267/10 HR/29 2B), but he also didn’t disappoint. Make no mistake, this kid can hit. Playing half his games in Denver will eventually raise his offense to match his defense. A multi-year All-Star is in the making here. Strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
The Moose Tacos has been loose for a few years, but so far he’s inflicted little damage. Mike Moustakas, 25, was touted as a Monster Bat prior to joining the big club in Kansas City in 2011. He definitely has plus power, but so far his season high for HR is 20. Given his age and history of mashing, I’m not ready to give up on the young power prodigy. He’ll top 30 HR very soon with a respectable BA (.270 range), especially if he can cut the fans by at least 15%, which is a lot. I’m banking on this year. He’ll be a cheap add to your roster with a possibly incalculable potential for reward.
When top Arizona prospect Matt Davidson was traded to the White Sox in exchange for Closer Addison Reed, few people blinked. But Davidson, 22, has the ability to create jaw-dropping stares with his bat. He’s hit at every level and has the power to drop 20 balls over fences in a full season. However, not only does Davidson have to beat out Conor Gillaspie to assume the starter role in Chicago, he also has to fight off a hard-charging 23-year-old named Marcus Semien. Pay attention to this battle in Spring Training. If Davidson or Semien earn the starting job, invest.
Note: Keep an eye on Carlos Santana in Spring Training. The Indians will be shifting him to 3B/DH, which will make the stud slugger’s value climb even higher.
Phillies prospect Maikel Franco is perfecting his nearly-Major-League-ready bat in the minors. The 21-year-old may make an appearance in Philadelphia this season. Don’t be caught off guard.
I’ve noticed some smiles and nods during the session. That’s a great sign! The clouds of depression tend to waft in and out for a time, but the sun will eventually shine through. You’re on your way to a great season! We’ll look at under-the-radar catchers next. See you tomorrow!