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Late-Round Third Basemen - Fantasy Baseball Draft Values and Targets

Ke'Bryan Hayes fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news

Welcome officially to the 2023 fantasy baseball season! Late-round picks in fantasy baseball can often be the difference between a mediocre team and a championship contender. While it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of selecting big-name players early in the draft, finding those hidden gems in the later rounds is equally essential. As a fantasy manager, it's crucial to do your due diligence and research these overlooked players' statistics, injury history, and current team situation. While taking a chance on a player based on a hunch or a cool name may seem appealing, making informed decisions that increase your chances of success is the wiser strategy. With careful consideration and some luck, these late-round picks could be the key to unlocking your team's full potential.

Today, we're looking at some late-round third basemen for you to consider drafting in your season-long leagues in 2023. Are their ADPs undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and become a priority late-round draft target? Read on to see our take.

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Usually only available to Premium subscribers, the five outlooks below are meant to give you a taste of the in-depth analysis you receive with our industry-leading 2023 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today to start reading all of our in-depth 2023 player outlooks and many other premium articles and tools, including Team Sync, the Live Draft Sync assistant, Custom Rankings Service, and so much more – available exclusively in our 2023 Draft Kit.

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Josh Jung, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn left labrum in February and was out six-to-eight months to begin the 2022 season. Jung was activated from Triple-A Round Rock's 60-day injured list in August and didn't make his MLB debut until September 10. The 24-year-old slashed .204/.235/.418 with five home runs, 14 RBI, nine runs, and two stolen bases across 26 games as a rookie in 2022.

Jung is the Rangers' third baseman of the future and is projected to hit in the heart of the order behind Corey SeagerNathaniel Lowe, and Adolis Garcia; there will be plenty of opportunities for the young slugger to drive in runs.

He will need to cut down his 38.2 K% in the majors, but the power is there, evidenced by his .525 slugging percentage in Triple-A. If he can stay healthy, Jung should pop 20-plus homers with a wOBA over .300 and chip in 5-10 steals in 2023. The former first-round pick has massive upside and can potentially be a top-12 fantasy third baseman if Jung can cut down on the strikeouts and improve from his struggles at the plate as a rookie.

-- Brad Camara - RotoBaller

 

Justin Turner, Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox infielder Justin Turner has some fantasy relevance as he prepares for his first season with his new club. The 38-year-old played in 128 games last season, staying healthy for the first half of the campaign before being hindered by an abdominal strain in August. He posted respectable numbers, slashing .278/.350/.438 with a .313 BABIP, 123 wRC+, 9.4 BB%, and 16.7 K%. Most notable was that Turner's power declined; he went from slugging 27 homers in 2021 to just 13 in 2022.

As Turner embarks on the next chapter of his career in Boston, he should be slotted into the lineup as the designated hitter while making cameos at the corners if Triston Casas or Rafael Devers need a day off. From a fantasy perspective, Turner needs to maintain respectable power to have any fantasy relevance. Turner has an ADP of 269.0, so fantasy managers aren't making an enormous investment, and therefore should not hesitate to drop him if he struggles out of the gate.

-- Andersen Pickard - RotoBaller

 

Jon Berti, Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins utility player Jon Berti took his base stealing to a new level in 2022, leading the league with 41 steals across just 102 games. He had 97th-percentile sprint speed and has always been an aggressive baserunner, swiping 35 bags in his first 201 games. However, Berti's other numbers left much to be desired. He hit .240 this season with four home runs, 47 runs, and 28 RBI.

That's been the story of his career, as Berti owns a career .244 batting average with 16 home runs over 303 contests. The 32-year-old's 88 mph average exit velocity was in the 33rd percentile, and besides his four games in 2018, he's never posted a mark better.

Despite his low batting averages, Berti hits a ton of ground balls (54.7% career ground ball rate). With a 6.7% barrel rate over five seasons, the five-year vet will never produce double-digit home runs with so many balls on the ground. Furthermore, with the addition of Jean Segura, Berti is without a spot in the starting lineup even after the Miguel Rojas trade and may find it hard to get consistent reps. Fantasy managers are drafting him at pick 245, but that's a reach for a poor hitter without an everyday job, even if he reaches 30 stolen bases.

-- Spencer Seguin - RotoBaller

 

Christopher Morel, Chicago Cubs

Chicago Cubs utilityman Christopher Morel exceeded expectations during his rookie campaign in 2022. Signed by Chicago as an international free agent in 2015, the 23-year-old made his debut with the club in May. Brought on as a pinch-hitter for Patrick Wisdom in the eighth inning, Morel hit a home run in his first major league at-bat, which capped off a 7-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It was only up from there for Morel, who ended the year with 16 dingers and 47 RBI. He logged a .308 OBP and .741 OPS, along with 10 stolen bags and 38 walks. His performance eventually earned him a spot in the Cubs' everyday lineup, where he primarily played centerfield but appeared at 2B, 3B, SS, and even LF.

One aspect of Morel's game that he really struggled with was the strikeout. He struck out 137 times, ranking in the fourth percentile in K% and first in Whiff%. An encouraging sign, however, was his ranking in the 88th percentile in Max Exit Velocity and 91st in Barrel %. ATC projects Morel's sophomore season to look something like this: .233/.300/.414, 16 HR, 51 RBI, 54 R, and 11 SB. His ADP of 241 is justified, but the Dominican outfielder could surprise some people in his second year. Morel is definitely someone to keep an eye on and should provide solid fantasy value at his current ADP.

-- Lauren Amour - RotoBaller

 

Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates made a long-term commitment to Ke'Bryan Hayes last season but that doesn't mean that fantasy managers should do the same. Quite frankly, he can't hit. His .244/.314/.345 triple-slash line with seven homers and 20 steals over 560 PAs is a drag in the HR and batting average categories, and he's not going to rack up many counting stats in Pittsburgh's lineup even hitting third.

He needed a .307 BABIP to post that mediocre average and his 10.8 IFFB% is way too high for someone with a 3.9% rate of Brls/BBE. Meanwhile, his 28.8 FB% is too low to take advantage of his decent 93 mph average airborne exit velocity, not that his 6.3% HR/FB was any good.

Pittsburgh is also a terrible place to hit, so the environment doesn't make Hayes any more attractive for fantasy purposes. The slick-fielding Hayes offers decent plate discipline and should steal another 20 bags or so, but you have to sacrifice everything else to get it at an ADP of 162.07. Don't condemn your roster to mediocrity that way.

-- Rick Lucks - RotoBaller



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