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

justin turner fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news

Welcome officially to the 2022 fantasy baseball season! Now that an MLB deal is in place, a lot more fantasy drafts will be taking place -- and we're here as always to guide you through it. Once you reach the middle rounds of drafts, everyone is looking to draft players with upside that can provide a great return on value. You can afford to start taking a risk or two on a variety of different players, including emerging prospects, overlooked veterans, players returning from injury, or even talented players who may have some playing time concerns. The early rounds are critical and the late rounds are where you can take your chances on dart-throw sleepers, but the middle rounds can absolutely make or break your roster as those picks are going to make up roughly half of your starting lineup.

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

Our editors have hand-picked these specific MLB players for your draft prep enjoyment. Normally 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 2022 Draft Kit. Be sure to subscribe today and start reading all of our in-depth 2022 player outlooks, and many other premium articles and tools, available exclusively in our 2022 Draft Kit.

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Adalberto Mondesi, Kansas City Royals

Is Adalberto Mondesi a good MLB player? No, not really. His plate discipline is completely non-existent with a 20.1 SwStr% and 38.8% chase rate, leading to an ugly .230/.271/.452 triple-slash line with a 31.6 K% and 4.4 BB% in 2021. When he makes contact, he struggles to produce line drives (last year's 13.9 LD% was actually an improvement over his 2020 mark) and hits way too many pop-ups (26.5 IFFB%, 43 FB%). As a result, his .299 BABIP was below .300 despite his legendary speed. Mondesi also struggled to stay on the field, logging three IL stints during the 2021 season. The Royals are growing tired of their enigmatic infielder, with reports surfacing that the team may limit his playing time to keep him healthier in 2022. Playing less isn't what fantasy managers are looking for, but the Royals lack the roster depth to follow through with that plan.

Instead, RosterResource projects Mondesi as Kansas City's regular DH, allowing him to accumulate a full season of PAs without playing the field to keep him healthy. That should easily produce 60 SB with upside for more. Mondesi isn't a zero in the power categories either, as he boosted his average airborne exit velocity to 97.8 mph and posted a 17.6% HR/FB last season. Steals and homers are the name of the game in fantasy, and Mondesi's ability to dominate the scarcer category without hurting you in the other makes him well worth his ADP of 70.

--Rick Lucks - RotoBaller


DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

After two terrific seasons, New York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieu took a significant step back in 2021. His batting average plummeted .100 points while his slugging percentage dropped over .200 points compared to 2020. Overall, the 33-year-old slashed .268/.349/.362 with 10 home runs, 57 RBI, 84 runs scored, and four stolen bases across 679 plate appearances. He underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia in October but is fully recovered and expected to be ready for Spring Training (whenever the lockout ends).

LeMahieu is a career .300 hitter and has excellent plate discipline, evidenced by last season's career-high 10.8 BB%. Fantasy managers can expect a rebound from the Yankees infielder as 2019-2020 is more of an outlier. Cutter is on board with LeMahieu bouncing back in 2022, projecting .290/.365/.491 with 18 homers, 72 RBI, 98 runs scored, and five stolen bases across 665 plate appearances. LeMahieu is a borderline top-15 second baseman, and with multi-position eligibility at first, second, and third base, he is excellent value with his 117 ADP.

-- Brad Camara - RotoBaller


Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates' third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes busted onto the scene in 2020 by slashing .376/.442/.682 and a .464 wOBA over 95 plate appearances. After his impressive stretch in 2020, Hayes was underwhelming in 2021, slashing .257/.316/.373 with six home runs, 38 RBI, and 49 runs scored over 396 plate appearances. Last year, the 25-year-old dealt with wrist/hand injuries and was limited to just 96 games. Hayes can be a threat on the base paths, evidenced by his 27.8 sprint speed (70th in percentile rankings) and swiping 9-of-10 bags in 2021. His average exit velocity and hard-hit rate ranked in the 71st and 75th percentile; with a clean bill of health, there's upside for a 20/20 season.

Steamer is projecting Hayes to slash .265/.332/.424 with 17 homers, 12 steals, and a .326 WOBA through 139 games. According to Pirates general manager Ben Cherington, the Pirates' third baseman is recovered from his wrist injury and will enter Spring Training 100 percent. He is projected to hit leadoff for an awful Pittsburgh lineup; fantasy managers shouldn't expect more than 80 runs scored. According to Rotoballer's Expected Draft Values, Hayes' Steamer projections make him roughly below fair value at his 137 ADP. Hayes doesn't have elite power for a third baseman but makes up for it with his speed and a solid batting average at a scarce position.

-- Brad Camara - RotoBaller


Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

We keep expecting Turner's age (he's now 37) to catch up with him, but that surely did not happen in 2021. He played a full season (612 PA), posting a very competitive .278/.361/.471 slash line with 27 homers, 87 runs, and 87 RBI. That is a season that would make for a top-100 hitter easily if he were ten years younger. But, of course, he is not younger and eventually the production will grind to a halt. If that process will begin in 2022 is anybody's guess, but last season shows no evidence that it will be. His contact rate (84%) improved markedly from 2019 and 2020 (80%) and he maintained his elite launch angle profile (21% LD%, 44% FB% – exactly what you want from a slow guy) while notching a new career-high max launch velocity (109.8).

The age concern is obvious, but a lot of that is baked into the price tag, which is much too cheap if you were only considering what he's done at the plate over the last few seasons. Turner may come with more risk than reward at this point, but this is not a price that will sink your team and it seems likely to pay off just fine for those who roll the dice once again.

-- Jon Anderson - RotoBaller

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