Midseason Rankings and Tiers: Third Base (3B)

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With the first half of the season in the books, it’s time for one last RotoBaller rankings update. As with our May edition, these rest-of-season rankings come from yours truly and my esteemed colleague Kyle Bishop. We’re each talking about one position per day through Sunday (yesterday was catcher and first base), with today being my turn to stand in at the hot corner.

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Shall we?

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Basemen (Midseason Update)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Nolan Arenado 3B 16 6 11
2 1 Kris Bryant 3B/OF 11 14 12.5
3 1 Jose Ramirez 3B/OF 17 25 21
4 2 Manny Machado SS/3B 27 30 28.5
5 2 Josh Donaldson 3B 28 29 28.5
6 2 Miguel Sano 3B 23 52 37.5
7 2 Anthony Rendon 3B 40 44 42
8 2 Justin Turner 3B 52 39 45.5
9 2 Jake Lamb 3B 33 61 47
10 3 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 66 54 60
11 3 Travis Shaw 1B/3B 44 82 63
12 3 Adrian Beltre 3B 56 80 68
13 3 Mike Moustakas 3B 72 69 70.5
14 3 Todd Frazier 3B 78 90 84
15 4 Kyle Seager 3B 121 101 111
16 4 Evan Longoria 3B 113 128 120.5
17 4 Ryon Healy 3B 105 198 151.5
18 4 Eugenio Suarez 3B 168 145 156.5
19 4 Chris Taylor 3B 141 185 163
20 4 Alex Bregman 3B 190 146 168
21 4 Jonathan Villar SS/3B 128 218 173
22 4 Nick Castellanos 3B 221 156 188.5
23 4 Jedd Gyorko 2B/3B 225 166 195.5
24 4 Mark Reynolds 3B 186 223 204.5
25 4 Eduardo Nunez SS/3B 161 254 207.5
26 5 Joey Gallo 3B 247 193 220
27 5 Brandon Drury 3B/OF 272 184 228
28 5 Hernan Perez 3B/OF 236 298 267
29 5 Maikel Franco 3B 226 318 272
30 5 Chase Headley 3B #N/A 280 280
31 5 Yangervis Solarte 3B 271 296 283.5
32 5 Danny Valencia 1B/3B/OF 293 #N/A 293
33 5 Yulieski Gurriel 3B 282 305 293.5
34 6 David Freese 1B/3B #N/A 295 295
35 6 Yunel Escobar 3B #N/A 306 306
36 6 Yoan Moncada 3B 349 302 325.5
37 6 Martin Prado 3B #N/A 335 335

 

Midseason Third Base Rankings Analysis

Tier 1

Nevermind that I just traded for Kris Bryant in a desperate get-me-out-of-the-cellar move in the RotoBaller writer’s league, I would still rather have Nolan Arenado the rest of the way. I realize that Sharknado’s raw power totals are a sizeable notch below the 40-homer form of the last two seasons, but Bryant’s own fantasy value has been zapped not by his own hand -- the .928 OPS is wonderful -- but by the lineup around him.

And this is where Arenado continues to derive his value, as his 70 RBI are nearly double KB’s 38. Nolan has one fewer round-tripper thus far and Bryant’s five additional steals don’t give me the confidence to shake Arenado. They cover up one of the brighter ascensions we’ve seen in 2017, as Jose Ramirez has taken his game to a whole new level of funky fresh. He kept the speed, kept the average and upped the power. With a strong year and a half of growth under him, I’m ready to cut him his check.

Tier 2

Here’s where two of the bigger disappointments of ’17 reside, as Manny Machado may still have a shot at notching 35 dingers for the third straight season here but his average has fallen from .294 in ’16 to .230. His BABIP has fallen 70 points despite his hard-hit rate rising by about five percentage points thanks to a line-drive rate that has plummeted from 20 percent to a career-worst 13.9 percent. Meanwhile Josh Donaldson got hurt and has seen his strikeout rate rise from 17 percent to 23.3 percent alongside a 31-point drop in wOBA. The pop and ability to draw walks are still there, but his contact skills are just off.

The rest of the tier is full of happy news, though! Miguel Sano has mastered the three-outcome approach, Anthony Rendon is still streaky but Washington’s offense is just so good, Justin Turner is rocking an insane .377/.473/.583 slash line and Jake Lamb has gone yard 20 times and is tied for the fifth-most RBI in the Majors (67). Of course, Lambchop has to prove that last season’s second-half cold streak was due to injury, and not his own bat.

Tier 3

We could talk about the ever-so-reliable Matt Carpenter doing his thing, the upstart Travis Shaw blossoming in hitter-friendly Miller Park, the legendary Adrian Beltre finally back at full strength or Todd Frazier coming back to life in June. But let’s discuss the meteoric rise of Home Run Derby-participant Mike Moustakas.

After showing strong signs of a breakout in 2016 only to suffer a season-ending knee injury after 27 games, Moose has obliterated his career high in homers (22) with 25 moonshots in his first 329 plate appearances of ’17. His HR/FB rate checked in at 11.2 percent in ’15, then spiked to 19.4 percent in those 27 games in ’16 and currently sits at 20.8 percent now. Do you believe that his 42.5 percent O-swing rate -- the fourth-highest mark in the Majors -- and extreme power approach can hold? We do. Seems like he was made for the year of the fly ball.

Tier 4

Kyle Seager was supposed to be this bastion of consistency, and yet here we are sitting with him trending toward career lows in both homers and average (not counting his short 2011 campaign). Why has his HR/FB rate dropped from 14.6 percent to 7.8 percent? His hitting poorly against southpaws was seen last season (.227 vs. LHP, .307 vs. RHP), except even then he still connected for the long ball with a .204 ISO against them. That mark currently sits at .093.

Last year, his HR/FB rate never sat below 11 percent in any month. He hasn’t cracked 11 percent in any month this season. He hit just .097 against sliders last season, and he’s struggling again in ’17 (.137). His average exit velocity is down from 90.1 mph to 89.2 mph, as his rate of striking balls at 95-plus mph has sunk from 42.4 percent to 34.3 percent. He is simply incrementally worse across the board, but it’s hard for me to dismiss his stellar track record just yet.

There are many other names worth looking at, such as the upstart Chris Taylor (who I should probably swap slot-for-slot with recent Twitter big-boy Alex Bregman). The also-flailing Jonathan Villar, who I have given up hope on. Nick Castellanos is another xwOBA-wOBA wonderchild, but he’s socked six homers while hitting at a .311 clip so we’re cool now.

Tier 5

So, it looks like I really like Brandon Drury and dislike Maikel Franco more than Kyle. That’s fair. Drury has shown basically zero growth from last season and appears on track for an unspectacular 60/15/75/.285 line, but I also have to weigh up his versatility and I honestly just love getting pieces of top-tier offenses. Without a humidor in sight, I’m still in.

As for Franco, I guess I’m just amazed at how he’s improved his raw contact skills (Z-contact rate up two percentage points, strikeouts down over three percentage points) only to see his BABIP fall off from .271 to .215 with a three-percentage-point drop in hard-hit rate. That 27.7 percent hard-hit rate checks in at 146th out of 166 qualified hitters, and thus, I check out on Franco.

Tier 6

With the White Sox trading away Jose Quintana, it appears the dominoes are finally falling for the rebuild effort and soon enough we should see Yoan Moncada. While his overall 53/11/32/16/.278 slash line at Triple-A looks healthy enough, he is on a bit of a cold streak over his last 10 games (8-for-37 with two homers, 14 strikeouts and caught stealing twice on three attempts). I doubt the South Siders will let that dissuade them from their plans, but the point is that he isn’t exactly pressing them into a callup at the moment either. Please note, I’m still excited to see him play, but prepare for some serious rookie turbulence.

 

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