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Mid-Round Third Basemen - Fantasy Baseball Outlooks

Here at RotoBaller, we've been producing fantasy baseball analysis all offseason. As part of that, our awesome MLB team has written up detailed 2019 fantasy baseball outlooks for 400+ players. These player outlooks include RotoBaller's analysis on how we expect player to perform in 2019, where to target them in 2019 drafts, and supporting stats to back up the analysis. Typically, we only include these outlooks for premium subscribers, but we have a special treat for you.

Over the next few weeks we'll be releasing some exclusive player outlooks for each position. 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 2019 Draft Guide.

Today we are looking at some middle-round third basemen who need to be considered. Do we think they are draft targets, or players to avoid? Are their ADPs overvalued or undervalued? Will they make significant fantasy contributions and be one of your key draft sleepers? Read on to see our take. Be sure to subscribe as well, and read all 400+ of our 2019 player outlooks available exclusively in our 2019 Draft Guide.

Featured Promo: Get any full-season MLB and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Team Sync platform, Premium articles, daily Matchup Rating projections, 15 lineup tools, DFS cheat sheets, Research Stations, Lineup Optimizers and much more! Go Premium, Win More!

 

Rafael Devers - 3B, Boston Red Sox

Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers did not fulfill the promise in his sophomore season that many expected after a successful 2017 rookie campaign with 10 homers and a .284 average in 58 games. In what some considered a disappointing 2018 season, Devers still hit 21 homers and a .240 average in 450 at-bats.

His poor second half suppressed his overall numbers and can be attributed to a BABIP that dropped to .231 in August and .225 in September as well as a ground-ball rate that ballooned to 51.3%. Additionally, his OPS dropped from .819 in 57 games of 2017 to .731 in 2018. Devers does have recent postseason success though, which might force some to draft him earlier than expected. During the 2018 postseason, he hit a homer and had nine RBI with a .294 AVG in 11 games.

Devers’ overall 2018 performance is not overly concerning as he accomplished it at the age of 21, while most of his peers were still in Triple-A, at best. Devers should perform in 2019 more in line with his 2017 season, assuming he can maintain the third base job despite below average defense and can truly benefit from his offseason conditioning program. There is still more to be had from Devers at the plate. He is currently the 19th ranked third baseman and can easily outperform an ADP (147) that has him in the 12th round.

--Ellis Canady - RotoBaller

 

Jurickson Profar - 3B/SS/2B/1B, Oakland Athletics

Oakland Athletics second baseman Jurickson Profar is coming off of a breakout that felt like it was a decade in the making, but we now look towards his age-26 season with reason for optimism. In 594 plate appearances, Profar slugged 20 homers and stole 10 bases, making him one of the 29 hitters to go at least 20/10 in 2018, despite having a 27.6 ft/sec sprint speed that ranked 178th out of 403 hitters with 50 baserunning opportunities.

His hit tool has always been there but held back by a variety of injuries, but his going 10-of-10 on the basepaths without elite speed shows promise moving forward. Now, for some pessimism. Profar goes from playing in Arlington, a top-five hitting park for both left- and right-handed bats, over to Oakland, which ranked 52nd for RHB and 55th for LHB.

If he can hold onto hitting second in the A’s order then hopefully the additional PAs help balance out the lesser park. All this explains our site’s rank of 158th against an ADP of 117, as we’d advise not to buy in hard at cost in 2019.

--Nick Mariano - RotoBaller

 

Max Muncy - 3B/2B/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Muncy exploded for 35 home runs in 2018, and in just 137 games, he managed to generate 75 runs and 79 RBI. His steals (3) and batting average (.263) were both modest, but there are real signs to suggest the power is real and repeatable.

Among players with at least 400 plate appearances, Muncy’s 0.76 GB/FB was the 22nd best, which indicates that he can continue to hit homers as long as he keeps making good contact. He looks a full-blown JD Martinez convert. Likewise, Muncy’s batted-ball profile made his .392 xwOBA 8th in the league. There is some real room for regression, but Muncy’s lack of pedigree currently has him slotted at 97.

Muncy also offers positional eligibility at first, second, third, and outfield (in some formats). His real value lies at second base, where he should slot above or around Whit Merrifield in terms of value. Expect 30 HR, 90 R, 90 RBI, and a .255 batting average, numbers that look quite a bit like Matt Chapman’s but with greater versatility. Muncy currently has an ADP of 101.

--David Emerick - RotoBaller

 

Travis Shaw - 3B/2B/1B, Milwaukee Brewers

After two seasons with a full-time gig, Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw has proven his power is durable. Shaw surpassed 30 homers for the second consecutive season in 2018 with a nearly-identical ISO year-over-year (.239). However, his average (.241) and run production slipped (159 runs+RBI) after enduring a career-low in BABIP (.242).

Entering his age-29 season, Shaw has added second base eligibility to his resume and should continue being a serviceable utility man on fantasy squads. Shaw has cut down on strikeouts and increased walks in three consecutive years, registering an elite BB/K of 0.72. His on-base prowess and flyball tendencies (45% FB%) are an attractive combination in a loaded Brewers lineup. Shaw’s current ADP of 106 slots him as the 13th-best third baseman and eighth-highest second baseman. The positional versatility and favorable team situation are being credited with minimal value.

He’s essentially a lock for another 30-dinger campaign while an uptick in BABIP to his historical norm of .300 should boost the average to around .275. More balls in play also mean increased run-producing opportunities. Shaw is a potential top-5 second baseman and top-10 third baseman being assigned an unreasonable discount. He’s not flashy but a rock-solid option, a blue-collared stalwart that should provide stable returns for any fantasy lineup.

--Andrew Le - RotoBaller

 

Miguel Sano - 3B/1B, Minnesotta Twins

To say that Miguel Sano's 2018 season was a disappointment would be a massive understatement. Between rehab for a major leg injury, sexual abuse allegations, ongoing reports that the Twins weren't happy with his weight, and a minor league stint, Sano slashed just .199/.281/.398 with 14 HR over 299 PAs with the big club last year.

His offseason got off to a rocky start as well, as he was involved in an automobile accident in his native Dominican Republic in which a police officer broke his leg. These issues have made Sano a draft day afterthought (231.84 ADP as of this writing), but this is still the guy who slashed .264/.352/.507 with 28 HR in just 483 PAs back in 2017.

The Twins' acquisition of Nelson Cruz suggests that they plan to contend in the near future, and it's tough to see how they manage that without a healthy and productive Sano in their lineup. You probably don't want to be counting on Sano in your Opening Day lineup, but his upside could prove immensely profitable at the close of your draft.

--Rick Lucks - RotoBaller

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