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Third Base: Undervalued and Overvalued For Fantasy Baseball Points Leagues

Elly De La Cruz - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, Waiver Wire Pickups

There's some depth at the third base position in fantasy baseball this year. It might not be as deep as in years past, but 10 third basemen are going inside the top 85 in drafts this year.

Some third basemen like Jose Ramirez, Austin Riley, Rafael Devers, and Gunnar Henderson are going earlier in drafts. Ramirez, Riley, and Devers are going somewhere in the second round, while Henderson goes in the third or fourth round. All four players are priced appropriately in fantasy drafts in 2024.

However, several third basemen are valued too high and too low in 2024. So, let's dive in and see which corner infielders are overvalued and undervalued in points leagues this season.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Elly De La Cruz, Cincinnati Reds

This one might turn some heads, especially after Elly De La Cruz's electric rookie season. The 22-year-old will have position eligibility at both third base and shortstop this season, but we'll group him with the former for the sake of this article.

De La Cruz did a little bit of everything in his rookie season, which helped him finish with a .235 batting average, 13 home runs, 44 RBI, 15 doubles, seven triples, and 35 stolen bases across 98 games. However, his high strikeout rate (33.7%) and poor second half worry me heading into the 2024 season.

Most fantasy managers will remember the rookie's first couple of games in the majors, where he hit .361 with three HRs and 10 RBI through 15 games. It wasn't all great, though, for De La Cruz in his first year. Over the final 52 games of the season, he hit .195 with six HRs, 24 RBI, and five doubles with 79 strikeouts from July 31 to October 1.

De La Cruz is one of the most electric players in the league right now, but there will be plenty of rough stretches from him at the plate. It remains to be seen which version we see of the infielder in 2024. Chances are it's a combination of both the first half and second half, which makes him a risky option at his current ADP of 38.8. There are safer, more consistent players to select in fantasy drafts in the early fourth round.

Verdict: Overvalued 

 

Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins third baseman Royce Lewis is a talented player, and we all saw that last year in 2023. He hit .309 with 15 HRs, 52 RBI, and seven doubles. Lewis also broke the MLB record for fewest games (66) to reach five career grand slams after hitting four last season.

However, given his inability to stay healthy over his career, his 64.2 ADP seems way too high. Lewis has only played in 118 combined games in the majors and minors since the start of the 2021 season. The former first overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft first tore his ACL in February 2021. Then, he suffered another ACL tear in the same knee one year later in May 2022. That caused him to play in only 12 games with the Twins.

Last year, injuries were no different for Lewis, as he played in just 58 games in the majors. He missed over one month with an oblique strain suffered in July and then missed the final two weeks of the season with a hamstring issue. The talent and power are surely there for the 24-year-old third baseman, but he just hasn't been able to stay healthy.

Verdict: Overvalued  

 

Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

It was quite a surprise to see St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado struggle as much as he did during the 2023 season. He hit just .266 at the plate with 26 HRs, 93 RBI, and 26 doubles. The 26 HRs and 93 RBI were his fewest in a full season since 2014, while the 26 doubles were his fewest in a full season over his 11-year career. As a result, his 84 ADP makes total sense in 2024. 

Still, he's a player you should be targeting in points leagues because of his high potential home run and RBI numbers. There's no doubt last year was not Arenado's best, but before the 2023 season, he combined to hit 64 HRs, 208 RBI, and 76 doubles between 2021 and 2022.

Arenado should have a bounce-back campaign in 2024 in an offense that should be better than it was a season ago. The veteran still has plenty left in the tank, and he should hit more than 26 HRs this upcoming year. If he doesn't and stays around the 25-28 home run mark, his 90-plus RBI should boost his value. His consistency at the plate should help him produce solid numbers this year. 

Verdict: Undervalued 

 

Josh Jung, Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung is coming off a solid 2023 rookie campaign, where he hit .266 with 23 HRs, 70 RBI, and 25 doubles. Jung also made his first All-Star appearance and finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting last year. Now, entering his second full season in the majors, a true breakout is possible for the 26-year-old.

Jung's numbers across the board were solid in his first full year. The metrics also back up his season, which should give fantasy managers plenty of hope for a potential 2024 breakout. His average exit velocity (91.8 mph), expected slugging (.482), barrel rate (11.9%), hard-hit rate (47.4%), and sweet spot rate (41.9%) all ranked in the top half of the league. His 41.9% sweet spot rate also placed him in the top 2% in the majors.

If Jung can keep up those metrics in 2024, there's a strong chance he could exceed his 23 HRs from last year. He will also be hitting fourth or fifth in one of the best offenses in baseball. That should lead to plenty of opportunities to drive in runs with Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Adolis Garcia all hitting in front of him. His 118.8 ADP is way too low entering the season.

Verdict: Undervalued 

 

Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies

The last player on this list is Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm. Bohm put together career numbers in 2023, which included a .274 batting average, 20 HRs, 97 RBI, and 31 doubles. His 20 HRs, 97 RBI, and 31 doubles were all career-highs, and he improved his walk rate by 2% from the 2022 season.

However, even after his solid year at the plate, Bohm's ADP sits at 155.2 this year. Maybe fantasy managers don't entirely trust that the third baseman can keep up his career numbers in 2024, though there are reasons to believe he will.

Bohm's expected batting average (.290), which was 16 points higher than where he finished, was in the top 7% in baseball in 2023. His whiff rate (18.1%) and strikeout rate (15.4%) also landed him in the top 12%, meaning there's a good chance he will put the ball in play. Although his barrel rate (5.7%) ranked toward the bottom of the league, hitting in the middle of the Phillies lineup should lead to more RBI chances.

Last year, Bohm ended the season batting third and fourth in Philadelphia's potent lineup. While we don't know where he will hit in 2024, he should get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs with Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Nick Castellanos all likely hitting in front of him. So, it appears he could hit over 95 RBI once again this season.

Verdict: Undervalued



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