RotoBaller's draft values and sleepers series rolls on! Today, we'll discuss some early third base draft values and potential sleepers for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.
The quality and depth of the pool at the hot corner this season is astonishing. The top four players at the position are first-rounders, and at least a dozen more are worthy options to be your primary third baseman. Even beyond that, there are several intriguing names. Let's look at a few of them, shall we?
Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.
Third Base Draft Values - 2017 Fantasy Baseball
Ryon Healy, Oakland Athletics (ADP: 196)
Healy was lightly regarded as a minor leaguer, barely mentioned by prospect mavens when they reviewed the A’s decidedly unspectacular farm system. It wasn’t tough to see why. Despite always being on the old side for his level, Healy hadn’t distinguished himself in his first three minor league seasons. In 2016, however, he began raking at Double-A, and didn’t stop even as he was promoted to the majors midseason. Healy totaled 27 homers – half of them in the majors – after hitting 32 in the three prior seasons combined. When this kind of surge occurs, generally what you want to see is a tangible adjustment in mechanics or approach on the part of the hitter. We’ve got that here, as Healy lowered his hands in an effort to flatten out his swing path and load to a lower position – the same adjustment made by another guy who used to play third base for the A’s.
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals (ADP: 199)
The man they call Moose Tacos enjoyed a long-awaited breakthrough in 2015, hitting .284 with 22 home runs. Through the first month of last season, he looked well on his way to an even better follow-up. Unfortunately, a torn ACL ended his season prematurely. He’s expected to be 100 percent before the start of the upcoming season. It’s understandable that he’s something of a forgotten man given the crazy depth at the hot corner this season, but Moustakas could easily produce something like Justin Turner’s 2016, and he’s available 70 picks later.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers (ADP: 204)
Castellanos was in the midst of a breakout last season before injury decommissioned him for most of the second half. Despite a steady upward trend in his production since breaking into the big leagues, Castellanos has yet to improve on his plate approach or contact issues. If he’d made enough plate appearances, Castellanos would have tied for the 11th-worst swinging strike rate and 19th-worst contact rate among qualified hitters. You can make that profile work, as evidenced by some of the company on those lists – guys like Carlos Gonzalez, Freddie Freeman, and Adam Jones posted similar numbers. It’s tough to hit for a high average with that much swing and miss in your game, though, even when you hit the ball as hard as Castellanos does. But given his pedigree and youth (he’s entering his age 25 season) the upside here is a fine gamble after pick 200.
Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates (ADP: 242)
The gruesome knee injury that cut Kang’s rookie season short also took a chunk out of his second year in the majors. When he was on the field, though, he produced. Kang hit 21 homers in just 370 plate appearances and added nearly four percentage points to his walk rate while holding his strikeout rate steady. So why is he languishing until the late rounds in most drafts? Unfortunately, it’s not just because he lost his shortstop eligibility. Kang’s issues off the field – drunk driving and accusations of sexual assault – have rightly given fantasy owners pause. Recent reports indicate that the Pirates expect Kang to be ready to go for the start of spring training, but there’s a chance his legal troubles could prevent that. Kang’s clearly a talented player and this price is a bargain if he can better himself away from the diamond.
Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (ADP: 318)
Shaw’s first full season in the majors got off to a good start, but he wasn’t able to keep the momentum going and ended up as the clear weak link in a stacked Red Sox lineup. Now in Milwaukee, he’ll get to play half his games in Miller Park, where left-handed power plays way up. Shaw hit 16 homers last season, and it’s easy to see him pushing that total into the 20 – 25 range. Though he’s unlikely to be anything more than neutral in batting average, Shaw does have some sneaky speed (he swiped five bags in six tries last season). With the Brewers rebuilding, his streaky tendencies shouldn’t lead to lost playing time, and he could get the green light on the bases a bit more often. If things break right, you’re looking at a reasonable facsimile of Eric Hosmer at virtually no cost.
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