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We are a quarter of the way through the regular season for Major League Baseball (almost a third of the way now), so our premier staff at RotoBaller has updated our rest-of-season fantasy baseball rankings. We've been going around the diamond over the last few days and now it's time to turn our attention to the hot corner.

While no longer leagues ahead middle infielders in the power game, third basemen and corner infielders in general still offer more pop across the board and made up 20% of the top-25 players coming into 2018 for a reason. This position isn't just top heavy, though. We'll find value all the way down the chart, with perhaps the buzziest name on the list yet to even surpass the Triple-A level.

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2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: Third Base (May)

Ranking Tier Player Position Composite
1 1 Nolan Arenado 3B 6.33
2 1 Manny Machado 3B/SS 7.67
3 1 Freddie Freeman 1B/3B 10.33
4 1 Jose Ramirez 2B/3B 17.67
5 2 Kris Bryant 3B/OF 20.00
6 2 Josh Donaldson 3B 36.00
7 2 Anthony Rendon 3B 41.33
8 2 Alex Bregman 3B/SS 58.33
9 2 Travis Shaw 3B 68.33
10 2 Justin Turner 3B 80.67
11 2 Mike Moustakas 3B 82.67
12 2 Rafael Devers 3B 91.33
13 2 Eugenio Suarez 3B 98.33
14 2 Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF 100.00
15 3 Miguel Sano 3B 106.67
16 3 Kyle Seager 3B 117.00
17 3 Jake Lamb 3B 135.33
18 3 Adrian Beltre 3B 136.33
19 3 Evan Longoria 3B 151.33
20 3 Asdrubal Cabrera SS/2B/3B 175.00
21 3 Scooter Gennett 2B/3B/OF 190.00
22 3 Ryon Healy 3B/1B 180.33
23 4 Matt Chapman 3B 201.67
24 4 Yangervis Solarte 2B/3B/SS 218.00
25 4 Matt Davidson 3B 215.33
26 4 Todd Frazier 3B 225.67
27 4 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 246.33
28 4 Miguel Andujar 3B 265.00
29 4 Jedd Gyorko 1B/3B 272.33
30 4 Nick Senzel 3B 276.00
31 4 Maikel Franco 3B 279.00
32 4 Jeimer Candelario 3B 312.67
33 5 Brandon Drury 3B/OF 314.00
34 5 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 322.67
35 5 Colin Moran 3B/1B 346.00
36 5 Yolmer Sanchez 2B/3B 351.00
37 5 Eduardo Nunez SS/3B/2B/OF 389.00
38 5 Brian Anderson 3B 406.00
39 5 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B 445.33
40 5 Christian Villanueva 3B 450.00

Tier 1

This quartet at the top offers stability and security, with even Jose Ramirez overcoming a sluggish start to already stand as a top-10 bat as May wraps up. Kudos to anyone who was able to buy low through the BABIP horrors! Manny Machado is the only one with an OPS above 1.000 while Freddie Freeman and Nolan Arenado are both on pace for 30 homers and an average north of .320. Freeman has also quietly turned in five bags already, so props to those that respected his eight steals in 117 games last year. Some of you may be wondering where a certain blue-eyed slugger is, so let’s talk about it.

Tier 2

Kris Bryant is an incredible hitter that’s trending upward at the dish, but eight homers and one steal with a .293 average isn’t going to get you Tier One access. He definitely gets a boost in OBP/OPS leagues thanks to that 12.6% walk rate and points leaguers also have to enjoy the declining strikeout rate (17.3% compared to 19.2% in ‘17 and 22% in ‘16). I expect the power to play up a bit in the warmer Wrigley weather, but his game doesn't appear to completely jive with traditional 5x5 fantasy baseball.

Personally, I’m a little sad that Travis Shaw hasn’t even attempted a steal through 214 PAs after going a perfect 10-for-10 on the basepaths last season, but 13 homers and 69 R+RBI with a .261/.347/.543 slash line over just 52 games makes for only positive vibes. I’d understand anyone wanting to take him over Anthony Rendon’s steal-less .267/.358/.467 slash, but we’ve seen how quickly the 27-year-old Nat can turn it on. His plate discipline remains steady and his zone-contact profile is nearly identical to ‘17, so I expect his lesser luck (.278 BABIP vs. .310 career mark) to turn around given his hard-hit rate is four percentage points higher from ‘17 and his line-drive rate, six percentage points.

Tier 3

Tier Three could be construed as a hot mess, with Miguel Sano still out, Adrian Beltre battling a balky hamstring and Jake Lamb stuck on a Diamondbacks team that’s historically terrible. But Lamb still has 25-plus homers in his bat and could be platooned against righties in formats with deeper benches, but let’s hope that Paul Goldschmidt and gang turn it around first.

I’ll bet that some of you are hanging on with the versatile Asdrubal Cabrera and Scooter Gennett plugged into your lineup, but don’t quite trust it. However, A-Cab is regularly batting in the upper third of the order and continues to float his lofty .354 BABIP thanks to career-bests in line-drive rate (25.3%), hard-contact rate (42.8%) and a soft-contact rate below 10%.

And Gennett just had his own five-hit game overshadowed by some dude named Mike Trout matching his feat on the same night, with the performance helping boost Scooter’s current .340/.376/.558 line with 10 homers and 64 R+RBI thus far. The power rate seems legitimate given his 20% HR/FB rate last season, but the .399 BABIP should regress toward his .332 career mark given the lack of improvements underneath the surface. Still, that’s more than enough to buy him where possible.

Tier 4

Let’s chat about Matt Carpenter. The 32-year-old wrench laced two doubles on Sunday night and is now 18-for-45 with nine doubles and two homers over his last 11 games. That’s awesome! But those nine extra-base hits in 11 games matched his XBH total from his first 35 games of the season while he hit .140 and gave his fantasy owners acid reflux on a nightly basis. He’s been a talented hitter for too long to stay down forever, but the shoulder and back injuries were becoming enough for people to jump ship. I hope you stayed aboard.

Tier 5

Apologies to those who banked on Marwin Gonzalez continuing his resurgence from last season, as it seems he’s lost all contact gains and then some. His overall contact rate went from 75.1% in ‘16 up to 80.9% in ‘17, but now it sits at 74.6%. His swinging-strike rate went from 12% to 8%, but is back up to 11%. Worst of all, his zone-contact rate went from 87.6% to 89%, but has tumbled to 81.5% in 2018. He’ll still get his chance to play and accrue counting stats, but that’s his only real path to usefulness now. Worse odds lie with Eduardo Nunez, who has been pushed to the bench by Dustin Pedroia’s return (and his own shoddy play).

I’d much rather take the boring yet more reliable ABs/numbers of Colin Moran or Brian Anderson. And what would this world be without a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. mention? The 19-year-old phenom is raking to the tune of a .431/.480/.713 slash line with 10 homers and 90 R+RBI over 203 PAs (45 games). I could maybe do that in Backyard Baseball with Pablo Sanchez, but seeing this in real life is downright silly. The Super Two deadline should be in the rearview mirror by June 1, meaning it’s all fair game after that. Be ready, but don’t be afraid to trade him amid the call-up buzz if you can get a ridiculous haul.

 

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