Fantasy drafts are picking up and fantasy baseball third base men do not add a lot of value. Who should you pick and where? It is even more important, this year, to draft a third base men at the appropriate spot due to declining value.
1. Jose Ramirez
With at least 23 homeruns over the last five seasons (and yes, we include the COVID season where he hit 17 home runs), Ramirez is a power bat at a valuable position. Take away the power and Jose Ramirez still fills up the stat sheet for fantasy baseball. Save for the COVID shortened season, Jose Ramirez is a 30+ doubles hitter and has the potential to score over 100 runs per year. Jose Ramirez is our top ranked fantasy baseball third base men. The 29-year-old third baseman is a top fantasy player. If you want him, you better have a top-5 pick.
2. Rafael Devers
Rafael Devers comes in at number two after a bounce back 2021 season. With 38 home runs and 113 runs batted in, Devers was a force for the Boston Red Sox and fantasy owners. Devers, like Ramirez, is a consistent power hitter filling up home runs, doubles (145 over five years including 37 in 2021), and walks (62 in 2021). Fenway is truly a hitter’s park and with J.D. Martinez as lineup protection, Devers will deliver a similar season to 2021. Rafael Devers is our second ranked fantasy baseball third base men. Devers carry slightly less power than Ramirez but can still be had with a top-20 pick.
3. Manny Machado
Despite being in a loaded San Diego Padres lineup, Machado is not as valuable as he once was. Also, taking into account half of his games are played in Petco Park (a pitcher’s park) and some of his protection is out for three months (Fernando Tatis), Machado has dropped in the rankings. However, based on some peripheral statistics, Machado may surprise fantasy owners. Machado’s exit velocity increased a pinch from 90.2 miles per hour in 2020 to 93 miles per hour last year. Additionally, Machado worked the center and right fields more. His batted balls to center and right increased about seven percent combined compared to the season prior. This is important because it can be an indicator of Machado looking for more line drive, gap doubles instead of the all-important homerun. Look for Machado’s power to drop but expect some additional points in other categories such as doubles.
4. Austin Riley
Austin Riley carries additional value in Yahoo leagues as his eligibility is third base and first base. On most other platforms, Riley only has eligibility at the third base position. With a third base group that does not carry a ton of value top to bottom, Riley can provide a much needed boost if you are looking for on base and power. One of the concerning factors making it hard to predict the future for Riley is his .368 BABIP. Riley, experiencing an exorbitant amount of luck last year, has also lost Freddie Freeman as lineup protection. Riley’s hard hit percentage increased a couple percentage points from 2020 to 2021 but still trails his 50.7% hard hit from his rookie season. Austin Riley is our fourth ranked fantasy baseball third base men. You can grab Austin Riley in the 40-50 pick range but may need to grab him earlier if you want value in the third base lineup spot.
5. Nolan Arenado
Entering his age-31 season, Nolan Arenado is experiencing a diminishing of production. On the surface, he seems fine but at closer glance all of Arenado’s statistical categories have slowly decreased. Consistently a 40+ home run player, Arenado hit a respectable 34 home runs in 2021. In order to reach 34 home runs, Arenado’s pull percentage and strikeout percentage increased dramatically compared to previous years. As an older player, you do not want to see them turning to power but that seems to be Arenado’s calling card. You can grab Arenado in the fifth or sixth round but might be better off grabbing someone later for equal or better value. In other words, Arenado is a good pick in the sixth round but if another third baseman is available with more potential, grab him.
6. Adalberto Mondesi
Adalberto Mondesi is a high risk and sort-of high reward player. Mondesi has trouble getting on the field but when he does, his speed is a game charger. Adalberto Mondesi could become the next Roman Quinn or he could make a name for himself. Last year, he was limited in playing time during injuries but still managed to fill up the stat sheet with sixteen stolen bases. Thus far, he already has one homerun in Spring Training with no mentions of injuries. Mondesi carries double eligibility in Yahoo leagues only and can be picked up in the seventh round.
7. Alex Bregman
Another third baseman experiencing injuries, Alex Bregman is poised for another breakout season as he turns 28 years old. In only 580 plate appearances over the last two years, Bregman has hit 18 home runs with 77 runs batted in and only 29 doubles. Even for a full season, those numbers are not impressive leading us to a seven ranking. Bregman’s OBP of .353 is a far cry from his .423 OBP in 2019 and .394 OBP in 2018. Bregman needs a breakout season or stands to fall out of the top 10 quickly. Buying Bregman is buying a breakout season. The expectation, even with Carlos Correa leaving the Houston Astros, would be a season closer to his 2018 final statistics. Alex Bregman is being drafted in the 70-75 average draft position.
8. Kris Bryant
At the very least, Kris Bryant deserves a look based on the versatility of eligibility. Yahoo has Bryant eligible for five positions (1B/3B/OF) but ESPN and CBS have him as a 3B/CF/LF. Either way, Bryant provides necessary versatility for a long fantasy baseball season. Taking Kris Bryant’s power and run production into account while adding in the confines of Coors Field, Bryant will be a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners. Playing at Coors Field will lead to a spike in home runs putting Bryant closer to the 30 home run threshold. Interestingly, we should see an uptick in batting average and runs batted in for the mere fact of Coors Field. We kept Kris Bryant at the bottom of the top-10 because he will play half his games away from Coors. He is a great value draft pick in the seventh to ninth rounds.
9. Ke’Bryan Hayes
Another young name to watch while coming off an injury, Ke’Bryan Hayes has an opportunity to catapult himself up the rankings. Entering his third year in the majors, Hayes has yet to play a full year with his seasons being truncated by COVID and injuries, respectively. Despite COVID and injuries, Hayes burst onto the scene in 2019 with a .376/.442/.682 slash line in 24 games. He struggled in only 362 at-bats in 2021 to a .257/.316/.373 line. Hayes can be penciled in for 15 home runs, 60 runs batted in, double digit stolen bases and around 30 doubles. Hayes is our ninth ranked fantasy baseball third base men. Ke’Bryan Hayes is a great pick up if you cannot draft the top three third basemen.
10. Anthony Rendon
It would not be appropriate to end the rankings unless we have another third baseman coming off an injury-filled season. Anthony Rendon appears healthy and he will have Mike Trout back in the lineup as added protection. Playing in only 58 games last year due to injuries, Rendon managed a pedestrian .240/.329/.382 slashline which is a far cry from his career average of .287/.369/.484. Anthony Rendon, like Ke’Bryan Hayes, is a prime target for a buy-low, be-extremely-happy candidate. As this is Rendon’s first season of regression and it could be explained by an injury, we are reluctant to place him at 10 but understand he could end up as a top 5 fantasy third basemen. Our projections for Anthony Rendon come in around 20 homeruns, 80 runs batted in, 70 walks and the ability to get on base around 36%-38% of the time.