March is rapidly approaching and with the new month comes Spring Training from Arizona and Florida. As the first pitch is the near future, so are the all-important drafts for your respective fantasy baseball leagues. Don’t worry, we’ll do the work so you don’t have to.
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Today, we take a look at the players who man the hot corner, third base. We’ll take a look at my top five third baseman, as well as a potential bust and sleeper. Average draft positions are current as of the publication of this article and are brought to you by FantasyPros.com.
Let’s get started.
Top Five Rankings
1. Anthony Rendon, Wsh- .287 batting average, 21 home runs, 83 RBI, 111 runs in 2014
Oct 6, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon (6) hits a single against the San Francisco Giants against the San Francisco Giants in game three of the 2014 NLDS baseball playoff game at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
One of the key pieces in the Washington Nationals 96-win season has to be the all around play of Rendon. The breakout season in 2014 provided owners with a reliable option to produce in various categories.
Rendon was third in the MLB in runs scored and led the category among third basemen. However, Rendon has plenty of power to spare and is capable of bringing runs home. A welcome stat was his 17 stolen bases in 2014.
If his well-rounded play wasn’t attractive enough, he maintains second baseman eligibility to provide flexibility as an owner. Look for Rendon to have another productive season hitting between the speedster Denard Span and power hitters, Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper.
ADP: 17.0 overall
2. Adrian Beltre, Tex- .324 batting average, 19 home runs, 77 RBI, 79 runs in 2014
Sep 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (29) follows through for an RBI single against the Oakland Athletics during a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
We move on to the lone ranger, Adrian Beltre. Beltre proved to be one of the positive stories in an abysmal season from the Texas Rangers. The Hall of Fame bound Beltre has aged gracefully and will receive some much needed help this season.
Beltre was in the top five among all MLB players with a .324 batting average, which led all third basemen. He represented Texas as an All Star in 2014, his fourth selection. Beltre also received his fourth Silver Slugger award this past season.
There is reason for optimism in Texas and Beltre as they will get Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo to rejoin the lineup along with Elvis Andrus. The return of these players will positively impact Beltre’s run and RBI potential.
ADP: 28.3 overall
3. Josh Donaldson, Tor- .255 batting average, 29 home runs, 98 RBI, 93 runs in 2014
Sep 27, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (20) follows through for his solo home run against the Texas Rangers during a baseball game at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Over the off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays were able to acquire the services of Donaldson from Oakland. The heavy hitter will have plenty of opportunities to produce in the Toronto lineup, which is full of high profile names.
Donaldson was a 2014 All-Star that led all third basemen in RBI and was tied for 1st among third basemen in home runs. Along with his attractive power numbers, Donaldson has shown in the past that he’s capable of hitting for average, evidenced by his .301 batting average in 2013.
With a supporting cast of Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, expect Donaldson to try to exceed his career highs in runs and RBI that were just established this past season.
ADP: 22.3 overall
4. Kyle Seager, Sea- .268 batting average, 25 home runs, 96 RBI, 71 runs in 2014
Sep 4, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (15) drives in a run with a base hit in the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The late playoff push that was attempted by the Seattle Mariners in 2014 wouldn’t have been as close without the breakout season of Seager, who established himself as one of the top power hitting third basemen in the game.
Seager’s 25 home runs and 96 RBI ranked among the top of the list when came to third basemen. His power wasn’t a fluke as it was his third consecutive season with 20+ home runs. Seager represented Seattle at the 2014 All-Star game was a beneficiary of the addition of Robinson Cano this past season.
Another addition in the middle of the lineup, Nelson Cruz, will give Seattle the opportunity to take aim at the AL West title and will give Seager the opportunity of eclipsing the 100 RBI mark for the first time in his young career.
ADP: 71.8 overall
5. Todd Frazier, Cin- .273 batting average, 29 home runs, 80 RBI, 88 runs in 2014
Sep 23, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier (21) doubles during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports
With injuries and struggling players plaguing the Cincinnati Reds, they turned to Frazier as a source of production and he delivered. Frazier led the Reds all across the board in batting average, home runs and RBI.
Frazier, who was on route to his first appearance in the All Star Game, ended 2014 tied for first among third basemen in home runs with 29. Frazier’s power numbers have been improving as he had 19 home runs in each of the previous two seasons. Frazier also stole 20 bases in 2014.
Frazier will hit right after the speed demon, Billy Hamilton, and right before a healthy Joey Votto. A vastly improving Devin Mesoraco will also provide Frazier with a potential to score plenty of runs in 2015.
ADP: 42.5 overall
Yangervis Solarte, SD- .260 batting average, 10 home runs, 48 RBI, 56 runs in 2014
Sep 20, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte (27) hits an RBI double during the third inning against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously, popular picks for this position would be Kris Bryant and Yasmany Tomas, each of whom have yet to register an official MLB at-bat. Although I do believe both will have good seasons, I wanted more of a challenge and settled with Yangervis Solarte of the San Diego Padres.
For those that remember, Solarte won an opportunity for regular playing time with the New York Yankees and at first performed admirably, hitting .299 with six home runs, 26 RBI and 22 runs in the first two months. However, Solarte’s fortunes turned for the worst and was traded to San Diego during the season.
Solarte may not be drafted at all come fantasy season but if he wins the third baseman job from Will Middlebrooks, which most outlets believe he will, then he’ll have the opportunity to hit ahead of Wil Myers, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. If the Padres are able to catch lightning in a bottle with their off-season acquisitions, Solarte could be an immediate beneficiary.
ADP: 415.0 overall
Chris Davis, Bal- .196 batting average, 26 home runs, 72 RBI, 65 runs in 2014
Sep 4, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) doubles in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
On most platforms, Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles remains third baseman eligible. I’m in no way trying to criticize the power numbers of Davis, which have been gaudy in the past few years. Certainly no one is expecting a 53 home run season anytime soon, however.
In 2014, Davis’ batting average did not make it past the Mendoza line. At the position that Davis is likely to be drafted, there are more well rounded options to explore that could hit near the amount of home runs that Davis is realistically projected to hit.
His power is without a doubt going to be valuable, but I would advise you to not take the bait in the earlier rounds this fantasy draft.