2019 Fantasy Baseball: AL Third Base Profiles and Projections
Welcome to the FantraxHQ 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We starting pumping out the fantasy goodness on New Year’s Day and won’t be stopping until Opening Day. We’ve been working our way around the diamond with our player profiles in our efforts to familiarize you with the 2019 fantasy baseball player pool. Our AL Third Base Profiles and Projections feature some of the biggest bats in baseball, with two players going in the first rounds of many drafts. Third base is also home to the consensus top hitting prospect in baseball in Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
After you finish here please check out all of our other fantasy baseball player profiles as well. Although we’ve divided each position up by league, all players are still examined with an eye towards all depths of formats. Enjoy these player profiles and come back tomorrow as we’ll have new content out on a daily basis.
If you’re like us you can’t wait until spring to get the 2019 fantasy baseball season started? Well, you don’t have to. Leagues are already forming at Fantrax.com, so head on over and start or join a league today.
2019 AL Third Base Profiles and Projections
Miguel Andujar, New York Yankees
With fellow rookies like Ronald Acuña, Juan Soto, and Shohei Ohtani dominating the spotlight in 2018, Miguel Andujar flew a little under the radar. Can a player on the Yankees fly under the radar? For hitters with at least 200 PA, Andujar finished 32nd overall in OPS, 4th behind the aforementioned trio amongst rookies, and 10th amongst third baseman. He also ranked finished in the top-10 for third baseman in ISO, homers, runs, and RBI. I think we’d all love for him to tone down the aggressive approach and wait for a pitch to drive, but it’s hard to argue with the results so far. In 2019, Andujar will once again have a modern-day Murderer’s row in front of him, giving him a good chance at surpassing 100 RBI. Add in around 30 home runs and hopefully another strong batting average and you have a bonafide top-10 third baseman with top-5 potential. – Eric Cross
Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
In just his second full season in the majors, Alex Bregman was one of only five players to exceed 100 runs, 100 RBI, 30 homers, and 10 steals. The others were Christian Yelich, Jose Ramirez, Bryce Harper, and Javier Baez, for those trivia buffs out there. It goes without saying that Bregman is an elite talent, and in 2019 you get to slot him in at either shortstop or third base. If you’re looking for a negative in the profile, his stolen base attempts did drop from 22 in 2017 to 14 last year, making double-digit steals a bit of a dice roll for 2019. His plate discipline skyrocketed into elite territory though, with a 1.13 BB/K ratio that ranked third in MLB. That makes him even more valuable in points formats. He increased his pull% and FB% to fuel a career-high 14% HR/FB% and 31 home runs. Another 25-30 homers with a good average, great OBP, elite R+RBI, and some stolen bases make Bregman a high floor/high ceiling first round pick in 2019. – Nathan Dokken
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers
Candelario is hardly the typical leadoff bat, yet that’s where the Tigers threw him out for 49 games. He primarily batted first or second for most of the season, but scored just 78 runs due to a .317 OBP and a bad lineup behind him. He doesn’t hit for a high average or steal many bases, making him a better fit further down the order. A tanking Tigers team probably doesn’t care in 2019, though. He’s unlikely to hit for a high average due to a 76% hard contact rate and 25.8% strikeouts. He is also very poor against right-handed pitching, batting .199/.303/.358 over his 456 plate appearances. He’s not a zero in power, which is the only reason he has fantasy value. He should again approach 20 home runs over the course of a full season, but he’s better utilized as a DFS play against lefties than a full season corner infielder. – Nathan Dokken
Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
Chapman was one of the biggest breakouts of 2018, yet somehow he still seems underrated. He scored an even 100 runs with 24 home runs, upping his average 44 points to .278. He continued to walk at an above-average clip, but trimmed a whopping 4.5% off his strikeout rate thanks to a 5.5% leap in contact rate. 2019 could get even better. With a 43.2% hard contact rate and 39.3% FB%, he could very well push his home run total into the upper-twenties. Heading into his age 26 season, his skills could potentially improve even more. He’ll be locked into the heart of the A’s lineup, providing him with plenty of R+RBI opportunities. The batting average is likely to fall back down though, particularly if he continues to hit so many pop-ups, so there is some downside there. Overall, Chapman is shaping up to be a decent value at the hot corner in 2019 drafts. – Nathan Dokken
Zack Cozart, Los Angeles Angels
Cozart had his 2018 season cut short due to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Coming off a breakout 2017 season, even while he was healthy he was not what the Angels had hoped for after signing him to a three-year contract. He batted just .219 over 253 plate appearances with a .143 ISO that was way down from his .251 mark from 2017. Perhaps a ballpark downgrade can be blamed for some of the dropoff, with just a 6.7% HR/FB% despite an increase in hard contact. While it does look like some poor batted ball luck that should regress positively next season, his overall profile isn’t overwhelmingly fantasy friendly. He’s a career .251 hitter with a .155 ISO, and at this point his 2017 is looking like an outlier. You also have to consider that although he is expected to be recovered from his surgery by the beginning of spring training, he hasn’t played more than 122 games in a season since 2014. With a low floor and mediocre ceiling, Cozart can be reserved for deep leagues. – Nathan Dokken
Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
Not all rookies can dominate out of the gate like Juan Soto and Ronald Acuña. Sure, more and more have been succeeding right away, but it’s still more commonplace for a hitter Devers age to experience some ups and downs like he did in 2018. Most guys his age are somewhere in the vicinity of Double-A, not 179 games into their Major League career and finishing off a World Series championship run. While the power remained consistent, Devers’ batting average dropped 41 points and his OPS dropped 88 points. Why? Well, if you look at his underlying metrics, there’s not much of a difference from his 2017 rookie season. Some minimal changes here and there, but right on par with 2017. What did change drastically was his BABIP, dropping 61 points down to .281. I’m looking for that BABIP to stabilize some and get Devers back into the .270-.280 range to go along with that 30/100 upside. If you miss out on the elite options at the hot corner, Devers current ADP could end up providing some rock-solid value for your fantasy squad this season. – Eric Cross
Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays
As it stands now, it appears that the third base job down in Tampa Bay will be decided during Spring Training. Diaz came over to the Rays in the Jake Bauers trade and has always been an intriguing sleeper for his AVG/OBP potential but has yet to get a real shot at consistent playing time during his Major League career. Diaz has slashed .311/.413/.414 so far in his minor league career with more walks than strikeouts. There hasn’t been much power or speed to go along with the strong ratios, but if he can get 500 at-bats, double-digit homers isn’t out of the question. The man is strong, he just hasn’t been able to figure out how to translate that into game power. Without the guarantee of a starting spot, Diaz is firmly off the mixed-league radar, but is an interesting AL-Only flier. He certainly has more intrigue than Matt Duffy. – Eric Cross
Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals
After climbing through the Royals farm system for what seemed like 20 years, Hunter Dozier finally got to play 102 games with the big league club. It was hardly worth the wait, unfortunately, as he batted just .229/.278/.395 with 11 home runs and a lovely 28.1% strikeout rate. He did post a promising 44.9% hard contact rate, which could lead to an improvement upon his 11.8% HR/FB rate moving forward. He could very well eclipse 20 home runs over a full season, but his low OBP will keep him at the bottom half of the order and limit his R+RBI opportunities. He’ll open the season as an AL-Only play but could hit his way into mixed league viability with a little more power and contact. – Nathan Dokken
Brandon Drury, Toronto Blue Jays
If you play in an AL-Only League that only runs for the month of April, Drury could provide you some value. But we all know that he’s keeping the seat warm for Mr. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Once Vlad’s service time nonsense is over, Drury will likely be relegated to a reserve/utility role with little to zero fantasy value. Unless there’s an injury, Drury’s value is limited to AL-Only affairs and even then it’s very limited. – Eric Cross
Matt Duffy, Tampa Bay Rays
The numbers aren’t flashy and mixed leaguers can skim on past, but Duffy had a nice comeback year in 2018. The power is nonexistent, but Duffy makes consistent contact and does a nice job of getting on base (.361 OBP). He even added in 12 stolen bases, something he’s not known for. Though the Rays have many similar players, Duffy should get the majority of at-bats at third base in 2019 as long as he stays healthy. He’s not a difference maker in fantasy, but Duffy can fill a utility slot in AL-Only leagues very nicely. – Doug Anderson
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
I’m not going to make you sit through me complaining about service time again. Bottom line is Vladimire Guerrero Jr. WILL get called up this season once his service time garbage finally passes. Guerrero is the only prospect I’ve given both a 70-grade hit tool and 70-grade raw power. And I don’t throw around 70-grades often. Vladdy was hitting above .400 for much of the season in 2018 before settling in at a slightly more mortal .381 with 29 doubles and 20 homers in 95 games. There is no ceiling when it comes to Guerrero. We’re likely looking at a hitter capable of winning batting titles with 35 to 40-plus homes per season. Now, he won’t do that this season as he’s likely to only be in the 130-140 GP area this season, but there’s no reason why Guerrero can’t hit around .300 with 30 homers this season. Draft him confidently in the first five rounds, sit back, and enjoy the ride. – Eric Cross
Renato Nunez, Baltimore Orioles
Over 200 at-bats Nunez quietly had himself a nice little second half in 2018, popping 7 homers and batting .275. Strikeouts and plate discipline mean he’s never going to hit for a high average, but the power seems real, as Nunez hit for a combined 33 HRs in 2017. The Orioles lineup means the RBIs and runs may be hard to come by so mixed leaguers can likely ignore him, but Nunez could be a sneakly little play in AL-Only leagues. – Doug Anderson
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
Ramirez exploded into superstardom in 2018, smashing 39 homers with 34 steals. He went over 100 runs scored for the second straight year, while also driving in 105. His 1.33 BB/K was best in baseball by a wide margin. He comes into 2019 as a no-doubt top half of the first round talent, which is why we need to start splitting hairs. Ramirez went to a pull-heavy flyball approach in 2018, and that dropped his BABIP to .252. As long as he maintains that type of batted ball distribution, he’ll have a hard time hitting over .300 like he did in 2016-17. Also, while he was 34-40 in stolen base attempts, he had never stolen more than 22 bases in an MLB season prior to 2018 and could easily dip back into the 20’s. He also fell off dramatically over the second half, with his OPS falling from 1.029 to .793. That said, combining the ceiling he showed us in 2018 with the floor of a 25/15/.270 hitter with 200 combined R+RBI makes for a safe first round pick. – Nathan Dokken
Yolmer Sanchez, Chicago White Sox
The shift over to third base didn’t help Sanchez as far as fantasy baseball goes. He offers just enough speed and pop to be occasionally useful if you can plug him into a middle infield slot. If he’s limited to third base or corner his lack of power and lower batting average limit his value to AL-Only leagues. On a successful MLB Yolmer Sanchez is best suited as a backup infielder. The same could be said for a successful AL-Only fantasy baseball team. – Doug Anderson
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
The writing was on the wall well before the 2018 season that Miguel Sano was going to struggle. He was coming off a serious offseason leg surgery, dealing with a harassment case, and came into camp extremely overweight. He was sent all the way back down to A-ball for a “reset”, which was essentially to work on his swing and lose a bunch of weight. It was overall a lost season, as he hit .199 with a 38.5% K%. His strength lies in the ability to lay off pitches out of the zone, but even his approach failed last year as he had a 30% O-Swing%. His profile is a pretty ridiculous one; his obscene power will lend to a ton of homers, but if he can’t get back to drawing a ton of walks to offset his extreme contact-adverse swing, he’ll be a below average hitter. It’s a lot easier to invest in Sano in OBP leagues, but there’s a ton of risk here in standard roto. Keep in mind he has yet to play more. – Nathan Dokken
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
Seager has become known as one of those steady-Eddie types over the last half-decade. Unfortunately, he lost his steadiness in 2018. He hit 22 home runs over 155 games, his lowest mark since 2013. Even worse, he hit a career-low .221. His average over the past three seasons has tanked, dipping from .278 in 2016 to .249, and .221. That has coincided with a steady decrease in contact rate from 82.6% to 78.8%. His swinging strike rate has jumped at the same time, from 7.3% to 9.9%. Heading into his age 31 season with a multi-year downward trend on a team that is going into full tank mode, Seager is as unappetizing as he has ever been. He should still bounce back to some degree, but mid-20’s homers with a .240-.250 average is easy to find off the waiver wire in standard mixed leagues. – Nathan Dokken
Patrick Wisdom, Texas Rangers
The heir apparent to Adrian Beltre? Yeah, something like that. Wisdom looks to have first dibs on the third base job in Texas after enjoying a couple nice seasons in Triple-A for St. Louis. Wisdom hit 31 HRs in 2017 and 19 in 2018, including 4 in 50 ABs for the Cardinals. Strikeouts are going to be a problem, but Wisdom will take a walk and could approach double-digits in steals. Mixed League value is not out of the question, but that’s what the waiver wire is for. If he can keep the batting average above .250 Wisdom offers enough power and speed to help those in AL-Only leagues and might be worth streaming in shallower formats. – Doug Anderson
Enjoying these 2019 AL Third Base Profiles? For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2019 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
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