2019 Fantasy Baseball: Third Base Sleepers
The hot corner is where it’s at. There are so many solid options at third base as it’s one of the better fantasy baseball positions. Studs at the top and third base sleepers to consider in the middle and later parts of your draft. As many as four third basemen could go in the first round, led by AL MVP nominee Jose Ramirez. Nolan Arenado will follow, in what could be his last season in Colorado. We’re still waiting on Manny Machado to sign, but he’ll go in the first round regardless of where he ends up. Then there’s Alex Bregman, who struggled to hit a baseball in his first 200 or so plate appearances in the Majors and now all he does is hit.
There’s certainly some value at this position as well, which I consider sleepers. I’m not going to tell you Kris Bryant is a third base sleeper because he’s Kris Bryant, but the fact that he’s going in the third round makes him a candidate. It’s all about finding value at the position. I love Vladimir Guerrero Jr. just as much as anybody else. Maybe more. I watched his father Vladimir Guerrero play live in Montreal several times. Vladdy G Jr. is going to be a superstar in this league just like his daddy and there’s no question about it. In keeper and dynasty leagues you’ll want to pull the trigger in the first. In redraft leagues he may just be a pass. I’m fine with his current Fantrax price, but by March he’ll be a third or fourth-round pick.
When identifying third base sleepers, it’s important to land the breakouts, but it’s also a great strategy to take what the draft gives you. There’s a ton of late-round talent at this position. Take advantage of it.
Check out more of my fantasy baseball sleepers:
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2019 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Sleepers
Josh Donaldson – Atlanta Braves
Fantrax ADP: 96/3B13
It was just two years ago where we were all drafting Josh Donaldson at the end of the first round, among the best third basemen in the league. I know he’s been limited to 165 games in the last two seasons due to numerous calf injuries and I also know he’s 33-years-old. I just really like his draft day price. Donaldson’s fantasy stock takes a bit of a hit with the move from hitter friendly Rogers Centre and all the sexy ball parks the AL EAST has to offer, but he’s going to be hitting in the heart of a very solid Atlanta Braves lineup. Whether it’s the two, three or four-spot, Donaldson should fit in nicely with what the Braves have going on; Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies.
Donaldson won’t get back to his MVP form from 2015 which saw him hit 41 home runs, but 30 is within reach. Health is a major concern and he may be hard pressed to touch his career .275 batting average, but there’s value and upside with his ninth-round price tag. Donaldson was a risk last season due to his early season injury, but the cost has been reduced in 2019. If JD can make it through the spring fully healthy, his price will rise, but that’ll be a good sign for his outlook.
Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
Fantrax ADP: 100/3B14
There’s no reason Justin Turner’s ADP should be 3B14. He has top 10 upside and as we get closer to the season his ADP will rise. Even if he sees a spike in his price, he should still provide owners with some value on draft day. Turner won’t breakout or have a career season and he’s not a true sleeper, but you’re getting him at a discount due to a wrist injury which limited him to 103 games and 426 plate appearances in 2018. Turner still hit 14 home runs with a solid slash line: .312/.406/.518. He’s hit at least .275 in each of his five seasons with the Dodgers and his 88 contact percentage from last season was his highest in seven years. He’s an 86 percent contact hitter for his career, so expect at least a .280 average with around 20 home runs.
Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox
Fantrax ADP: 150/3B16
Rafael Devers showed tremendous power in his second season in the Majors as he crushed 21 bombs over 490 plate appearances. A couple different stints on the DL caused some inconsistencies in his game, but the 22-year-old has tremendous upside. His fielding is shady and Eduardo Nunez remains with the Red Sox, but he’s basically there to fill in for when Dustin Pedroia goes down.
Devers’ .240/.298/.433 slash line was underwhelming in 2018, but he impressed with a .294 average over 34 postseason at-bats. Devers was on his way to flirting with 30 home runs as he had 14 of his 21 in the first half of the season. He did that over 367 plate appearances, compared to just 123 in the second half due to injuries. Word out of Boston, is that Devers hired a personal trainer to help with his conditioning. The strikeouts are a slight concern and the walk rate could be better, but I’ll stress that he’s still young. This is a very good hitter in a very good lineup.
Maikel Franco, 3B – Philadelphia Phillies (ADP 282)
Maikel Franco may not reach 30 home runs, but I think he’s a strong target late in your drafts. His ADP will definitely rise with the addition of Bryce Harper and it should. He’s more appealing now. Franco should be in a great spot to drive in runs in what is going to be a strong offensive team. The 26-year-old has hit at least 22 home runs in each of his past three seasons. Franco also hit RBI totals of 76 and 88 in two of those three seasons, in much weaker lineups. Twenty-five home runs and 90 RBI at this price point is too nice to pass up. He’s probably more of a .260 hitter, but his .270 average from last season shouldn’t be overlooked. Neither should his career 15K%. Franco makes contact.
Fantrax ADP: 282/3B23
Miguel Sano – Minnesota Twins
Fantrax ADP: 233/3B20
Miguel Sano burned a lot of owners last season when he went from 28 home runs and 77 RBI in 2017, to 13 home runs and 41 RBI with a .199 average in 2018. He also struck out 38.5 percent of the time and if you recall, he was sent to the minors. Not just Triple-A, but originally to Single-A. Sano eventually moved up to AAA before returning to the Minnesota Twins, only to hit .203 in 136 plate appearances. He did, however, cut down on his strikeouts at all three levels.
Look, there’s absolutely no cost for Sano this season and the power is still there. The 25-year-old has averaged 21 home runs over his four seasons, despite 80 games as a rookie and 71 last season. He has a career 42.6 fly ball rate and 42.6 hard hit rate. In fact, Sano’s 42.4 hard hit rate since the start of 2016 ranks eighth. Someone to think about in deep formats with corner infield spots. Spring training will be very important for Sano.
UPDATE: Sano is still interesting to me, but he’s expected to miss the start of the season due to a leg injury. That’s not the start to the year he wanted, especially because he has a lot to prove this season. However, it means his price will be even cheaper and you can stash him on IL.
Enjoy these second base sleepers? For more great fantasy baseball 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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