Diving into the player pool is essential in the initial stages of your Fantasy Baseball prep for next season. Knowing and understanding the player pool can help you formulate a better draft strategy. It may seem like common sense, but knowing the deep and shallow positions can take you a long way. Today, we will look at the Fantasy Baseball third base position and examine the player pool and draft strategy for the position. This article continues a positional primer series that will take an in-depth look at each position across the diamond.
In the past, you likely remember third base having good depth and a position of power. In 2022, the third base feels extremely top-heavy and needs to be addressed early.
How should you approach third base in 2022 drafts? A look back at 2021 performances? Third base tiered rankings? I have it all covered for you right here!
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Fantasy Baseball Positional Preview: Third Base
Third Base 2021 Rewind
As we talked about previously, it appears that the third base position will be very shallow in 2022. That was also the case in 2021, as the position was very top-heavy.
Jose Ramirez and Rafael Devers dominated the position, with Austin Riley not far behind. Ramirez enjoyed a 36-HR, 27-SB season. Devers smashed 38 home runs and posted a .279 batting average. Austin Riley had a career season hitting 33 home runs and posting a .303 batting average. Riley was the only qualified third baseman to hit over .300, with Devers being the next closest at .279. Riley also posted the highest OPS at .898.
Speed is at a minimal at third base. Jose Ramirez stole 27 and is one of the few threats on the base paths at the position. Only three other third basemen eclipsed 10 stolen bases. Jonathan Villar stole 14, and there is no telling what kind of role he will be in next year. Manny Machado stole 12, which seems reasonable to repeat. Kris Bryant was the final third baseman to steal double-digits with 10.
There is plenty of power to go around at third base, but it does fall off fast. Six third baseman broke the 30 home run barrier. Fifteen third baseman hit 23 or more home runs. After that, the power did fall off substantially, as did the overall production. However, there are plenty of reasons to buy into a rebound for players like Yoan Moncada and Alex Bregman. Those two hit 14 and 12 home runs, respectively.
We have discussed the third base position being weak in 2021 and it could be worse in 2022, with several players losing third base eligibility. So how should we approach third base in drafts? Let’s discuss.
Fantasy Baseball Third Base Draft Strategy
I will keep it short and sweet; just draft a third baseman early!
But seriously, going past pick 100 without a third baseman on your roster feels like a huge risk. There is some talent post-1oo that we will discuss, but there is a reason those players are going at the draft spots they are.
Third Base Top Tier
Let’s start at the top with Jose Ramirez. His current NFBC ADP sits at 5.25, which I love. I would argue that he is worthy of the first overall pick. Since 2018, Ramirez has averaged 32.4 home runs per 600 plate appearances and 26.7 stolen bases per 600. Over those four seasons and 2130 plate appearances, Ramirez has a slash of .268/.362/.535. Considering how shallow the position is, I would be thrilled to draft Jose Ramirez in the first round!
After Ramirez, there is the second tier of two, who are both great draft targets. Rafael Devers has an ADP of 19.8, and Manny Machado comes in at an ADP of 25.8. Devers has been a steady producer and has spent minimal time off the field playing 96 percent of possible games over the last three years. We know the power is there, and at this point, we can probably expect Devers to produce a batting average of at least .275 or higher.
Machado has also been the model of consistency for staying on the field. He played 153 games in 2021, which was the lowest since 2014. Machado has power and enough speed, and the will to steal to get double-digit stolen bases. Both Devers and Machado are excellent third basemen for your Fantasy Baseball roster.
From an ADP standpoint, Adalberto Mondesi comes in at the top of this tier, but not for my rankings. Speed is a significant factor in Fantasy Baseball so it is not surprising to see him with a top-50 ADP. But I would not draft him at that spot personally.
Austin Riley comes in with an ADP of 56, which I think is fair value considering some regression baked into his strong 2020 season. Riley probably won’t hit over .300 again, but a .275 average with 30 or more home runs is likely.
I am fine drafting Austin Riley at his price, but Adalberto Mondesi is an avoid for me, mostly because he can’t stay on the field. If he does happen to play 130 games, he could be the most valuable player in Fantasy Baseball. But, due to the number of concerns, I’m out on Mondesi.
This is as late as I am comfortable drafting a third baseman for 2022. Nolan Arenado comes in at pick 75, Kris Bryant at 90, Alex Bregman at 95, and Anthony Rendon at 112. It is a wide range of ADPs which means I am comfortable drafting Bryant, Bregman, or Rendon over Arenado, primarily due to draft cost.
Arenado was solid in his first year in St. Louis but saw a dip in batting average. From 2015 to 2019, Arenado hit .300 and averaged 40 home runs per season. In 2021, Arenado still mashed 34 home runs but hit just .255. You can expect 30 or more home runs, but the batting average is questionable.
Bryant’s value will hinge on where he signs to play in 2022. He hit 25 home runs and stole 10 bases in 2021. He could be a solid value for 2022.
Bregman and Rendon had down years and missed significant time due to injury. It was not long ago we considered both top-30 picks for Fantasy Baseball. They present some risk due to injury concerns, but both could provide a great investment return.
Further d0wn the draft board there are some interesting options at third base such as Ke’Bryan Hayes(147), Yoan Moncada(150), Justin Turner(160), Matt Chapman(188), Josh Donaldson(227). While there are semi-interesting options, the best option is to address the position early.
Third Base Tiered Rankings
Statistical References: Fangraphs
Thanks for stopping by to check in on my Third Base Position Primer. Be sure to check out all our other great content on Fantrax HQ.
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