Heading into 2020, the third base position is as robust as the Greek man who seduced your wife on that family vacation seven years ago. The depth of the position allows you to be patient. That also leads to plenty of early-round fades, but we’ll tackle that in the next edition of this fanciful series. For now, we’ll be positive and look at the projected values compared to the ADP. Just like you need to be positive and bury those emotions you feel when you think back to Alessandro giving it to your wife on a bed of olives as he sucks wine out of her navel.
What?! Your league is not planning on using Fantrax? Inconceivable! Check out everything Fantrax has to offer and I’m sure you’ll come around to our way of thinking.
Projected Third Base Values for 2020
Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
Fantrax Projection: 646 PA, 92 R, 32 HR, 96 RBI, 25 SB, .282/.363/.533
2019 was a tale of two halves for Jose Ramirez. He stole 24 bases despite a horrendous first half in which he hit just .218 with 7 HR. He bounced back with a huge second half, of course, hitting .327 with 16 HR over 178 plate appearances. His season was cut short due to a hamate bone injury, limiting him to 129 games. He still finished with 23 HR and 24 SB over the full season, so the projections are plenty optimistic in spite of his atrocious first half.
Jose Ramirez stacks up by Fantrax projected Score as the best option at third base for fantasy purposes. He ranks behind only Alex Bregman, Nolan Arenado, and Anthony Rendon in terms of ADP, but in the early rounds, we have to scrutinize our picks the most. Assuming a full season of health, there isn’t much to worry about him deviating from his HR, SB, and R+RBI projection. 2019 was essentially his worst-case scenario and still posted on-pace numbers similar to the projection.
However, his .282 projected average might be optimistic. Since he dramatically increased his launch angle in 2018, he has hit just .263 over 1240 PAs with a .254 BABIP. Of course, BABIP is a fickle beast. All it takes is a little good fortune and Ramirez could indeed hit .282. However, the more likely outcome is somewhere between .260-.270. I’m siding more with the projections here, in part because Ramirez is one of the only third basemen who is capable of getting you bulk stolen bases. The top three third basemen off the board are studs in their own right, but you’re giving up a ton of stolen base production with them.
Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
Fantrax Projection: 663 PA, 93 R, 33 HR, 95 RBI, 1 SB, .260/.362/.511
There is a legit 25 pick dropoff from Yoan Moncada to Matt Chapman. That puts him in a bit of a discounted tier. The projections like him more than Moncada though, with a similar line to Manny Machado’s 85/33/90/6/.274. Chapman’s projection isn’t far from his 102/36/91/.249 2019 line and considering all of his peripherals back up his production (.354 wOBA/.360 xwOBA), there isn’t much to debate there. His .260 average is a bit optimistic, but his 2019 XBA was .255, so .260 isn’t really much of a stretch. Frankly, Chapman is one of my favorite third base values for 2020 and it’s nice to see the projections back that up. You gotta love a man in chaps.
Hunter Dozier, Kansas City Royals
Fantrax Projection: 614 PA, 82 R, 23 HR, 86 RBI, 2 SB, .262/.330/.470
Hunter Dozier broke out in a huge way in 2019 at the tender age of 27. He utilized a far more patient approach to post a solid 9.4% BB% while also cutting nearly 3% from his 2018 K%. He didn’t quite maintain his K/BB gains over the second half as he dipped from .52 to .26, but his OPS only fell from .899 to .843. The projection calls largely for a repeat of his 2019 numbers, but over 28 more PAs. That would mean an ISO dip even worse than we saw from him over the second half. That feels unnecessarily conservative, factoring in his previous seasons totaling a .160 ISO. He could pretty easily outperform that 23 HR projection.
His projected batting average regression from his .279 mark in 2019 is warranted, but he could utilize another 10% barrel rate or better to repeat his .339 BABIP. It’s unlikely, but it could be another way for him to beat his projection. Of course, he could regress to his 2018 numbers, but that risk is baked into his 19th 3B ADP.
Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners
Fantrax Projection: 595 PA, 71 R, 30 HR, 86 RBI, 2 SB, .249/.330/.479
I will admit to being surprised by this one. Kyle Seager played just 106 games because of hand surgery but posted a career-best .229 ISO. The juiced balls certainly had something to do with that, but his projected 30 HR would be just the second time in his career he reached that plateau. A .249 average isn’t great and is potentially optimistic, considering he hasn’t hit above that mark since 2016. His XBA in 2019 was .264 though, and he did improve his contact rate, albeit slightly, to its highest mark since 2016. Even if this projection is optimistic, and I think it is, he presents profit potential with his 3B26 ADP if he can string together a full healthy season.
Hanser Alberto, Baltimore Orioles
Fantrax Projection: 596 PA, 72 R, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 6 SB, .293/.324/.430
Here we are diving into the very bottom of the McDonald’s ball pit. Strewn amongst the discarded hypodermic needles and dirty band-aids we find Hanser Alberto. We already established a possible bad-team discount when we looked at our first base bargains. That narrative might be rearing its head again here. Alberto used a strong contact profile in his rookie season with the Orioles to hit .305 with a .290 XBA. He is a hyper-aggressive hitter, however, and walked a ridiculous 2.9% of the time. He also has far below-average power. Even if he hits .290+, he could struggle to meet that 16 HR projection over a full season of at-bats.
That full season could be very full, however. With the Orioles lacking impact bats, Alberto could potentially lead off every day for Baltimore. That would lead to a boatload of plate appearances for Alberto and give him an opportunity to surpass that 72 runs scored projection. For a slap-hitting infielder, he doesn’t have a lot of speed, but beyond pick 350, there isn’t much risk. This projection alone puts him ahead of the likes of Tommy Edman and Ryan McMahon, who are going well before Alberto in ADP (200+ picks in Edman’s case).
Who are your favorite third base values for 2020? Let us know in the comments below.
For all the rankings, strategy, and analysis you could ever want check out the 2020 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2019 and we’re not letting our foot off the pedal now! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.