The hot corner is turning into a top-heavy position as of late. You got your handful of studs at the top, but after them, there aren’t a lot of players that really excite you. You got the Devers, Guerreros, and Senzels of the world, but outside of them, it’s just a lot of solid, but unspectacular fantasy assets. Now, there’s nothing wrong with guys like Kyle Seager or Nicholas Castellanos. They’re fine fantasy pieces for any squad, but they lack that elite upside that dynasty leaguers love.
The Top Dog
Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
The battle for the top spot at the hot corner has been a back and forth battle between Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant over the past couple of seasons. Bryant topped the mid-season rankings update last season, but after a down year power-wise, Arenado leaps back into the driver’s seat.
Arenado has been the model of offensive consistency for fantasy third basemen ever since he came into the league back in 2013. And we’re not talking about merely good numbers, either. Arenado has three straight seasons of at least 37 home runs, 130 RBI, and 97 runs while slashing .297/.353/.577/.930.
Some will bring up the Coors Field factor when it comes to Arenado’s production, and they wouldn’t be wrong. He has a .314 average, .958 OPS, and a home run every 16.34 at-bats at Coors Field. On the road, those numbers drop to a .266 average, .790 OPS, and one homer every 21.73 at-bats. Still great, but not worthy of the top spot. But you know what? We can worry about that when Arenado leaves Colorado, and it’s not looking like that will be anytime soon.
Arenado is a four-category fantasy stud a top-five overall player in any format, especially dynasty, as he’s still going to be only 27 in mid-April.
On the Rise
Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds
Nick Senzel needs and deserves more love in dynasty formats. Yes, I know he already gets plenty of love as a top-10 overall prospect, but there’s a chance he could turn out as the best player out of this current crop of prospects. He might not have 70-grade power or speed, but what he does have is a 70-grade hit tool, and that’s one damn good place to start.
Just because he doesn’t have elite power or speed doesn’t mean he’s lacking in those areas, either. Senzel possesses budding plus power that is slowly but surely popping up more frequently in games. Through his 698 career minor league at-bats, Senzel has racked up 21 home runs and a whopping 64 doubles. Don’t be surprised if some of those doubles start clearing the fence as he matures as a hitter. A hitter-friendly home ballpark should help, too. Senzel isn’t a blazer on the basepaths, but he has an incredibly high baseball IQ and the quickness to steal 20+ bags annually.
There’s true 30/20 upside here with the potential for multiple batting titles in his career. Senzel can flat out hit and is polished enough at the plate to dominate right out of the gate. We could easily be adding him to the elite tier of this position over the next year or two.
On the Decline
Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks
This isn’t to say that Jake Lamb has gotten worse or declined as a hitter. His starts actually got a little better last season compared to 2016. But the fantasy baseball landscape is a lot different in now than it was last year. Power is up and guys that hit around .250 with 30 homers are becoming more frequent. Granted, not all of them drive in 90+ and score 80+ runs.
There was hope that Lamb could take that next step and join the elite at the hot corner after a first half where he hit .279 with 20 home runs, 67 RBI, and a .922 OPS in 315 at-bats. Needless to say, the buzz was growing. Then the second half happened and Lamb’s bat went silent, hitting .204 with a .735 OPS. That’s two years in a row that Lamb has been a non-factor in the second half. Until he can show consistent elite production, Lamb isn’t a guy you should trust as a top-10 option.
Lastly, the humidor figures to play a big factor in power production at Chase Field and that’s a very unwelcome sign for a guy like Lamb who doesn’t run much. We’re likely looking at a dip in home runs, RBI, and runs scored as well as a further slide down these rankings.
Don’t Forget About….
Jake Burger, Chicago White Sox
A ruptured Achilles tendon will keep Burger out for the 2018 season, but there’s still a lot to like here. Burger possesses plus power and a hit tool that has also flashed plus. He doesn’t run all that often, but could settle in around 5-10 steals a season to go along with 30+ homers and an average in the .270-.290 range. Basically, he’s Todd Frazier with more batting average potential. This injury creates a solid buy-low window in dynasty formats.
|10||Vladimir Guerrero Jr||TOR||19||11|
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout here on Fantrax. I hope you can use this article to your advantage and get a leg up on your fellow league members. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Follow me on Twitter @EricCross04 and ask there.