Early, Mid, and Late Round Values: Third Base
Early, Mid round, and Late round picks, by Position: Third Base
For this series of articles, I’ve been covering players that I like based on their values relative to where they’re being drafted. For the ADP being referenced, I am using NFBC data, from March 11th on, to alleviate some of the news received after the lockout, like some of the injuries (Tatis, Wheeler, and Flaherty to name a few) or trades that have transpired. I’ll also be splitting this up into two sections, players for points leagues, and players for roto or category leagues. I’ll be taking three of each. One player in the top 100, one player after pick 100, and one player past pick 200. This gives you multiple options, one of which can be a primary target, one to be a mid-range guy who’s a nice fallback, and one who you can take past round 15 as the backup's backup plan.
For the first time in what feels like forever, third base is extremely shallow. This is typically the deepest position in fantasy. It’s now become very top-heavy, while vastly falling off after the top seven or eight guys depending on the format. Similar to first base, third base is a position I feel it is necessary to get a player early in the draft. We’re currently doing a fighting chance fantasy best ball league, and within the first five rounds, I took Paul Goldschmidt, and Alex Bregman to ensure that I’d get production from the two most shallow positions. While there are a lot of players with upside later in the draft who are being heavily discounted, they come with their own risks. I love Josh Donaldson, Matt Chapman, and Eugenio Suarez at their price tags, but there is a wide range of outcomes for all three of those players. I want to make sure I get consistent production before using one of these guys as a utility slot, or maybe even just a bench bat in case of injury.
This position is very interesting for roto leagues. You have three players at the top who are consistent producers in Jose Ramirez, Rafael Devers, and Manny Machado. After that, it gets very dicey very fast. There are two players whose ceilings are first-round picks, and their floors are being cut off your roster. Those players are Austin Riley and Adalberto Mondesi. After that, you’re getting some solid veterans, but their range of outcomes can also vary quite a bit. The depth of this position has vanished, and while you can get some power bats late, the five category guys that you could formerly get at this position, are no more.
Now when we’re talking about a points league, the crop of players I like is larger. While Riley and Mondesi both take a hit in this format, Kris Bryant, Alex Bregman, and Anthony Rendon skyrocket due to their great plate discipline. There are players I like late in points leagues, but none of them provide the same amount of upside and consistency as the players in the early rounds of drafts.
Early Round Roto, Nolan Arenado, STL, ADP 70.72, 3B 6
Classic homer pick here, I only like him because he’s on the Cardinals. Next!... I’m obviously kidding here. In all seriousness Arenado had a down season last year, that down season included 30 home runs, 186 combined runs and runs batted in, and a .255 batting average. While the batting average doesn’t look good, it came with a .249 BABIP which was the eighth lowest in all of baseball. The batted ball profile is not great, but to be honest it never really has been with Arenado. That being said, even if he’s not a .300 BABIP type player, he certainly isn’t a .249 BABIP type either, with that improvement, he can hopefully build that batting average back up. He doesn’t swing and miss much, he puts the ball in play a ton. Look for Arenado to build on his second year not calling Coors Field home anymore. Here's Arenado taking one out off the foul pole versus San Diego!
Early Round Points, Alex Bregman, HOU, ADP 88.93, 3B 8
There may not be a player I like more in points leagues than Alex Bregman. While I’m a pretty big Astro hater, I acknowledge when somebody is an asset to a fantasy roster. Bregman is just that. His walk rate is always among the league leaders, and since 2017 he has not exceeded a 14.4% strikeout rate. As I’ve referenced in previous articles, players who can balance their strikeouts with walks are huge advantages in points leagues. It creates the opportunity for all of their hits to have meaning, as opposed to losing points with strikeouts. Bregman disappointed many after being the 2019 MVP, but I think he’ll bounce back in a big way, and be easily a top-five third baseman in points leagues for 2022. Here's Bregman tying up the game in the bottom of the ninth off of a really solid closer in Paul Sewald.
Mid Round Roto, Justin Turner, LAD, ADP 152.44, 3B 13
Turner is a solid four-category contributor. He’s a bit boring, but he should be somewhere in the range of a .280 average, 20-25 home runs, and 160 combined runs and runs batted in. The only thing working against him is his age and injury history. While these things are concerning, they’re also baked into his cost at his ADP. Turner doesn’t really excel in anything in particular, but he’s also not bad at anything. While he’s boring, he’s consistent, and at his cost, he’s well worth the pick. He gives you the ability to draft a high variance player with him. Whether that’s Adalberto Mondesi or Austin Riley early, or you want to take your shot on a player later like Alec Bohm. The upside pick at the position is perfect to pair with Turner. Take a look below at Turner's Fangraphs page, it highlights the consistency Turner has produced since joining the Dodgers in 2014.
Mid Round Points, Josh Donaldson, NYY, ADP 194.35, 3B 18
Every draft season I love Josh Donaldson at his cost. This year it is pick 194, a great value. His statcast page is phenomenal. 99th percentile in average exit velocity, 95th percentile in hard-hit rate and barrel rate, 92nd percentile in xwOBA and xSLG all while still having excellent plate discipline being in the 94th percentile in walk rate. Since 2016 he has not had a walk rate lower than 13.5% and while his strikeout rate isn’t necessarily great, it’s not bad enough to be a problem when you incorporate how high the walk rate is, and how much power you’re getting from Donaldson. Add in the park and lineup upgrade for Donaldson, and there won’t be a points league I’m in where I’m not actively targeting him. Many say Donaldson is too old or washed, but you take a look at his statcast page and tell me that's the profile of a player who doesn't still have a lot of gas left in the tank.
Late Round Roto, Mike Moustakas, CIN, ADP 366.35, 3B 29
No way around it, Moustakas was awful last season. After some injuries and a bout with COVID, things went pretty much as far south as they could for him. That being said, the last season we saw Moustakas fully healthy was 2019 in Milwaukee, and he was very good then. 35 home runs, 167 combined runs and runs batted in, and a .254 batting average. While I’m not saying he’ll repeat those numbers, a .250 average, with 25 home runs, and 150 combined runs and runs batted in is well within his range of outcomes, and given that he plays in one of the premier hitter parks in baseball, I’d suggest that it’s expected. Most projection systems have him penciled in for a .240-.245 average, 20-25 home runs, and 130 combined runs and runs batted in. Projections tend to be conservative, but even if he hits those numbers, you can’t find better value at pick 366. Here's Moose taking everyone's favorite starting pitcher going into this season, Sandy Alcantara, deep in August of last year.
Late Round Points, Brian Anderson, MIA, ADP 553.67, 3B 37
I formerly had Evan Longoria slotted in here, but due to the injury, I had to replace him. Anderson is no longer a young man anymore, he was a prospect who had quite a bit of hype when he was first coming up, but overall he's had a pretty steady career up to this point. Anderson is for the deepest of leagues, he can contribute in points because he has pretty solid plate discipline in comparison to his strikeout rate. While he's doesn't have much upside, he's a steady player, who should play daily, and is projected to play daily per roster resource, in a weak lineup. I'd say his upside is somewhere in the range of a .250 batting average, 15-20 home runs, 150-160 combined runs and runs batted in, and five steals. With your last pick in a deep league, that seems like decent value. Here's Anderson taking Fried deep last season with an opposite-field home run.
Follow along for the rest of my values articles by position! Find me on Twitter @RotoTeddyG