You want power numbers from your third baseman. It’s a position that is loaded with players with 30+ home runs. There are even a few with .300 batting average and major power. If you get the right player at third base, you could be in a nice position to win your fantasy baseball league.
Will Miguel Cabrera contend for another Triple Crown?
My 3rd base fantasy baseball rankings are based on a standard 5×5 league. If you have any specific questions about a different league, email me BobbyMcrib@gmail.com.
1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – This was a no-brainer. He’s the #2 overall best fantasy baseball player right behind Mike Trout. I expect another MVP-caliber season from him.
2. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers – Beltre is one the most consistent players in baseball. He consistently hits 30+/100/.305+ hitter, year after year. I’m interested how his numbers will improve with Prince Fielder hitting around him. There isn’t much more room to improve, but he should see better pitches.
3. David Wright – New York Mets – Wright is the only third baseman with above average numbers with double-digit steals. Getting the steals from the third base position is a huge bonus. Sure you have guys with better power numbers, but Wright helps you in every category.
4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays – I never thought Longoria would ever get 600+ at-bats again. He would always miss a few weeks with a random injury. He was healthy last season and hit all his career averages. He’s now 28 years old and I expect a big year from him. An uptick in homers and RBI would not surprise me.
5. Josh Donaldson – Oakland A’s – No one had Donaldson as a top 10 third baseman going into last season. Hell, I would be surprised if anyone had him in their top 20 third baseman rankings. He spent five seasons in the minors between two organizations and switched from catcher to third base. He is a regression candidate since it’s hard for a player to duplicate the kind of numbers Donaldson put up in 2013. I still expect a 25/90/.280 season from him.
6. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals – I drafted Zimmerman in the mid-rounds last season. He had a few nagging injuries fantasy owners were worried about and he dropped a few rounds. He’s averaged around 130 games per season and there’s no worry that he shouldn’t meet or exceed that total. He’s a safe bet to match last year’s numbers.
7. Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates – Alvarez is a streaky player and he takes it to the extremes. He will play horrible for a few weeks, like he did at the beginning of the season, but then hit 10 homers in two weeks. His end of the year numbers will be very good, but you have to stick with him during the bad weeks. He could be a guy to target when he struggles during the season. You could trade for him and buy low.
8. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles – I love Machado. He won’t be ready for Opening Day, but he should be ready mid-April. I was fortunate to own him in nearly every fantasy league last year. He is a stud and a must-own in dynasty leagues. I expect him to be an All-Star for many years.
9. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals – I ranked Carpenter this high due to his multiple position eligibility (2B & 3B). He’s solid and will score 110+ runs, bat near .300, hit double-digit home runs and drive in 75+ RBI.
10. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners – Seager came onto the scene late in 2012. People had high expectations for him in 2013. They were too high. I expect him to repeat the same numbers he had last season. You could see a few more homers and a better average.
11. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants – I’m always high on Sandoval. He’s in a contract year and lost some weight this offseason. I love power hitters in contract years. His numbers will improve and I expect numbers similar to his 2011 season. He may not hit .315, but 25 homers is a possibility.
12. Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers – Ramirez had a knee injury that derailed his season. He turns 36 this season, so drafting him is a bit risky. His days of hitting 30+ homers in a season are over, but 24/90/.290 is still very good.
13. Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays – Lawrie’s hype before the 2012 season was insane. He didn’t live up to that and now he is a player fantasy owners may try to avoid. His batting average has dropped each season and his power hasn’t been there. He has struggled through some nagging injuries. The term ‘post-hype sleeper’ is being thrown around and I agree.
14. Martin Prado – Arizona Diamondbacks – If Prado didn’t have 2B/3B/OF eligibility, he would be ranked lower. His versatility is worth a few spot. He’s solid and will help you in most categories, but he’s not elite in any specific category.
15. Chase Headley – San Diego Padres – Headley is another feast or famine player. He’ll have a great month followed by a really bad month. He had an off-year and could drop a few rounds. His end of the year numbers will be good, but you have to stick with him for the long haul.
16. Will Middlebrooks – Boston Red Sox – Is this the year Middlebrooks puts together a full season? Yes. He doesn’t have to worry about losing his job (Xander Bogaerts is now the everyday shortstop). I love his power, but worry about his batting average. He strikes out quite a bit. He has yet to peak and believe he takes a step closer this season.
17. Xander Bogaerts – Boston Red Sox – He starts out the season with only 3B eligibility, but will gain shortstop eligibility early in the season. I could be talked into ranking him higher than Middlebrooks because his versatility, runs and batting average, but he only has 44 regular season at-bats. I think he would be a fantastic backup third baseman or even a starting shortstop (when he becomes eligible).
18. Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds – Frazier couldn’t repeat his 2012 numbers, but it was expected. He had a high BABIP, so last season’s numbers are a better indication of what kind of season he could have this year. He’ll hit around 20 homers, but a .250 average is where he’ll end the season.
19. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies – I like Arenado a lot, but he’s not a starting third baseman in standard leagues. He does play in Colorado, so maybe he will outperform expectations. I wouldn’t reach for him, but if he falls in this area, you should draft him.
20. Chris Johnson – Atlanta Braves – Johnson is a difficult player to rank. He does bat for average (although I think last year’s average is a big inflated), but he doesn’t help you much in any other category. He does have double-digit power and will drive in 60-70 RBI. He is a solid player, but not ‘sexy’.
21. David Freese – Los Angeles Angels – The sky was the limit for Freese the last two years. His 2011 World Series MVP hype propelled him into a top 10 preseason rankings. His numbers regressed across the board so much that the Cardinals traded him for Peter Bourjos. His numbers could bounce back a bit, but I don’t expect another All-Star level season.
22. Trevor Plouffe – Minnesota Twins – If you want power and can take a batting average hit, Plouffe would be a nice pick. He’s a nice corner infield flex option.
23. Matt Dominguez – Houston Astros – His production in the Majors was a surprise. He didn’t put up great numbers in the minors. His ceiling is 21/80/.250 and his final numbers should be near it.
24. Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals – Moustakas could be stuck in a platoon with Danny Valencia. He has been a disappointment so far and hasn’t lived up to his #2 overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft. I would be surprised if he gets 500 at-bats this season.
25. Juan Uribe – Los Angeles Dodgers – Uribe had a decent year in 2013, but I worry he won’t match those numbers. In 2011 and 2012, he barely averaged .200 in 432 at-bats. I expect a 10/50/.245 season from him this season.
26. Cody Asche – Philadelphia Phillies – The one thing Asche has going for him is that he should start the season as the everyday third baseman in Philly. When you’re only competition is Maikel Franco (a natural first baseman), I’m not worried about him early in the season. Franco should start the season in the minors and is a better long-term option than Asche. He should get 400 at-bats and hit double-digit homers.
27. Juan Francisco – Milwaukee Brewers – He will be stuck in a platoon with Lyle Overbay at first base. He has 3B eligibility, but shouldn’t see time there with Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds. Francisco should get around 400 at-bats and hit near 20 homers. He is a nice matchup play.
28. Jose Iglesias – Detroit Tigers – He’s a defensive-minded player, but somehow managed to hit .300 in 350 at-bats last season. His BABIP was crazy high, so his average should drop considerably. He won’t help you in any category except stolen bases and that total may only be around 12.
29. Lonnie Chisenhall – Cleveland Indians – I had high hopes for Chisenhall when he was in Triple-A. I actually saw him play a handful of times in Columbus. He’s a risk in every category except home runs (he should have around a dozen of those). There has been talk of having Carlos Santana play some at third. If that happens, he may only get 300 at-bats.
30. Mark Reynolds – Milwaukee Brewers – Ramirez is the everyday third baseman, but he’s 36. Injuries tend to linger at that age. Reynolds may only get 250-300 at-bats, but will still hit around 20 homers. He’s a huge batting average risk, but if you’re in an NL-only league, he’s worth drafting.
31. Matt Davidson – Chicago White Sox
32. Mike Olt – Chicago Cubs
33. Conor Gillaspie – White Sox
34. Mike Aviles – Cleveland Indians
35. Eric Chavez – Arizona Diamondbacks
36. Alberto Callaspo – Oakland A’s
37. Maicer Izturis – Toronto Blue Jays
38. Jeff Keppinger – White Sox
39. Luis Valbuena – Chicago Cubs
40. Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.