Saturday, February 22, 2014

MLB Position Rankings: Third Base

Unlike many of the other positions, third base looks to be very deep in 2014. Does this mean you should wait until later rounds to snatch up a third baseman? Not necessarily. What it does mean is that there's some great value to be found in later rounds as well as the star power that you'd expect to find in the early rounds. Here are our rankings for 3B in 2014. (NOTE- Miguel Cabrera is not included as he is expected to shift back to 1B for the Tigers)

Sleepers- Will Middlebrooks, Nolan Arenado, Matt Dominguez

10- Pedro Alvarez- PIT
Alvarez is a classic one trick pony- he can hit for power, but that's about it. Much like an Adam Dunn, Alvarez will be a cheap source of power but will really hurt your fantasy team in just about every other category.

9- Brett Lawrie- TOR
Brett Lawrie is the perfect "post-hype sleeper" candidate. Just a few years ago he was touted as the one of the best prospects in the MLB but after a few disappointing seasons, many seem to have given up on Lawrie. The intangibles are still there, and 2014 could be the season that Lawrie finally puts it all together.

8- Kyle Seager- SEA
With the exception of Mariners fans, Seagar benefit more than anyone from the Mariners offseason spending. The addition of Robinson Cano to the lineup should not only take a little pressure off Seager, it should also increase his run total and RBIs. Expect a nice increase in production from Seager's 2013 numbers of .260/22/70.

7- Matt Carpenter- STL
Though Carpenter played mostly at 2B in 2013, he will most likely make the shift to 3B in 2014. Carpenter doesn't possess great power of speed, but he hits for average and scores tons of runs in a stacked Cardinals lineup. His .359 BABIP from last year should regress, but Carpenter is a great player to target if you don't want to draft a third baseman in the early rounds.

6- Ryan Zimmerman- WAS
Zimmerman is certainly one of the most talented third baseman in the league, but injuries have plagued nearly every one of his seasons in the MLB. Despite only averaging 133 games per season, Zimmerman has been a near lock for a .275 BA with 25 homers and 85 runs. Expect similar production for this season, but not much more.

5- Manny Machado- BAL
Machado's knee injury from late 2013 should be a slight concern for owners, but not a huge one. Machado is one of the most talented young players in the league and prior to his injury, he had only missed a total of 6 INNINGS of baseball in 212 career games. Should Machado make the opening day lineup, he would probably leap frog Josh Donaldson and David Wright to become the 3rd best third baseman in the league.

4- Josh Donaldson- OAK
2013 was Donaldson's breakout year as he hit .301 with 24 home runs with 93 RBIs. His batting average is a slight anomaly from his career averages so there is a small concern that it could drop a bit, nevertheless Donaldson is a talented player who should be targeted in the early rounds of your drafts.

3- David Wright- NYM
At this point in his career, you know what to expect from Wright. He will hit above .300 and will be a threat for 20/20 while driving in a good amount of runs and scoring them as well. His age could be a factor in the upcoming years but for 2014, Wright should produce like he has in the past.

2- Evan Longoria- TAM
Despite injuries that plagued him earlier in his career, Longoria finally stayed healthy in 2013 and his numbers reflect that. Longoria batted .269, par with his career average, while hitting 32 homers and driving in 88 runs. The Rays lineup was a bit disappointing in 2013 but should rebound in 2014 and with it expect an increase in RBIs for Longoria. Anything after the first or second round and Longoria should be considered a total steal.

1- Adrian Beltre- TEX
Well, did you expect anything else? Beltre has averaged a .312/33/100 batting line over the past three seasons and is the only 3rd baseman over that period to hit over .275 with 25 homers in each of those seasons. Yes, his age could start to become a concern in the coming years, but for 2014 Beltre should produce just like he has in previous years.

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