Fantasy Baseball: Third base draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
Fantasy Baseball: Third base draft strategy, sleepers, prospects and more
Third basemen might be the new first basemen in terms of fantasy value, with plenty of star power and top-of-the-draft appeal at the position, no greater than new Padres $300 million man Manny Machado.
Third basemen might be the new first basemen. We already detailed the [lack of star power at first](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-first-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects), but the hot corner has [a $300 million man](https://www.betchicago.com/manny-machado-padres-world-series-odds-white-sox-win-total), [a former MVP](https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bryankr01.shtml) [a perennial All-Star](https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/arenano01.shtml) and [baseball's top prospect](http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2019). How could you go wrong? It'll be hard to, considering nine third-base eligible players hit at least 31 home runs last season, and that's not including Rafael Devers, Anthony Rendon, Miguel Andujar and Matt Chapman, all of whom [Fantasy Pros](https://www.fantasypros.com/mlb/rankings/3b.php) ranks among the top-17 players at the position. Tommy Stokke and Chris Mascaro will break down the spot to assist you in your upcoming drafts. Here are our previews thus far -- [catcher](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-catchers-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects), [first base](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-first-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects), [second base](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-second-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects) and [shortstop](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-shortstop-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects). ## Draft strategy __TS:__ Nolan Arenado is as safe as it gets in fantasy baseball, and he'd be my third choice after Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. I'd be happy with Arenado or Alex Bregman in the first round, and if I get Kris Bryant or Manny Machado in the second, that's fine, too. Rendon and Justin Turner are underrated in their own ways, and Eugenio Suarez will likely be another solid value with doubters not buying his 2018 season. Overall, there's power aplenty, and I'll try picking some of those guys up late, including Mike Moustakas, Jake Lamb and Devers. __CM:__ There's more than enough talent to go around, but I have to agree with Tommy. Arenado might not finish as the third best player in fantasy next season, but he's unlikely to finish outside the top-20, either. If you're looking for an easy set-it-and-forget-it choice in the first round, he's your man. If you're willing to take a risk, why not wait for a guy like Andujar, who just turned 24 and has plenty of protection in that Yankees batting order? ## Auction strategy __TS:__ I'm overpaying for Arenado at the top or hoping to get former MVP Bryant at a discount. My feelings on Jose Ramirez can be found in [our second base preview](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-second-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects), but I'm avoiding the Indians' infielder. That doesn't mean I won't be trying to drive his price up for my competitors. Power is cheap late. __CM:__ I've been touting players with eligibility at many different positions for auctions, and if you can get one off an injury-plagued season who'll also be cheap, all the better. Wil Myers, still just 28, had 62 extra-base hits, including 30 homers, with 20 steals two seasons ago before being limited to 83 games last season due to arm, oblique and foot injuries. If you can get him for a reasonable price ... pounce. ## Player going too high __TS: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays (ADP: 8 3B, 45 OVR):__ Every year the top prospect in baseball gets taken earlier than he should. Last year it was Ronald Acuna Jr., who ranked 64th in at-bats among outfielders. Daniel Palka finished with more homers and RBIs. David Peralta and Mitch Haniger finished with better fantasy seasons, and that was with Acuna getting called up two weeks into the season. Guerrero was on track for the same treatment, but an oblique injury will delay that. He may have an 80-grade hit tool, but he's still a rookie and he'll lack the at-bats players after him will get. I'd take Suarez over him and rather wait on Matt Chapman than overdraft the rookie. __CM: Josh Donaldson, Braves (ADP: 12 3B, 83 OVR):__ Why are we expecting a 33-year-old with a history of calf problems to revert back to the power hitter he once was? Myers is five years younger, his injuries were more minor/varied last season and he is a more versatile fantasy player. Yet his ADP is seven spots lower than Donaldson. I'm confused. If you get 100 games out of him, you'll be lucky to get 25 home runs and less than 100 strikeouts. ## Player going too low __TS: Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks (ADP: 30 3B, 276 OVR):__ Lamb is replacing Paul Goldschmidt at first base but will be eligible at third. Lamb was injured much of last year with a season-ending shouler injury, so he was unable to duplicate his All-Star season in 2017. Thus, he's a bit of a forgotten 30-home-run option at the hot corner. __CM: Maikel Franco, Phillies (ADP: 28 3B, 244 OVR):__ He's hit at least 22 home runs each of the last three years and should get more RBI opportunites with the addition of Bryce Harper to the lineup. He increased his OBP substantially over the prior season (.314 from .281) and he's still only 26. If he plays 150 games, you could be looking at 25 homers, 90 RBIs and close to an .800 OPS, which is not too shabby for maybe a 20th-round pick. ## Player I won’t draft __TS: Miguel Andujar, Yankees:__ Andujar is solid, but there are enough red flags there that I'll stay away. He doesn't walk. He's playing in a crowded infield with Troy Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres. Didi Gregorious will return at some point. Andujar is the worst fielder of the bunch, and maybe one of the worst defensive third basemen in the league. That could lead to fewer plate appearances than expected or a trade to a worse situation. __CM: Asdrubal Cabrera, Rangers:__ There aren't many third basemen I wouldn't at least consider drafting, so I'm going near the bottom of the well for this choice. The 33-year-old actually still has some pop (23 homers in 147 games last season between the Mets and Phillies), but he's never been a strong OBP guy (.330), he has at least 100 strikeouts three of the last four seasons and he doesn't run (zero steals last year). He's only a waiver-wire add if someone gets hurt. Honorable mention goes to Evan Longoria. ## Player I keep drafting __TS: Matt Chapman, A's:__ I keep talking about cheap power, and Chapman should be that. He'll be a main cog in an Oakland offense that scored the fourth-most runs in baseball last year. I'm looking for a .275 average with at least 25 homers and 80 RBIs. __CM: Jurickson Profar, A's:__ I've [mentioned him before](https://www.betchicago.com/fantasy-baseball-second-base-draft-strategy-sleepers-prospects), and the later you can get him, the better. He's ready to improve on his breakout season on a one-year deal with Oakland, which, as Tommy just mentioned, should have a potent offense. ## Prospect to watch __TS: Nick Senzel, Reds:__ He's eligible at third base but looks headed for center field. He's one of my favorite plays for [Rookie of the Year](https://www.betchicago.com/nl-rookie-year-odds-2019-robles-senzel-paddack) and will enjoy hitting in the Reds' lineup at Great American Ball Park. He should get the most at-bats this season for third-base eligible prospects. __CM: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates:__ Because Pittsburgh really doesn't have a third baseman, the 22-year-old could force his way onto the big club if he keeps hitting the way he's been during spring training (1.284 OPS in 13 games as of Monday). He had 45 extra-base hits in 117 games for Double-A Altoona and is thought of as a strong fielder. ## Bold prediction __TS:__ Jake Lamb returns to being a top-10 third baseman. __CM:__ At least three third basemen finish in the top-10 of all fantasy players. __PLAY:__ Our [free daily contests](https://betchicago.chalkline.com) for the chance to win a BetChicago prize pack.2019-03-11T22:15:44.171Z2019-03-11T18:07-04:00