Fantasy Baseball Preview: Third Basemen

Adam Beard

On Feb. 22, I took a look at second basemen. Now, let’s shift to third basemen.

Which third baseman should go off the board first?

Miguel Cabrera (DET) – This isn’t even a debate, and you all know that.

Who is making a comeback from a disappointing 2013 season?

Aramis Ramirez (MIL) – Ramirez battled injuries in 2013 and wasn’t even owned in most leagues throughout the season. After playing just 92 games last year, he is most likely going to miss the first few games of spring training after having a polyp removed from his colon. However, when he is playing, he can be effective. He has always been a consistent fantasy contributor when healthy, hitting more than 25 homers in each season in which he has had at least 450 plate appearances. Ramirez will also maintain a solid batting average, get you doubles and plenty of runs batted in.

Don’t sleep on this guy

Chris Johnson (ATL) – Despite losing McCann, the Braves lineup should be pretty strong again this year. Last year, Johnson broke out and finished fifth in the majors in batting average at .321. He isn’t very powerful at the plate or the best source for runs batted in, but he had 34 doubles last season, and I expect his other numbers to improve. Johnson is currently being ranked in the 20-25 range. He is better than that, and if you find yourself stuck without a third baseman in the late rounds, Johnson will provide tremendous value.

Bound to bust

Kyle Seager (SEA) – Seager has never appealed to me. With Cano on his team, he is expected to produce more, but I don’t see it coming to fruition. Although Seager has hit 20+ homers the past two seasons, his average is never good and none of his numbers stand out. He is currently being ranked in the 10-15 range among third baseman, but I project him finishing worse than that.

My Pre-Season Rankings: Third Basemen

  1. Miguel Cabrera (DET)
  2. Adrian Beltre (TEX)
  3. Evan Longoria (TB)
  4. David Wright (NYM)
  5. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
  6. Matt Carpenter (STL)
  7. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
  8. Manny Machado (BAL)
  9. Pedro Alvarez (PIT)
  10. Pablo Sandoval (SF)
  11. Josh Donaldson (OAK)
  12. Aramis Ramirez (MIL)
  13. Brett Lawrie (TOR)
  14. Nolan Arenado (COL)
  15. Jurickson Profar (TEX)
  16. Chris Johnson (ATL)
  17. Martin Prado (ARI)
  18. Todd Frazier (CIN)
  19. Kyle Seager (SEA)
  20. Jedd Gyorko (SD)

I’ll leave you with this…

Third base might be stronger than it has ever been in fantasy baseball this season. Cabrera, Beltre, Longoria, Wright and Encarnacion may very well all be gone within the first three rounds of any fantasy draft, but there is no need to panic if you do not end up with one of the top-tier guys because the players below them aren’t too shabby. Third baseman like Carpenter, Zimmerman, Machado, Alvarez and Sandoval are all solid fantasy contributors who have a chance to really shine. This year, it may even be best to pass on drafting a third baseman in the early rounds and wait until the later rounds to pick up potential breakout players like Profar, Arenado or Johnson.

Each week, Adam will give his two cents about the players at each position, naming a clear-cut number one, a comeback player, a sleeper/breakout, a bust, his full rankings and a little advice as to what to do in your draft and throughout the season.