2020 Fantasy Baseball: Third Basemen ADP Analysis

Shawn Childs looks at the early movers in average draft position at the third base position heading into the 2020 fantasy baseball season.
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Last year 15 players hit 30 home runs or more at third base, with eight of these players qualifying at other positions. Eugenio Suarez led the way with 49 home runs and 103 RBI while Nolan Arenado (.315/102/41/118/3) remains the rock in the front of the third base pool.

Eight players scored over 100 runs, and eight players delivered over 100 RBI.

Anthony Rendon (.319/117/34/126/5) and Rafael Devers (.311/129/32/115/8) had the most significant step forward at third base.

In 2018, five third basemen had 100 runs or more, and five players drove in over 100 runs. Ten batters had over 30 home runs.

Here’s a grid showing the final stats for 2019 for the top 12 players at each position and their value ranked by SIscore:

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Last year the average of the top 12 third basemen hit .289 with 92 runs, 32 home runs, 92 RBI, and six stolen bases over 512 at-bats. The third base position ranked third in overall hitter value.

For comparison, here are the projections (3/10) for the top 12 third basemen at Sports Illustrated ranked by SIscore:

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The stats highlighted by the yellow line show the average projections (.297 with 102 runs, 30 home runs, 93 RBI, and ten steals over 569 at-bats) for the top 12 third basemen in 2020.

Here’s a look at the top 12 third basemen by 2020 ADP (From March 1st through March 10th):

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Fantasy owners will have plenty of good looking options to choose from at third base over the first 93 draft picks. The only player with some concern is Eugenio Suarez, who is recovering from right shoulder surgery in late January. He’s coming off a career year.

The combo of speed and power pushed Jose Ramirez ahead of Nolan Arenado over the last eight drafts. Ramirez missed 33 games last year, which led to a regression in his stats (.255 with 68 runs, 23 HRs, 83 RBI, and 24 SBs over 482 at-bats). His batting average could rebound in a big way with a floor of 25 home runs and 20 steals.

Nolan Arenado has one of the most secure skill sets in baseball. Over the past five seasons, he hit .300 while averaging 104 runs, 40 home runs, 125 RBI, and three steals. Arenado is somewhat overlooked with a chance to break free for 50-plus home runs.

The extensive “competitive advantage” program run over the last few seasons by Houston has hurt the attraction of Alex Bregman. His approach is exceptionable while playing in a top-scoring lineup. Bregman gains extra value by qualifying also at shortstop. Don’t sleep at the wheel as he has league-leading upside in batting average with more speed his major league resume.

The Mike Trout effect should lead to follow through for Anthony Rendon in 2020. His swing continues to improve with possible growth in power based on his 88 doubles hit in 2018 and 2019. Rendon should see a sharp pullback in runs unless some of the Angels' batters behind him in the batting order have career seasons.

Since the Mookie Betts trade, Rafael Devers has lost some luster in drafts. His growth in 2019 may only be a glimpse of his overall package. His runs and RBI don't look repeatable this year unless Devers pushes his home run total over 40, which is possible.

The two biggest wild cards at the top end of the third base list are Vladimir Guerrero and Yoan Moncada.

Guerrero has the talent to be a batting average beast in his second year in the league, with the strength to be a difference-maker in power. The Blue Jays have two young talented players hitting in front of him, which should create plenty of RBI chances.

Last season Moncada had one of the highest averages in baseball when he put the ball in play. If he can shave off some strikeouts and add his minor league speed to his resume, he has the making of a first-round draft pick over the next few seasons. Don’t forget that he had impact steals on his minor league resume (111 over 1,042 at-bats).

The sexiness of Kris Bryant looks to be gone even after a productive year. Fantasy owners have grown tired of his short RBIs and never developing into that stud power bat. His ADP (64) does make him more attractive.

Matt Chapman has 40-plus home run upside, which should lead to 100 or more runs and RBI. His batting average is trailing, but I don’t view it to be a huge liability. A fantasy owner picking him up as the 12th third base option should be ecstatic this year.

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There is a cliff at third base, which probably comes after Yuli Gurriel for me.

Miguel Sano has a natural attraction due to his immense power, but his free-swinging style does invite some batting average risk. He offsets some of that downside by hitting for a high batting average when he puts the ball in play.

I’m a fan of Yuli Gurriel, but a season of repeated power would be a lot to ask. A fantasy owner needs to proceed with caution while being ready to make a bet on him if he slides to the backend of his ADP. Gurriel has a .280/20/80 floor for me.

I’ve heard multiple people talk about the value of Justin Turner. I get attraction, but I don't see 550 at-bats based on his recent career path. The Dodgers will rotate in other players, plus Turner will spend some time on the injured list.

The power/speed combination of Scott Kingery works at third base, and he is going to qualify at second base early in the year. The key to his growth will be a better command of the strike zone.

Matt Carpenter was the biggest bust in 2019 based on his draft value and his ADP in 2020 (349.1). His spring (3-for-15 with one HR and three RBI) hasn’t drawn the attention of fantasy owners. More of a gamble based on his success in previous years.

The move to Kansas City should work out well for Maikel Franco. The Phillies lost faith in him. His bat has power, and he doesn't strike out a lot, which helps his floor in batting average. 

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