By: Nate Leer
3B may be the thinnest position in fantasy baseball outside of C this year. After the top 4, who are as good of MLB and fantasy players as there are in baseball, the drop is significant and could look worse after the season than it does now. If older players such as Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria experience injuries or drops in production, things could get ugly quick for depth at the position. There are a few young players who could help the depth but they are far from surefire performers. I think it is wise to address this position early in drafts if possible and it may be worth getting a depth player at the position if you do not get one of the absolute studs at the top of this list.
Last week I broke down 2B for the 2017 fantasy baseball season.
Here are my top 15 3B for fantasy baseball 2017:
- Nolan Arenado – Col: Absolute beast in great lineup and the best park. No reason he can’t produce another fantasy MVP type season.
- Kris Bryant – ChiC (1B/OF): Bryant has all the upside in the world and could actually improve on last year’s numbers. He has a bit less of a track record than these guys so one needs to be a little bit worried about a Bryce Harpe type of regression. However, his athleticism helps add to his game with versatility which is always nice to have in a high draft pick.
- Manny Machado – Bal (SS): Machado also has some nice versatility. He has become a nonfactor on the base paths which surprises me a bit but otherwise is a beast. He seems capable of hitting for a higher average as well.
- Josh Donaldson – Tor: To me, the biggest knock on Donaldson is actually a compliment – he plays too hard. His hard nosed style on D and the bases can lead to injuries but other wise his talent and situation are ideal for generating O.
- Adrian Beltre – Tex: In ranking Old Man Beltre above Kyle Seager, I am banking on him being able to do it for one more year. He hit for a significantly better average than Seager last year and otherwise their stats look very similar. Beltre just keeps producing and I am not going to bet against him just yet.
- Kyle Seager – Sea: The older Seager bro is starting to put it all together. It helps that he is part of a powerful lineup even if his home park is not great for power hitters. Any more increase in performance will make him a clear cut 5th option at 3B in fantasy drafts.
- Evan Longoria – TB: The big question with Longo is whether he is closer to the 21 HR player of 2 years ago or the 36 HR guy from last year. His RBIs and OPS were also up last year and part of that is directly attributable to the increase in HRs. The Rays are fielding another below average lineup this year so Longo will need some unexpected hitters to develop to give him protection and guys on base. I am a big fan of his talent and dedication so hopefully he can keep it going.
- Miguel Sano – Min (OF): After about half a year of experimenting with Sano if RF, the Twins came to their senses and moved him back to 3B. The added versatility is nice for fantasy owners but Sano’s real value is at 3B. An injury cost him part of the year and reduced his HR total. However, a horrendous slump at the beginning of the year, maybe attributable to his position switch or pressing for power, led to a bad batting average. A full, healthy year along with continuing development could catapult him up the rankings.
- Jonathan Villar – Mil (2B/SS): Villar is more likely to land at SS or 2B on fantasy teams but his SB production make him viable at a traditional power position in 3B as well.
- Matt Carpenter – StL (1B/2B): Another players who profiles as a 2B, Carpe Diem has enough power to be a fine 3B option as well.
- Todd Frazier – ChiW (1B): Fraze had a tremendous power year but coupled it with a bad batting average. If you are willing to accept a .250 or worse average, he is a productive power player. However, a trade to a lesser hitters’ park or even the trade of teammate Jose Abreu which removes the other quality power hitter in the White Sox lineup, could severely impact his production.
- Anthony Rendon – Was: Rendon has the pedigree as a former high draft pick and is in a nice lineup but his numbers were very average last year. I expect an uptick in performance if he, and the rest of the Nats lineup, can stay relatively healthy all year. However, there is some risk here so don’t overdraft him based on name and talent.
- Alex Bregman – Hou: Bregman is strictly an upside play as he struggled at times in his major league debut last year. This is where the weakness of the 3B position really starts to show. If some of the guys mention ed earlier are deployed at other positions, Bregman becomes a borderline starter in 10 team leagues. That could be scary. If you wait on 3B until late in drafts, you may want to take 2 in quick succession.
- Maikel Franco – Phi: Last year’s upside play, Franco had some good stretches. Unfortunately, he also had some bad ones. Added consistency and an improved lineup would make him a nice sleeper pick.
- Nick Castellanos – Det: The Tigers brass love this kids ability and the wqord is he looks good in spring training. However, he has only produced for limited stretches and been nicked up (pardon the pun) in 2 full years in the majors.
Injuries, inconsistency and limited upside mark this group of 3B to consider only in deeper leagues or as a last pick in your draft: Ryan Healy – Oak: easily the best of the rest needs to prove last year wasn’t a fluke, Jake Lamb – Ari: inconsistent but some upside in a good situation, Justin Turner – LAD: back in a familiar spot but limited upside in bad hitters’ park, Eduardo Nunez – SF (SS): SBs make him somewhat attractive but must defend to play everyday, Mike Moustakas – KC: coming off major injuiry and has yet to put it together for a full year, JH Kang – Pit: some upside but dealing with legal issues in native South Korea, Jose Ramirez – Cle (OF): last year may have been a fluke, Pablo Sandoval – Bos: good lineup and ballpark but needs to stay healthy and avoid the crab cakes.