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February 14, 2014

Dynasty League Positional Rankings

Top 50 Third Basemen

by Bret Sayre

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The Primer:
Because dynasty league rankings are relatively league-dependent, I set up parameters for ranking the players below (and the ones who will follow at other positions). The list here presupposes a 16-team standard dynasty format, where there are no contracts/salaries, players can be kept forever and owners have minor league farm systems in which to hoard prospects. So feel free to adjust this as necessary for your individual league, whether it’s moving non-elite prospects without 2014 ETA’s down if you don’t have separate farm teams or moving lower-risk, lower-reward players up in deeper mixed or only formats.

The thing about third base is that it’s really not as shallow of a position as people make it out to be. And that’s not even including some top-flight prospects who are currently projected at other positions, but could end up here in the future—like Javier Baez and Carlos Correa. With the biggest name at the hot corner all set to depart after the 2014 season (at least eligibility-wise), the position will look for someone to claim the throne. Will it be one of the current collection of second or third-round picks to step up, or will the savior come from the position’s youth? The real sea change here won’t come in 2015, but further down the road—as there is only one player in the top-10 who has major league experience and is less than 28 years old. You can probably guess who he is. There are also major leaguers who will be shifting over to this list for either 2015 or 2016 (mostly from second base) in Anthony Rendon, Matt Carpenter and Jedd Gyorko. This will continue to beef up what is already a somewhat beefy middle tier.

And now, your top 50 third basemen in dynasty formats:

The man without peers at the position. It does not matter in the slightest that he won’t have the eligibility beyond 2014—players like Miggy are above eligbility. I wouldn’t care if he was DH-only for the rest of his career; his value would not change in the slightest.

It’s no secret how much I love Machado. He’s going to be a superstar, and even though he gets pegged as a “better in real life” guy because of his insane defense, it undersells his fantasy future. He can be a future .300 hitter with 25-30 bombs annually—and it could start as soon as 2014 (though 2015 is a better bet). The other three are great, but have their flaws. Longoria isn’t as great for fantasy as he seems because of his batting averages and injuries. Wright is great now, but is exiting his prime shortly. Beltre is past his prime, but just continues to rake. He’ll slow down at some point.

He’s real and he’s spectacular.

Sano and Bryant are great prospects. In fact, they are both in the top 10 of my Fantasy 101 (to be released soon). But let’s slow down a second before putting them much higher than this. Sano could be a .260 hitting, 40-homer monster or he could be Pedro Alvarez lite. Bryant could be a similar guy with less power, but a little more average, or he could be an outfielder with 25 home run power and little else. It amazes me that Zimmerman still won’t turn 30 until after the 2014 season is over. Feels like he’s been around forever.

There are plenty of solid names in this group, from the post-hype Lawrie to the post-prime Aramis. The NL West hot-corner residents are looking to bounce back from disappointing seasons in 2013, and both Headley and Sandoval can do just that. Castellanos has an exciting future, but those who think he can be a big average and big power hitter at the same time are setting their expectations too high.

These three are the poor man’s version of the players in the previous grouping. Arenado is a weaker version of Castellanos, but could play to similar heights in fantasy because of Coors Field. Frazier did not have the best season in 2013, but he still was a solid fantasy contributor and has more upside in the batting average and power. Moustakas is an enigma at this point, but I still believe a little. He’s shown power and contact ability in spurts at the major-league level and he is still only 25 years old.

Yes, Seager is on the third-base list. If you’re expecting him to play shortstop for your fantasy team, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

This next group is filled with players who either have decent current value or some potential. With guys like Moran and Olt in the 30s, you can see that it’s not a super shallow position—though it’s not without risk. Middlebrooks still has a chance to be a fantasy starter for a long time. Johnson and Freese are both pretty good values this year, albeit for different reasons—and both are still in their primes. Gallo is a huge wildcard at this point with a huge payoff. And don’t forget about Wilmer Flores, who is still very young and can hit, but just needs to find a position like every other Mets prospect.

Lots of prospects in this group, starting with a sleeper in Colorado. I am not a believer in Matt Dominguez—maybe he can hit 20 homers going forward, but he is likely to hurt you almost everywhere else. Don’t sleep on Rio Ruiz, who hit .284/.344/.488 with 10 homers and nine steals from June 1 on in his full-season debut. He’s a health risk, but he can hit.

I still think he’s going to play in 2015 and I still think he’s going to be playable when he comes back. If not, who are you really missing out on? Lonnie Chisenhall?

Sorry, Lonnie.

There are prospects here worth paying attention to even down to the bottom of the list. Harrison is one of my favorite fringy fantasy prospects, as no one talks about him in an extremely deep Minnesota system, but he’s got some pop and isn’t all that far away.

Bret Sayre is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Bret's other articles. You can contact Bret by clicking here

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