As per my usual, I'm skipping over the Top 10 or so fantasy baseball Third Basemen. I still don't get how Evan Longoria goes as high as he does, and I don't know that I'd trust Will Middlebrooks to be all that great this season (now watch that prediction blow up on me,) but I'm not here to talk about them. I'm here to talk about some of the lesser 3-baggers. I'm going to start a little higher on the list, so we could be talking about players you'll have your eyes on if you're among the last to pick up a starter at this position.
David Freese, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Moustakas
Where does one start with these three? To me, they represent three dimensions of fantasy player: quietly consistent, boom and bust, and improving young'un.
If we break them down by category, Freese should easily win Batting Average, unless something inside Moustakas suddenly clicks. Then, perhaps, he could contend with Freese. Maybe.
In Home Runs, Alvarez should...I was going to say “run off,” but I think “walk off” might be more appropriate...with this category. The other two should have their fair share, but unless Alvarez collapses completely, this is a point in his favor.
Runs, RBIs, and Stolen Bases are all basically a crapshoot. None of them will steal much, although I would think Moustakas will get the most opportunities, with Freese in second. The knocks on these guys...Moustakas is young, and some still question him defensively at Third Base. If he struggles defensively, could that get in his head and mess with him offensively? Freese could get nicked up here and there, and those nicks may cost him more than a few games. Alvarez has the ability to be phenomenal for a brief period, then fall off, not unlike an episode from Season 6 of Family Guy.
Odds are, you've probably made your own decision by now, but if you still need me to rank them...I have to say I'd “Love” Freese, “Like” Moustakas, and “Leave” Alvarez. Sometimes I'll take the “boom and bust” guy if I think they could have a hot start and I could trade them off for something, but I don't believe that is the case with Alvarez. He's a desperation play in my opinion, and with these other two on the board, I'm not feeling desperate yet.
I don't play really deep leagues, at least I haven't yet, but if you're looking deeper, here's a few popular names:
Manny Machado, Lonnie Chisenhall, Todd Frazier
You've read it before, but I'll write it again. I like Batting Average. That said, when it comes to sleeper picks, that often goes out the window. Everything I heard about Frazier last year suggested that he has crazy power. Even if he doesn't get his best swing on a ball, he can still put it out at home, and as a later pick, I want to take my chances with a guy like him.
But didn't I just say I didn't want the “boom and bust” guy? Yes. That early, with the (roughly) 12th 3B off the board, I don't want Alvarez. A few picks later, I think I can get a more consistent and longer-streaking guy in Frazier. I may be speculating on the rosy side of things, but an offensive player in Cincinnati stands a pretty good chance of overperforming. I might not even be playing him, but I feel like he's the best possible trade chip later in the season out of these three. It's probably an easy call for a lot of folks, but nonetheless, I'll “Love” Frazier in this group.
Honestly, I'm not that excited about either of these other two. The projections seem better for Machado, but I don't know if Baltimore will repeat the type of season they had last year. I'm not that excited about Chisenhall either, even if Cleveland has the potential to have a very good year (and in the AL Central, anything is possible.)
I might be tempted by Machado for his potential eligibility at SS if Hardy were to get hurt, especially long-term (not that I'm suggesting anyone injure the guy, I'm just saying.) On the other hand, Chisenhall played there back in the day himself. If anything happened to Asdrubal Cabrera, well, let's just say if I had Chisenhall, it would be surprising enough that the FBI might be giving me a call.
It really comes down to whether I believe in the sophomore slump for Machado. If yes, go with the more experienced Chisenhall. Personally, this low in the rankings, I'd rather risk it. I'll “Like” Machado and “Leave” Chisenhall. I really can't argue too much for either over the other though.
Written by David Bobke