Third base is the new glamour position in fantasy baseball -- in the first round, anyway. Our 2017 3B rankings feature the same four, first-round studs as last year (perhaps in a different order), and all seem poisedfor big seasons once again. After that there are still plenty of high-quality starters and sleepers available based on projections -- including last year's top prospect-turned-future first-rounder Alex Bregman --so your fantasy draft cheat sheets should be full of potential options.
But something that stands out about third base, at least our rankings for third base, is the "fight" between old and new. Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria are both coming off big offensive seasons and probably seem much safer than Miguel Sano and Maikel Franco, but we'd rather have the sub-25-year-old sluggerswho each hit 25 HRs last season. You can make a strong case that Jake Lamb, who hit 29 homers last season, should be that high, too, but with only one season of demonstrating that kind of power, we're not totally convinced. Others will say something similar about Franco, though, so feel free to disagree.
It works in the other direction, too. Jung Ho Kang might have more upside than Matt Carpenter, but Carpenter is a steady player who doesn't have a possible suspension for a DUI hanging over his head. Javier Baez and Anthony Rendon are both 20/20 candidates, but their respective walk rates reveal very different hitters -- and a safer bet in Rendon. As wego further down, some players steal bases, other hit homers, but not many do both -- and the ones who do aren't proven or have batting average issues.
Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Base
Note: These rankings were compiled as if every player isonlyeligible at 3B. A player like Javier Baez will be ranked higher overall because he is also eligible at 2B and SS.
1B, 2B, SS
Jung Ho Kang
1B, 2B, SS, OF
1B, 2B, OF
*Eligible at another position
Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Third Base
The easy strategy for drafting a 3B is just getting one of the "Big Four" in the first round. Unfortunately, none do much on the basepaths (unless Machado can turn last year's zero SBs into the 20 from the year before), and if you want some steals to go along with a bunch of homers, you have to dip down to Todd Frazier and his .225 average. That number should come up to at least .240, but when you add in the potential of a mid-season Frazier trade, his draft stock isn't quite as high as it could/should be considering he's hit 75 homers and swiped 28 bases over the past two seasons.
Kyle Seager is a classic "safe" early-mid-round pick, and Longoria and Beltre should still get the job done despite worries about mediocre seasons prior to last year's respective 32-plus homer campaigns. Both will likely go shortly after Seager. The players in the 12-15 range of our rankings will go shortly after that, though it wouldn't be shocking to see someone reach for Bregman.
Obviously, we suggest waiting several rounds and just drafting Franco (Sano will go higher), and if you decide to wait and just sell out for some homers, guys like Kang, Lamb, and Justin Turner are solid options. If speed is your thing, Eduardo Nunez andJose Ramirez are good and can get double-digit homers, too. The same can said for Hernan Perez, though it doesn't look like he has an everyday job right now. These are all mid-round targets.
13 Anthony Rendon Nationals --
If you wait even longer, the underrated Eugenio Suarez can get 25 HRs and 10 SBs, but he could kill your average. Jedd Gyorko, assuming he has an everyday job, Ryon Healy, and Ryan Schimpf are big-time home run sleepers, but they're better suited as CIs (or middle infielders, in Gyorko's and Schimpf's cases), not 3Bs, on draft day.
Ultimately, you probably won't love your 3B unless you get one of the top four, so finding one that fits your team is key. If you're loaded with power hitters already, waiting for someone like Baez orRendon might be the smart play (or going all-in for a steals guy like Nunez), especially since there aren't a ton of speedy guys at this position, but no one will fault you for loading up on power hitters and hoping you find this year's breakout.