You down with ADP? Third Base Edition

“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” Aldous Huxley

Machado's knee will determine his value in 2014

Machado’s knee will determine his value in 2014

For one more year the number player at third base will be Miguel Cabrera, barring injury that is known. However, after the second tier, ranking and projecting third base is going to be open to many opinions and perceptions. While Beltre and Wright are solid second round selections, there will be many drafts that will have people reach for a third baseman due to position scarcity. It runs out fast and the less risk averse a drafter is will mean overpaying for a third baseman in 2014. And if you fast forward to next year, there may not be a third baseman in the first round of draft with Cabrera moving back to first base. Before looking at the tiers of third base, here is my present top fifteen along with NL and AL only formats:

Player

Initial Rank

My Top 15

FSTA Pick

M. Cabrera

1

1

2

Ad. Beltre

2

2

19

D. Wright

3

3

13

J. Donaldson

5

4

57

R. Zimmerman

6

5

49

M. Carpenter

7

6

69

E. Longoria

4

7

21

K. Seager

8

8

105

B. Lawrie

9

9

122

M. Machado

12

10

120

M. Prado

11

11

111

Ar. Ramirez

15

12

155

P. Alvarez

10

13

108

C. Headley

13

14

147

P. Sandoval

14

15

116

 

Rank

AL Only Top 15

NL Only Top 15

1

M. Cabrera

D. Wright

2

Ad. Beltre

R. Zimmerman

3

J. Donaldson

M. Carpenter

4

E. Longoria

M. Prado

5

K. Seager

Ar. Ramirez

6

B. Lawrie

P. Alvarez

7

M. Machado

C. Headley

8

W. Middlebrooks

P. Sandoval

9

M. Dominguez

N. Arenado

10

N. Castellanos

T. Frazier

11

M. Moustakas

C. Johnson

12

D. Freese

C. Asche

13

T. Plouffe

M. Reynolds

14

M. Davidson

L. Valbuena

15

M. Sano

Do. Murphy

 

Before jumping into the tiers it is very important to note that two second base eligible players are in the top 11 at third base. There are values to be had, but choosing the correct players can have a huge impact on drafter’s fantasy seasons. As for Tier 1, I am skipping that because Miguel Cabrera is in his own tier at third base and there is really no debate. For the tiers below I will be using the NFBC ADP’s data from NESN.com.

Tier 2

Adrian Beltre 19.43

Evan Longoria 21.86

David Wright 25.17

This group comes down to personal preference, and in my rankings I have Beltre a tad higher than Wright. But if it came down to it at this spot, I would take David. The difference in stolen bases and age makes me lean to Wright. I think every year that Longoria is over rated and this ADP just reinforces it. He is a good ball player but there is no margin for value taking him this high.

Tier 3

Matt Carpenter 52.76

Ryan Zimmerman 61.17

Josh Donaldson 68.5

If I do not take Wright above, I am more than comfortable with either Zimmerman or Donaldson as my third baseman. Neither is flashy or dripping with upside, but each can deliver low to mid twenty home run potential, score runs, drive runners in and steal a handful of bases. Both were taken over ten spots higher in the industry draft as opposed to the NFBC live drafts. Like in the second base article, the value on Carpenter is gone and he is overpriced at his current draft positions.

Tier 4

Pedro Alvarez 83.9

Martin Prado 98.83

Manny Machado 107.88

Kyle Seager 115.50

With the decline of home runs, Alvarez is being valued much more in NFBC drafts than in the FSTA. There is safety in 30 home runs but the average will be a drain. Machado and Seager may be great value plays here as a starting third baseman or corner infield. Although I have Seager higher in my ranks, I am happy to have them at this point of the draft. Like Wright above, player that can contribute across all 5 categories provide nice balance for teams.

Tier 5

Chase Headley 148.55

Brett Lawrie 151.52

Aramis Ramirez 155.31

Pablo Sandoval 157.02

Nolan Arenado 168.76

This is the last tier to wait for a third baseman as a starter. If you have not drafted yet now is the time to gamble on which player you want to believe in. I am starting to think I will end up with a player from this tier. Last year Headley was a do not draft player for me because of his inflated peripheral numbers and 2012 will probably be his outlier. But now Headley is a bargain and I have him projected for 17 home runs and 11 stolen bases this season. Another player I really like here is Brett Lawrie. After making a splash in Toronto he has struggled staying on the field but he is only 24 entering this season and potential top 10 third baseman in the 10th round is a steal. Aramis Ramirez and Nolan Arenado are at different points in their careers but Ramirez, if healthy, is a 20 home run corner infielder this late without the batting average risk that Alvarez presents. Arenado is an intriguing player who made adjustments last year and if Colorado is going to improve, he needs to step up. Pay for 15 home runs at this point and enjoy the profits if he hits more for the Rockies.

Tier 6

Todd Frazier 202.79

Will Middlebrooks 219.43

Nick Castellanos 253.50

Matt Dominguez 255.40

Chris Johnson 258.81

Again there are some interesting players in this tier, but more for the corners as opposed to starters unless it is a league specific format. Middlebrooks could be interesting if he can take a walk in the majors, the power is real and I project him for 21 home runs, but his playing time is tied to what happens to Stephen Drew. Chris Johnson benefitted from a huge BABIP in 2013 but a drop this far is surprising. I have him as my 19th ranked third baseman overall one behind Middlebrooks but ahead of the Castellanos and Dominguez.

Tier 7

David Freese 274.93

Mike Moustakas 292.71

Cody Asche 342.21

Trevor Plouffe 347.05

Matt Davidson 376.67

Lonnie Chisenhall 390.45

Miguel Sano 456.00

With the exception of rookies Davidson and Sano, welcome to the land of the misfit toys. I show this tier to illustrate how the well runs dry if third base and corner are not filled soon enough. Davidson has power and could even surprise with a season akin to Matt Dominguez in his debut but his average will be like Alvarez this year. Sano is the ultimate wild card, if his elbow is healthy and the Twins call him up after the super two date, he is a massive power prospect. At this point in the draft, why not gamble on the upside.

Knowing the values of third baseman will help avoid reaching too soon for one in drafts. There will be individual profiles during the week to explore the bargains and what they can achieve for 2014. Depending on draft position will determine what tier to take a third baseman. But with the lack of depth at both first and third base, know what targets that can help round out your team. My original third base rankings article can be found here with player capsules. What Cabrera, Beltre and Wright can do is known, the first couple of tiers behind them as well, the rest is open to perception. Draft wisely my friends.

Greg Jewett is a staff writer for Roto Analysis and you can follow us on Twitter @RotoAnalysis and @gjewett9

FSTA draft results courtesy of RTsports and NFBC ADP’s courtesy of NESN.com.

Manny Machado picture credit: http://www.trbimg.com/img-50233517/turbine/bal-orioles-calling-up-top-position-player-prospect-manny-machado-from-doublea-bowie-20120808/400/16×9

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