Third Base Rankings: May

Third base continues to be a source of frustration for many owners featuring injury (Ryan Zimmerman), ineffectiveness (Pablo Sandoval, Mike Moustakas) and sometimes injury and ineffectiveness (Chase Headley, David Freese), among others. Third base has also featured a bit of a coming out party from a few players which has been a magical salve for those of us hurting at the hot corner. But then again, it is just May, so I’m not particularly motivated to move the needle too quickly on shaking up the regular royalty when it comes to the tiers.

I’m going to do a little something different, which I think will provide some adequate context to the discussion and perhaps take a little of the April emotional manager out of the equation — I’m going to post Steamer rest-of-the-season projections with my tiers in lieu of posting what they’ve done so far. Because what they’ve done so far is super nice and all, but what really matters is what they’re going to do. Right?

So let’s get this out of the way:

Tier one:

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Miguel Cabrera 29 84 92 2 0.322 0.407 0.573

Yeah, Miguel Cabrera has had a pretty lukewarm start, and by his standards, it’s one of the worst starts in his career. It’s led me to talk like a gold rush hillbilly in fact. But I’m not ready to write his obituary nor give him any company in a tier of his own. If we end May and Miguel Cabrera still resembles Trevor Plouffe, well, then I’ll have some hat eating to do.

Here’s where we have a little movement from April.

Tier two

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Evan Longoria 23 67 74 1 0.264 0.347 0.483
Edwin Encarnacion 25 71 76 5 0.263 0.355 0.488
Josh Donaldson 18 61 63 4 0.266 0.341 0.451
Adrian Beltre 21 64 76 1 0.293 0.344 0.489

I’m willing to bump Donaldson up here finally, and maybe I should have had the fortitude to do so back in March, but Donaldson has pretty much been as advertised. He might not ever hit .300 again, but he’s pumping out the home runs and concomitant counting stats once again, and he’s pretty much been the most valuable third baseman since the start of the season. Beltre’s had kind of a slow start and hasn’t hit for much power at all and I do worry about his health while Encarnacion just feels like the kind of player who is about to break out.

Tier three

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
David Wright 16 62 63 11 0.282 0.362 0.455
Nolan Arenado 13 53 60 3 0.284 0.324 0.448
Aramis Ramirez 16 49 56 2 0.268 0.333 0.455
Pablo Sandoval 15 57 62 1 0.274 0.338 0.447
Todd Frazier 15 46 51 6 0.244 0.314 0.425
Ryan Zimmerman 11 37 37 2 0.278 0.349 0.468

I kind of hate this tier, but it just feels necessary. On the one hand, we’ve got to give some credit to the nutty run that Arenado has had, and with these projections, he’s top ten material at third base, if not a little on the underwhelming side. And we like to be whelmed. But David Wright has been all sorts of absent, trumped perhaps only by Pablo Sandoval who looks lost and then Ryan Zimmerman who actually has been literally absent. And then there’s Todd Frazier, who has been my April BFF when trying to shove gum in the dam holes. Not only has Frazier hit .265/.349/.478, but he’s checked the box in all four other roto categories with five home runs, 18 runs, 19 RBI, and even three steals. What a guy! Steamer isn’t so excited about his ROS, but color me a little bullish on Frazier from here on out. Aramis Ramirez will either be up a tier or down a tier by June, we can bank on that.

Tier Four

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Pedro Alvarez 22 53 63 3 0.243 0.319 0.463
Kyle Seager 15 61 61 7 0.266 0.335 0.425
Anthony Rendon 12 54 53 3 0.272 0.339 0.431
Brett Lawrie 16 61 60 9 0.268 0.326 0.441
Manny Machado 12 62 54 7 0.269 0.315 0.422
Matt Carpenter 7 55 38 3 0.28 0.366 0.411
Martin Prado 10 58 52 5 0.28 0.334 0.418
Will Middlebrooks 16 44 50 3 0.256 0.304 0.45

Hmm, well, isn’t this a mess. Carpenter hasn’t necessarily turned into a pumpkin and ought to score another pile of runs, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he’s a one trick pony. Pedro Alvarez is doing exactly what you would expect Pedro Alvarez to do. Kyle Seager is back from the dead, and if you are okay with Kyle Seager’s ROS projections, then you kind of have to be okay with Rendon, Lawrie, Machado, and Middlebrooks too. Martin Prado is striking out at a ridiculous pace for his standards with 24 strikeouts already where he fanned just 53 times all season last year. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if he were doing anything else at all, which he isn’t.

Tier Five

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Trevor Plouffe 13 47 49 2 0.241 0.307 0.403
Matt Dominguez 14 47 52 1 0.244 0.298 0.403
Chase Headley 12 50 49 7 0.252 0.339 0.401
David Freese 10 44 44 2 0.264 0.335 0.4
Nick Castellanos 10 48 48 3 0.267 0.312 0.402
Juan Uribe 12 45 50 3 0.246 0.301 0.39
Chris Johnson 9 42 47 1 0.272 0.316 0.408

Honestly, any of these guys could be up a tier. I really like what I’ve seen from Plouffe thus far, and I’ve probably written too much about him already on this site. He’s been highly productive on the run scoring and RBI front, and holding his own in batting average rather surprisingly. He’s more known for his power, which should show up any day now. What’s not known if the batting average does what they suggest above, which then becomes problematic. And problematic is probably a good way to describe this whole group because they all have their warts, although I know there are many of you who are big Dominguez, Castellanos, and CJ fans, and if so, well, bully for you. And Juan Uribe. 135 wRC+. Seriously.

The rest

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Mark Reynolds 16 36 41 2 0.221 0.321 0.445
Mike Moustakas 12 43 47 3 0.249 0.305 0.416
Yangervis Solarte 7 48 45 3 0.261 0.311 0.367
Lonnie Chisenhall 9 32 34 2 0.257 0.309 0.423
Casey McGehee 9 44 47 2 0.249 0.312 0.378
Juan Francisco 13 36 40 2 0.238 0.298 0.434
Marcus Semien 9 39 37 8 0.232 0.305 0.374
Conor Gillaspie 8 37 37 2 0.251 0.315 0.384
Luis Valbuena 9 38 35 3 0.234 0.328 0.374
Alberto Callaspo 7 41 39 2 0.256 0.333 0.368
Cody Asche 7 26 29 3 0.255 0.307 0.403
Jordan Pacheco 2 16 16 1 0.274 0.318 0.379
Mike Olt 9 27 28 2 0.215 0.297 0.379
Jonathan Schoop 9 38 38 4 0.24 0.287 0.364
Andrew Romine 2 31 27 10 0.252 0.312 0.327

Viva baseball.

 

 




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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.


37 Responses to “Third Base Rankings: May”

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  1. jbuffn says:

    For those of us playing in leagues where Carlos Santana has 3B eligibility, which is at least ESPN, where would he fall tier-wise?

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  2. Robert says:

    Where does Carlos Santana rank in this? Low 4th tier? I was offered cashner for him in a dynasty league.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      I just figured that Santana almost assuredly is being used as a catcher since that’s where he’s most valuable, so I left him out. But I’d probably have him leading off the fourth tier. I’m pretty optimistic that he can pull it together.

      Without catcher eligibility, I might bite on that Cashner offer but not if he’s your everyday backstop.

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      • stuck in a slump says:

        My 3B situation was so bad that I needed to get help from some where, so I grabbed Pinto to be my catcher with Santana being my every day 3B and alternating him in and out of the C spot when Pinto isn’t playing. I’ve surprisingly have been able to profit by a decent amount from this.

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    • TangoAlphaLima says:

      In a dynasty league, where Santana probably loses his catcher eligibility next year and never regains it? Yeah, I’d probably take Cashner.

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      • stuck in a slump says:

        He’s already got six games behind the plate this season, which means that for Yahoo!, he’ll only need 4 more GS as a C to maintain eligibility for next year. For other leagues, I’m not sure how many games started you have to go to get eligibility, but I can’t imagine it’s more than 20 games, so he’s already 30%of the way there with the Indians having only played 20% of their season’s games. He’ll likely make that number if for no other reason than that he’s the primary backup C for the team.

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      • Atreyu Jones says:

        Yahoo! only requires 5 starts, so he locked in C for next year in Yahoo leagues.

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  3. Ron says:

    I was just offered Edwin and Gio for Pujols and Harper (DL). Do you see a rebound from Edwin to warrant making this move?

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    • Michael Barr says:

      hard to know without all the league details and your needs, but non-dynasty I might bite. Dynasty no way.

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  4. murphyluke says:

    Where would you rank Xander Bogaerts? In ESPN leagues he has both 3B and SS eligibility.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      kinda like the Santana thing, he’s way more valuable over at SS, so I figured I’d leave him off. But I’d place him around a notch below the Seager’s of the world.

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      • murphyluke says:

        I just traded for Jose Reyes, so Bogaerts is now my full-time 3B.

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      • JimNYC says:

        I have Bogaertes as my primary third baseman in two leagues (one where I originally had Manny Machado; another where I had Ryan Zimmerman) — I think all ten of my teams have Dee Gordon at SS since I was able to pick him up off waivers in the first week of the season.

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    • Roger says:

      Has both in Yahoo as well.

      Yes most are going to have Bogaerts at SS, but in my case with Kipnis on the DL I’ve had to slide Rendon to 2B and Bogaerts to 3B and start Simmons at SS.

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  5. Emcee Peepants says:

    Bogaerts has 3B eligibility in at least CBS, bottom of the 4th tier probably?

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    • Emcee Peepants says:

      Even though my comment time says 8 minutes after the one above asking the same question, I promise it wasn’t there when I posted it.

      Similar situation for me, I have Xander, Desmond, Miller, Middlebrooks, Semien, Rendon, and Kelly Johnson to occupy my 2B/SS/MI/3B slots in some combinationdepending on who is sucking the least, so Xander is 3B relevant. Johnson isn’t listed either but I assume he falls into the bottom of the 5th or “the rest”?

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      • Michael Barr says:

        I’d put KJ in “the rest”. But maybe at the top, if that makes his mom feel better.

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  6. Andrew says:

    Is Pedro Alvarez doing exactly what we would expect him to do? SwSt% down 5%, Contact% up 7%, BB% up 5%, K% down 9%. The .209 BABIP may be masking it, but I’d say he’s a completely different hitter than one we would have expected. A much better hitter.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      this is a good point, one that merits investigating. I’ll see about digging deep on him for Friday.

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      • Emcee Peepants says:

        In your defense, he is getting the same results:

        2014: 324 wOBA, 106 wRC+
        Career: 324 wOBA, 105 wRC+

        (though he was 5-10% better than that the past 2 years)

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    • Snarf says:

      Pedro the thief! 3 steals already!

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      • eltorostrikesagain says:

        My name here gives away that I’m biased, but check out Pedro’s HR tracker, correct me if I’m wrong but of his 8 HR, he has yet to hit a dead pull HR, with I believe only 1 to right center. With the aforementioned selection at the plate looking better, could be a special year for him.

        Also, he definitely has been looking to run more this year, wouldn’t be shocked if he pushed 9 or 10 SB. Check out his steal last night in a tight game, bad jump but still stole the bag on a decent throw.

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  7. Rob says:

    Looking at the projections you have on here, I’m not sure I understand why Pedro is (a) in Tier 4 and not 3 and (b) behind most of Tier 3.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      fair observation. But A) I have a Todd Frazier man crush and B) I fear Alvarez could hit .210 ROS

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  8. SKob says:

    Am I crazy to think that Valencia could replace Moustakas and be worth Tier 5 consideration? Mous is the new poster boy for not trusting spring stats. Guy should be demoted!

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  9. sdcarp says:

    Arenado is the real deal……way underrated here.

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  10. d_i says:

    If you’re really taking Panda over Rendon, I would like to make a wager with you.

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    • tylersnotes says:

      i’m having trouble justifying sandoval in the third tier at all. I trust Wright to pull it together, and I’m willing to give zimmerman the benefit of the doubt when he’s back from the DL, but pablo has been effectively worthless for a month and his ROS projections are firmly in lower tier. 15-17 HR ROS with a .240ish AVG, 50-60 runs and rbi, no steals. And that’s hoping everything last month was a fluke and he performs much better going forward.

      i’m ready to stick a fork in him. He was a buy for me all off season, but I’m not willing to wait for him to pull it together while the lower tier players all jump ahead of him.

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  11. Troy says:

    Lets pretend for second Gyorko qualified for 3b too, where would he fall on this list?

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  12. Brett says:

    Rendon’s ROS stats seem low. 135 plate appearances into the season and he has the highest OPS of any 3B player. Slotting 12 people still ahead of him seems a touch harsh.

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    • Will says:

      Yeah, I agree. As with Alvarez, some more digging (or watching… not saying you don’t, but one or the other might need to be used more here than apparently just looking at ROS Zips) is called for. Have you seen how fast this guys hand’s are? I can’t speak for most players, as I only watch the Nats with regularity, but he is all the hitting pro expected when – before injury – was expected to go 1 overall. Definitely not just someone you can say “Seager comp” and leave it at that.

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  13. Ruki Motomiya says:

    I don’t understand why people keep putting Pablo above, say, Seager.

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  14. dscottncc says:

    A mannequin could hit 47 RBI’s out of the 4th spot in a lineup behind Giancarlo Stanton.

    That projection is god awful for McGehee.

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  15. Cybo says:

    Yahoo is the only site EE has 3B eligibility on. I’d say chances are good it stays like that for the season. Even as they’ve shuffled Lawrie around from 3B to 2B and back, EE has yet to log even 1 inning at 3B.

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  16. mike says:

    thoughts on olt? he struggled early, but his approach is looking better, he’s making more contact, and now he’s homered in 3 straight. assuming he starts getting the bulk of starts at 3B, how do you project him finishing the season? .250 and 25 hr possible considering he has 7 already?

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  17. jim says:

    The models have so much regression they seem to be incapable of predicting growth in young players like Rendon, Even Goldschmidt is “predicted” to have a rest of season worse than last year due to, as far as I can tell, including his age 23 rookie stats in the computations.

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