The offseason keeps chugging along so here are my third base rankings for 2020. As always, my rankings are based on standard 5×5 rotisserie categories. Below the rankings table, I provide a short blurb covering over 30 third baseman. The signing of Josh Donaldson is a great one for him personally and the rest of the Twins offense as they should once again put up mammoth numbers. He’s the only player who has moved much over the last month. Please leave comments and questions below. If you’re interested in checking out my other positional rankings, click here.
Third Base - 2020 Rankings
|4||Rafael Devers||Red Sox|
|6||Yoan Moncada||White Sox|
|12||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||Blue Jays|
|30||Travis Shaw||Blue Jays|
|33||Tommy La Stella||Angels|
|42||Brandon Drury||Blue Jays|
|49||Bobby Dalbec||Red Sox|
Everything is not copacetic between the Rockies and Nolan Arenado. He feels disrespected and is demanding a trade. The issue here is leaving Coors likely drops his overall production by about 10% (nothing scientific there, just a guess). If he stays, he’ll remain number one but if he’s traded, Jose Ramirez and possibly Rafael Devers jump ahead of him. Jose Ramirez will be 27 years old in 2020. His average season from 2017-2019 is .283-95-30-90-25. That includes a shortened 2019 due to injuries plus two very poor halves of baseball (2nd half of 2018 & first half of 2019). I think that a three-year average is a reasonable projection for 2020 and that’s borderline first-round value fam! I covered Alex Bregman in my shortstop rankings here.
Rafael Devers is starting the look a lot like a young Miguel Cabrera. He’s only 23 years old and made massive strides in 2019. I can’t get over what he did over the final five months of the season. Take a look, he didn’t hit his first home run until May 3rd last year. From that point forward, here’s his line: .314/.357/.593 112 R, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 4 SB. That’s essentially a first-round line over a five-month timeframe. After years of being undervalued Anthony Rendon finally put it all together in 2019. Thanks to the career-year I may actually be priced out of Rendon in 2020. I still think he’s a good bet to hit .300 with 30 homers and 100+ RBI but don’t believe he can provide profit around pick 20. He’s still inside my top-30, so I certainly don’t dislike him, I just might be looking elsewhere in the second round.
I’m 100% in on Yoan Moncada. The adjustments he made last season by being more aggressive and cutting his strikeout rate did wonder for overall production. Additionally, he showed up as an underperformer based on deserved barrels and earned home runs. I’ve conservatively projection him for a .275-30-12 with .290-35-15 upside. I covered Manny Macahdo in the SS rankings here. Josh Donaldson goes from one elite offense to another. Hitting in the middle of the Twins lineup should allow Donaldson to reach 200 combines runs + RBI. He’s no longer a batting average asset but should reach close to 35 homers once again.
I went back and forth with Eugenio Suarez and Josh Donaldson. Both have huge power but the difference for me Donaldson’s elite walk rate. He should carry the better OBP and score more runs giving him the edge over Suarez. For those wondering, yes. I’m expecting a steep regression from Suarez. It’s a classic case of don’t pay for last year’s performance. I covered DJ LeMahieu in 1B & 2B rankings here. Kris Bryant is no longer the MVP we know and love. He hasn’t been for quite some time actually. If you look at his Statcast page, you’ll be disappointed but he’s been able to outperform his metrics for a number of years now. He’s still going to bat second or third in a solid lineup and he gets on basea ton. In all reality, he’s safe and should contribute is four categories.
While I believe in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and believe he will be a future top-25 player for many years, he needs to make a couple of adjustments. I allude to these changes in this piece I did for Pitcher List. So while this rank means I’m out this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the breakout occur this year. I didn’t realize that I’d be this low on Matt Chapman because I love the guy! I was all over him last year and he did not disappoint. However, I realized that third Base is deeper than I thought. It’s full of 30+ homer guys who can drive in 100 runs. The only reason he’s not higher is because I think he’s a .260 hitter. The difference in my overall rankings between Donaldson and Chapman is about 25 spots, so you can’t go wrong with any of these guys. I covered Mike Moustakas, Max Muncy (although, I’m dropping him one spot), and Yuli Gurriel in my previous rankings, here.
If Miguel Sano could stay out of trouble and stay on the field for 150 games, he’d finish inside the top-five in all of baseball in home runs. His ceiling is higher than almost anyone. The strikeouts are an issue but he finished inside the top-1% in barrel rate, hard-hit rate, and expected weighted on-base on contact (xwOBACON). I covered Eduardo Escobar in the 2B rankings, here. J.D. Davis is another Statcast darling from 2019 but his poor defense could hold him back. He does hit the ball on the ground too frequently but he’s decreased his ground ball rate each of the last two seasons. I’m concerned his line drive rate which jumped seven percent in 2019 will come back down lowering his batting average. Line Drives rates are not reliable year-to-year. Still, he provides a solid combination of power and batting average which justifies this rank.
We saw another solid season from Justin Turner in 2019 but once again, he failed to reach 600 plate appearances. With a career filled with nagging injuries and the fact that he’ll be 35 years old, I’m very likely out on JT for 2020. I covered Hunter Dozier in my 1B Rankings here. I’ve seen a lot of hype for Scott Kingery after a solid 19-homer, 15 steal season in 2019. He improved his quality of contact but still has a very high strikeout rate combined with a below-average walk rate. Until he can improve his on-base skills, he’ll be destined for the bottom third of the Phillies lineup. There’s a chance for a 20-20 season but it’ll likely come with a .250 average and below-average counting stats.
I covered Tommy Edman in the 2B rankings. I covered Yandy Diaz in my 1B Rankings here. Roster Resource lists Giovanny Urshela as the starting third baseman for the Yankees and not Miguel Andujar. I’ve ranked Andujar ahead of Urshela, so I believe Andujar could see time at third base, first base, and DH which may give him an edge in playing time over Urshela. I also believe he has more upside in terms of power. If Andujar were healthy in 2019 with the juiced ball, he could have reached 35 homers. I’d rank him higher but I think he’ll see the bench once or twice per week. Kyle Seager is just an old, boring veteran, isn’t he? Don’t go look at the Mariners roster, it’s ugly. They are not competing and no one is going to take Seager’s job, at least in 2020. He’s locked in as the three-hole hitter this season. That’s great for run-production even on a bad club. He showed some signs of life in the second half and if you can stomach the .240 batting average, he could provide 25-30 homers.
Brian Anderson isn’t a sexy pick but in deep leagues, he should be a valuable corner infielder. He kind of reminds me of a young Eric Hosmer except he actually lowered his ground ball rate to near league-average in 2019. He’s going to play every day so there’s a certain sense of security with him for deeper formats in 2020. I tried to tell ya to stay away from players who have their career year in their early-mid 30s. That’s Matt Carpenter. I like Travis Shaw as a bounce back, but boy did I get burned by him last year. He’s dirt cheap now, so grabbing him at the end of your draft won’t hurt you. I think he’s in a decent spot in Toronto and could get back to hitting around .250 with 25-30 homers.
Let’s go ahead and throw Maikel Franco into the bounceback bucket as well. He’s dirt cheap right now and should be given the opportunity to start every day for the Royals. I covered Starlin Castro and Tommy La Stella in the 2B Rankings here.
Third Base gets very ugly after Tommy La Stella. I covered Jon Berti in my shortstop rankings, he’s somewhat interesting for speed. Asdrubal Cabrera seems like the odd man out in Washington but if there’s an injury, he could provide a lot of value as a top-25 option at the position. Johan Camargo will receive a lot of playing time at third base for the Braves if Austin Riley struggles in his second taste of the big leagues. Speaking of Riley, he’s not eligible at 3B at the moment but if he gains eligibility, he’d fall in the Carpenter/Franco range. In keeper formats, I prefer Alec Bohm over Ke’Bryan Hayes but I think Hayes gets the call in June of 2020. Bohm may just be a late-season call-up in a best-case scenario.