Third Base – The Choice Is Yours

Moving on the the hot corner, I’ve done the outfielders and shortstops with speed. I’m going in a different direction as the hot corner nearly has the depth of first base and is littered with power bats. We are going to focus on power and run production in this article from third base. This won’t be your high end talent at third baseman, I’ll be digging into players taken outside of 125 overall. These third baseman are your 16+ league starters or CI guys. So, take a look at the mystery players below with ZIPS projections and I’ll do a little dive into the numbers and ADP so we can find out who to get with and who stay away from.

3B Deep LeagueZIPS Projections  
RunsHRRBIAVGSBADP
Player A7728960.2713139
Player B8125830.2577192
Player C7525960.2661234
Player D7426870.2449284

Player A looks solid, maybe this guy should be inside the top 100 with those numbers. There’s good and bad with Player A, first the good. The last three seasons he’s averaged 28 HR, 87 RBI, a .264 BA and he’s only 30 years old coming into 2018. Based on those numbers, the projections look good except maybe a little high in BA and run production. Here’s the bad news for this AL corner man, he has increased his K% each of the last three seasons and hit a career low .249 in 2017 fueled by an insane 51.6% FB rate. Increased fly ball rates lead to more HR though, right? Well he hit 27 in 2017 down from 30 in 2016, so no. Player A is steady Kyle Seager. Here’s the problem, he’s selling out for power increasing his FB% by 10% but not actually improving on the power numbers. It’s impossible to hit for a high average with an over 50% FB rate, just ask Matt Carpenter and Joey Gallo. Therefore, I disagree with ZIPS high average (for Seager) along with the 28 HR. For me, it’s one or the other. He either hits 28 HR with a .245 BA or he hits .270 with 23 HR. The run production is too high as well, he’ll end up around 80-85 RBI. For me at this price, I’m saying DON’T GET WITH THIS.

Player B has pretty similar projections to Seager with a lower BA, a few less HR but more steals. He’s being taken 55 spots later so it appears he might be better value than Seager especially with what I believe to be true about Seager. I like Player B, he’s 26-years-old, has increased his power numbers and walk rate for three straight years and is slated to hit fourth in a hitters ballpark. This NL 3B is Eugenio Suarez. I love Suarez, you can read my thoughts on Suarez on FanGraphs Community way back in November. I can’t figure out how he’s only projected for 83 RBI which is basically identical to 2017 except he’ll be hitting fourth directly behind OBP machine Joey Votto and last year he spent over 130 games hitting 5th or 6th. I can easily see 90+ RBI with the 80+ runs. He’s a clone of Seager but 55 picks later and throw in a few extra steals for good measure, I have him ranked higher than Seager. GET WITH THIS.

Based on ZIPS, Player C has incredible value. He’s actually projected for better numbers than Suarez but with no speed and identical projections to Seager with nearly 100 picks between them! To be fair, ZIPS projection is the most favorable for this player especially in the RBI department. This NL third baseman is only 25 but has 2.5 seasons of major league experience. His offensive production has decreased each year and there is risk he could lose his job during the season. Player C is Maikel Franco. It would take great starts to the season from J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery to push Franco to the bench. Personally, I’m torn on Franco. I love the power, age, and contact skills but I hate the crazy high IFFB% and his hard hit contact is not reminiscent of the power hitter. As bad as he was in 2017, he still hit 24 HR and drove in 74 runs. Don’t ask me where ZIPS is getting those RBI numbers because Franco likely isn’t higher than sixth in the order. I don’t believe in the .234 BA last year but .270 might be too high considering the popup issue. I like him at this cost but think he’s more of a .255 25-80 guy until he kicks those his popup problem to the curb. GET WITH THIS, but don’t reach.

Player D has been a steady power source over his career and has averaged 155 games a year since 2013. He’s a bit over the hill but there’s value in a guy who plays everyday and can hit for power. To me, the projections are laughably high. It’s not that I don’t think this mystery player can hit .244 with 9 steals but that’s more of a 75-80% outcome. This third baseman has hit below .235 three of the last four seasons. Player D is Todd Frazier. There’s proven power with Frazier but even that is dwindling. He hits a ton of fly balls and even more popups than Franco. In fact, about 9% of Frazier’s batted balls are popups which as we know are automatic outs. Combine that with his 22% K rate and he’s a guaranteed out 31% of the time. His line drive rate is below average and his speed is basically gone, so a BABIP over .250 isn’t happening. So he’s a .220-.230 hitter like Gallo but without the 50 HR upside. If you’re CI spot is weak and you need power I can see grabbing Frazier but make sure you have some high batting average guys to supplement. Personally, I not touching him. DON’T GET WITH THIS.