Now that football season is over, it is time to really prepare for baseball drafts!
This year to improve my prep, I am doing full projections on every position which are reflected in my ranks. My ranks will be available here on FanGraphs and daily updates and full projections will be available on the Sleeper and the Bust Patreon once I have completed them.
Justin Mason’s Third Base Ranks: 1/20/2023
|3||Bobby Witt Jr.||KC||AL||3B/SS|
Position eligibility is based on 20 games played in 2022.
Blue denotes the beginning of a tier.
Thoughts on Tier 1
Not only is Jose Ramirez my #1 third baseman, he is my #1 player in roto drafts this year. He not only dominated in 2022, but he did it while injured and racked up plate appearances in spite of the injury. He offers five category production at one of the weakest positions in fantasy.
Thoughts on Tier 2
I know some people will balk at the idea of Machado being second on my third base ranks, but hear me out. He has played in at least 150 games each season since 2015 (obviously not counting 2020.) He has hit 30+ home runs in each of those seasons except 2019. He has gotten 100+ RBIs in each of the last two seasons. He scored 100 runs last season and 92 the season before. He has 21 total stolen bases the last two years and has stolen a minimum of five in every season since 2017. The floor is extremely high and the upside in a stacked Padres lineup is pretty great.
We know that Bobby Witt Jr. has power and a ton of speed, but there are questions about whether the power grows this year, the batting average, and the lineup around him. I think he will be fine, but the concerns are enough for him to be at 3 for me.
Austin Riley and Rafael Devers are pretty complete players with the only issue being that they don’t run. You can expect pretty good four category production with the reason Devers being behind Riley is that the Red Sox lineup potentially being pretty bad.
Thoughts on Tier 3
I think you can argue that both Arenado and Bregman are in their own separate tiers, but that would seem a little weird. Arenado is a fantastic accumulator that is pretty much guaranteed to hit 30 home runs and get 100 RBIs and he even threw in five stolen bases just for the heck of it. He is a part of arguably the best lineup in the National League. Bregman on the other hand is like Diet-Arenado. Not quite as much power, but he can take advantage of the Crawford Boxes in Houston. The lineup is arguably the best in the American League and when he is healthy he can accumulate. Unfortunately, he missed big chunks of time in 2021 and 2020 and has struggled with nagging injuries in other seasons. He does represent the last upper tier talent before a pretty big dropoff to tier four.
Thoughts on Tier 4
I think you can make an argument like Arenado and Bregman that Hayes should be in a tier of his own. I think the biggest question mark on him is that Hayes has struggled to stay healthy, but that is not the only issue with him. He also has yet to really hit for much power or average (outside of the 2020 shortened season.) I believe the average should come up as he has a fantastic hit tool, but his single digit launch angle and bad park keeps him from getting to 15+ home runs. Lastly, while I think the Pirates lineup will be better at the top than others do, if they were to trade Bryan Reynolds, that would really hurt.
Ryan McMahon is probably a shocking name in this tier, but the addition of speed to his game really helps hit value. He also was really great from August on hitting .271/.322/.500 with 12 home runs and two stolen bases in 208 plate appearances, so you can make the argument that if he can carry over his last two months into a full season , that there is an even bigger upside that my projections aren’t even accounting for. If you are playing on NFBC or in daily leagues, you can also maximize his value by only playing him at home.
Matt Chapman is who he is at this point, an accumulator that will play every day when healthy because of his fantastic defense. The average will suck, but you get a lot of power and good counting stats.
Jose Miranda is going to be a polarizing player in drafts. I think he will definitely hit for average and while there is power in the bat, I do worry the launch angle won’t allow him to unlock it. The defense could force him to first base, but that is fine. The lineup is fairly deep and above average so I think he can be a good average accumulator. In some leagues he will go too high, but in others he will drop. Take advantage of the latter.
Thoughts on Tier 5
I expect to get heat on Henderson being so low. However, while I acknowledge the massive upside and I do think he is going to be a great player long term, there are a lot of questions that his high ADP is not baking in. He struggled against lefties and also did when he was in the minors. I do think he will get opportunities to hit lefties which might actually hurt him. I also don’t know how much he steals. Yes, he stole a bunch of bases in the minors, but he only attempted two stolen bases in the majors and while the Orioles were in the middle of the pack of stolen bases in 2022, 73% of their stolen bases in 2022 were from two. players (Mullins and Mateo). I don’t know that he gets their kind of green light. Finally, I don’t know how much power he hits for. He didn’t pull the ball a ton and that right field wall is a problem for anyone who hits there. More problematically, he had a very low launch angle at AAA and the Majors. This could look very silly at the end of the season, but I have a feeling he is going to skyrocket in the ADP and I am just not willing to pay the price.
Both Alec Bohm and Eugenio Suarez are who they are at this point. Bohm can hit for average, but that’s about it. Suarez has a ton of power but the average kills you. They make sense depending on the rest of your roster construction.
Justin Turner should have an opportunity to stay healthy and way outperform his ADP as a full time DH in Boston, but that being said, he is still old and no longer a stud. I like his price though.
I believe that Jordan Walker could be a monster in 2023. I had a really interesting podcast with Matt Thompson conversation about his value last week. A larger portion of the Cardinals are playing in the World Baseball Classic and that will give him the chance to play a lot in Spring Training and could pretty easily force the Cardinals to have him on the Opening Day roster. If he does, he could be this year’s Bobby Witt Jr.
Thoughts on Tier 6
Muncy was Max Muncy from August on which gives me some hope that he is over the injury and probably an argument he should be in the tier above this one. However, because he never had the elbow surgery, I am playing it just a little more conservative with him because it lowers his floor.
I really like Ha-Seong Kim to keep taking steps forward, but I worry about where he will hit in the lineup once Tatis returns from his suspension. If he continues to hit high, there is a lot of run potential for him. If you need late runs, average and stolen bases, I think he is an intriguing option especially with his multiple positional eligibility.
Anthony Rendon is a complete mystery to me at this point. Is he healthy? What does a healthy Anthony Rendon even look like at this point? Should I even care? With so many questions, I am likely to avoid him unless he is free in a draft.
Yoan Moncada is a younger version of Rendon. I have no idea what to expect and that means I probably won’t have him in any leagues.
Thoughts on the rest
Donaldson should play as long as he is healthy, but at this point, he is a shell of his former self.
Spencer Steer is interesting and I think the Reds are going to give him an opportunity to play a lot. That being said, he reminds me a lot of Nathaniel Lowe’s early career as he really struggles with high heat. Now he is young enough to fix that hole in his swing, but there is a lot of risk that he struggles in the same way that Lowe did early in his career. On the bright side, I think he has decent pop and outside of that hole in the upper part of the zone, he has a good hit tool and it is a great park for power. I will take some calculated gambles on Steer.
I really want Baty to supplant Escobar, but until I feel like I have a better idea of the playing time in New York, I will probably avoid both.
Urshela is interesting but unless we see a clearer path to playing time, I don’t know that I can draft him anywhere.
I wonder if Jake Burger ends up playing some second base this year as I can’t believe the White Sox are planning on letting Romy Gonzalez every day. He could be really interesting in deeper leagues if he can find his way to 450 plate appearances.
Jemier Candelario could be an interesting deep league accumulator in Washington and maybe the park change is exactly what he needs.
I called Brian Anderson landing in Milwaukee and I still don’t really care that much.