Fantasy Baseball: Top Ten Third Basemem for 2017 Season
Who are the top 10 third baseman for 2017 Fantasy Baseball?
Over the next few weeks here at Call to the Pen, we are going to get you ready for your 2017 fantasy baseball draft. In this space, I’ve done some prospect diving, talking about prospects to target and then prospects to stash with a late pick who may help you down the road during the season.
Now it’s time to get to the positional ranks.
I’m going to give you top 10 rankings at all positions and then top 25 for outfielders and starting pitchers because there’s just so many of them.
For every player, we’ll give you their stats from last season and Steamer projections from Fangraphs.
Third base is where you look to get some pop. What’s nice about this position is that there are a ton of young guys who are durable and haven’t even reached their potential, while there are other veterans who don’t show much signs of slowing down in 2017.
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To get the elite guys, you will obviously have to pay the price, but you’ll be happy you did. The top four on this list should go within the first two rounds of most drafts. Even if you miss out on one of those guys, you can still get some talented players down the line.
So who are the top 10 third baseman in 2017 fantasy baseball? Let’s start in the state of Florida.
10. Evan Longoria– Tampa Bay Rays
2016 stats: 160 games .273/.318/.521 36 homers 98 RBI
2017 steamer: 146 games .263/.325/.460 26 homers 87 RBI
The 31 year old Longoria had a power renaissance in 2016, hitting over 30 homers for the first time since 2013 and driving in over 90 runs for the first time since 2014. It was pretty impressive, considering he only had a .298 BABIP. Longoria also eclipsed 40 doubles for the first time since 2010.
There are some things that make you nervous if you have him in fantasy. Although, he’s durable (over 160 games the past four seasons), his strikeout rate is climbing, back over 20% for the first time since 2013, while his walk rate was the lowest of his career at 6%.
Longoria continues to be lone stable piece in Tampa as the rest of the team continues to be a revolving door around him. He’s the face of the Rays and is locked up through 2022, so it may be difficult to deal him if they decide to.
9. Matt Carpenter– St. Louis Cardinals
2016 stats: 129 games .271/.380/.505 21 homers 68 RBI
2017 steamer: 144 games .268/.370/.445 18 homers 68 RBI
This is probably the last time you’ll be able to use Carpenter at third as he will move to first base this season with all the infield depth the Cardinals have, but while you can use him here you may as well. Carpenter is one of those guys who seems to fly under the radar and you look up at his numbers and you see a ton of production for not a very high price.
Carpenter went through some injuries last season, but has reinvented himself into a power threat from a contact guy that he came up as.
His K rate dropped, while his walk rate rose and he still eclipsed the 20 homer plateau for the second straight season. He also had over 30 doubles for the fourth straight season. One of the other impressive parts of Carpenter’s game is that last season he made either soft or hard contact 90% of the time.
He’s someone you can wait a little bit on and grab if you don’t get a third baseman early.
8. Todd Frazier– Chicago White Sox
2016 stats: 158 games .225/.302/.464 40 homers 98 RBI
2017 steamer: 147 games .239/311/.444 29 homers 86 RBI
The Toddfather struggled during the first half of the season, but seemed to get his game back in the second half. He hit 25 homers during the first half with just a .213 average. That increased to .240 in the second half with 15 homers, which is more like what he did most of his career.
Frazier is going into his contract season, and if the market next year is like this year, Frazier is going to need a big time season to get himself paid next year.
Frazier’s walk rate went up to almost 10%, but his K rate went up to just around 25%, while posting a career low OBP and his second worse slugging.
I think Frazier finally got comfortable in Chicago and should do better this season, however, I don’t think he will stay in Chicago for the entire season. Keep that in mind when you draft him.
7. Alex Bregman– Houston Astros
2016 stats- 49 games .264/.313/.478 eight homers 34 RBI
2017 steamer- 137 games .267/.330/.447 19 homers 74 RBI
Bregman made the bigs just a year after being drafted and after early struggles, showed why, finishing the season hitting .323 in September and October.
Bregman struck out 24% of the time, but as he gets more comfortable, that number should drop and his walk rate should rise. He’s also going to be in a lineup full of talent, so he doesn’t have to be the guy which will help his development.
He’s going to be one of those “oh nice” picks during your draft and comments in your draft room. He may be a future batting champion, but in his first full season, it would be a bit much to expect that kind of production from him as he gets his feet wet in his first full season, plus playing in the WBC during Spring Training.
6. Adrian Beltre– Texas Rangers
2016 stats- 153 games .300/.358/.521 32 homers 104 RBI
2017 steamer- 133 games .294/.350/.475 21 homers 83 RBI
The 37 year old earned himself a nice two year extension and he earned it with his second half of 2016. With some other older players struggling to find jobs this winter, Beltre may have made a wise move in signing. In his final 70 games, he hit .323 with 20 homers and 49 RBI.
Beltre went over 30 homers for the first time since 2013 and drove in over 100 runs for the first time since 2012. The big help was Beltre pulling the ball over 40% of the time for the first time since 2013.
His walk rate went up slightly from 2015 while his K rate remained the same.
There is risk in drafting Beltre. He is 37 years old. but Texas has enough depth to where maybe he starts to DH a little more (even though he did save 15 runs last year). Steamer believes the numbers will drop, but I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
5. Kyle Seager– Seattle Mariners
2016 stats- 158 games .278/.359/.499 30 homers 99 RBI
2017 steamer- 145 games .268/.344/.464 24 homers 82 RBI
Kyle is basically the other Seager now since Corey almost won MVP and Rookie of the Year last season, but if you have Kyle on your fantasy team, like the Mariners do in actuality, he is not a bad guy to have.
Seager has played in over 150 games every year since 2012, so he’s durable. He set career highs in every offensive category last season and is entering his age 29 season. With Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz around him, he’s not in a bad place to be.
He got his walk rate over 10% for the first time, even though his K rate slightly increased.He didn’t pull the ball as much last year, but he hit the ball harder than he ever has before. If he was in a different home park, his numbers might be even better. His numbers may get better this year, but he won’t crack the top four.
4. Josh Donaldson– Toronto Blue Jays
2016 stats: 155 games- .284/.404/.549 37 homers 99 RBI
2017 steamer- 145 games .275/.374/.515 31 homers 93 RBI
The 2015 AL MVP had another excellent season in 2016, just missing out on 100 RBI for the second time in his career. You know exactly what you are going to get out of the 31 year old, even with Edwin Encarnacion now gone from the team.
He’ll get you 30 plus homers, 30 plus doubles, close to 100 RBI and walk a decent amount as well. Last year, he walked over 100 times, raising his walk rate to over 15%. He actually had a better WRC+ last year than in 2015.
Donaldson is in a great hitting environment and pulled the ball to his advantage, with a 46% pull rate, the highest of his career.
He’s a cornerstone, a guy you take in the first couple of rounds, plug in at third and look to build around him.
3. Manny Machado– Baltimore Orioles
2016 stats- 157 games .294/.343/.533 37 homers 96 RBI
2017 steamer- 146 games .294/.355/.530 33 homers 101 RBI
Machado put up the best numbers of his young career last season, and did it while playing third and short last season (he should be eligible at both spots). Even though he didn’t steal any bases last year, he still has speed and I would expect he would steal a little this season.
Manny is another player you’re going to have to use a premium pick on, but you’ll be glad that you did. He’s one of the few players so far that steamer thinks will produce quite similar numbers to last season and I have to be in agreement with it.
He increased his hard contact and pull percentages last year. His walk rate dropped and his K rate increased unfortunately, but he still put up excellent numbers.
The O’s kept the offensive band together in keeping Mark Trumbo, and combining Machado, Trumbo, Adam Jones and Chris Davis in Camden Yards is an excellent combo. He won’t turn 25 until July and is just tapping into his potential, which is scary.
2. Nolan Arenado– Colorado Rockies
2016 stats- 160 games .294/.362/.570 41 homers 133 RBI
2017 steamer- 147 games .290/.349/.541 34 homers 104 RBI
Obviously, playing in Colorado for 81 games will help anyone’s stats, including Arenado, but his road stats weren’t too shabby either. In 81 games, he hit .277 with 16 homers and 48 RBI.
The soon to be 26 year old hit over 40 homers for the second straight season and drove in over 100 runs for the second straight year. He post a walk rate of nearly 10%, which was a career high while dropping his K rate by 2% last year. For the second straight year, he led the NL in homers, RBI and total bases.
Arenado increased his fly ball rate, which is what you want to do in Denver anyway.
He is a top fantasy option and someone who should go within the first 10-15 picks of your league. So will our number one.
1. Kris Bryant– Chicago Cubs
2016 stats- 155 games .292/.385/.554 39 homers 102 RBI
2017 steamer- 146 games .275/.368/.512 32 homers 93 RBI
All the 25 year old did after winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2015 is win NL MVP in 2016 and help the Cubs win their first World Series title in 108 years. No big deal.
Bryant cut his K rate 8% last year to 22% and it wouldn’t shock me at all if he cut that rate further. He increased his hard contact rate and his flyball rate. He hit over 30 doubles for a second straight year and he led the league in runs.
Oh yeah, he’s also outfield eligible in fantasy too, so you can place him there if you wish. After Mike Trout goes one, there’s a very good chance either Bryant or Mookie Betts goes second. If you don’t get Trout, Bryant is some consolation prize.
So there you have it. The top 10 third baseman for your fantasy team this season. Agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments section.