Since most fantasy commentary deals with 10-12 team leagues, and redraft leagues at that, I am continuing a series on deep league drafting (let's say 16+ teams) by looking at two primary factors: durability and offensive production. The basic premise is that you want to draft guys that will give you a whole season of PAs as well as guys who generally perform above league average offensively. You can read more about the methodology and philosophy in the first part of the series. Today we turn our attention to the hot corner.
From the 2011-2013 seasons there were 10, 15, and 15 third basemen who performed above average in wOBA and wRC+ and accrued a qualified amount of PAs. In shallow leagues, it means that this position is plenty deep for all your stat-stuffing needs. However, take note managers, this will most likely be the last year you can take advantage of Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion at 3B. There is still plenty of value to be had using these two at 1b in subsequent years, but peak value will be right now while they have 3b-eligibility. I'm not saying sell high...I'm just saying.
Additionally, while the cream of the hot-corner-crop continues to be headlined by the aforementioned veterans, there doesn't necessarily seem to be a treasure trove of young guys on the way this year. Sure Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman are entering their peak years, although I don't see much more upside in either. The youth movement in the majors already includes Manny Machado, Kyle Seager, and Nolan Arenado. However, Kris Bryant, Miguel Sano (if he sticks at 3b), and Maikel Franco are doubtful to make any impact for fantasy purposes this year.
After the stats come the observations:
|5||Kevin Youkilis||Red Sox||120||517||17||68||80||3||13.20%||19.30%||0.202||0.296||0.258||0.373||0.459||0.366||126|
|8||Edwin Encarnacion||Blue Jays||134||530||17||70||55||8||8.10%||14.50%||0.181||0.292||0.272||0.334||0.453||0.343||113|
|10||Chris Johnson||- - -||136||528||15||48||76||5||5.90%||25.00%||0.17||0.354||0.281||0.326||0.451||0.334||108|
|12||Hanley Ramirez||- - -||157||667||24||79||92||21||8.10%||19.80%||0.18||0.29||0.257||0.322||0.437||0.328||106|
|13||Kevin Youkilis||- - -||122||509||19||72||60||10.00%||21.20%||0.174||0.268||0.235||0.336||0.409||0.328||103|
|15||Brett Lawrie||Blue Jays||125||536||11||73||48||13||6.20%||16.00%||0.132||0.311||0.273||0.324||0.405||0.319||98|
|14||Michael Young||- - -||147||565||8||52||46||1||7.60%||14.70%||0.116||0.319||0.279||0.335||0.395||0.32||102|
1. There is only one name who made the list three years running and has been the most consistent, safe fantasy producer at the position: Adrian Beltre. There is no reason to believe he won't put up similar numbers this year with the Rangers' revamped lineup.
2. Just like my shortstop observations, third base is an extremely demanding position physically. Therefore, it wouldn't hurt to draft a starter and a backup, as remaining durable throughout an entire season is difficult. Finding a multi-positional eligible guy like a late-round Kelly Johnson or Mike Aviles would not be a bad bench spot.
3. I mentioned the Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman above for good reason. These are two guys who are always good at the position, but consistently overrated in my opinion (and in this guy's opinion, too). Honestly, if I want power like Longoria I'd rather wait and get Pedro Alvarez later. With a bit of BABIP luck I could almost get Ryan Zimmerman's 2013 from Todd Frazier, all things considered. Point is unless you're getting an elite guy, you might as well wait.
4. Looking at Josh Donaldson, I was going to say don't overpay in 2014, but then Jeff Zimmerman took the words right out of my mouth.
5. For those of you still dreaming about those dreamy 170 PAs (.293/.373/.580 with 9 HR and 7 SBs) from Brett Lawrie in 2011, keep dreaming because I don't think that guy is coming back. He might be better than last year but he might be who he is at this point.
Pedro Alvarez, PIT. It's not like he's a sleeper anymore, but hear me out. The guy is 27 this season and a late bloomer. The power is real, the Ks are real. However, if he has a little more regression to the mean in BABIP, could you stomach this: .250/.320/.480 with 35+ HR and 100+ RBI? Uh, yeah, I thought you might. By the way, he was #3 overall in batted ball distance last year behind only Carlos Gonzalez and Paul Goldschmidt...he beat Miguel Cabrera and Chris Davis. Yahtzee!
Manny Machado, BAL. This is not a commentary on Machado the real-life baseball player. That guy is really good. No, I'm talking about the miscast-at-the-hot-corner-fantasy-baseball Manny Machado. The prospect hype train is still rolling strong here for this guy but I don't want a ticket to ride. His 710 PAs last year gave us 14 HRs, 6 SBs, .283/.314/.381. Blech. Yes, he's young and he's going to get better, but you don't want him in 2014. Start signing the "Get J.J. Hardy out of Camden" petition and then I'll be singing a different tune. Buy low at the end of this year.