Look out, first base! There's a new corner infield position that is taking over proverbial throne. Third base is possibly the strongest, deepest and most evenly spread position in fantasy baseball this year. The distribution of talent is what I imagine economists would like to see for America's wealth. There is a clear top including very good players who merit early round selections, a large and solid middle class and even the bottom shows potential and promise.
Unless you have one of the top two picks in the draft, there is a good chance you will not own Miguel Cabrera this season. Adrian Beltre and David Wright are both worth second round picks in my opinion and Evan Longoria, who has some injury concerns but played 160 games last season, is very close to being the best at the position. You can't go wrong with any of these players in the top 3 rounds as they are put up numbers every season and there's no reason to think this year will be any different.
If you miss out on the top guys, there's no need to worry. Players like Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Carpenter, Josh Donaldson and Kyle Seager will be available a few rounds later and offer solid contributions in 4 categories (although the categories differ from player to player). Add a few players like Pablo Sandoval, Martin Prado and Chase Headley who have some upside potential and relatively low floors and you're getting 10 to 12 deep at the position without showing a huge drop off. I would probably pass on those guys unless they are falling to a spot that you think is getting to be too far. If they're being drafted as the 10th or 11th or 12 third baseman off the board (which they should be), I would wait a little bit and take a chance on a promising young player such as Brett Lawrie or Nolan Arenado.
Arenado and Lawrie are part of a very exciting young third base class led by Manny Machado. Machado has only scratched the surface of what he can be offensively and I think he will develop some more over-the-fence pop in the coming years. Xander Bogaerts will be a hot pick on draft day so it's probably better off to let someone else grab him in redraft leagues but jump all over him in dynasty and keeper formats (if by some grace of God he's not already owned).
Even beyond the super stars, the strong top ten and the risky young guys, there are players who can be assets to your team. You can legitimately go 20 deep this year and find a guy who has a nice chance to provide value. I believe in Chris Johnson and think he is an underrated player. Matt Davidson and Matt Dominguez both have some pop and could be cheap sources of home runs in 2014. I don't love David Freese or Mike Moustakas but they are much better (or have the potential to be) than their similarly ranked counterparts at other positions.
I don't think you need to jump at a third baseman this year. If you do, however, I can't say I'd blame you. There's no reason to reach or overdraft a guy at the position this year but don't hesitate to snatch someone up either.
You can follow Zack on Twitter at @FantasyNinja8.
- NFBC ADP Rankings Analysis: Third Base
- MLB Prospect Review: Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies
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- Consensus Position Rankings/Projections: Top 30 Third Baseman for 2014, Part 2
- Third Base Profile: Manny Machado
- MLB Prospect Review: Garin Cecchini, Boston Red Sox
- Prospect Profile: Colin Moran
- Pedro Alvarez: The Jeff Goldblum of third base
- Third Base Profile: Nolan Arenado
- Consensus Position Rankings/Projections: Top 30 Third Baseman for 2014, Part 1
- The Fantasy Landscape: Third Base
- Consensus Position Rankings Schedule: Third Base
- Roto Roundup: Masahiro Tanaka, Oscar Taveras, David Price, and others