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Fantasy Baseball: 2015 Consensus Third Base Rankings - Part 1

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Here is part 1 of our consensus fantasy third base rankings for 2015. Check out our thoughts on the third base ranked 1-15, including Josh Harrison, Nolan Arenado and others.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Kantecki opened Third Base week here at Fake Teams with the landscape of the position for fantasy purposes earlier this morning. Now we bring you our consensus fantasy third base rankings for 2015. We used a points system for each of the 30 third baseman ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.

The writers who participated in this series are:

Ray Guilfoyle

Jason Hunt

Rob Parker

Brian Creagh

Timmy Kennedy

Daniel Kelley

Jack Cecil

Nick Doran

Alex Kantecki

Timothy Finnegan

We feel that providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently includes some biases. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.

Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings and player profiles for third baseman  ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings and player profiles for third baseman ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Wednesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.

Digging deeper into the position shows that the third base position in 2014 yielded the following:

1. Last season, there were only 11 hitters who hit 30 or more home runs last season. None were third baseman, but two, Josh Donaldson and Todd Frazier, hit 29 home runs.

2. A total of 26 third baseman hit 10 or more home runs in 2014, 14 hit 15 or more home runs, and six hit 20 or more home runs.

3. Last season, 33 hitters stole 17 or more bases, three were third baseman - Todd Frazier, Anthony Rendon and Josh Harrison.

4. Only 18 hitters scored 90 or more runs last season, three were third baseman, including Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rendon and Matt Carpenter.

5. A total of 24 hitters drove in 90 or more runs last season, three were third baseman, including Josh Donaldson, Kyle Seager and Evan Longoria.

6. Only five hitters put up a 20 home run, 20 stolen base season in 2014, one was Todd Frazier.

The third base position is undergoing a change where over the next few seasons, the position more than likely will be dominated by some younger third baseman including Kris Bryant, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado and others. Some third baseman, David Wright for one, appear to be either approaching or in the decline phase of their career, and are no longer in the top 5 at the third base position.

It's very possible that next year at this time the top 6 at third base looks like this:

1. Anthony Rendon

2. Nolan Arenado

3. Kris Bryant

4. Josh Donaldson

5. Manny Machado

6. Kyle Seager

Now onto our Consensus Third Base Rankings for 2015, for third baseman ranked 1 - 15.

Note: I have written about several of these players in previous rankings, so I am linking to those rankings pieces as well as providing an excerpt from the same piece.

Consensus Fantasy Third Base Rankings for 2015

Rank Player Team Ranking Points Ray Jason Rob Brian Timmy Daniel Jack Alex Nick Timothy
1 Josh Donaldson TOR 290 1 1 2 2 2 4 3 1 3 1
2 Anthony Rendon WSN 289 2 2 3 1 3 3 2 2 1 2
3 Adrian Beltre TEX 285 3 3 1 6 1 2 1 3 2 3
4 Kyle Seager SEA 250 5 4 9 3 7 9 7 4 6 6
5 Evan Longoria TBR 247 7 7 8 7 6 7 4 6 4 7
6 Todd Frazier CIN 245 4 6 11 10 5 5 6 8 5 5
7 Nolan Arenado COL 228 6 8 5 8 11 14 11 7 8 4
8 Pablo Sandoval BOS 218 11 5 4 9 13 6 9 12 13 10
9 Carlos Santana CLE 216 8 11 13 4 14 8 13 5 10 8
10 Matt Carpenter STL 190 19 13 17 15 4 11 8 10 12 11
10 Manny Machado BAL 190 13 9 16 5 12 17 10 11 18 9
12 David Wright NYM 186 10 10 10 14 16 12 16 13 11 12
13 Chris Davis BAL 184 9 12 7 28 1 5 9 9 15
14 Ryan Zimmerman WSN 163 12 16 6 25 9 10 21 18 17 13
15 Josh Harrison PIT 157 14 17 12 16 8 25 18 15 14 14

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# 1. Josh Donaldson (TOR)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.255 93 29 98 8
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
695 0.342 0.456 10.94% 18.71%

wrote about Donaldson in my updated third base rankings after he was traded from the Athletics to the Blue Jays back in December. Here is an excerpt from that article, and was the main reason I bumped him into the #1 spot in my rankings:

The move to Toronto improves Donaldson's value on draft day as he is moving from a pitcher's park in Oakland to a park that is friendly to right-handed hitters in Toronto. He moves from O.co Coliseum which depressed home runs by about 10%, to the Rogers Centre, which increased home runs by 31% last season, according to ESPN's park factors.

Donaldson hit .255-.342-.456 with 29 home runs, 93 runs scored, 98 RBI and 8 stolen bases last season, and I expect each of those numbers to increase in 2015, with the exception of the stolen base total. I could see his home run total jumping to the 33-36 range, his RBI total in the 100-110 range, and his runs scored staying relatively the same. He will hit in the middle of the Blue Jays lineup, likely in the fifth spot in their lineup, so he will be hitting with men on base quite a bit.

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# 2. Anthony Rendon (WSN)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 111 21 83 17
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
683 0.351 0.473 8.49% 15.23%

I wrote about Rendon in our Consensus Second Base rankings two weeks ago. Here is an excerpt:

Rendon led the National League in runs scored, and was just four runs scored behind Mike Trout for the MLB lead. He is on the cusp of stardom, and if he can stay healthy, he could be the #1 fantasy third baseman off draft boards for quite some time. If he can maintain second base eligibility, he will be #1 there as well.

He has all the tools to be one of the best hitters in baseball, and is already being drafted in the first round in some drafts. He was the 15th overall pick in the FSTA Experts league draft in early January, the first third baseman off the board, and the second second baseman off the board, a few picks after Robinson Cano.

With the Nationals offseason acquisition of Yunel Escobar, it is likely Rendon will lose second base eligibility in 2015, but you never know. Assuming he stays healthy, he should build on his breakout 2014 season, although I do see his stolen base total dropping slightly.

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# 3. Adrian Beltre (TEX)

Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.324 79 19 77 1
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
614 0.388 0.492 9.28% 12.05%

Beltre, like almost all other Rangers players, is coming off a bit of a down year in 2014, but still ranks in our top 3 at the third base position. While he hit .24-.388-.492, his counting stats were down compared to previous years. He hit 19 home runs, scored 79 runs and drove in 77 in 614 plate appearances.

He hit fewer fly balls, and more ground balls, so that helps explain the drop in home runs from 30+ in each year from 2011-2013 to just 19 last year. He is still a second round pick in most drafts, and was selected 23rd overall in the recent LABR mixed league experts draft. He may not return to the 30 home run level in 2015, but I expect him to get back to the 24-27 range with a .300+ batting average.

He should eclipse the 400 home run and 1,400 RBI club this season, and, for me, is a certain Hall of Famer.

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# 4. Kyle Seager (SEA)

Photo Credit: Casey Sapio - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.268 71 25 96 7
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
654 0.334 0.454 7.95% 18.04%

Seager had his own breakout season in 2014, hitting .268-.334-.454 with 25 home runs, 71 runs scored, 96 RBI and 7 stolen bases. He signed a 7 year, $100 million contract in the offseason, so the Mariners are set at the hot corner for the foreseeable future.

I am not sure if we have seen the best from Seager as we have seen his power, as measured by ISO and SLG increase each year he has been in the big leagues.

2012: .163 ISO, .423 SLG

2013: .166 ISO, .426 SLG

2014: .186 ISO, .454 SLG

I wouldn't be surprised to see Seager approach the 30 home run level inn 2015, which would be quite a feat in Safeco Stadium. To do that he will need to maintain the ~13% HR/FB rate and increase his fly ball rate back to the 45% range.

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# 5. Evan Longoria (TBR)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.253 83 22 91 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
700 0.320 0.404 8.14% 19.00%

Here's a guy that you either love or just don't want to draft  based on his ADP. Last season, Longoria hit .253-.320-.404 with 22 home runs, 83 runs scored and 91 RBI in 700 plate appearances, a career high. Other than 2012, when he missed 88 games, the 22 home runs he hit last season was his lowest total since 2010, and his power is trending in the wrong direction:

2008: .259 ISO, .531 SLG

2009: .245 ISO, 526 SLG

2010: .213 ISO, .507 SLG

2011: .251 ISO, .496 SLG

2012: .238 ISO, .527 SLG

2013: .230 ISO, .498 SLG

2014: .151 ISO, .404 SLG

His ISO and SLG dropped dramatically in 2014, his age 28 season. I am not sure if his power will bounce back, but if it doesn't, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rays deal him before his decline phase becomes more noticeable.

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# 6. Todd Frazier (CIN)

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.273 88 29 80 20
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
660 0.336 0.459 7.88% 21.06%

I shared my thoughts on Frazier several weeks ago in our Consensus First Base Rankings. Here is an excerpt of the player capsule I wrote:

I don't think anyone saw Frazier hitting 29 home runs last season, let alone the hugely surprising 20 stolen bases. The question we ask ourselves is can he steal double digit bags again in 2015. I think he can, but doubt he approaches 20 stolen bases again. He finished the year hitting .273-.336-.459 with 29 home runs, 88 runs scored, 80 RBI and 20 stolen bases. A fantastic season, a breakout of sorts.

Heading into 2015, we don't know whether he will run more or less, but what we do know is that he has huge power, so he should be able to hit 25 home runs. In addition, he could drive in more runs, assuming Joey Votto is back to being Joey Votto who gets on base 40% of the time. Frazier still has plenty of value due to his power and RBI totals, but has more value on your fantasy roster as a third baseman since third base is rather thin this year. Saying that, he will be more expensive this season than last as a result.

I ranked Frazier as my 4th ranked fantasy third baseman in our consensus rankings, so I am the high guy among the group of writers.

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# 7. Nolan Arenado (COL)

Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.287 58 18 61 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
467 0.328 0.500 5.35% 12.42%

Arenado is a popular pick for a breakout season in 2015, and I tend to agree. Arenado is coming off a 2014 season where he hit .287-.328-.500 with 18 home runs, 58 runs scored, 61 RBI and 34 doubles in just 467 plate appearances. His ISO and slugging percentage improved as well:

2013: .138 ISO, .405 SLG

2014: .213 ISO, .500 SLG

For full disclosure, I moved him up in my personal rankings from 7 to 6 after writing this player capsule. Arenado's fly ball rate improved from 34% to 42%, and his HR/FB% increased from 7% to 11%, last season, so he is learning to take advantage of Coors Field. He hit 16 of his 18 home runs at home, and 12 of them in the second half, so there is more power to come from him in 2015. I wouldn't be surprised to see him hit 25 or more home runs this season, and a chance to be a top 5 fantasy third baseman this time next season, and top 3 is possible as well.

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# 8. Pablo Sandoval (BOS)

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.279 68 16 73 0
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
638 0.324 0.415 6.11% 13.32%

Did you see the pics of Sandoval at spring training a few days ago? No? Well. it appears he celebrated his third World Series title and huge contract all offseason. There will be no "Sandoval is in the best shape of his life" reports coming out of Lee County, Florida in the coming weeks.

The move to Fenway should be a positive one for Sandoval's fantasy value in 2015, but he wouldn't be the first hitter who struggled after a move to a different league. See Albert Pujols back in 2012. With that said, last season was the first time he has played 150 or more games since 2010, so there is a chance he misses time due to injury this season, and the added weight probably won't help much. But if you are looking for him to hit more than 20 home runs in 2015, I wouldn't count on it, as Fenway "Pawk" depressed home runs for left-handed hitters by 34% and right-handed hitters by 1% last year. HIs HR/FB% has been under 10% in each of the last three seasons, and his fly ball percentage has been in the 36-38% range, so he is more of a 15-18 home run hitter than a 20+ home run hitter.

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# 9. Carlos Santana (CLE)

Photo Credit: Lance Iversen - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.231 68 27 85 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
660 0.365 0.427 17.12% 18.79%

We ranked Santana as our #14 fantasy first baseman a few weeks ago in our Consensus First Base Rankings, and here is an excerpt from those rankings:

I am not sure if he will ever hit for a high average, so he will probably be a guy who hurts your batting average going forward, but as long as he is hitting 20+ bombs per season, he has value, but not as much value as he had as a catcher. Guys like Posey and VMart are ranked higher because they will hit .300, hit 20 home runs and drive in 80 or more.

One possible explanation for the low batting average is the fact that Santana walked more than any other qualified hitter in the game last season, as measured by his 17.1% walk rate. In fact, he has ranked in the top five in each of the last three seasons. He's a stud in leagues that swap batting average for on base percentage.

If you need a power hitting third baseman, Santana is certainly an option. He hit 27 home runs for the second time in his career, and his ISO, SLG and hR/FB% have improved in each of the last two seasons.

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# 10. Matt Carpenter (STL)

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.272 99 8 59 5
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
709 0.375 0.375 13.40% 15.66%

Carpenter is an undervalued fantasy third baseman, mainly due to the fact that he doesn't hit for power, but he hits for a solid average, scores runs and doesn't hurt you in the RBI category. Last season, he hit .272-.375-.375 with 8 home runs, 99 runs scored, 59 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 709 plate appearances. His doubles total dropped from 55 to 33 last season, resulting in a drop in his ISO and slugging percentage.

Carpenter won't hit for power, but he gets on base quite a bit, and will be among the league leaders in runs scored, assuming he remains in the leadoff spot in the Cardinals lineup this season. As a Dodgers fan, I have to say I am not a fan of his performance in the playoffs last season.

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# 10. Manny Machado (BAL)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.278 38 12 32 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
354 0.324 0.431 5.65% 19.21%

Machado was having a solid season at the plate before his second horrific leg injury, this time while swinging the bat. In 82 games, Machado hit .278-.324-.431 with 12 home runs 38 runs scored and 32 RBI. His fly ball rate dropped a bit to 32%, but his HR/FB% jumped from 7.9% to 15.0%, which is a positive development.

Heading into the 2015 season, Machado should be healthy, and he will have to prove to Orioles fans and his fantasy owners that he can stay healthy and free from freakish leg injuries. He is only 22 years of age, so he is still very young and there is more growth to come from him in the future. If he can stay healthy, he has a real chance at jumping into the top 5 third baseman conversation, and he should hit for more power as he matures at the plate.

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# 12. David Wright (NYM)

Photo Credit: Brad Barr - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.269 54 8 63 8
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
586 0.324 0.374 7.17% 19.28%

While guys like Arenado, Rendon, and Machado are the future at the third base position, Wright represents the best of the past. After hitting very well in an injury-shortened 2013 season, where he hit .307-.390-.514 with 18 home runs, 63 runs scored, 57 RBI and 17 stolen bases, Wright disappointed with his worst season of his career. Wright hit just .269-.324-.374 with 8 home runs, 54 runs scored, 63 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 586 plate appearances.

Since hitting 29 home runs with a .220 ISO back in 2010, Wright has seen his power drop over the past four seasons:

2011: 14 HRs, .172 ISO, .427 SLG

2012: 21 HRs, .186 ISO, .492 SLG

2013: 18 HRs, .207 ISO, .514 SLG

2014: 8 HRs, .105 ISO, .374 SLG

Is it a coincidence that the Mets are moving the fences in at Citi Field once again this offseason? Hmm….

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# 13. Chris Davis (BAL)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.196 65 26 72 2
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
525 0.300 0.404 11.43% 32.95%

We ranked Davis as our #15 fantasy first baseman a few weeks ago in our Consensus First Base Rankings, and here is an excerpt from those rankings:

He hits a ton of fly balls, and his HR/FB% is consistently in the 20%+ range over the last three seasons, so he seems like a slam dunk to hit 25 home runs in 2015, but I think he hits 30+. His .196 batting average was all BABIP driven, so as his batting average regresses to the mean/increases in 2015, so should his power numbers.

One concern is the fact that he is swinging at less balls inside and outside the zone, making less contact and seeing more first pitch strikes, so I wonder if he was thinking/guessing at the plate last season.

Davis ranks as our #13 third baseman for the upcoming season, but with his power, he has a chance to jump into the top 6-8 range.

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# 14. Ryan Zimmerman (WSN)

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.280 26 5 38 0
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
240 0.342 0.449 9.17% 15.42%

We ranked Zimmerman as our #22 fantasy first baseman in our Consensus First Base Rankings several weeks ago, and that seems pretty low to me, but his injury risk pushed him down our rankings. Here is an excerpt from part 2 of our consensus rankings:

Zimmerman moves across the diamond to play first base on a full-time basis in 2015, and he will have to prove to Nationals fans and to his fantasy owners that he can stay healthy. He has missed 60 or more games in two of the last four seasons, and needed a huge September in 2013 to make his numbers look respectable.

He has the talent, and hits in a lineup that could make this ranking look silly, as when he was healthy, he hit .280-.342-.449 with 5 home runs, 26 runs scored and 38 RBI in 61 games last season. His power is in decline, and he has dealt with shoulder issues over the past few seasons, so it remains to be seen if he can be a 20 home run hitter again. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 15 team FSTA Experts league draft in early January, so the experts still have confidence in him to rebound in 2015.

Zimmerman was once a top 5 fantasy third baseman, but injuries and a drop in power have dropped him in our consensus rankings. That said, he offers fantasy owners a value play on draft day for the first time in 2015.

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# 15. Josh Harrison (PIT)

Photo Credit: Kim Klement - USA Today Sports
2014 FANTASY STATISTICS
AVG R HR RBI SB
0.315 77 13 52 18
2014 SECONDARY STATISTICS
PA OBP% SLG% BB% K%
550 0.347 0.490 4.00% 14.73%

Harrison might have been the Pirates MVP last season…sorry Cutch….but Harrison had a breakout season at the plate and played all over the field before settling in at third base for the ineffective Pedro Alvarez, who suffered from a bout with the yips. Last season, Harrison hit .315-.347-.390 with 13 home runs, 77 runs scored, 52 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 550 plate appearances. His .315 batting average was buoyed by a .353 batting average of balls in play, and a bump in line drives from 19% to 24%.

Heading into draft day 2015, fantasy owners will have to decide whether Harrison's breakout is for real or if he is just a one year wonder, and set for regression. As much as I would love to see Harrison duplicate his 2014 breakout, I am not willing to wager that he will. I do hope he proves me wrong though, as the Pirates will be a fun team to watch once again in 2015.

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