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2015 Third Base Draft Strategy

Miguel Cabrera isn't 3B-eligible anymore. The other superstars have retired. The position is deep these days, but it's running out of a top end.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

"Depth" might not be the greatest compliment you can pay a position. It can be - if it's late-‘90s shortstops, and Rich Aurilia is finished 13th at the position despite 22 homers, then woooo, depth is great. But the alternative could be third base in 2015.

I can, without trying too hard, paint negative pictures of all of the top tier of third baseman this season. Here, watch:

Josh Donaldson? I mean, sure, if you want a guy who hit .239 over the season's last four months and is now going to play on a turf that has ruined guys' knees for generations.

Anthony Rendon? Well, last year was his first one fully healthy since he was like 6. He's great, but those legs could always be a problem.

Adrian Beltre? He's 36 now, more than 2,400 games into his career, and his slugging percentage last year was his lowest since 2009. I still think he's great, but the bottom falls out of everyone eventually.

Kyle Seager, Todd Frazier and Nolan Arenado lack track records. Evan Longoria, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman are on the wrong side of the curve. Even Chris Davis, my No. 1 third baseman, didn't even crack someone else's top 30, and I get it - he couldn't even manage a .200 batting average last year.

None of this is to say these guys aren't good. That's 10 third basemen, all of whom would make me varying degrees of happy to have as my starter. Same for Pablo Sandoval. Matt Carpenter. Carlos Santana. Manny Machado. Zimmerman is our 14th-ranked third baseman, and I would take anyone his rank or higher as my starter with pleasure. I'm low as can be on Josh Harrison (15th), but then we have Chase Headley, Xander Bogaerts and Aramis Ramirez rounding out the top 18, and they're all fine as well.

Heck, Pedro Alvrez and Brett Lawrie didn't crack out top 20, and I see potential there as well.

What I'm saying is, third base is really deep this year. What it isn't, though - and this is the point of those early, tear-em-down grafs - is strong at the top end. There isn't a Troy Tulowitzki or a Paul Goldschmidt among the third baseman. (This all assumes you aren't in a league where Miguel Cabrera 3B-eligible, but even he comes with some worries about him.)

In most drafts so far, Rendon is the first third baseman off the board, general in the range of 17th overall. That's the worst "first representative off the board" of any position except (obviously) catcher and closer, and that's assuming people drafting Rendon are taking him as a third baseman and not, as I bet most are, as a second baseman. Donaldson is the highest-taken 3B-only guy, and he's going 21st, which frankly strikes me as too high.

What's the upshot of all this? If you disagree with me about Chris Davis' bounceback season - a fair standpoint, if I'm being honest - I don't see why you'd pounce on a third baseman early. Is there really that much difference in Donaldson and Santana, in Rendon and Machado?

Outfield has a big top end. The top three shortstops are far better than the next group(s). Clayton Kershaw and Robinson Cano are superstars. There aren't such clear names atop third base - heck four different guys were ranked first by our rankers. When it isn't clear who's best, don't try to get who's best. Hang out and wait.