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Third Baseman to Target in 2015

The Fake Teams fantasy baseball staff offer you some third baseman that you should target in your 2015 fantasy drafts, including Chase Headley, Yasmany Tomas and others.

Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and yesterday, Daniel Kelley offered his thoughts on how to approach third baseman on draft day. We have also provided you with our Top 30 third base rankings for 2015:

Part 1

Part 2

Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some third baseman to target, which we provide you today, and some third baseman to avoid, which publishes tomorrow.

We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the third baseman they would target in fantasy drafts this season, and you can find them along with their reasoning below.

Third Baseman to Target in 2015

Nolan Arenado, Rockies - Ray Guilfoyle

While writing up the player profile for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado for part 1 of our Consensus Third Base Rankings, I discovered what a great year he had last season. After hitting .267-.301-.,405 with 10 home runs, 49 runs scored and 52 RBI in 514 plate appearances in 2013, he hit .287-.328-.500 with 18 home runs, 58 runs scored, and 61 RBI in just 467 plate appearances in 2014.

While his batting average of balls in play stayed relatively the same, he improved his walk rate, reduced his strikeout rate and HR/FB% while hitting more fly balls, and hit for more power. His isolated power ( ISO) and slugging percentage (SLG) improved as well:

2013: 10 HRs, .138 ISO, .405 SLG in 514 PA

2014: 18 HRs, .213 ISO, .500 SLG in 467 PA

While fellow third baseman Anthony Rendon, Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado garner the headlines, Arenado quietly showed terrific growth in his second season in the big leagues, and I think he is set for a breakout season in 2015.

I am pretty high on Arenado in 2015, so much so that I traded away a $10 Billy Hamilton, who won't need a raise till 2016, for a $10 Arenado in the UBA NL only keeper league. Arenado needs a raise this season, so I plan to raise him to $20, allowing me to keep him for the next three seasons (2015-2017).

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates - Daniel Kelley

It takes a very specific roster structure to want someone like Pedro Alvarez. But if you're punting on batting average - a viable strategy in this low-offense time - Alvarez stands a great chance of bouncing back from his 18 homers in 2014 more toward his 30-some of each of the two years previous. If you buy into defense affecting offense, then you have to like Alvarez moving to first base this year, cutting down on his defensive woes. And his 2012-2013 numbers were so consistent (30 homers, then 36; .223 ISO, then .240, etc.) that it is 2014 that looks like the aberration. He doesn't fit on all rosters, but the ones who don't care about batting average will love him.

Chase Headley, Yankees - Tim Finnegan

I wrote a more detailed article on Headley here. I think Headley is one of the most undervalued players in all of fantasy baseball by current ADP. He's going 224th on average in the NFBC and 238th on average in Yahoo leagues, yet his ZiPS projection is similar to 3B going in the top 100, including David Wright, Evan Longoria and Kyle Seager. Check this out:

Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

RBI

R

SB

C. Headley

.253

.340

.427

20

73

74

9

E. Longoria

.255

.330

.441

23

80

76

3

Longoria's NFBC ADP is 57 and Yahoo ADP is 67.

Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

RBI

R

SB

C. Headley

.253

.340

.427

20

73

74

9

D. Wright

.275

.346

.422

13

70

67

11

Wright's NFBC ADP is 102 and Yahoo ADP is 85.

Player

AVG

OBP

SLG

HR

RBI

R

SB

C. Headley

.253

.340

.427

20

73

74

9

K. Seager

.261

.327

.430

21

88

79

9

Seager's NFBC ADP is 61 and Yahoo ADP is 69.

Go invest elsewhere in the top 100 and grab Chase Headley later in the draft to play 3B.

Todd Frazier, Reds - Jack Cecil

Todd Frazier broke out last year, and I am a believer. The main reason is this, his batted ball profile has always been good (over 20% LDs career), but he's slowly hit the ball harder and harder.  His average home run and fly ball distance has gone from 280ft in 2012, 156th in baseball, to 293.6 ft, 39th in baseball, in 2014.  At 29 years old, I don't see any reason for it to go down, and when you hit the ball far, and you play 150+ games a year, you become a lock for 20HR next season.  Cincinnati also let him run much more frequently, and he was remarkably effective last(20 SB, and 8 CS).  With these variables, and him playing in a bandbox, Frazier is primed for another great year in 2015 and beyond.

Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox - Rob Parker

Back in November when Panda fever hit Boston, I wrote a post describing what to expect from him in Beantown (http://www.faketeams.com/2014/11/22/7251613/the-panda-in-beantown-pablo-sandoval-in-boston). Basically, I am very bullish on him now that he has escaped the extreme pitcher's park in San Francisco and will now have the green monster to slam doubles off, along with excellent hitters' parks in Baltimore, Toronto, and New York. I expect an increase in his homers, but an even bigger increase in his doubles, which will translate to lots of RBI and R in the stacked Boston lineup. Pablo has never had a home park like Fenway and never been in a lineup quite like this. I am buying him as the fourth best third baseman, but you should be able to get him cheaper than that.

Yasmany Tomas, Diamondbacks - Nick Doran

I am targeting Tomas for two reasons. The first reason is because his average draft position (ADP) is so low. He is being drafted 147th overall in NFBC leagues. In the FantasyPros consensus ADP listings he is also #147. That is the equivalent of a 13th round pick in 12 team leagues, so the cost of acquiring him is fairly cheap. The second reason is because we really don't know how good this guy is going to be. Usually that is a bad thing, but in this case it might be a good thing. Right now we all know Jose Abreu is a superstar player, but last year at this time nobody expected him to be that good. During last year's drafts Jose Abreu's ADP was in the 11th round. That's right, it's almost the same as Tomas's ADP this year. The experts were down on Abreu because they thought his swing was too slow to hit major league fastballs. They knew he could hit home runs against Cuban pitching but believed he would strike out a ton with a low batting average here in the States. Wrong. He turned into one of the best hitters in the majors. The point is not that Tomas is definitely going to be the next Abreu. The point is that nobody knows how good these guys are going to be until they actually play in the major leagues. People are not excited about Tomas right now, but maybe they will be in a few months.

Most of the Cuban defectors have outperformed expectations their first year in the big leagues. Cespedes, Puig, Abreu all did it and they are early round draft picks this year. Rusney Castillo and Yasmani Tomas are the wild cards this year. We shouldn't expect Tomas to be as good as Abreu or Puig -- but he might be. Who knows? Nobody has ever seen him play against MLB competition. Even if he turns out to be "only" as good as Yoenis Cespedes he would still be a great value in the 13th round. Cespedes' ADP is in the 6th round. Normally I am not a gambler when it comes to my fantasy teams, but a guy like Tomas in the 13th round looks like a bargain to even conservative team owners like me. Take a chance and get in on the excitement!

Fantasy Rundown

If you are looking for fantasy football, baseball or basketball rankings, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one stop on the internet for all things fantasy.