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Tiered Third Base Rankings for 2016

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For those who like to see position rankings in tiers, Ray offers his 2016 tiered third base rankings, and opines that the first and third tiers are where you want to focus on draft day.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The third base position is very top heavy this season, with five to six guys who could be elite at the position for fantasy purposes in 2016. That is assuming Twins outfielder Miguel Sano is still eligible at third base in your leagues this season, as he has the potential to hit 35 or more home runs in a full season of at bats.

Ahead of him in our rankings were first round picks Manny Machado, Josh Donaldson, Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant. I don't ever recall seeing four third baseman taken in the first round in all of my years playing roto/fantasy baseball. Joining those four in the first tier of third baseman are two power hitters, the aforementioned Sano and White Sox new third baseman Todd Frazier. Part of me wanted to separate Bryant/Sano/Frazier from Arenado/Donaldson/Machado, but all six are capable of putting up excellent power numbers in 2016, so I grouped them together.

After the first tier of third baseman, though, some might decide to wait to grab a third baseman from the third tier, but that would be a mistake. I wrote about Franco on Monday, and he could join the top six in the first tier in 2017. But after Franco in the second tier, there are questions, and that is where tiered ranking can benefit fantasy owners on draft day.

I usually have an idea of which cluster of third baseman I want to target in case my main target is drafted before I am ready to pick him. I don't write them down, I just have them in what is left of my brain. But the distractions that can occur during a draft is reason enough to use tiered rankings. You've attended an in-person draft. The beers are flowing, the games are on, and you are thinking about whether to have that third slice of pizza or moving back to the chips and having another beer. Owners are yelling at the one guy who is taking 5 minutes to make his next pick. You are thinking to yourself "did this guy not prepare for the draft like I did?" You need tiered rankings to keep you focused. Or, if you lose focus, something to use when it is your turn to make a pick.

Quick Thoughts

  • I am repeating myself, but I think Franco is being undervalued by the fantasy community in early drafts and rankings. That ball park plays to his power and the guy can hit.
  • I don't see Arenado repeating his 40 home run season in 2016. He makes a lot of hard contact, but unless he starts hitting more fly balls, the home run total will drop this season.
  • I wrote about Bryant in my Franco piece on Monday, and feel that while he is one of the best power hitters in the game, he has one season under his belt and could lead the big leagues in strikeouts this season. He is ranked too high for me to draft him in the first round of drafts right now.
  • Machado was our consensus #1, and he was my #1 third baseman, but there are others who like Donaldson over Machado and Arenado, and for good reason. Two points separated Machado and Donaldson in our consensus rankings, and 14 points separated the top four.
  • If you decide that you want to fill other positions in the first three to four rounds and miss out on the top six in our rankings, I wouldn't hesitate waiting to grab Franco in the late seventh or early eighth round, or skipping the third tier altogether and drafting one of Nick Castellanos, Brett Lawrie, Jung-ho Kang or Matt Duffy. They won't provide the power that the top tier will provide, but Castellanos and Lawrie could reach the 20+ home run club in 2016, and Duffy and Kang will hit for middling power and for a high average.
  • Two sleepers in our rankings reside in the fifth tier with Cubs utility man Javier Baez and Diamondbacks third baseman Jack Lamb. Baez has 20-20 potential, but just needs an every day job, while Lamb is better than he showed us last season. He could hit for a high average with 15-20 home runs in regular duty in the Diamondbacks lineup.

Tiered Third Base Rankings for 2016

Rank

Tier

NFBC ADP

Name

Team

1

1

8.26

Manny Machado

Orioles

2

1

5.39

Josh Donaldson

Blue jays

3

1

7.87

Nolan Arenado

Rockies

4

1

10.80

Kris Bryant

Cubs

5

1

43.79

Todd Frazier

White Sox

6

1

60.33

Miguel Sano

Twins

7

2

71.87

Kyle Seager

Mariners

8

2

98.65

Adrian Beltre

Rangers

9

2

69.23

Matt Carpenter

Cardinals

10

2

70.90

Anthony Rendon

Nationals

11

2

105.72

Maikel Franco

Phillies

12

2

120.56

Evan Longoria

Rays

13

3

147.00

Mike Moustakas

Royals

14

3

266.86

Justin Turner

Dodgers

15

3

165.27

Daniel Murphy

Nationals

18

3

231.17

David Wright

Mets

19

3

288.69

Pablo Sandoval

Red Sox

20

3

283.37

Trevor Plouffe

Twins

23

3

220.22

Brett Lawrie

White Sox

16

4

139.56

Matt Duffy

Giants

17

4

173.96

Jung Ho Kang

Pirates

22

4

259.60

Nick Castellanos

Tigers

24

4

208.68

Yasmany Tomas

Diamondbacks

25

4

338.92

Chase Headley

Yankees

30

4

279.82

Javier Baez

Cubs

21

5

213.45

Josh Harrison

Pirates

26

5

401.18

Jed Lowrie

Athletics

27

5

350.27

Jake Lamb

Diamondbacks

28

5

346.99

Martin Prado

Marlins

29

5

244.65

Danny Valencia

Athletics

30

5

375.30

Yunel Escobar

Angels

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