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Top 20 NL-Only Third Base Rankings

Ray ranks his top 20 third baseman for NL-only leagues with Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant heading the rankings.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you who play in mono or "only" leagues, I will be publishing my NL-only third base rankings today and my AL-only third base rankings tomorrow.

In NL-only leagues, third base appears deeper than most years, with the top four capable of putting up 20+ home runs with solid RBI totals and batting averages. I like Franco more than most, and wrote about him on Monday. As I wrote in that piece, I can see Franco performing as well as Bryant in 2016, and I spelled out my reasons in that piece.

Last season, there were four NL third baseman who hit 25 or more home runs, Arenado, Carpenter, Bryant and Todd Frazier, who now calls U.S. Cellular Field home after his offseason trade to the White Sox. Franco could join the 25 home run club amongst NL third baseman. Outside of those four, there really isn't any other 20+ home run hitters at the hot corner in the National League this season, although there are several who can hit 15-20, including Justin Turner, David Wright, Jung-ho Kang and Daniel Murphy. We are still waiting to see what Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb can do in a full season of at bats. I think he can hit .27- with 15-18 home runs and 70-75 RBI in 2016.

A healthy Anthony Rendon would make many fantasy owners happy in 2016, but we may not see him running as much to start the season, but he could still reach double digit steals with Davey Lopes controlling the running game as the Nationals first base coach under new manager Dusty Baker. Bryant, Matt Duffy and Josh Harrison stole 10 or more bases last season, and should do the same in 2016.

If you are looking for batting average from your NL third baseman, you have plenty to choose from, as no fewer than 13 third baseman hit .270 or higher in 2015, with 9 of the 13 hitting .280 or higher. Those who play in OBP leagues may look at the top NL third baseman, Nolan Arenado a little differently, as he got on base at a .323 clip last season, good for 12th among NL third baseman with 400 or more plate appearances last season. That said, five third baseman reached base at a .350 clip or higher last season, including Yunel Escobar, who is now with the Angels, Turner, Carpenter Bryant and Kang.

Speaking of Kang, I would have ranked him a few spots higher if I knew he would be ready for Opening Day. He is coming off a terrible knee injury, and has yet to begin running the bases. I imagine the Pirates will take it slow with his rehab, so a May return may be in the cards.

The wildcard among all NL third baseman this season is Braves third baseman/outfielder Hector Olivera. Initial reports on him pegged him as an older player who could hit for average and power, but now there are questions about where to play him, can he hit big league pitching, and can he stay healthy. If everything goes right for him in 2016, he could put up a 20 home run, 75 RBI season for a rebuilding Braves team.

Top 20 NL-Only Third Base Rankings for 2016

Rank

Auction Value

Player

Team

1

$31

Nolan Arenado

Rockies

2

$30

Kris Bryant

Cubs

3

$18

Matt Carpenter

Cardinals

4

$17

Maikel Franco

Phillies

5

$17

Anthony Rendon

Nationals

6

$12

Justin Turner

Dodgers

7

$12

David Wright

Mets

8

$9

Jung-ho Kang

Pirates

9

$11

Daniel Murphy

Nationals

10

$11

Matt Duffy

Giants

11

$8

Jake Lamb

Diamondbacks

12

$8

Yasmany Tomas

Diamondbacks

13

$7

Josh Harrison

Pirates

14

$5

Hector Olivera

Braves

15

$4

Javier Baez

Cubs

16

$3

Derek Dietrich

Marlins

17

$4

Martin Prado

Marlins

18

$4

Yangervis Solarte

Padres

19

$3

Aaron Hill

Brewers

20

$3

Adonis Garcia

Braves

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