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Staff Post: Third basemen to avoid in 2020

The Fake Teams writers tell you who to avoid at the hot corner in your fantasy baseball leagues for 2020.

Getty Images/Pete Rogers Illustrations

It’s an exciting time to be a baseball fan. We have real games today! We also have The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational beginning Monday. We held the second annual Fake Teams and Friends draft this past Thursday. We are reduced to only ONE more positional week that involves hitters (outfielders next week) and then it’s time for pitchers and the regular season. It’s getting real!

This morning we gave you our targets at third base, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Yoan Moncada, Matt Chapman, and Josh Donaldson. A really fine-looking group.

Now we’ll give you the other side of the coin. The guys you could consider avoiding, for one reason or another. Here goes nothin’.

2019 ALCS Game 6 - New York Yankees v. Houston Astros Photo by Cooper Neill/MLB Photos via Getty Images

D.J. LeMahieu, New York Yankees (Mark Abell)

The man who has never hit more than 15 home runs or 66 RBIs did both last year amidst a .350 BABIP. He had a solid year in 2016 with the Rockies, and then the next year saw his home run total dip by 30%, his run total dip by 10% and his stolen base total cut in half (not to mention his batting average dropped by 38 points.

Editor’s note: I do think LeMahieu is a fine player in an excellent situation, but I also think the 1B/2B/3B eligibility has driven up his NFBC ADP a bit.

Cincinnati Reds v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds (Jonathan Butler)

I know Suarez smashed 49 long balls last year, but Suarez injured his throwing shoulder in late January. While he has made good strides in his recovery, I still worry we could see flare-ups during the season. The Reds are going to be a very good offense, but a health concern this early in the season is never a good thing. It could end up being a moot point by the end of the season, but shoulder issues (especially to throwing shoulders) are never the easiest to get over during a 162-game season.

World Series - Washington Nationals v Houston Astros - Game Seven Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Yuli Gurriel, Houston Astros (Garrett Atkins)

Third base is suuuper stacked. Picking a bust was a bit difficult. I’m avoiding Yuli Gurriel. The difference between his expected stats and actual stats were among the worst in baseball last season. His xSLG of .422 is a full 119 points lower than his actual SLG of .541. His xwOBA of .322 is 42 points off his actual wOBA of .364. This negative difference is a huge red flag that Gurriel is due for some major regression. The month-by-month stats showcase how much of an outlier July and August were as well. Gurriel hit 19 of his 31 home runs over those 50 games. He also had 60 RBIs in that span. Also keep in mind, Gurriel is 35 years old. Don’t pay for last season’s numbers on Yuli Gurriel in your 2020 drafts.

Cincinnati Reds Workout Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Mike Moustakas, Cincinnati Reds (Heath Capps)

Like Garrett said, third base overfloweth. It’s tough to find a clear-cut name to avoid. I won’t have any of “Moose,” as he’s too close to Matt Chapman and Josh Donaldson—both guys I am really enjoying at their ADPs. Moustakas a 30-homer bat, but I don’t anticipate him keeping pace with Donaldson, who should better him in every category, especially runs scored. These two are less than five picks apart in ADP, so Moustakas is a “no” from me. As for his eligibility at second base factoring in, I’d rather have some wheels at that position. I’m a proponent of locking up middle infield early in 2020. I’ll take Ozzie Albies at the keystone, thanks very much. And if not Albies, I’ll find someone else with a more rounded skill set than Moustakas. It’s no offense to Moose—I’m just really enjoying what I feel is a depressed price on Josh Donaldson in 2020.

And that’s it for the hot corner. If you missed Friday’s Fantasy Fanbag, make sure you check that out! Roll back around on Monday, as we kick off Outfield Week!