Third base is a power position in fantasy. Plenty of big boppers like Manny Machado, Eugenio Suarez, and Nolan Arenado. Matt Chapman and Ke'Bryan Hayes (who will be discussed further) offer power upside at more of a value. It's likely you'll draft two or three third baseman to fill corner infield and utility spots. Let's dive into some of those late targets.
Here are some of my favorite targets at third base for 2021.
Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
My Rank: 8
Expert Consensus Rank: 11
NFBC ADP: 114.13
Statcast darling Chapman is undervalued yet again heading into 2021. For the third season in a row, Chapman ranked among the league leaders in hard hit percentage and average exit velocity. In 2020, his 51.7% hard hit rate was 18th in baseball and his 93.6 MPH average EV was 5th among all qualified hitters. The quality of contact was also elite for Chapman in 2020. His wOBACON of .493 was 14th in baseball and his xwOBACON of .496 was 8th. The outlier stat for Chapman in 2020 was his uncharacteristically high strikeout rate. He struck out 35.5% of the time, up from just 21.9% in 2019. I'm banking on the high K-rate to normalize this season. He has MVP-level production as his ceiling and can be had outside the top 100 overall in drafts.
Gio Urshela, New York Yankees
My Rank: 12
Expert Consensus Rank: 17
NFBC ADP: 159.10
The disrespect for Gio Urshela might be the most puzzling thing in fantasy baseball. Since joining the Yankees, Urshela has slashed .310/.358/.523 with 27 home runs, 97 runs, and 104 RBI. This is a 175-game sample, so just a bit more than one full season. How is that player going outside the top 150?!? Since 2019, Urshela has an OPS of .881 which ranks 28th among all hitters. A top 30 hitter playing in Yankee Stadium with the Yankees lineup... what more needs to be said?
Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
My Rank: 15
Expert Consensus Rank: 15
NFBC ADP: 140.04
Blind player resume time!
Player A: 44 games, 4 HR, 23 RBI, 24 R, 1 SB, 20% K-rate, 8.9% BB rate, 46.8% hard hit rate, 90.2 MPH average EV, ADP 104.74
Player B: 24 games, 7 HR, 11 RBI, 17 R, 1 SB, 21.1% K rate, 9.5% BB rate, 55.4% hard hit rate, 92.8 MPH average EV, ADP 140.19
Player A is Alec Bohm. Player B is Ke'Bryan Hayes. Both are great. Hayes has more upside and is being drafted almost 40 picks later.
Willi Castro, Detroit Tigers
My Rank: 24
Expert Consensus Rank: 32
NFBC ADP: 240.14
Projected to be the Tigers’ everyday shortstop in 2021, Castro has solid sleeper appeal. Over 39 games in 2020, Castro put up six home runs with 24 RBI and 21 runs scored. The power output was a nice surprise as Castro had been more of a contact/speed guy in the minors. Despite getting zero steals in 2020, Castro had a 84th percentile sprint speed. He's averaged 18 steals over five minor league seasons. I expect to see some of that speed in 2021. If the power sticks, Castro comps to Chris Taylor or Tommy Edman and can be had much later in drafts.
Maikel Franco, Free Agent
My Rank: 35
Expert Consensus Rank: 35
NFBC ADP: 437.49
Consistently inconsistent. That sums up Maikel Franco. He's been good one year and bad the next for most of his career. He was good last season. In 2020, Franco hit .278 with eight homers and 38 RBI. That was a 22 home run and 103 RBI pace. He's still without a team for 2021, but has been linked to the Brewers. He's likely to get everyday playing time wherever he lands and should see plenty of RBI opportunities. The ADP will rise once he finds a team but I still see him as a value in deep roto leagues.
Who are you targeting this year at the third base position?