As always, third base is full of power hitters this year but even among them, there are some names that stand out among the pack.
Here are my five boldest predictions for third base in 2021 fantasy baseball.
1. No rookies land within the top 30 at third base
The two big ones are Bobby Dalbec and Ke’Bryan Hayes, and both had inflated 2020 BABIPs, and Dalbec had a VERY high strikeout rate (42.4%). It’s early but I think both have a lot of development to happen. Logic says Hayes might be primed for a breakout, but his .450 BABIP screams major regression to me. I’m optimistic about Josh Jung and Nolan Jones, but both seem like they will come up after the All-Star break to me.
2. Alex Bregman has an average above .320
This would put Bregman a full 25 points above his career high. He had a down year last year amidst a low BABIP. If you look at his batting profile, he’s upping his line drive rate, which should translate to a stronger batting average. He’s always had strong plate discipline, but he’s finding areas to improve batted balls into play.
3. Isiah Kiner-Falefa is a top 10 third baseman
When I dig into all of the stats (and I'm amazed as I dig more into this) it’s an even collection of strong metrics. I was initially a doubter, but I'm starting to come around to a possibility here. He has good plate discipline, one of the fastest speed scores among third basemen, a good batting average, an even spread of hits around the field, and above average zone contact and outside contact. He doesn’t have any power, but he has excellent abilities elsewhere at the plate. He’s proving people wrong as he continues to improve.
4. Manny Machado falls outside the top 10 at third base
Manny has struggled to consistently put together two good years at the plate. He can hit for power, but his last five years of BA are .304, .256, .297, .259, and .294. During the two down years he saw his launch angle decrease, his hard hit rates go down, and his ground ball rates go up.
5. Rafael Devers hits 40 home runs
Devers has now had three straight years of improvement in HR/FB rate (16.5% to 19.3%) while keeping a solid batting average over the last two years. His exit velocity is among the top 5% of the league, while his hard hit and barrel rates are top 30% in the league. Part of this is due to the fact that he’s hitting the sweet spot better each year. The trends show he’s spending his offseason improving and making a difference.