Third base has a lot of great values early on in your draft, but what if you need to pick up a corner infield bat later in your draft? Well, here are three third basemen you can find late in your drafts that could have breakout seasons in 2021.
Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves
NFBC ADP: 206.60
2021 Projection: .265 AVG, 29 HR, 1 SB, 75 R, 77 RBI
There is no question about Riley’s power potential as he has hit 26 home runs over his 503 career major league plate appearances. With an ability to put the ball in the air and tremendous raw power, he could be a perennial 30 home run threat for years to come.
With that tremendous raw power, also comes an ability to drive the ball. With a 24.4% line drive rate, 43.8% hard-hit rate, and an 11.7% barrel rate, Riley has the potential to post an above-average BABIP. Riley has always had impressive batted ball data, even coming up through the minor leagues, but in 2020 he showed major improvements at the plate with his contact ability and plate discipline. With a near 10.0% improvement in contact rate, we saw his strikeout rate drop all the way down to 23.8% in 2020. Although his batting average was only .239 last season, that did come with a .262 xBA. It might be time to get ready for a big breakout from the young Braves third baseman in 2021.
Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals
NFBC ADP: 423.55
2021 Projection: .257 AVG, 22 HR, 2 SB, 71 R, 65 RBI
It seems we are starting to experience some prospect fatigue with Kieboom, but it’s easy to forget that he is currently only 23 years old. Even with his young age, Kieboom has already shown impressive skills at the plate as he posted a .303/.409/.493 slash line with a complimentary 91 MPH average exit velocity at Triple-A in 2019.
Kieboom features tremendous tools and was one of the safest prospects last season. He has already shown above-average plate skills and an ability to barrel the ball, but there are questions about his potential power output. With his raw power, it is easy to assume a 30 home run season is just on the horizon for the Nationals’ young third baseman, but with a 34.9% fly-ball rate over a professional career, he made need to make a few adjustments before he unlocks that power.
The Nationals have also been reported to be looking around the market for a third baseman, but Kieboom is currently slotted in as their everyday third baseman. With an ADP approaching 500, Kieboom’s upside is well worth the risk in deeper leagues.
Chad Pinder, Oakland Athletics
NFBC ADP: 462.15
2021 Projection: .276 AVG, 25 HR, 70 R, 73 RBI
After the Elvis Andrus signing by the Athletics, Pinder’s fantasy stock has taken a hit. Roster Resource currently has him as the weak side of the platoon at second base, but it wouldn't be surprising to see Pinder get a majority of the starts versus right-handers as well. Pinder’s primary competition at second base will be the newly acquired Tony Kemp. Although Tony Kemp has been slightly better versus right-handed pitchers over his career, a big breakout could force the Athletics into getting everyday plate appearances for Pinder.
With a career hard-hit rate of 43.9%, an xWOBA of .344, and improved contact skills, Pinder could be showing signs of a potential breakout in 2021. With his ability to barrel the ball and make a decent amount of contact, Pinder could put together his first season with a batting average above .260. Although his raw power screams 30 home run power, his fly-ball rate, pull percentages, and home ballpark could hold him back. If Pinder is able to get everyday at-bats, then a .260 batting average with a complimentary 25 home runs could be in the picture for 2021.