We’re cranking up the heat for day four of Fantasy Six Pack’s 2019 Fantasy Baseball Position Preview series with a rundown at the Hot Corner. Make sure to check out our catcher, first base, and second base previews that have already dropped, along with shortstop, outfield, and pitchers as this week progresses.
Third base offers a unique array of talent with a wide variety of potential in certain categories; except for steals (more on that later).
Here’s what you must decide Six Pack Mafia: Do you take a member of the elite top three early, with Jose Ramirez’s base-running making him the undoubted king of the hot corner castle, or, do you wait out third base while you build your pitching staff early and land a Justin Turner type somewhere in rounds 5-10?
The only clarity we have is if you wait too long on the hot corner…you’re going to get BURNED. As we await the fates of free agents Manny Machado and Mike Moustakas, along with youngsters Vladamir Guerrero Jr. and Nick Senzel, we would advise you against holding your breath. With things the way they are today (i.e. "collusion" against free agents, micro-managing of arbitration accrual time, etc.), you’ll be left waiting to exhale for eternity.
2019 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Preview
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The Not-So-Early Top Twelve Fantasy Third Baseman
(Fantasy Pros ECR#)
|3B, LF, RF
|2B, SS, 3B
|Vladamir Guerrero Jr.
|Toronto Blue Jays
|1B, 2B, 3B
|St. Louis Cardinals
|Los Angeles Dodgers
New Faces, New Places
Manny Machado, Free Agent
It’s February 5th and Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are free agents.
Imagine if Kevin Durant was a free agent on Labor Day and his only Offers were from the Pistons and Magic. That’s how bad MLB looks right now.
— phillip (@MeekPhill_) February 5, 2019
Still, a first-round pick despite not knowing where “El Ministro” is going to call home. Stay tuned.
Mike Moustakas, Free Agent
Every time I hear the Moustakas to San Diego noise, I see Eric Hosmer’s 2018 season. Royal association. Petco Park was the 29th worst for hitters per ESPN’s Park Factors in 2017. Last year, Petco was actually rated middle of the pack (13th) positively favoring hitters. Hosmer just fell off post-mega-extension.
Looking at another one year deal, Moustakas has the pop, but aiming for 25-30 homers from the hot corner is not as hard as you think. There are higher potential picks at the end of drafts; wherever he ends up, he’s the same late round power pickup he’s been over the last few fantasy seasons. Moose is best left on the waiver wire to begin the season, no matter where he signs.
Jurickson Profar, Oakland A’s
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Profar, coming off his 2018 breakout, comes to the A’s as Jed Lowrie exits after his own 2018 All-Star season. Staying healthy and eclipsing 330 at-bats for the first time in his young career, Profar broke out with 20 home runs and 61 XBHs. The 10 stolen bases made him a top performer at the hot corner.
The obvious downside of his move is leaving a hitter’s haven in Texas’ Globe Life Park to the Oakland Coliseum. If his health is here to stay, Profar will be in a home run smashing lineup. His 77 RBIs may take a hit, but he should heavily improve his run production. If he keeps his 3B/multi-position eligibility, Profar is an interesting mid-round stash in 2019.
Josh Donaldson, Atlanta Braves
Austin Riley fans will have to wait. The Braves’ top prospect gets to hone his craft another year as “the Bringer of Rain” steps into the middle of the young Braves lineup on a one year, $21 million contract.
Manning third base for the Braves in 2018, Johan Camargo had 27 doubles, 19 HRs, and 76 RBIs across 464 plate appearances. The 108 strikeouts Carmargo had in 2018 is a particular stat we’re paying attention too. Donaldson’s eye at the plate alone should be a boon on these numbers.
When he's healthy, the 33-year-old still has the talent and potential to be a top three fantasy third basemen. The 2015 AL MVP, last healthy across the 2015 and 2016 seasons, ranked second in the majors behind only Mike Trout in fWAR across those two healthy seasons. Averaging 39 HRs, 111 RBIs, and 91 walks across these seasons, Donaldson is a high risk, high reward pick at his current consensus ADP of 94th overall.
Are All Seager's Created Equally?
The #Mariners are still open for business on Carlos Santana and Mike Leake. But teams that have checked in say they’re not especially motivated to move Kyle Seager. Value down after 2018 & 4 more years of control
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 10, 2018
No...they are not.
Kyle "Corey's Brother" Seager has the Mariners in a tough spot. With three years left on a seven-year, $100 million contract, and at his lowest value, he looks to be firmly entrenched as the rebuilding Mariners’ third baseman for the foreseeable future.
Seager fits the mold of many other third basemen in fantasy: Maikel Franco and Miguel Sano come to mind. Seager ranked in the top 11 at the position in doubles (36), homers (22) and RBIs (78) for the 2018 season, but the 38:138 walks to strikeout ratio is a large negative in head-to-head leagues.
Much like his brother, Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager, Kyle needs to rebound in a big way after a tough season. He’s best kept on the waiver wire until he proves he has rebounded his patience and approach at the plate.
Speaking of Los Doyers…
What to Expect When You're Expecting…to Draft Justin Turner
After missing the first 40 games of the 2018 season, Justin Turner ended up returning big for those who stashed him to the tune of .312/.406/.518. This was Turner’s second straight season of +.300/+.400/+500 baseball. He continues to be a revelation into his mid-30s.
Turner was better as the year went on and finished top 15 in MVP voting for the third straight season despite suiting up for only 103 games. Entering the offseason healthy and motivated after a second straight World Series loss, the Dodgers will need Turner to continue to produce in the middle of the lineup. With newly signed A.J. Pollock and the healthy return of Corey Seager ahead of him, Turner is in line for a monster season. I would strongly consider reaching on him earlier than his consensus ADP of 113.8, especially if you find yourself determined to pass on drafting any of the top ten third baseman this fantasy season.
Player(s) On the Rise
Jeimer Candelario, Detroit Tigers
Jeimer Candelario looking for overall improvement in 2019 https://t.co/OuieNXXQGU
— MLive Sports (@MLiveSports) January 25, 2019
Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario came out of the gate red hot with 10 home runs and a .251/.346/.476 slash. An important note on Candelario's 2018 season was his high level of play never quite returned after a DL stint with a wrist injury.
Entering his age 25 and second full season, Candelario will most likely be penciled into the lead-off spot for the Tigers. There is some pop in the order behind him, and as one of the Tigers young building blocks, manager Rod Gardenhire has openly committed to him. With top prospect Christian Stewart, Niko Goodrum, Miggy and Nicholas Castellanos behind him Candelario is the post-hype third base sleeper to confidently take a flier on in 2019 drafts.
Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins
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The Twins have provided fantasy owners with some interesting waiver wire warriors during recent seasons. Gone is one of last year’s favorites, 3B Eduardo Escobar, who now calls the Arizona desert home. With Escobar gone, Sano’s path to at-bats is clear, with limited depth behind to challenge his role. After his abysmal 2018, it is fair to question whether the opportunity merits a drafting him.
Give me a Lee Corso “Not so fast.” Sano’s 2017 30 HR All-Star campaign is not that far in the rearview. Much was made of his conditioning, and new teammate and mentor Nelson Cruz has committed to staying on Sano about staying physically fit and mentally well. Add in another new slugger in C.J. Cron and Sano gets some clear breathing room. He will have the lineup protection to continue to develop, rather than feel the pressure to carry the Twins offense for a full 162.
Sano is worth a bench stash with the hopes he re-establishes his patience at the plate and capitalizes on the Twins improved lineup.
Player(s) On the Decline
Jed Lowrie, New York Mets
Entering his age 35 season, Jed Lowrie parlayed an epic 2018 All-Star season into a two year, $20 million contract. On closer examination, it was a tale of two seasons for Lowrie:
|Pre-All Star Break
|Post-All Star Break
The improved patience at the plate was a great midseason adjustment, but the severe drops in power and most metrics were alarming. Lowrie faded hard last season and now goes to a team that couldn’t hand the DeGrominator enough runs to get a win last year. He’s a strong fade.
Player(s) On the Horizon
Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds
The Reds now have Puig and Kemp, but they still don't *really* have a center fielder.
Enter Nick Senzel? https://t.co/L2xxvHk4pc
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) January 6, 2019
Everyday third baseman Eugenio Suarez, someone who fantasy managers should be targeting high in 2019, had a monster 2018 and has shown stark improvement across roto categories across each of his three years as a starter. He’s firmly entrenched in the Reds everyday lineup.
Scooter Gennett broke out in the biggest of ways in 2018, but entering his final year of arbitration, he’s been subject to trade rumors. The Reds may seek to sell him at his highest value, but the question remains as to when they will. The Reds were buyers this offseason in a big way, displaying roster depth for the first time in years.
With the move to centerfield, general manager Dick Williams is doing what he can to get Senzel on the field at the Major League level consistently in 2019. He’s worthy of a mid-to-late round flier, with the caveat that his defensive performance during spring training may dictate whether he’s a starter on the major league opening day roster or back in the minors.
Vladamir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays
The Josh Donaldson era is over in Canada. So the question on every fantasy players mind is the same: do we finally get the Vlad Jr. era and how soon will it start?
Doesn't matter. If you're in a redraft league, then you know the grind that is 20+ weeks of fantasy baseball. You'll have to pull the trigger early, but if Guerrero is up by May, then he should be worth a gamble in the top 60 picks. His ceiling is currently Nolan Arrenado/age 29 Josh Donaldson right out the gate.
You will either have yourself a bonafide league winner or an annoying roster filler, but for the amount of production expected on arrival, pull the trigger as soon as you are comfortable. He's a much better "stash" than the injured players that keep popping up on sleeper lists.
Player(s) to Avoid
Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies
We have endured through a few seasons to see what Maikel Franco could become as a fantasy asset. With promise at the plate, especially in the power category, Franco has had the opportunities in Philly to contribute. His production has not lived up to the hype, hitting a standstill in 2018 when he was ultimately turned into a part-time player.
Not worth even a flier or draft pick at this point, Franco is better suited to reside on your league’s post-draft waiver wire. There are higher potential players with just as much power for your third base, infield, and utility roster spot(s).
Evan Longoria, San Francisco Giants
Channeling the Gruden Raiders (first tour), the Giants loaded up on big-name veterans in Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria last offseason, and it led to the systematic implosion of their 2018 season. Pairing old with older just didn't get it done for Bobby Evans. For the first time in years, Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) had some empty seats.
Longoria is the Giants third baseman by default due to his contract, but stay very clear of him for fantasy purposes. There is nothing he can offer you outside of a waste of a roster spot. If you have a friend who "took a year off from fantasy to study for the <INSERT GRAD TEST>," maybe you can trick them into wasting some draft capital.
Still the greatest Devil Ray of all time though.
|2019 Fantasy Baseball Position Previews
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