2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 Third Base Rankings

by Joe Bond
2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 Third Base Rankings

Welcome to the next installment of my 2024 positional Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Rankings, this one being for the third base position. I will be going through each position breaking down my early top-10. If you missed the others follow the links below.

2024 Positional Top 10 Rankings
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The third base list is loaded with household names. Jose Ramirez, Manny Machado and Rafael Devers just to name a few. All of these players have been first round picks in fantasy at some point in their careers.

Last season though was a bit of a disappointment across the third base position. None of the names on the list finished as first-round players. This comes just a year after we had five players finish as that or very close to it.

At the time of releasing this list, none are being projected as first-round players, but the same names that we are used to seeing near the top of the third-base list return there despite not all of them finishing there in 2022. Let's find out why.

2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 Third Base Rankings

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No. 10: Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins

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I'm starting off this list with a guy who feels like a post-hype sleeper at this point. This is due to it feeling like we've been waiting for him to break out forever, despite being only 24.

Well last year we got a taste of what to expect.  In just 217 at-bats, he hit .309, with 15 home runs and stole six bases.

The home run pace is unlikely to continue at that rate, judging from an absurd 21.1% HR/FB ratio. Still, he hits the ball hard and there will be solid power numbers, likely in the upper 20s, maybe lower 30s.

There is risk-taking him, given his injury history, but he could also surpass many players on this list as well with the talent he has.

No. 9: Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays

Yandy Diaz shows up on one of these lists for the second time. I discussed him in the first base top-10 list, so I won't go into much detail here.

TL:DR - Power that might not be repeatable, no speed, solid hitter overall.

No. 8: Elly De La Cruz, Cincinatti Reds

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Quite possibly the most exciting player on this list with Elly De La Cruz. Boy did he take MLB by storm last summer when he was called up. Making highlight plays every day it felt like.

He produced at the plate like he was going to be a superstar from day one. You can see this from his month of June where he hit .307, three home runs and stole nine bases.

This did not stay all sunshine and roses though. His batting average was .191 over the second half of the season, thanks to a 33% K-rate. The power and speed were still there, but with him struggling to get on base, .271 OBP, the rate of home runs and steals dropped.

He has all the tools to be a star for MLB and fantasy, but I think at the age of 21, going on 22, we will go through some ups and downs with him until he has better plate discipline.

No. 7: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

Now starts the portion of this article where we get into some of the disappointments from 2023.

Arenado was a huge bust, at least by his standards.

He was considered a near-lock for 30 home runs, over 100 RBI and very solid batting average, he delivered on none of those. We saw him strike out at the second-highest rate of his career and his walk rate decreased as well. His ground ball rate increased and fly ball rate decreased.

As I mentioned with Paul Goldschmidt in the first base rankings, the Cardinals were a mess all over the place last season and it clearly affected both of these superstars.

I'm expecting a bit of a bounce back for Arenado, but the red flags are there as he enters his 12th MLB season at 32, going on 33.

No. 6: Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

Alex Bregman is going to do what Alex Bregman does. Modest average, near 25 home runs, almost 200 RBI+R but no speed.

If you draft him for anything more you will be disappointed. If you draft him to do just this then he is your guy.

No. 5: Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

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The 2023 Rookie of the Year is next up and as an O's fan, I'm super excited about him as a player.

If you look at his 2023 season, April and May were horrible. He batted .201 and hit just five home runs. He was striking out at a 31% rate and it was looking like a lost season for him.

From June on, Henderson was a completely different player. His batting average was .276, thanks to dropping his strikeout rate to 23%. He was being more aggressive at the plate overall, walking less as well, which I think was something he needed to do to improve overall.

Henderson hit 23 home runs during this time too. This was due to him also having a ridiculous 52% hard-hit rate and 92% exit velocity.

Henderson could very well make the jump above some of the names ahead of him if he can put together a full season, but I'm not quite ready to do that yet.

No. 4: Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

Manny Machado has been one of the best players in baseball for a long time and I don't see that changing. Now 2023 did not go as planned. He only scored 75 runs, partly due to injury, but also because the Padres were not as good offensively as they should have been. Sadly, though they are not projected to be better this season with the loss of Juan Soto.

The biggest red flags for Manny are the drop in batting average and the fact that he is running less. Yes, he is running less even with the new rules last season.

Now for the batting average, we've seen this before. I go back to 2019 when he was first with the Padres. He finished the season batting .256. The very next season he finished with a .304 average. OK fine that was the covid season, but the next two were .278 and .298.

I firmly believe he can bounce back and hit for a better average. A big thing that I believe was a culprit was him hitting more flyballs and fewer line drives than in seasons past. A good hitter like Manny should be able to get back to what he does best and produce at a very high level again.

No. 3: Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

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Devers is one of the best hitters in baseball, but unfortunately plays for a bad team. This is a weird thing to say about the Boston Red Sox who until 2022 were considered one of the best.

Despite this fact, Devers just continues to produce at a high level. Now he might not have the ceiling that some of the players ranked below him have because of the team around him. But there sometimes taking the more safe, reliable player is the right choice in drafts. This is Rafael Devers.

No. 2: Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves

Austin Riley seems to get better and better. Its funny to think that everybody left him for dead after the 2020 season, mostly thanks to an abysmal batting average and plate approach. He seemed unfixable.

I don't know what happened before the 2021 season but he came back and finished with a .303 average and popped 33 home runs in the process.

Since that season he has become a bonafide superstar. Just about every metric you can look at has jumped up into elite territory and he is keeping it there.

Of course it helps that he is in a loaded lineup with Ronald Acuna, Matt Olsen, Ozzie Albies and more. This just solidifies that he should be a top pick this upcoming season.

No. 1: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians

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As someone who had many shares of Ramirez last season, I can tell you right now that it was not the season I was expecting. Yet, when you look back at it as a whole it really wasn't as bad as I remember.

He still finished with 24 home runs and 28 steals, while batting .282. The real drag was the 87 RBI and 80 runs. Both season lows since his 2016 season (non-injury seasons).

Some of this had to do with how mediocre the Guardians offense was last year. They had a wRC+ of 92 (just for reference 100 is average).

You still might be asking, why should you should make him the first overall third baseman drafted. What you might be forgetting is that in 2022 he played through an injured UCL in his right thumb. He then had surgery in November that year.

In 2023 he started the season off slowly, hitting just six home runs through the first two months. It was June when things really started clicking for him again where he finished with a .330 batting average and seven home runs that month. This is more like the Ramirez we expect and closer to the one we will get this season I believe.


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