Early ADP Thoughts – Third Base

There is a palpable unreliability to ADP data that we usually forget about until it punches us in the face three rounds into every draft. This has pushed me toward a “get your guys” tactic that I’ve been employing for a few years now. It’s not new, I didn’t make it up, but I used to get hung up on taking a guy “too early” because ADP says he’s a 10th rounder. Until one day I told myself, “hey dummy, you do realize the A in ADP stands for average, right?” I’m very rude to myself it seems.

It was then I started to look more at the highest a player has gone just to get a feel for where the most aggressive believers are on a player. By the way, this isn’t to say Min Pick (as it’s titled on the NFBC data) is a perfect guide, either. It’s the outlier, but it prepares you for what could happen in your draft. In short, a reach or a bargain really varies between the fantasy players. My reach is your bargain and vice versa… well, assuming I didn’t have perfect rankings, but theoretically you could deem one of my bargains a reach.

Just get your guys. Be reasonable, but get the guys that you want. You did the research, you have players you think will greatly outdo expectations, so lock them in. Again, being reasonable is the key part here. This means going a round or two higher within the top 150 picks and then you can stretch it to 2-4 rounds in the double-digit rounds.

I’m only looking at third base today because outfield is going to be a biggie and pairing the two would’ve been a bit much. I’ll go deep here to make up for doing just one position.

Previous Editions:

THIRD BASE (click to see ADP data)

Quick note: This is not a ranking list. Not every player at the position will be discussed. 

  • 3B feels particularly rich because there are four first-rounders at the position. There is some depth at the position, but it’s somewhat inflated by the star power at the top.
  • You realistically only have a shot at one of them and if you pick at the back end of a 15-team league, you might miss out on all four.
  • They aren’t that far apart, but I personally prefer Nolan Arenado (pick 6) to Kris Bryant (4).
  • I didn’t include Manny Machado (8) among SS because this data only lists guys at one position, but it does enhance his value to have eligibility at both so you can adjust to the mid-tier options at each position that you like best.
  • It takes 3-4 rounds after the first before another third baseman goes off the board when Kyle Seager (66) gets picked.
  • He’s not a bad consolation pick if you miss the first round studs with an average of 25 HR/85 RBI over the last five seasons, playing at least 155 games in each. His HR total has jumped yearly and he hit the 30 plateau last year.
  • Todd Frazier’s (73) selling out for power tanked his AVG to a career-low .225, but his counting categories output saved the season: 40 HR, 98 RBI, and 15 SB.
  • If he continues to run (16 SB/season the last three years), he can overcome the AVG deficiency. Even if his AVG bounces back, it’s still going to be mediocre at best, so plan accordingly with the rest of your draft.
  • This isn’t a very sabermetric take, but Alex Bregman (96) certainly looks like he has “it”. He opened his career 2-for-38, but he didn’t let it snowball and posted a .313/.354/.577 line in his final 175 PA.
  • Bregman seems mature beyond his 23 years and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a quick star. I could see that ADP jumping 20+ picks by the time we hit peak draft season in mid-March.
  • There isn’t one carrying tool that screams top-100 pick for Jose Ramirez (98), but he does a bit of everything.
  • It’s not hard to envision his elite contact ability yielding a superlative AVG at some point, but even just another .300ish AVG with 10 HR and 20 SB would be great at this pick level.
  • Evan Longoria (104) feels like a bargain at this point. He’s played at least 160 games in each of the last four seasons averaging a .266/.328/.465 line, 28 HR, and 88 RBI.
  • I like Javier Baez (120), it’s an absolute treat to watch him play baseball, but I just like the guys going right after him more: Maikel Franco (121), Justin Turner (132), and Jake Lamb (147).
  • Baez still shows traits of an AVG liability given his swing-and-miss without delivering the power to make it worth it.
  • Turner just completed his first full season at age-31,but he’s been a tremendous hitter since 2014 (.296/.364/.492 line) and nothing in his profile suggests he won’t continue to rake. Use the general ageism in fantasy baseball to get some surplus value here.
  • Rake Lamb had a stark first half/second half split (.983/.663 OPS), though a bruised left hand in late-July might’ve lingered and been a factor in his final two months (.654 OPS after the injury).
  • The fact that Lamb sputtered vs. righties (.704 OPS post-injury after a 1.014 before) has me thinking the hand was a factor as opposed to just a sudden erosion of skills. I’m buying Lamb in ’17.
  • There’s no chance I’d pay what Hernan Perez (155) costs right now. His 13 HR/34 SB season literally out of nowhere was cool, but there just isn’t a backing of skills to believe in, let alone the fact that there is no clear path to playing time. I know he only needed 430 PA last year, but I’m not sure he gets even that many in ’17.
  • I haven’t really talked about Ryon Healy (203) much this offseason so I apologize for that, but I do in fact like him this year.
  • 3B might actually offer better corner infield options than 1B this year with guys like Healy, Mike Moustakas (201), Nick Castellanos (208), Yoan Moncada (226), Yulieski Gurriel (251), Eugenio Suarez (263), and Yangervis Solarte (280) all available after pick-200.
  • And if Jung Ho Kang (230) can better himself off the field, he still has a very enticing bat.
  • If Danny Valencia (317) can maintain his passable level against righties (.742 OPS last year), he’s a solid corner option, too.
  • Travis Shaw (324) has shown some nice punch which could come alive even more in his new home of Miller Park.
  • Pair Martin Prado (327) with someone like Lamb and you’ve got two players around .280/20 HR/80 RBI.
  • There were only 31 players who reached or exceeded each of those three thresholds last year and only two were available as late as or later than Lamb is going this year (Wilson Ramos and Victor Martinez).
  • If Matt Duffy (324) is healthy, he should have a Prado-esque season that you can pair with a low-average power bat for similar effect. Yunel Escobar (443) has always shown skills for good AVG and has also hit north of .300 the last two years, meaning he is another good fit for this practice of “pairing” players.
  • A few interesting deep league flyers who could do something if they find the playing time include: Jorge Polanco (368), Cheslor Cuthbert (469), JaCoby Jones (571), and Hunter Dozier (625). By the way, it is pure coincidence that all four are from the AL Central.

If you’ve read the other editions of this series, you already know what comes now. It’s your turn! Who are your prime targets and favorite bargains at each of these positions? Anyone you’re avoiding?

Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

newest oldest most voted

I don’t believe we’ve seen enough of Y Gurriel to pretend we know where his true talent level lies. He was Cuba’s best hitter for years, and given what other Cubans have shown us after coming over (up?), I think there’s a chance he settles in and massively exceeds expectations coming off a disappointing partial season transition.