How to Navigate the Third Base Market

The third base market is going to be interesting to navigate this season. It’s top-heavy with six guys going in the top-40 picks, a couple of stragglers, and then a massive cliff. Depending on where a person drafts, there might not be a way to avoid the cliff. I’m going to dive into this market and point some possible alternative ways to navigate for an acceptable solution.

Here are the third basemen (20 games min) who are in the player pool with their NFBC and FanTrax ADP. The NFBC will be based on rostering players in 5×5 Roto leagues (AVG) while most of the leagues at FanTrax are points bases (best balls). Additionally, I included an ADP-based auction value for 12-team leagues. The last column is the dollar value from our auction calculator.

Third Base Marketplace
Rank Name Position FanTrax NFBC Average FanTrax AV NFBC AV Avg AV FG’s AV
1 Jose Ramirez 3B 4 3 3 $42 $45 $43 $26
2 Manny Machado 3B 14 15 14 $30 $29 $30 $22
3 Bobby Witt Jr. 3B,SS 32 7 19 $22 $36 $27 $25
4 Austin Riley 3B 25 20 23 $24 $26 $25 $24
5 Rafael Devers 3B 26 20 23 $24 $26 $25 $25
6 Nolan Arenado 3B 39 35 37 $20 $21 $21 $20
7 Alex Bregman 3B 53 83 68 $17 $13 $15 $15
8 Gunnar Henderson 3B 98 92 95 $12 $12 $12 $11
9 Eugenio Suárez 3B 126 149 137 $10 $8 $9 $2
10 Max Muncy 2B,3B 129 149 139 $9 $8 $9 $5
11 Matt Chapman 3B 130 166 148 $9 $7 $8 $4
12 Alec Bohm 3B 182 182 182 $6 $6 $6 $5
13 Jose Miranda 1B,3B 214 155 184 $5 $8 $6 $7
14 Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B 197 177 187 $6 $6 $6 $8
15 Brandon Drury 1B,2B,3B 203 200 202 $5 $5 $5 $0
16 Josh Rojas 2B,3B 200 210 205 $5 $5 $5 $1
17 Ryan McMahon 3B 199 219 209 $5 $5 $5 $8
18 Josh Jung 3B 217 222 219 $5 $4 $5 -$2
19 Anthony Rendon 3B 228 250 239 $4 $3 $4 $5
20 DJ LeMahieu 1B,2B,3B 222 262 242 $4 $3 $4 -$1
21 Yandy Díaz 3B 236 270 253 $4 $3 $3 $10
22 Jon Berti 2B,3B 268 243 256 $3 $4 $3 -$4
23 Justin Turner 3B 274 238 256 $3 $4 $3 $4
24 Ha-Seong Kim 3B,SS 261 261 261 $3 $3 $3 $1
25 Luis Urías 2B,3B,SS 285 244 264 $2 $4 $3 $1
26 Luis Rengifo 2B,3B 271 293 282 $3 $2 $2 -$3
27 Yoán Moncada 3B 289 296 293 $2 $2 $2 $1
28 Jordan Walker 3B,OF 326 270 298 $1 $3 $2 -$4
29 Wilmer Flores 1B,2B,3B 298 342 320 $2 $1 $1 -$2
30 Brendan Donovan 2B,3B,OF 328 315 322 $1 $1 $1 $1
31 Gio Urshela 3B 318 363 340 $1 $0 $1 -$7
32 Patrick Wisdom 3B 289 406 347 $2 -$1 $0 -$11
33 Eduardo Escobar 3B 322 378 350 $1 $0 $0 -$6
34 Isaac Paredes 1B,2B,3B 359 345 352 $0 $0 $0 $0
35 Kyle Farmer 3B,SS 323 405 364 $1 -$1 $0 -$17
36 Rodolfo Castro 2B,3B 381 356 369 $0 $0 $0 -$6
37 Brett Baty 3B 370 391 381 $0 -$1 $0 -$22
38 Josh Donaldson 3B 356 413 385 $0 -$1 -$1 -$8
39 J.D. Davis 3B 378 395 387 $0 -$1 -$1 -$12
40 Ramón Urías 2B,3B 395 379 387 -$1 $0 -$1 -$2

To examine how to approach each league, I’m going to use the averaged auction values (Avg AV) with each standard league size.

10-Team mixed, No CI spot

The Big 6 (Ramirez, Manchado, Witt, Riley, Devers, and Arenado) will be drafted right away in the first three rounds. Since the league is smaller, every team will likely have two shots at one of these six.

The Next 2 (Bregman and Henderson) provide a step-down but are reasonable options until the talent level drops off again.

At least two teams miss out on the top options and they should wait and fill the spot at the end. These teams will not be happy with their options and will be streaming the position to start the season. The one exception might using the Seager-Hayes alternative solution (end of the article).

As for bench third basemen to fill in for injuries or off days, I’d focus on the multi-eligible guys so just one guy can be used at multiple positions. If possible, roster one with some upside/breakout potential.

12-Team mixed, No CI spot

The same strategy should be used in 12 teamers as in 10 teamers. A couple of dual-qualified guys, Max Muncy (2B, 3B) and Jose Miranda (1B, 3B), may be everyday guys and are no longer streaming options.

Starting with Max Muncy, 16 of the rest of the third basemen listed above have at least dual eligibility. A couple of multi-position guys I would be looking to go to another level would be Luis Urias (25, 16 HR in 472 PA) or Isaac Paredes (23, 20 HR in 381 PA).

10-Team mixed, 1 CI spot

The corner infield spot shouldn’t change a person’s approach with third basemen. Most of the corner spots will be filled by a plethora of first basemen.

12-team mixed, 1 CI spot.

Roster management gets a little dicer at this point. Let’s say 16 third basemen are starting at this point (12 3B, 4 of 12 CI) and then 12 more on the benches, the streaming options are in the Wilmer FloresGio Urshela range. That is the best-case scenario. The actual situation might be a lot worse. The bench options are drying up.

With little to no streaming options, managers might make it even more of a priority to NOT stream and get one of those early options. I don’t see a reason to prioritize anyone after those first eight. Everyone is either broken (Rendon), has no upside (Diaz), or has unknown playing time (Walker).

15-team mixed, 1 CI spot

The new issue here is that a few of the early picks may never get a chance to draft one of the Big 6 without really pushing up an option. Arenado is going right at the 2-3 turn. If someone doesn’t get Ramirez at the top, the rest might get drafted by the time the draft comes around to the second pick

In these leagues, at least seven managers will be bottom-feeding. Everyone should have a plan. The later teams might want to double-tap guys with one option being multi-position (e.g. Turner and Kim). The bottom teams should aim to have a decent backup/streaming option and not hope to roster this season’s one or two breakouts.

10 or 12-team AL or NL only, 1 CI

Alternative Actions

The falling ideas are some different actions that a manager can use with the third base position.

Find Your Late Guy. Someone going late is going to break out. Antony Rendon can be healthy. Josh Jong could find the plate. Yandy Diaz could start lifting the ball. Jordan Walker could be given a starting spot from day one. We are playing a game and part of that game is staying up on the news and reacting to it before others. I could see the top eight get pushed higher where hitting on a late guy could give a patient team a huge advantage.

Vigilance. Guys always pop up (see Brandon Drury and Luis Rengifo in ’22). While others might be searching the wire for third-base breakouts, it might be worth going the extra dollar on latest hot commodity.

Bobby Witt Double Up. In this scenario, the person who takes Bobby Witt moves him to short stop and grabs another third baseman. The move keeps one fewer team from rostering an elite guy and will likely get people scrambling for the remaining options. Another path would be to roster one of the Big 6 and then add Gunnar Henderson knowing that Henderson should add shortstop eligibility in a couple of weeks.

Seager-Hayes Solution. This plan takes two players who don’t provide typical production for their position, Corey Seager (SS) and Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B), and “swap” their production. Seager is projected for a .275 AVG, 27 HR, and 1 SB while Hayes is set to go with a .256 AVG, 11 HR, and 15 SB. Seager will need to be rostered first and then Hayes later. Instead of Seager, Carlos Correa (23 HR, 1 SB, .271 AVG) could be used. For other third base options, there are Josh Rojas (10 HR, 14 SB, .249 AVG) or Jon Berti (6 HR, 24 SB, .239 AVG).

Hidden Qualifiers. There are always going to be guys adding third-base eligibility. I’ve identified three options so far:

  • Miguel Vargas: It’s not set in stone that Vargas will start the season as the Dodgers third baseman, but there is a decent chance. Add him in redraft leagues and drop him if he’s not playing.
  • Jean Segura: He’s the safe bet to get the Marlins job but with limited production.
  • Nick Maton: The Tigers are saying he will play some third base.





Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

22 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
lavarnway
7 days ago

Y’all go ahead and draft Witt that high. I’ll gladly take Riley, Devers, Arenado, or Bregman.