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Early Third Base ADP

Please allow me to step out of my current life and channel the mentality of some old-timer sitting on the porch, sipping lemonade and reminiscing about the way things used to be when he was younger. I do this because I am scanning the list of those who qualify at third base this season and it’s looking pretty bleak. Maybe not as thin as the shortstop position is, but it’s still pretty bad. And judging by the current ADP totals we see in the NFBC, it seems that nearly everyone has decided that waiting on the position is the right course of action.

Third Basemen – Top 50 ADP

Rank Player Team Avg Pick Min Pick Max Pick
1 Miguel Cabrera Det 1.22 1 2
2 Adrian Beltre Tex 21.16 5 94
3 Evan Longoria TB 22.22 14 54
4 David Wright NYM 27.00 11 86
5 Ryan Zimmerman Was 62.92 37 163
6 Josh Donaldson Oak 67.76 35 90
7 Pedro Alvarez Pit 82.14 28 124
8 Martin Prado Ari 101.68 76 204
9 Manny Machado Bal 106.49 55 158
10 Kyle Seager Sea 116.27 44 191
11 Brett Lawrie Tor 149.03 104 188
12 Chase Headley SD 152.24 91 295
13 Aramis Ramirez Mil 160.14 68 297
14 Pablo Sandoval SF 160.19 119 264
15 Nolan Arenado Col 166.43 120 214
16 Todd Frazier Cin 205.19 152 300
17 Will Middlebrooks Bos 219.03 168 314
18 Nick Castellanos Det 257.73 182 329
19 Matt Dominguez Hou 258.92 215 353
20 Chris Johnson Atl 264.92 203 406
21 David Freese LAA 275.59 228 328
22 Mike Moustakas KC 294.76 193 366
23 Cody Asche Phi 339.16 243 417
24 Trevor Plouffe Min 344.32 254 433
25 Matt Davidson CWS 381.70 288 509
26 Lonnie Chisenhall Cle 389.62 264 475
27 Juan Uribe LAD 416.92 293 520
28 Michael Young FA 435.14 283 621
29 Alberto Callaspo Oak 444.22 325 513
30 Maikel Franco Phi 456.05 310 633
31 Miguel Sano Min 461.68 377 692
32 Kris Bryant ChC 465.84 339 626
33 Alex Rodriguez NYY 521.59 354 750
34 Conor Gillaspie CWS 523.69 332 687
35 Wilmer Flores NYM 538.89 365 696
36 Eric Chavez Ari 556.17 452 671
37 Jeff Keppinger CWS 564.97 494 671
38 Luis Valbuena ChC 575.78 427 702
39 Danny Valencia KC 583.97 462 729
40 Ed Lucas Mia 589.17 455 706
41 Kevin Youkilis NYY 591.05 430 734
42 Donnie Murphy ChC 600.81 314 725
43 Garin Cecchini Bos 644.00 538 737
44 Joaquin Arias SF 661.08 561 742
45 Jeff Baker Tex 666.41 523 732
46 Yuniesky Betancourt Mil 669.45 500 750
47 Josh Harrison Pit 682.80 637 750
48 Kaleb Cowart LAA 683.07 582 748
49 Josh Vitters ChC 685.14 581 744
50 Pedro Ciriaco KC 685.75 611 737

Even at just a quick glance, the ADP for the top 10 says it all. You’ve got Miguel Cabrera, who won’t qualify here after the season is over, going either one or two overall, Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, and David Wright coming off the board in the second, maybe third round, but then after those four, you’re looking at the fifth or sixth round for the next two guys after that and frankly, I’m more than just a bit skeptical of Josh Donaldson repeating what he did in his age-27 season. Even Pedro Alvarez, with all that power and minimal average, isn’t coming off the board earlier than the 80th pick in these drafts.

The rest of the field just doesn’t have the confidence of fantasy owners. Whether it’s Aramis Ramirez with his age and injury history, Pablo Sandoval and his weight problems, or just the unproven youth of Brett Lawrie and Mike Moustakas, people are hesitant to make the investment in the position these days. And it gets even more difficult to sift through if your league requires you to start a corner infielder as well. Once you pass that top 15 third basemen, it’s much better to go looking over at first base for your corner guy.

There are probably a few guys who, with a strong spring, may start to climb up the ADP ranks, but it’s probably not something we’re going to see until spring training games start up in March and we see who is picking up their game. There’s a chance that a few fantasy pundits latch onto a guy or two and a few favorable write-ups start to make the public stand up and take notice, but how much that will influence where they go in drafts will also have to do with their spring performance. 

In the meantime, here are a few who have caught my eye…

Josh Donaldson, OAK – Well, I can’t say I’m not buying it without giving a more detailed explanation, right? Well, I can’t really put my finger on it, and it may be more gut-feeling than something actually steeped in numbers, but I believe in the regression more than the repeat. Maybe it’s because he was a late-bloomer, maybe I don’t see him sustaining a .333 BABIP this season, maybe it’s because the .199 ISO over 668 plate appearances is a career-best and a number I feel he’ll struggle to come close to this time around. Maybe it’s all three. Either way, Donaldson is coming off the board as the sixth-best third baseman and I feel his impending regression should put his overall value as an equivalent to most of the run-of-the-mill guys. I’d be much happier waiting another 50 picks and grabbing someone like Kyle Seager. Much happier.

Manny Machado, BAL – While you don’t score any fantasy points for it, nothing makes an owner happier than seeing his guys pasted all over the highlight reels on ESPN and the NLB Network. Machado is one of those guys. However, Machado is one of those guys because of his glove and not his bat. He may dazzle us with his backhand grabs or off-balance throws from foul territory down the line, but the batting numbers aren’t there to make him that much more valuable than some of the rest. True, he’s just 21-years-old and the power could still develop, but he’s also coming off knee surgery and even his spot on Opening Day could be in question. Reports have him six to eight weeks ahead of schedule, but even that gives me pause that things are being rushed by him. I appreciate the eagerness, but I’d rather see full-health than to have him for a few weeks only to lose him for longer. Should his ADP drop 50-60 picks, even that isn’t ideal, but certainly more in-line with where his offensive output should be for fantasy owners.

Nolan Arenado, COL – Another youngster with a slick-fielding glove, but his steady development and the fact that the Rockies are looking to bat him second in the order gives him a little bump in fantasy value. He should see more at-bats, an increase in runs, and his power could, in fact, increase as he gets better pitches to look at while hitting directly in front of Carlos Gonzalez. Batting second, he’s going to have to improve his plate discipline and start learning to draw more walks, but he does also make above-average contact and with a little help from the BABIP gods, he should an increase of batting average and on-base percentage. His current ADP seems about right and there are plenty of “bigger” names ahead of him, so while a hot spring may increase his ADP a bit, he should remain where he is at and still be a solid value.

Matt Dominguez, HOU – Given the general lack of power at the position, should Dominguez open the spring on a strong note, we could see his ADP climb up right from the onset. Last season, he smacked 21 home runs and while the total was driven by an eight-homer May, he still produced steadily as the season moved along, including a five-homer August. His batting average was a bit of a bear, but perhaps a BABIP higher than .254 and a few extra walks here and there can help fix that. Many are saying that there is 30-home run power lurking in there, especially with the home games being played at hitter-friendly Minute Maid Park, so if he starts to hit for it, watch how quickly the masses jump on the bandwagon.

Matt Davidson/Conor Gillaspie, CHW – Right now, the two are separated by almost 150 picks and neither has been named the starter/back-up for the upcoming season. No, the White Sox didn’t trade for Davidson so he could sit on the bench, but aside from some nice power totals at some hitter-friendly minor league parks, he hasn’t done anything to exactly prove himself just yet. In time, he should, and he should end up with the starting nod, but Gillaspie didn’t exactly tank it last year and could improve with some additional experience at the major league level. The two will fight it out this spring, but just be careful if you’re drafting early. Davidson’s ADP is fine if he’s the starter, but if there’s any sort of platoon talk or he doesn’t hit well this spring, then he should be dropped further down. And vice-versa for Gillaspie who could then stand to get bumped up a bit.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for nearly two decades on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him directly at rotobuzzguy@gmail.com

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