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.
|Rank||Player||Team||Avg Pick||Min Pick||Max Pick|
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.
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.