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Recent Third Base ADP Trends in the NFBC

When I was growing up and playing baseball, I lived behind the plate. While the guys on the mound and the ones who played the infield got most of the attention, there was nothing I loved more than being the unassuming presence behind the mask. Sure, some of the kids poked fun and said that I was back there because I had the speed of a three-legged turtle, but the coaches always made me feel better when they told me that, in little league, you put your best athletes at shortstop and your smartest behind the plate. I took a lot of solace in that and continued to spend my time emulating the likes of Thurman Munson and Johnny Bench.

But this is fantasy baseball and anyone who has ever been in a league with me knows that I am the biggest sucker for third base power. You find me a hot, up-and-coming rookie third baseman and I’ll show you a colossal over-bid or a reach by at least a round or two…possibly three depending on the hype. I have owned Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez and Eric Chavez all in their rookie years. Some I held onto for too long and some were trade casualties during my quests for championships but all were on my team during the early parts of their respective careers. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the hot corner.

But similarly to shortstop and second base, the hot corner is a bit stagnant when it comes to ADP movement. Sure, there are some guys trending upwards and downwards, but that’s more to do with the flow of individual drafts guided by the significant drop-off in talent rather than someone gaining in popularity due to overall talent or a strong spring showing. No, the order in which third baseman are coming off the draft board is almost identical to where they were coming off a month ago. Those who are in deeper leagues or AL or NL-only leagues will pay a little more mind to some of the lesser-known risers and fallers, but those who are in mixed leagues of 14-teams or fewer, should have it relatively easy in your drafts as you know (almost) exactly where everyone is usually going.

Let’s take a look at some of the data and discuss some of the more relevant trends.

Top 40 Third Basemen – ADP Trends

Rank Player Team Current ADP 1 Month Ago Trend
1 Adrian Beltre Tex 18.30 21.16 15.63%
2 Evan Longoria TB 23.07 22.22 -3.68%
3 David Wright NYM 23.86 27.00 13.16%
4 Ryan Zimmerman Was 62.25 62.92 1.08%
5 Josh Donaldson Oak 69.70 67.76 -2.78%
6 Pedro Alvarez Pit 83.20 82.14 -1.27%
7 Martin Prado Ari 107.29 101.68 -5.23%
8 Manny Machado Bal 115.64 106.49 -7.91%
9 Kyle Seager Sea 118.73 116.27 -2.07%
10 Aramis Ramirez Mil 151.48 160.14 5.72%
11 Pablo Sandoval SF 152.99 160.19 4.71%
12 Chase Headley SD 155.23 152.24 -1.93%
13 Brett Lawrie Tor 155.29 149.03 -4.03%
14 Nolan Arenado Col 175.70 166.43 -5.28%
15 Todd Frazier Cin 212.22 205.19 -3.31%
16 Will Middlebrooks Bos 219.41 219.03 -0.17%
17 Nick Castellanos Det 257.68 257.73 0.02%
18 Chris Johnson Atl 257.84 264.92 2.75%
19 Matt Dominguez Hou 259.65 258.92 -0.28%
20 David Freese LAA 283.03 275.59 -2.63%
21 Mike Moustakas KC 292.08 294.76 0.92%
22 Cody Asche Phi 329.38 339.16 2.97%
23 Trevor Plouffe Min 353.28 344.32 -2.54%
24 Matt Davidson CWS 376.17 381.70 1.47%
25 Miguel Sano Min 400.80 461.68 15.19%
26 Lonnie Chisenhall Cle 409.92 389.62 -4.95%
27 Juan Uribe LAD 425.43 416.92 -2.00%
28 Maikel Franco Phi 434.56 456.05 4.95%
29 Kris Bryant ChC 445.68 465.84 4.52%
30 Alberto Callaspo Oak 449.37 444.22 -1.15%
31 Michael Young FA 486.26 435.14 -10.51%
32 Wilmer Flores NYM 526.58 538.89 2.34%
33 Conor Gillaspie CWS 529.08 523.69 -1.02%
34 Alex Rodriguez FA 541.08 521.59 -3.60%
35 Luis Valbuena ChC 552.88 575.78 4.14%
36 Jeff Keppinger CWS 564.35 564.97 0.11%
37 Eric Chavez Ari 569.05 556.17 -2.26%
38 Danny Valencia KC 584.07 583.97 -0.02%
39 Ed Lucas Mia 599.33 589.17 -1.70%
40 Donnie Murphy CHC 634.01 600.81 -5.24%


One thing to keep in mind, obviously Miguel Cabrera still qualifies here at third base. He's not listed as such in the NFBC ADP data, but we know who he is. He's the number one third baseman in the fantasy world and is either first or second overall. He is not getting any higher or lower, so if you pick first or second, he's a no-brainer. There's nothing really to discuss with regard to him really. If you pick second and he's available and you don't take him, well, you might not want to put any money down on your league. Just sayin'...

Now let's talks ADP trends...
Risers

Adrian Beltre, TEX (+15.63%) – While his current ADP is at 18.30, I’ve certainly seen him go higher. In 15-team mock drafts, he’s been going right at the wheel and in a few cases, as early as 10th. With the health concerns in the past as he’s appeared in at least 150 games in three of the last four years, fantasy owners are happily focusing on the numbers he’s putting up instead of the number of games he’s missed. With a lineup that now includes Shin-Soo Choo atop the order and Prince Fielder likely batting right in front of him, the numbers he puts up this year could be tremendous. Don’t be surprised to see his ADP continue to climb over the next few weeks as more and more owners are fighting for his services.

Miguel Sano, CHC (+15.19%) – And all of this growth has now been squashed with news of Tommy John surgery. Forget his ADP numbers now. They mean nothing. Sure, you can draft him in a dynasty league and hold onto him, but you won’t see him for 2014 and his progress will need to be closely monitored before we can put a legitimate estimate on a return date in 2015.

David Wright, NYM (+13.16%) – Here’s a case where the significant drop in talent is pushing someone’s ADP north. Not that Wright doesn’t deserve the recognition and early pick, because he does, but with such a drop-off in talent at the position, owners are trying to grab the elites at third a little quicker. His 23.86 ADP has pushed him nearly dead-even with Longoria instead of a good five to seven picks behind him. It doesn’t seem like a huge jump, but when you’re drafting and you see what you could be left with if you don’t act fast, the prospects aren’t the prettiest, by any means.

Aramis Ramirez, MIL (+5.72%) – He’s right on the cusp, just inside the top-10 at the position, but again, seeing the top nine off the board by the seventh or eighth round puts owners into a modest sense of panic. Even with January colon surgery and potential risks with his knees, Ramirez’ power potential still puts him as a relatively hot commodity at the position. People were waiting more than five rounds after the top nine were off the board before selecting Ramirez and now they’re only waiting two, three at the most. He’s a risk, for sure, but would you rather risk the potential injury or risk getting saddled with Chris Johnson or David Freese?

Maikel Franco, PHI (+4.95%) – Franco is just 21-years-old and while he is technically competing with Cody Asche for the starting third base job, conventional wisdom has him either heading back to Double or Triple-A to open the season. He’s not having the best of starts to spring, but Asche is actually looking worse right now, so while the Phillies are likely to send him down now, he could find himself on the fast-track to the majors given his power potential and the Phillies need for run producers. He’s nothing more than a dynasty league pick-up or a very late-round flier in leagues with deep benches, but his ADP increase indicates that he’s on people’s radar already.

Fallers

Michael Young, FA (-10.51%) – Did no one in the NFBC get the memo that Young decided to retire? The ADP decrease is a good indicator that some have grown wise, but people are still taking late-round fliers on him, it seems. Perhaps someone is holding out hope that he goes stir crazy this spring and begs someone for an opportunity.

Manny Machado, BAL (-7.91%) – The reports on Machado’s recovery from his knee injury have been fairly positive, but we won’t know much more until March 18 when he goes in for his check-up. He’s doing drills and stepping on the bases with both feet, but he still hasn’t resumed full baseball activities. He’s still coming off the board in the seventh or eighth round so the potential of missing Opening Day isn’t really affecting his draft value too much. But keep an eye on his ADP because if it continues to drop, he could prove to be a great bargain depending on where he lands.

Nolan Arenado, COL (-5.28%) – When news broke that he wasn’t going to bat second in the lineup, the fall began. Not like he was a highly targeted guy, but the prospect of him batting higher in the order would have certainly raised his overall value. He’s still a young, viable option and if I were choosing to wait on the position and bulk up elsewhere, I would have no problem settling for Arenado. He’s got decent power potential, possibly improving plate discipline and hey…it’s Colorado, right? I’d much rather settle for him than take my chances with any of guys going behind him in drafts right now. Maybe even ahead of a few that are in front.

Donnie Murphy, CHC (-5.24%) – With Luis Valbuena penciled in as the starter, Mike Olt on the roster and Kris Bryant as the third baseman of the near-future, Murphy’s stock is dropping and it’s hard to believe that it will head back up at any point. He made for a nice addition last season, but it appears as if the Cubs are ready to move forward without him.

Martin Prado, ARI (-5.23%) – That multi-position eligibility is always enticing, but the fact remains that Prado just doesn’t put up the counting stats you’d like from a corner infielder. He’s a much better play at second base, but if you miss out on the top guys at third and want to do something with the positional flexibility, he seems to be drifting a little further out of the top 100 overall. Not really the best bargain at third, again, but it might not be a bad way to compensate.

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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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