How many hot’s is too many? I’ll say three. Because three’s are wild when I’m dealing. Third Base is going to provide a ton of power this year (we really need to appreciate how many homers were hit last season, and wonder if regression is coming…but what fun is that? Let’s predict even more Power for 2017, shall we?) and there are some speed guys, and some multi-position qualifiers, and just a whole cornucopia of idiosyncrasies going on at third base.
It might be my favorite position this season. I typed that, never having thought that before, having a favorite fantasy position. Fantasy baseball position, you know that’s what I meant. My new favorite player, World Series Winner (typing that makes me so dang happy) Kris Bryant, qualifies there (and in the outfield, too) and if you’re a fan as well, check this out. While he’s number one in my heart, he’s number two in my rankings. Though number two ain’t bad (well, it depends on who number two works for, doesn’t it?).
I’d draft them exactly in that order, though it’d be hard to pass on Bryant, and I might not, as a Cubs fan. Getting some players on your fantasy team also on your real life fan team isn’t bad, though it can come back to bite you (Jason Heyward, your ONLY saving grace is the pep talk in the locker room during the break in game 7, because you certainly ruined a bunch of fantasy teams last year).
So I’ll draft Bryant, or maybe Rizzo, probably Russell, to get my Cubs fill, and you should do the same. Fantasy sports should be about fun; that is unless you’re playing for thousands of dollars. Then feel free to spurn your real life team, especially if they’re the Marlins (I originally typed Rays, then thought Diamondbacks…why did they put teams in Spring Training spots again? Oh right, the money).
Arenado edges out Bryant due to the extra Umph power and playing in Coors and back-to-back 130 RBI seasons. That’s a lotta ribbies, I tells ya! His floor is so high, something, something Pot’s legal in Colorado. If I had to pick a guy to hit 50+ next year, I’m picking Arenado. Why doesn’t he have a decent nickname? This link tells us he’s from Orange County, named after Nolan Ryan, and is called Mickey Mouse by his teammates because he can’t speak much Spanish. That’s just a bad nickname all around. Take a look at some of these old nicknames, see if we can’t recycle one. “Ol Stubblebeard” Arenado? That’s my favorite.
The Machado Man is a golden god in fantasy baseball and I talked about him in my shortstop rankings. Donaldson is going to bash like he’s done ever since he arrived in Toronto; he’s a fine consolation prize if you don’t get one of the top three.
I had Beltre in a few leagues last year and he felt so boring that when we got to the end of the season and he’s at 32 homers, 104 RBIs, and an OPS of .879 I was really surprised. Not surprised like jump out the chair surprised, but surprised like, huh, I did not expect that. It was a very subdued surprise. Beltre may be 37, but he’s coming off the best OPS of his past three seasons, has been consistent as hell for what seems like ever, was on fire at the end of last season, and now I feel like this tier should be called decently high floor, while the next tier is called kinda upside.
Seager is Mr Consistency, and is only getting better, improving his OPS from a .788 in 2014 to an .858 OPS last season. As such, he’s not sexy, but make that your gain. He’s set it and forget it and I feel I’ll own him on a fair amount of teams. Frazier is coming off a 40 homer season, and while I’m not projecting him for that, he’s still going to hit bombs. His OPS is not great, and I’m hoping he can get back above .800 this season. He’ll also steal around 15 bags, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Bless you. I’m not a religious person, but saying bless you is good manners.
Though isn’t it awkward when someone you don’t really know sneezes multiple times in a row? You want to say bless you, but they keep sneezing, and you don’t even know the sneezer, and it’s awkward and then…you both just walk away because you’re strangers. Moving on…Carpenter should produce an .850+ OPS, and qualifies at second base and first base but while the Cardinals are going to make him their first baseman this season, don’t start him on your team there. Start him at second, and get another third baseman.
There’s some upside as Franco and Lamb both have 30+ homer power, but lack in OPS power, and Franco is known as a free swinger, and Lamb can’t hit lefties (yet). Villar steals a lot of bases, but you already knew that. His OPS last season with 19 homers was .826, and while he probably won’t be hitting either of those numbers again, if he gets 15 homers, 40+ steals, and .780 OPS that plays (at shortstop, do the same thing I said to do with Carpenter five lines up).
Whelp! That’s a lot of guys. Longoria is always a name, and hit 36 homers last season with an OPS of .839, but don’t pay for that. I feel he may be avoided by many, but there’s always that one guy who doesn’t pay that much attention, and he’ll be looking at Longo’s numbers from 2016 and say, “dagnabit, 36 home runs! that’s goooood! Fourth round, don’t mind if I do.” But if not, he’ll drop, and unless he falls off the cliff, pass on him.
Turner is coming off a career year at 32, but is in a good lineup, had decent peripherals, and should have little problem clearing an .800 OPS, even if he doesn’t hit 27 homers again. Gyorko brings the power and could be started at second or short, and should be. Nunez brings the steals while also qualifying at shortstop. Schimpf brings homers and is better in OPS leagues for it. Rendon is so all over the place, and that’s why he’s in this tier, aptly named, “if they’re cheap/available later in drafts I’ll take them, if not, I drafted a top four guy, so ah well.”
Sano has the power, he just needs to get better at that contact part of the game. But for cheap in an OPS league? I’ll definitely take a flier. Same with Bregman and Healy. In keeper leagues they are probably long gone, but yearly leagues maybe everyone doesn’t know about them. Though I get the feeling that both guys are going to be pretty hyped by the time drafts roll around. So looks like it’s back to Sano for the cheap upside. Sano even promised to lose weight and work harder, in September! He’s beating the Spring Training “he’s in the best shape of his life” line by months!
Tier 5: There is no tier five. Draft a guy from tier 1 or 2, then take one from 3 or 4. Or two from 3, or 1 and 4. Don’t draft Matt Duffy, or Yulieski Gurriel, Jose Ramirez, Nick Castellanos or Javier Baez as your starter. Not in an OPS league. Don’t do it. Seriously, no matter how hot they are in spring. Just don’t do it.
I want to end on some sunshine, which for me was yesterday. 80 degrees and sunny? I’ll take that for February. Today, well, it’s raining in (usually) sunny southern California, and is going to a lot over the next week. The weather people are really earning their keep this winter.
Being relatively new to the area, I feel like if this is the worst winter rain season in years, then I’m doing pretty well because it may be raining but there is no lighting or thunder (which are the good parts) and all I need is a thin hoody to shield myself from said rain (heavy drizzle). The sun will come out again, and for 300+ days a year, and I’m happy to share some of my sunshine with all you Razzballers and Razzballettes out there. No more throwing shade, we’re sharing OPS flavored sunshine over here!