Yesterday, we went over the top 20 shortstops for 2014 fantasy baseball and today we (hint: it’s in the title) go over the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball. Now that we’re knee deep in the 2014 fantasy baseball rankings we can get a better idea of how deep certain positions are. Martin Prado is 16th overall on the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball but 23rd here. Juan Francisco is 34th on the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball, but 28th here. Quickly we can surmise that the 3rd basemen is shallower than the 1st basemen, but deeper than the 2nd basemen. Outfielders are obviously the deepest, and will be coming tomorrow, and, after that, positions rank from deepest to shallowest: 1st basemen, 3rd basemen, shortstops, 2nd basemen then catchers. Not much change from previous years, except for the flip-flop with the middle infielders. As always, my projections and tiers are noted. Oh, and if you don’t believe the magic in my fingertips, here’s the review of my rankings from last year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball:
5. David Wright – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Alvarez. I call this tier, “3rd base is deep, chill.” This tier will probably be okay, but the 3rd basemen go on forever. I’m looking at guys ranked in the 20’s here that I would draft as my 3rd baseman. Last year, I punted 3rd base to the Machado, Machado Man. Worked out fine. This year you can do the same. There will be a dozen 3rd basemen to choose from. As for Wright, he had a brouhaha last year, with the emphasis on haha, after not endorsing Cougar Life. Don’t you need to be young to be with a Cougar? My Cougar talks about Joy Division and I have no idea what she’s talking about. You need like a good fifteen years between you and your lady to really enjoy the benefits of Cougar’ing, like having your meals cooked for you and getting reminded daily why you need to take care of your teeth. Wright’s 31; that’s too old for Cougar’ing anyway. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s going to suddenly get better with age. And his health’s a mess. Wright gets a ton of supporters from the fantasy community; it’s like saying something bad about Lou Gehrig. What’s so great about Wright? (See, if you jilt Cougars, you get the wrath of Grey.) 2014 Projections: 84/22/93/.303/15
6. Ryan Zimmerman – What they say is if it’s good for the geese, it’s also good for the gander… Oh, oh, Sheila! Oh, sorry, I didn’t hear you come in. Sit down and let me tell you a little something about frustration. You’re struggling to get anything started on offense for your fantasy team. You have Zimmerman at 3rd and he’s given you one homer in April and you’re like, “Why does he always disappoint?!” He fails to get hot for the first three months, then you trade him for 35 cents on the dollar and are just happy to get rid of him….Then he gets scolding hot. At the end of the year, Zimmerman gets his numbers, but for two years now his 1st half has looked like that of, say, Chris Johnson. You can draft Zimmerman, but know that you’re gonna want to kill him from April through June. Okay, see yourself out… Oh, oh, Sheila! Let me love you until the morn comes! 2014 Projections: 86/25/91/.279/4
7. Josh Donaldson – He beat my expectations last year by a hair…If you have dreadlocks and one ‘hair’ is 8 inches in circumference and smells like gym socks. He beat my expectations by a hair if your hair has written on it, “Grey’s stupid” like how people write on a grain of rice. He beat me by a hair if your hair is as long as all the members of Tesla combined. BTW, when is Tesla (the car) gonna have commercials with Tesla (the band)? I’m guessing in the 2016 Super Bowl. Anyone want those odds? Nothing really screams out to me that Donaldson’s year was a fluke. His BABIP was a tad high, but I could see him maintaining a .330 BABIP. Maybe it drops ten or so points. What worries me is how many plate appearances he needed to scratch his way to 89 runs, 93 RBIs, 24 homers and 5 steals. It’s hard to project him to once again get 158 games played. So his rates should stay close to the same, but he just won’t accumulate as many stats. 2014 Projections: 74/19/80/.290/4
8. Pedro Alvarez – He hits a ton of fly balls, doesn’t hit many infield fly balls and hits a ton of homers. It’s not a bad recipe for success (assuming you’re using low sodium soy). I like him, but, like Al from The Naked Gun, I think last year he was hitting his head on his ceiling. Can he get more than 36 homers while hitting .233-ish? I suppose, but just a bit off either number and you’re in dangerous territory. A .225 hitter with 29 homers isn’t pretty at all. The difference between his 2013 and that line is one butterfly in Indonesia flying right at an intersection instead of left. 2014 Projections: 65/31/89/.237/2
9. Kyle Seager – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Moustakas. I call this tier, “A 3rd baseman you draft now, young prematurely balding Padawan.” Seager is predictable and nowadays that’s just not that easy to find. He’s a virtual lock for a 20/12 season, and that’s a virtual reality you don’t have to wear clunky 3-D glasses for. He had a bit of the same good fortune as Donaldson, a crapton of plate appearances. Like Sony did to Michael Bay on his last film, I’ll give Seager 75 less PAs, but with Cano behind him (maybe Hart and Morrison, depending on health) equals 5 more runs. Seager won’t ever hit for .300. .260 is more than doable-slash-usable-slash-from-GNR. He’ll also chip in around 10 steals. He finished 11th last year for 3rd basemen, and I’d put him up for a part deux, hot shot. 2014 Projections: 83/20/77/.263/10
13. Will Middlebrooks – Surprised I didn’t write a sleeper post on Middlebrooks. Guess no better time than the present. Whew! That went faster than expected. I wrote about how his K-rate was out of control in the first half due to terrible BABIP. See, he was struggling, getting unlucky and then started chasing and got sloppy. I wrote about how his walk rate shot up in the 2nd half and he made better contact. I wrote about how his 1st half and 2nd half were separated by a trip to the minors. Whatever was bugging his boo, he stopped rueing it and started ruling it, said Dr. Seuss. I wrote about how he’s one of the few guys in the Red Sox lineup that comes without a steep price and how he’s slotted in the nine hole right now, but that could change pretty quickly. I wrote– Damn, now there’s no reason to publish that post. Oh, well. 2014 Projections: 69/21/78/.273/4
16. Manny Machado – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Carpenter. I call this tier, “Hopefully these guys are ranked low enough so I don’t need to contemplate them.” You know why Plato loved a Vegas buffet? No one complained when he had too much on his contemplate. Take it, Highlights, it’s yours! Probably would’ve ranked Machado above Wright if he didn’t get hurt going into the offseason. I love Machado like a mother chicken loves her mothereffin’ eggs, but, for this year, I’m passing on him in drafts. 2014 Projections: 80/14/61/.281/3
18. Pablo Sandoval – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Profar. I call this tier, “May even get value this late…Dayum!” Sandoval was so annoyed that management kept calling him fat that he lost 170 pounds. And, like any anorexic model, Sandoval’s mad at the world. Sandoval told the media that when Fathead called him he didn’t know if he should call back the company or Bochy. Playing mad is fun, could be great for fantasy. He is still two seasons removed from palatable numbers so don’t get caught in the “he’s sexy so he must be better” trap. Draft him, just don’t overreach based on how he looks in a bathing suit. 2014 Projections: 62/17/76/.285/1
19. Brett Lawrie – Are you ready for some post-post-POST-postpost-post-hype sleeper action? I knew you would be. Lawrie’s in the same boat as Sandoval. (Hopefully, that boat isn’t named the Titanic II.) Lawrie looks like an 18-homer, 12-steal guy with a .270 average, but — and this is a J. Lo-sized but — he hasn’t done it yet over a full season, so he’s worth a draft pick at the right price, just don’t draft him assuming the best. 2014 Projections: 69/14/74/.268/12
20. Aramis Ramirez – Aramis is kinda hot garbage on the dashboard in an El Dorado that’s parked in the Sahara Desert. But, you never know, and you are pretty late in a draft. More than likely, Ramirez will play in about 100 games, be a bench player in 2015 and retire following that season. 2014 Projections: 64/16/69/.278/1
22. Martin Prado – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Headley. I call this tier, “Martenth Avenue Freese Out.” The tier’s name is a mystery to everyone, even Springsteen fans, and what you’ll get from these guys makes it a mystery why anyone gets excited about drafting them. Went over Prado in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball.
23. David Freese – Here’s what I said when he was traded to the Angels, “Pop goes the Freesel cuz the Freesel lost his pop at 3rd base. Well, the Angels figured out a way to get older and more expensive. Maybe Arte Moreno Jr. shouldn’t have bought his dad Brian Cashman’s autobiography. “Dad, chapter five implicitly says to sell off all prospects and get older. In no uncertain terms.” That’s AM Jr. as he pats caviar from his lips with a gold leaf. Freese isn’t great, but he seemed to get lost in St. Louis. Maybe he can’t stand enthusiastic fans. Southern California should cure that problem. Worst case scenario, Freese is a 12-ish homer guy with fair-to-middling counting stats. Best case scenario, he hits 20 homers again and lends you a million dollars, interest free. I imagine he’ll find himself somewhere in the middle with Monie and Malcolm.” And that’s me quoting me! 2014 Projections: 68/16/79/.260/2
24. Chase Headley – Here’s the crazy thing… You ready for it… Here it is… Crap, I left it in my car, one second… Okay, back! The crazy thing is Headley’s not that bad and he’s ranked 24th. Do I want him? Nah, not really. Would I take him if he was around this late? Sure, what the eff in the eff hole. A guy with 30-homer, 15-steal potential, who is 29 years old, shouldn’t be around this late. It’s a deep position and I could see taking a corner infielder from 3rd base and maybe even a utility guy. It’s a good time to be a hitter…Except for 1st basemen, 2nd basemen, catchers, shortstops and outfielders. UPDATE: Calf strain and sidelined for 3 weeks. If you see him in your draft, probably best to keep on mooooving. 2014 Projections: 62/14/70/.259/8
25. Anthony Rendon – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here to Plouffe. I call this tier, “Probably won’t be thrilled with them at 3rd base, but as a corner man they might tickle your fantasy bone.” Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball.
27. Matt Dominguez – What’s up, Astros fans?! I can’t hear you! You, the one guy in the back wearing a Bagwell jersey. Yeah, you. What’s up?! Your 3rd baseman looks like a poor man’s Pedro Alvarez. I will call him Po Alvarez cuz you can’t afford the edro. Uh-oh, I feel a rhyme coming on. Gots one Astro fan in the world, for a championship their wont is bored. First they need to remember the last back-to-back games they won. What are you chicken, Szechuan? You best be praying on the Koran. Hey, without that, it’s Matthew McCon. 2014 Projections: 51/19/67/.242
31. Trevor Plouffe – Plouffe is safer to get better numbers than Davidson, but you don’t want safe this late. Plouffe goes my logic! 2014 Projections: 51/15/63/.242/2
32. Mark Reynolds – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “If you’re drafting now for five years ago, you could do all right.” Went over Reynolds in the top 20 1st basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball.
33. Casey McGehee – Here’s what I said about him this offseason, “There’s a name from the past, huh? No, Casey McGehee isn’t the girl you went to the prom with. He’s a third baseman who used to play in the majors, couldn’t hit and went to Japan, where he found success against guys half his size. Some people call that a bully, but in the US we call that industrious. You might wonder why on earth we’re talking about a guy who has disappeared for a year. Guess what? The Marlins signed him to play third base. And you thought the Marlins weren’t playing to win. Pee double eff tee.” And that’s me quoting me! 2014 Projections: 44/12/59/.231/2
34. Matt Davidson – Here’s what I said this offseason, “Went the other way in the Addison Reed trade and is currently slated to start at 3rd base for the White Hose. Davidson does sound like a game show host, so come on down, you’re the next contestant on the White Sox depth chart. Plouffe-like isn’t just fun to say, it’s also what Davidson looks like. Yo, man, you are Plouffe-like! He’ll have some power, maybe 20-ish homers, but struggle to hit for a decent average. Here’s what I said previously about him, “Here’s what Prospect Scott said, “Davidson’s power is legit, as evidenced by the .208 ISO he posted at Double-A last year. The 21-year-old projects to hit 25+ homers annually, but an aggressive approach will likely keep the AVG down. Still, he looks like an above-average 3B, and he’s not too far off. Or as Grey would say, ‘I’m a big dummy.’” What? Why would I say that? I like Davidson a lot in AL-Only leagues, and deep mixed ones for upside.” And that’s me quoting me quoting Scott quoting me in a Möbius strip of quoting!” And that’s me quoting me like a mothereffin’ broken record! UPDATE: Davidson may not make the club because of Conor Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger. Oh. Okay. 2014 Projections: 38/14/51/.223/1
35. Yuniesky Betancourt – You know what they say to Betancourt when he has a brain fart? You’re a Yunitard. UPDATE: He signed in Japan. Sayonara! 2014 Projections: 30/11/42/.220/2