Not gonna lie… I spent far too long deciding if third base or short stop came after second base in terms of rolling out this preseason series. Then I looked at the short stops, threw up in my mouth a little bit, and moved on to third base instead. Ahhh, much better.
In 2016, third base is quite an intriguing position. There are very clear tiers, some big-time names, and then those players that make your penis soft. Similar to second basemen, the hot corner averaged a .061 spread for qualified hitters. And while we keep that figure in mind, I will give you my thoughts on the risers, fallers, targets, and sleepers at third base for the 2016 season…
(Keep in mind, the format is 12-team 5×5 OBP)
|Jung Ho Kang||PIT||421||60||15||58||5||28||0.287||0.355||0.068|
Matt Carpenter (5th Round, OBP Value= 4th)
Matt Carpenter is kind of like the Caitlyn Jenner of fantasy baseball. Much like Jenner in 2015, Carpenter made people confused on who he really was. And even through his slight identity problem, everyone seems to be on board with him in 2016!
At age 28, Carpenter went from eight homers in 2014, to 28 homers in 2015. He also maintained a huge Run total (101) and a huge Spread (.093) even with the increase in Ks. And even if his power regresses back to around 20 dingers (as it should), Carpenter is a lock to get a shit load of plate appearances and is a beast in the OBP format. Don’t be afraid to jump on him in the fourth round regardless if you get a hard time from your buddies.
Nolan Arenado (1st Round, OBP Value= 2nd)
Something about those dreamy eyes, tan skin, and great defense has people mesmerized by Nolan Arenado in 2016. He is a fan favorite and one of the top “man crushes” for bros this year. Hell, Arenado is currently batting .629 in spring to top it off (that’s right….629)! And somehow, some asshole (me) is going to spin this in a negative way. How on earth…? Well I apologize in advance for dropping a turd in your cereal.
Do you know what Arenado’s OBP is in spring this year? It’s .632. In fact…just three days ago, his OBP was lower than his AVG! So I am not here to prove to you why Arenado isn’t going to absolutely crush the ball in 2016- but why even if he does- his value decreases significantly in OBP formats.
In 2015, Arenado hit .287, scored 92 runs, hit 42 bombs, and had 130 RBIs….and finished #30 on the Player Rater in OBP formats. Think about that for a minute. In order for Arenado to finish in even the top 20 players in 2016, he will have to increase his batting average to around .320 or improve on his R/HR/RBI totals rather significantly. Hitting in a worse lineup and showing zero signs of improving his BB rates (his BB% actually dropped from 5.4% to 5.1% in 2015), I am betting against that. Move his pretty-boy value from a late first to a late second rounder or just take Donaldson or Machado instead.
The Target: Jung Ho Kang (14th Round, OBP Value= 11th)
All Asian jokes aside, Jung Ho Kang moved over from South Korea to Pittsburgh and acted like he never left home. In fact, Kang had a blistering OBP at PNC Park of .388, solidifying him as a target in OBP leagues for 2016.
In his first full season in the MLB, Kang paced a 162-game stat line of: 19 HRs, 75 RBIs, and a .355 OBP. In his second half alone- before his season was cut short- he slashed a .364 OBP and hit 11 bombs to show off his power upside that we were all waiting for. And although his brutal injury may scare some off, it might be all that was needed to land him at great value during your draft. With his return set for mid-April, you should be able to get Kang with an 11th round pick in OBP leagues, which is well worth the slight gamble. Toss him on your DL, and enjoy some good things to come as well as the multi-position eligibility.
The Sleeper: Justin Turner (18th Round, OBP Value= 15th)
It isn’t hard to tell that the top tier of third basemen is where all of the sex is at. I mean look at those names! Machado. Donaldson. Arenado. Bryant. But what about the late rounders? Where has all the sex gone?! (Hmm…I feel like I have asked my wife that question before…).
I am here to let you know that although not nearly as sexy, there are some big time value picks in the later rounds for third basemen. And one most notably is Mr. Justin Turner. With a .076 spread in 2015, Justin Turner finished number 5 in terms of spread for all qualified third basemen (right above Josh Donaldson). In fact, last year Turner put up some stupid stats in his 439 plate appearances:
2015: 439 PA 55 R, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 5 SB, .370 OBP
Extrapolated to 600 PA: 75 R, 22 HR, 82 RBI, 7 SB, .370 OBP
Pretty good eh? One positive on Turner, is that his high OBP doesn’t seem to be a fluke- as his OBP was .404 in 2014. Even better, nobody is giving this man the love he deserves! Sure playing time might be a question, but in the 15th round a lot of people have the same concerns. If Turner does reach 500+ PAs this year- watch out! He is slated in the middle of the order for the Dodgers and also slated to be a freaking steal in the middle of the rounds. DRAFT DRAFT DRAFT!