And we’ve reached our final top 20 recap for the infield, and, if you exclude the catchers, 3rd base is by far the shallowest position. 3rd base ain’t great, y’all! This is the first position where there’s guys at the tail end that I actively wouldn’t have wanted on my fantasy teams, and guys like Yoan Moncada, Bobby Dalbec, Alex Bregman, KeBryan Hayes and Alec Bohm all stunk, and didn’t even come within a sniff of the top 20 3rd basemen. To recap my recap before the recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments. This is not for next year. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Jose Ramirez – Funny (not haha) that people acted like Jo-Jo-Ram was a product of Lindor being in Cleveland when Ramirez has now been top three at his position four of the last five years. Lindor didn’t make Jo-Ram; Jo-Ram made Lindor. Absolutely guarantee you he won’t be drafted like he’s a top 3rd baseman next year, and people will be like, “Sigh, I guess, whatever, ho-hum, shucks, I guess I have to, like, I suppose, draft Jose Ramirez? But I don’t wanna,” then they will cry for 45 minutes. The biggest difference between a top option at a position and the runner-up was Salvador Perez, but Jo-Ram is the runner-up to not having a closer runner-up. Roughly nine dollars in value separated him from Rafael Devers, who ain’t too bad himself! Preseason Rank #1, 2021 Projections: 91/29/101/.268/23 in 564 ABs, Final Numbers: 111/36/103/.266/27 in 552 ABs

2. Rafael Devers – Shame he doesn’t have great speed, because, while I do think he can have a Vlad Jr.-type year at some point, Devers won’t find it easy becoming the top hitter in baseball. A top 10 hitter? Think he’s already there and no one expects much. For whatever reason, Devers is looked at like he’s Jose Abreu or someone. Devers is 24 years old (for a few more days at least), a top hitter, and still getting better! Devers is a sneaky future Hall of Famer that no one talks about. He actually could go to a different team in a few years, and become a 40+ homer guy for another five years, because the Green Monster, while helping his average, is knocking down some of his power. He has to pull anything he wants to hit out, and, unlike a 13-year-old me, he doesn’t pull everything. Preseason Rank #3, 2021 Projections: 106/31/109/.284/8 in 602 ABs, Final Numbers: 101/38/113/.279/5 in 591 ABs

3. Manny Machado – His overall power numbers were down, but he was also pretty unlucky. Quite a few balls hit deep that should’ve been out, just wrong park or wrong spot in said park. For unstints, he should’ve hit five more homers if his home park was Petco, and, this is crazy part, his home park is Petco. In 2019, he hit 32 homers, and had fewer No Doubt homers. Finally, and I don’t know how to check this, but he must have the slowest Sprint Speed with that many steals ever. Sprint Speed is “hustle” in his case, excuse me, I meant to say “head case.” Preseason Rank #2, 2021 Projections: 97/34/104/.278/10 in 584 ABs, Final Numbers: 92/28/106/.278/12 in 564 ABs

4. Austin Riley – Around July/August, I begin to enjoy the ride. The ebbs, the flows, the baseball grind. It’s glorious. While ebbing and flowing and grinding like Urban Meyer, I lose track of what guys are doing. If someone asks me to look it up, I will, but I don’t think anyone asked if what Austin Riley was doing was “real.” So, I just looked now and, um, I thought he was breaking out. I thought. Hmm, so he’s striking out more and has a BABIP .88 points above previous season when he hit .239. That’s gonna be a yikes from me, dawg. I wrote an Austin Riley sleeper last year, he might jump right to a schmohawk. Preseason Rank #22, 2021 Projections: 84/31/96/.277/2 in 582 ABs, Final Numbers: 91/33/107/.303 in 590 ABs

5. Max Muncy – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

6. Nolan Arenado – He maintained the torso of his power, but his average did plummet in the move to The Louie by the River. In retrospect, it’s so obvious. A guy who has the speed of a tractor that is being pulled by a giant tortoise who hits everything in the air loses 70 points on BABIP when he leaves one of the best parks for BABIP? You don’t say! Not to freak anyone out but Torenado looks like he might have the career trajectory of Mostsuckass, who’s currently circling the drain. Preseason Rank #4, 2021 Projections: 88/32/106/.279/1 in 592 ABs, Final Numbers: 81/34/105/.255/2 in 593 ABs

7. Tommy Edman – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 2nd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

8. Jonathan India – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 2nd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

9. Justin Turner – Because I was just looking at Torenado and Mostsuckass, I was curious why Toomgis Turner wasn’t circling the drain like Mostusckass or about to get sucked up in the Torenado. Line drives, from what I gather. Turner doesn’t hit for only power, so he’s managed to be a 25/.270 vs. a 32/.245, because 32/.245 turns into 32/.225, then 17/.197 and, finally, “Wha’ happened?” And those changes come at varying levels of speed. Might start calling this the Metamorphosis of Mostsuckass. Preseason Rank #23, 2021 Projections: 71/23/80/.277/2 in 491 ABs, Final Numbers: 87/27/87/.278/3 in 533 ABs

10. Kris Bryant – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

11. Ryan McMahon – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

12. Eduardo Escobar – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 2nd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

13. Kyle Seager – On the chart of Metamorphosis of Mostsuckass, Seager is at 32/.225 or one step beyond Torenado and one step until a fully blossomed Mostsuckass. Sounds like a future Met! Preseason Rank #32, 2021 Projections: 67/24/78/.231/5 in 581 ABs, Final Numbers: 73/35/101/.212/3 in 603 ABs

14. Luis Urias – Already went over him in the recap of the top 20 2nd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.

15. Jean Segura – If it wasn’t clear, Bryant was the point where the 3rd basemen fell off to another tier. Not a terrible cliff-off-into-the-unknown-type fall-off, but a drop. Segura is interesting in that he’s almost entirely driven by counting stats. Take away his runs/ribbies, and he’s Jed Lowrie with a better average. Or I guess Alex Verdugo in the infield. Call him VerJedgo. Actually, don’t. That’s terrible. Preseason Rank #29, 2021 Projections: 72/15/77/.272/13 in 581 ABs, Final Numbers: 76/14/58/.290/9 in 514 ABs

16. Isiah Kiner-Falefa – His splits are comical and also confusing. How does one become less fast? Because in the 2nd half, he hit for an average that was ~.40 points higher and he stopped running. Israeli Diner Falafel went from sexy batter to cooked seemingly overnight, which might explain the stale oil taste. Preseason Rank #26, 2021 Projections: 78/8/61/.283/18 in 569 ABs, Final Numbers: 74/8/53/.271/20 in 635 ABs

17. Josh Donaldson – Starting to not like these backend 3rd basemen — and I do mean backend. Speaking of backend, Pujols was better than some of these guys at the age of 68 — Donaldson wasn’t that bad. Not great, don’t get me wrong. But take Donaldson for 457 ABs and waivers for 170 ABs and that’s not bad. Unlike the Israeli Diner Falafel for 635 ABs, which was so painful, unless at catcher, but this is not catcher. This is 3rd base. What? 2nd base. Preseason Rank #20, 2021 Projections: 62/22/74/.242/2 in 412 ABs, Final Numbers: 73/26/72/.247 in 457 ABs

18. Jeimer Candelario – To give you an idea of how shallow 3rd base is, Jeimer was the 27th best 1st baseman, so there’s nine more 1st basemen than 3rd basemen. Not great! Jeimer really wasn’t good, and shouldn’t be in the top 20 of anything, except the Top 20 Hitters Who Aren’t Very Good. Preseason Rank #27, 2021 Projections: 71/23/82/.263/3 in 553 ABs, Final Numbers: 75/16/67/.271 in 557 ABs

19. Matt Chapman – This guy’s stats fell off the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Not quite as bad, er, as Bader, but for a guy like Chapman, who used to be the apple of my eye, he’s now flinging poop at the wall and hoping something sticks, and it stuck to his Statcast page. His xBA on fastballs and breaking pitches respectively is .209 and .183. You can throw this guy anything and get him out. Is he blinking for five seconds at a time when at the plate? It’s hard to imagine a guy with his eyes open hitting this bad. Preseason Rank #9, 2021 Projections: 91/36/93/.239/1 in 574 ABs, Final Numbers: 75/27/72/.210/3 in 529 ABs

20. DJ LeMahieu – Holy shizz, his season sucked. He has no business being in the top 20 of any position, let alone seeing 679 plate appearances! Jesus Sanchez burnt on a piece of toast, that is awful. No wonder the Yankees’ offense was sneaky bad. They had DJ putting on his greatest hits, DJ’s Got No Hits, Vol #1. Preseason Rank #5, 2021 Projections: 112/20/74/.312/6 in 604 ABs, Final Numbers: 84/10/57/.268/4 in 597 ABs

55 Comments
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Hoops M
Hoops M
8 months ago

I thought you were crazy for predicting Riley (a .232 career hitter) would hit as well as Arenado (a career .293 hitter) this season.

What goes best with crow?

Jack Straw
Jack Straw
8 months ago

Terrible season from K. Hayes – lots of missed time with injury with only a brief period of productivity before ending the season injured again.

NL only 10 team standard 5×5 roto – give it another try keeping at $11 or cut bait either trying to trade or look elsewhere at 3B in 2022?

Harley Earl
Harley Earl
8 months ago

Man I hope the Austin Riley schmohawk year doesn’t happen. But the numbers suggest it’s very very likely. Oh well, I will ride and die with him then. It’s not like I have much choice in dynasty.

IV
IV
8 months ago

Grey, regarding your Machado blurb, I was bored at work today and decided to answer your question.
I combined fangraphs steals data with baseball savant’s spring speed data to map sprint speed and stolen bases for each player from 2015 to 2021.

Machado was close to the slowest with at least 12 steals. He actually ranked 13th with Alex Gordon being the slowest. That said, your hunch was indeed correct. Oddly enough he was somehow faster than himself in 2018, go figure.

Results (might be hard to read due to formatting) are below.

Season Player Avg Sprint Speed SB
2021 Manny Machado 26.4 12
2016 Todd Frazier 26.2 15
2021 Paul Goldschmidt 26.2 12
2017 Shin-Soo Choo 26.2 12
2018 Manny Machado 26.1 14
2015 Anthony Rizzo 26 17
2016 Brandon Phillips 26 14
2018 Michael Brantley 26 12
2015 Michael Brantley 25.9 15
2015 Matt Kemp 25.9 12
2015 Brandon Phillips 25.8 23
2015 Todd Frazier 25.8 13
2018 Alex Gordon 25.5 12

IV
IV
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

No problem! You are almost certainly right about that. I am not sure how to do this part, but I wonder if his Sprint speed increased when he went from the Orioles to the Dodgers in 2018 or even he was faster in the first half of this year when the Padres were contenders compared to the second half.

IV
IV
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

Yeah, on their website site you cannot search by player for sprint speed, only the overall leader board (I could just be wrong about that though).
I think I can do it with R if I play around with it. If I ever go back to figure it out, I will let you know.

bbboston
bbboston
8 months ago

Grey,

Noted your comments about Kiner-Falafa. If you wanted to trade one of following away, but need some steals going into auction in AL-Only, 5×5, 8 keeper Roto league, who’d you keep:

Merrifield $20
Kiner-Falefa $14

Toolshed
Toolshed
8 months ago

Machado had 12 sb and a good number of rbi, but he was terrible for the whole month of Aug. Actually the entire sdp team was bad in aug. I agree he was unlucky. He would hit rockets everywhere right at people and had a couple of hr pulled back from good catches. His numbers probably should have been better. I am not complaining overall, but his August didn’t help me. I expected more from him in that offense.

Coolwhip
8 months ago

Yeah Devers seems to get overlooked a lot. I don’t get it.

I’m not going to look it up but i’d say Machado’s steals all came when their playoff hopes were still alive and before he told Tatis to show more effort, lmao.

HAHAHA on Riley, fantastic. So he’s still who we though he was, just not THIS good. The quality is there, but the quantity is a mirage. I guess we can expect something to the tune of 30/.265 next year cus he had a lot of good contact. Just can’t be paying for a false 300 avg.

Did IKF stop trying like Machado too? asking for a friend.

Yeah I’m with you on Turner, unlike suckass he actually has a form of plate discipline and bat control Although he does disappear for weeks at a time, may and august were awful.

Saint
Saint
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

Hello Grey,

Great content as usual! I was anxiously awaiting the 3B write up as I grabbed Riley off the wire early this year and enjoyed his production season long. Certainly disappointed, but glad to read that you “came to terms”. :)

I dug in this morning and was glad to see that Riley had multiple stops in the minors with very high BABIP numbers including .374 in 324 PA’s in AAA as recently as 2018. He hit the ball 2 points higher this year than last year as well. Also, his 66 combined doubles an HR’s ranked only behind Devers 75 and JoRam and Nolan’s 68.

That said, I will still be looking to “reach” for him in the late 3rd early 4th in a 12 team H2H 6×6 OPS league. With the lack of depth at 3B and if I’m unable to land Ramirez in the first or Devers in the second (had him this year too), is this still too early to grab Riley in your opinion?

Thanks in advance for your feedback

toolshed
toolshed
8 months ago

The cards shildt-canned their skipper. Regardless of what they say, he used reyes in the most crucial spot of the game in the 9th. Everyone in St Louis knew what was going to happen if he pitched. He could have used anybody else.

VinWins
VinWins
8 months ago

Cardinals Fire Manager Mike Shildt

Malicious Phenoms
Malicious Phenoms
Reply to  VinWins
8 months ago

What, why?

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Malicious Phenoms
8 months ago

“philosophical differences related to the direction of the organization.”

Personally, I think Yadi and Waino want to take over.

Schoolboy P
Schoolboy P
8 months ago

Trade my $9 Brendan Rogers for his $17 goldy? Big keeper league.

Schoolboy P
Schoolboy P
8 months ago

Trade my $9 Brendon Rogers his $17 goldschmidt?
Both have two years of keeper eligibility remaining

Alcibiades Escobar
Alcibiades Escobar
8 months ago

Grey! Do you think Riley will be far ahead of Bregman in value over the next 2-3 years?

Whatever
Whatever
8 months ago

Hey Grey,

Just wanted to get a quick first impression for my 12 tm OBP/SVH keeper. Can keep 10. 2022 salary listed as well.

First grouping is my core keep set. 2nd grouping are guys on the bubble. 3rd grouping is Other.

Anyone in my core keep you would not keep? Which 3 from the bubble group you would keep? Anyone you think I am overlooking that should be considered a keeper?

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 27
Manny Machado 36
Tim Anderson 22
Jesse Winker 17
Sandy Alcantara 1
Carlos Rodon 1
Gerrit Cole 24 (Have to trade)

Eduardo Escobar 2
J.D. Martinez 37
Nelson Cruz 39
Hunter Renfroe 8
Lane Thomas 1
Connor Joe 1
Alex Wood 1
Mark Canha 11
Jake Fraley 3
Ranger Suarez 1

Brad Miller 1
Michael Brantley 31
Adam Frazier 1
Daulton Varsho 1
Yadier Molina 2
Marcell Ozuna 17
Tommy Pham 6
Garrett Cooper 1
Aaron Bummer 6
Diego Castillo 17
Andrew Chafin 1
Raisel Iglesias 21
James Karinchak 7
Ryan Tepera 1
Joe Ryan 1
Bailey Ober 1
Devin Williams 7

Whatever
Whatever
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

Thanks Grey!

Foxman
Foxman
8 months ago

Mondesei is 3B eligible in ESPN leagues for 2022, so I already know I will be passing on all these dudes you covered above for 25 games from Mondesei.
This could be the year he plays 125 games

toolshed
toolshed
8 months ago

I have been waiting to read your write up of riley after you mentioned some concern about a month ago. I still can keep him at a very attractive price but now I am not so sure and will have to weigh my options. What a buzz kill.

toolshed
toolshed
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

My main concerns are obp and that babip along with the k, no sb, and the hot/cold streaks. I still like him but this keeper decision is not as much of a slam dunk as I thought. I am sure I will ask for your opinion when my mind shifts into draft mode. I honestly am glad fantasy baseball is over with. I really had to slog through this year with bad pitching and hitters who underperformed.

VinWins
VinWins
8 months ago

Ugh. I had way too many shares of Moncada and Chapman. Was able to pick up India everywhere, though. Remember this? “Gonna put him down for realistic projections, but looking for a guy who could be 12-team mixed league relevant by May? Look no further than India, Magellan.”

VinWins
VinWins
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

Haha, yeah that’s me quoting you from your preseason 3B rankings. You also mentioned how you ranked Rendon too high last year, so you put him as the #8 3B for 2021.

Sport
Sport
8 months ago

I got lucky and nabbed Devers in the third round in both my redrafts! That’s the beauty of playing in a yahoo!

Those projections for the top 3 are scary close. And at what point in the season was it I realized I wouldn’t be adding Riley next year? It was today. I had no idea how lucky he was. I saw an early 22 mock take him 52. I’ll be getting my first SP there.

Sounds like it’s time I move Arenado in a couple dynasties?

Thank you Grey. Been enjoying these recaps.

Jackie Daytona
Jackie Daytona
Reply to  Grey
8 months ago

in a UT role, would you prefer Jose Abreu to Arenado, or do you look at them similarly?

BriMo
BriMo
8 months ago

LeMahieu fought the “soft” ball, but it was clear around the beginning of June, he had a hard time picking up pitches. It took him over a month to adjust to pitchers that had nothing sticky.

The lack of tack obviously effects pitchers more, but the artists of putting the ball in play also had troubles: LeMachine, Arraeaz, David Fletcher, McNiel, etc…

these are guys that have done everything they can to read pitches, and a mid-season shift, combined w/ the baseball being soft, totally torched their seasons and value.

I’m looking closely at the ball-tack and repertoires this offseason in an attempt to have a cheat-code or two for AVG like I used to.AVG was a SLOG this season.

birrrdy!
birrrdy!
Reply to  BriMo
8 months ago

Great read BriMo. There may be something to this theory, and thanks fir bringing it up.