The top 20 3rd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball burn hot and flame out super fast, then find themselves a little flicker to help them read while wearing their stocking cap, then that extinguishes with a cold wind blowing through that smells of garbage. This will hopefully make some sense after you read the next 4,000 words. I should put Easter eggs in these rankings posts to see who is actually reading the whole thing. There will be a quiz at the end, and a sample question is, “Who uses a Lady Bic razor?” Don’t you dare do a “Find.” Here’s Steamer’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Hitters and 2021 Fantasy Baseball Projections for Pitchers. All projections included here are mine, and where I see tiers starting and stopping are included. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball:
NOTE: All 2021 fantasy baseball projections are based on a 162-game season, and will be until we hear definitively there will be less games.
NOTE II: All my rankings are currently available on Patreon for the price of a Starbucks coffee, if you get one of those extra grande frappuccino jobbers. Don’t wait for the rankings to come out over the next month, and get them all now.
NOTE III: Free agents outside the top 100 are not yet written up or projected. They are approximately ranked, obviously subject to change.
4. Nolan Arenado – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until here. I call this tier, “The Winter Meetings were in January.” This year, Torenado became ‘passed wind’ at some point in 2020, having fantasy owners pinch their nose with their right hand, wave the smell away with their left hand, draft someone other than Torenado with their right foot and bring their vape pen to their mouth with their left foot. So, Torenado’s 2020 was miserable. Was he battling injury? Not sure. His HardHit% went buh-bye, and he missed on everything, while hitting everything. Allow me to explain. He made a lot contact, but the ball went up and down faster than you when you forgot to renew the Get Roman subscription you joined after you saw the commercial with the wife saying, “My male is here,” as she checks the mail. If this was over the course of a six-month season, I’d be with everyone else, dunking Torenado in the clown tank. A 29-year-old who regularly hits 40 homers, suddenly becoming a 20-homer, .250 hitter based on a 60-game sample, though? Yeah, I can’t follow you down that cobblestone path. I could be bizzonkers, but I am ignoring his 2020, and not taking it as Warning Sign City; population: Caveat Emptors. UPDATE: The Rockies are trying to lose, and they’re a stupid franchise. That is a bad combination. Like burning down your house for insurance money after letting your insurance lapse. The Rockies gave away their marquee player and $50 million. If this is a rebuild, and Austin Gomber is the start of–I’m sorry. I can’t even say Austin Gomber with a straight face. The Cards got Arenado for a Gomber pile of garbage. So, on Arenado’s fantasy value, well…*swallows*…okay, so…*collects thoughts* Yeah, I moved him down in my rankings.
Arenado was traded to the Cards, and I can’t possibly tell you he’s as safe to draft in St. Louis. I don’t think the park change is as dramatic as some are making it out to be. I don’t think he’s suddenly done. I know his road/away splits, but as said many times before, guys are better at home. Even guys who aren’t in Coors. You’re staying at home, you’re surrounded by family and friends, you’re seeing your wife–Wait, are these reasons to enjoy being at home? Right, yes, I kid! Home numbers are always better. Familiarity with the park, just being more comfortable. It’s always like this; there’s stats to back it up, don’t make me pull them out. So, Arenado might not have been great on the road when he played in Coors, but you can’t just say his new home numbers will be his old road numbers. Doesn’t work like that. Trying to see the difference between him and, say, Jose Abreu, though, has become nearly impossible and Abreu isn’t a top 20 overall pick, and neither is Arenado now. I moved Rafael Devers up, and Arenado down one spot in these rankings, and I lowered his projections a bit. 2021 Projections: 88/32/106/.279/1 in 592 ABs
5. DJ LeMahieu – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Rendon. I call this tier, “An ear after one of those giant plug earrings.” The down side is your ear is sagging, but the good news is you can hang your clothes from your ear. Extra hands to carry groceries! That’s this tier. I can see a down side and an upside. As for LeMahieu, already went over him at the top 20 1st basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.
6. Alex Bregman – It was an extremely dumb year, and is especially hard to separate the wheat from the chaff from Bregman because, and here comes the requisite mention of the Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang scandal. Who knows what effect that’s having on him. From the looks of his last year (42 games), he was nearly equal to previous years on his batted ball profile, but he wasn’t connecting the barrel to the ball with any sort of regularity or thunder. Hitting the same number of fly balls, but hitting them softer with fewer home runs. That’s gotta be a concern. Could dissect his O-Swing% and O-Contact% as being a sign that he didn’t know what was coming, but he didn’t suddenly become a .240 hitter. I don’t think. That’s his down side. He’s tough to peg. Upside is plain as the ear you’re using to hold a folded towel. 2019 was his upside. 2021 Projections: 105/29/107/.274/5 in 567 ABs
7. Yoan Moncada – His 2019, when he hit .315, is sticking its head out the window like in the movie Hereditary. A ghastly outlier that is cluttering my memory for all of eternity. I’m sad to report Moncada looks a lot more like a .230 hitter than even a .275 hitter. I got a case of the Mondays on Moncada. Moncadays? The upside is still winking, nudging, asking me to believe it. A 30-homer/15-steal guy in a stacked lineup just waiting for the sun to shine brightly on him and declare him The Yoan. But Matrix fanfiction sites say, “The Architect has described the One as nothing more than an Integral Anomaly!” And I don’t know what that means. This is a tough tier, guys and five girls, and I’m likely skipping it, claiming I am just drafting an outfielder or a starter when these guys go off the board. Sorry, there’s no easy answers. 2021 Projections: 88/28/96/.241/10 in 564 ABs
8. Anthony Rendon – I goofed last year. I ranked Rendon too high. Mea culpa, my over-the-internet friends. Sometimes The Grey Man goes nutso like Harrison Ford screaming, “Get off my plane!” By the way, if Harrison Ford is ever piloting a plane you’re on, you’re hoping he screams for you to get off the plane before it takes off. I overvalued what Rendon could do in Anaheim. It’s not a good park, and Rendon doesn’t add in any speed to take the heat off his power. Just had an idea, they should remix movies like they do songs. Remix them with other movies. I’d like to see a Speed/Heat movie where Robert De Niro is the cop on the bus with Sandra Bullock, and Val Kilmer’s driving. I have a lot of Keanu movies on my mind, huh? Either way, I’ve learned my lesson. Rendon is a solid run producer, but he is not a top 20 overall beast without insane counting stats luck, giving him like 120+ of runs/RBIs and a .320+ average. 2021 Projections: 94/26/103/.294/2 in 551 ABs
9. Matt Chapman – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Gimenez. I call this tier, “El Pepe.” By the tier name, I’m talking about the Dominican Republic song, El Pepe, that I’m obsessed with and the absolute joy everyone is exhibiting in this locker room.
When the vaccine hits pic.twitter.com/h2WT1NFajS
— Razzball (@Razzball) December 8, 2020
This song should be bigger than Despacito. By the way, it’s hard to believe that it’s Daddy Yankee with the only Yankee championship of the 2010s. All the guys in this tier will bring the same level of joy as seen in that video. As for Chapman, I kinda love him as much as Matt Olson. When you hit the ball harder than 115 MPH and 51.7% HardHit, Grey swoons. Chapman’s one of those guys who I’m confused why he’s not universally loved. The Launch Angle Revolution (LAR) started by Dwayne Murphy and Che Guevara in the 1950s outside of a bar in Havana after a bunch of Roman Cokes (what rum and Coke is called when you’re wearing a toga and about to start a revolution) took a long time to reach the major leagues, but it has fully been embraced by Chapman. Last year he might’ve went slightly overboard with a 24.1 Launch Angle, but maybe he was just jacked to finally be playing baseball and trying for only jacks. He also fell into a chase mentality with lots of swings and misses. How’sever, he’s 27 years old, and has 45+ homer power. Not saying he will do this, but he has a 50-homer, .270 season in him if things break right. I will quote this all year if he does this, and totally ignore this prediction if he doesn’t. Be forewarned. 2021 Projections: 91/36/93/.239/1 in 574 ABs
11. Eugenio Suarez – A lot of this tier (Chapman, Muncy, Eugenio) be like, “Dwayne and Che, hey, quick question: When you’re trying to influence a citizenry about the benefits of universal appeal of fly balls, is it best to explain the Launch Angle Revolution to the fathers and sons, or should you start slow and just date one of their daughters, and have her influence her father and brother?” Talkin’ about a revolution! Eugenio’s either going to hit 35+ homers and .260 or 35+ homers and .210. Fly balls are great, said me, Dwayne and Che, but also you can fall into the Rhys Hoskins trap, which is a bear trap set up by Gritty to catch The Phanatic, and hit so many fly balls it tanks your BABIP and average. 2021 Projections: 83/36/93/.238/4 in 563 ABs
17. Kris Bryant – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Donaldson. I call this tier, “Pronouncing erudite like Aphrodite.” This tier is filled with guys who are drafted by people who think they’re very smart. Me, a heathen, doesn’t appreciate Kris Bryant. You, a very error-dit-tea person, talking about how Kris Bryant is so cheap now he’s actually a bargain. Unfortch, he’s become the best at hitting the worst. Kris Bryant is the opposite of The Greek God of Hard Contact, Nick Castellanos. Bryant is the King of the Routine Fly. Only people clapping for him are some sycophants and jesters. I’ve never seen an uglier Statcast page than Bryant’s. He had an xBA of .202! He barreled up five balls all year! That’s gonna be a woof from me, dawg. His Launch Angle is so pronounced, he’s perfected how to hit the ball gently to every outfielder. This is so comically bad: His average on fly balls was .122 with a .027 BABIP. He’s not even making outfielders move! He had one fly ball that was a hit that wasn’t a home run. I searched a ton of guys to try to find someone who was as awful, and I never even came close. Rougned Odor’s AVG on fly balls was .273! Guess if you’re gonna sell your soul, at least get a World Series championship out of it. 2021 Projections: 84/22/72/.264/3 in 528 ABs
19. Gio Urshela – If it wasn’t reported that he was having elbow surgery this offseason with a three-month recovery time, I might’ve tried to sneak Gio into the El Pepe tier. Sadly, he ended up in the Pepe Le Pew tier. High five me! Right now! That was good! No? Okay. In the end, the best case scenario for Gio is 24 HRs, .300, and not enticing enough for me to don a Spider-Man mask and play the horn. If LeMahieu had left town (more like Pepe LeMahieu! Cmon! Give me some skin! I just soaked my hands in sanitizer! No still? Okay.), I would’ve put Gio in the leadoff spot, and–Well, it doesn’t matter. Ya know, LeMahieu didn’t have much more than 24/.300 to have top 50 value. Pepe Le value! Right? That’s a good one! No, huh? Okay. 2021 Projections: 73/19/59/.294/1 in 521 ABs
20. Josh Donaldson – The problem I’ve had all along with these rankings, and that I’ve highlighted on occasion (like every fifth player) is how much weight to put into a goof season. While it’s unfair to hold 28 random games against Donaldson, he’s had one season of 155 games in the last four and he’s 35 years old. How are you at craps? Because Donaldson might Come back, hit a Point or two, just get Pass the starting line, roll craps, or hit it around the Horn. Last year, his RBIs were, Yo!, eleven, and he rolled a hard four on his average with .222. (I was told recently I could have an XM show if I talked more about gambling, how is it working for me? Ya know, you answering will only hinder my ability to lie to myself.) If I’m betting (keeping the ruse going!), I’m not betting on an old guy. 2021 Projections: 62/22/74/.242/2 in 412 ABs
21. J.D. Davis – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Escobar. I call this tier, “Bodega.” This tier is a good time to go to the corner store and buy a corner. As for Davis, wanna know how different the Mets are from previous Mets? They’re, like, one of three NL teams with a DH ready to step in (primarily Jose Martinez). Originally, I had a note across all posts that projections are based on the DH not being used in the NL, but I’m assuming it will be. I removed it when the notes at the top of the posts were getting out of control, and “projections based on no DH, but assuming it will be used?” Confuse myself much? As I just said, there’s not a ton of guys getting an NL DH bump anyway, so I’ll just update rankings when it becomes official, or if it officially is not happening. So, keep in mind, Davis could lose some value if there’s no DH, but I doubt it since he has 3rd base to play. Any hoo! I was all in on Davis this past year, and still trust Pre-Pandemic Grey that Jonathan Davis Davis can be what PPG thought he was, a 27/3/.300 guy in the heart of the Mets’ lineup. Last year was so awful though, I have to accept a slight bit more risk with Davis than I originally thought. 2021 Projections: 71/23/79/.271/3 in 497 ABs
23. Justin Turner – Re-signed with the Dodgers. This was the plan all along, right? I mean, you can’t change your pod. Wait, you don’t have a pod? A group of people you can hang out with during the plague? Oh, dude, you gotta get a pod. Pods are the new podcasts. 2021 Projections: 71/23/80/.277/2 in 491 ABs
24. Eduardo Escobar – No one was good on the Diamondbacks last year, and that Satan seeped into the devil’s dandruff that Escobar was dealing. Tell Satan not today, and get back to being a 30-homer, .270 hitter, or continue to expand the Narcos universe and have Escobar turn into a pretty meh Mexico story? Hard to say, but this price per kilo is cheap enough to see if Escobar can show us helicopters. 2021 Projections: 64/26/72/.252/4 in 575 ABs
25. David Fletcher – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Castro. I call this tier, “Look at a different post.” As for Fletcher, already went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2021 fantasy baseball.
32. Kyle Seager – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Brosseau. I call this tier, “The Queen’s Gam Bit.” This isn’t about the Netflix show. The tier name is the British tabloids title for the time when one of the Queen’s Corgis bit her leg. *shudders* Not pretty. Like this tier! As for Seager, last year was the year to own Seager — Corey. But Kyle wasn’t awful — Hendricks. Oh, Kyle Seager? Yeah, okay, meh. He did have five steals last year in only 60 games, but that feels like a case where he was cooped up at home for three months, and was like, “Eff it, I’m gonna steal this year with these extremely fresh legs,” as he rolled a Lady Bic razor down his calves. 2021 Projections: 67/24/78/.231/5 in 581 ABs
33. Brian Anderson – Another great way to look at this tier is, “Yo, they’re giving who how many at-bats?” By the way, “who how” sounds like a confused Al Pacino. 2021 Projections: 68/20/75/.252/2 in 576 ABs
34. Carter Kieboom – What’s really cool is how Kieboom could see 550 ABs this year. What’s slightly less cool is how that could translate to 20 HRs, six steals and a .235 average. From Kieboom to Kiebust: A Story of One Man’s Willful Determination to Appear Interesting for Fantasy, and Win Over Drafters in the Final Round Who are Saying, “What the Hell.” UPDATE: Didn’t make the team. 2021 Projections: 61/17/65/.237/5 in 492 ABs
34. Maikel Franco – Signed with the Orioles. Absolutely have to love the Orioles going from a 17-homer, .245 hitter in Rio Ruiz to an 18-homer, .249 hitter. 2021 Projections: 47/18/54/.249/1 in 408 ABs
37. Evan Longoria – One day we’re going to tell our grandchildren that Longoria was a great ballplayer in Tampa, and our grandchildren will say, “What’s a Tampa?” Then we have to explain about how there was a state of Florida. Not looking forward to that convo! 2021 Projections: 54/20/61/.258/2 in 486 ABs
39. Rio Ruiz – You didn’t know so many players were at third who all did exactly the same thing, did you? Excuse me, the same nothing. 2021 Projections: 57/20/64/.237/2 in 459 ABs
40. Yoshi Tsutsugo – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “Fernando Tatis Jr.!” The tier name is named after what you wake screaming after sleeping through your entire draft. As for Tsutsugo, a lot of moving parts this past season, but was surprised I didn’t notice Tsutsugo played 14 games at 3rd base. Anything else to add? No, not really. Tsutsugo is still Phil Collins’s favorite player. Just say the word, oh…Tsu…tsugo! 2021 Projections: 41/15/47/.228 in 346 ABs
41. Jonathan India – Was about time that I gave India his due. What, am I British now? My teeth would tell you no, but my love for Olivia Colman and Earl Grey would tell you yes. Which ya gonna believe? I just recently discovered India, while standing in The Bahamas and saying, “Hey, cool, this is America and who wants to open a casino?” Was talking to Podcaster Ralph, who knows a thing or two about prospects, and he gassed my head up on Jonathan India, and I think he can now go 40/10/.260. Then, we deflated ourselves back to earth, and realism took us south, and now I’m in Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka is better than a cup of Sanka!” That’s me just before getting dirty looks in Sri Lanka. India is a pull-heavy, fly ball hitter. How’s that sound in Cincy? Seriously, take a moment and think about it. You see how I came away with a 40/10/.260 line? 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. For now, if your starter is out, outsource to India. 2021 Projections: 41/16/54/.254/4 in 445 ABs
43. Josh Jung – Here’s what Prospect Itch said previously, “The best Texas prospect since Gallo, Josh Jung brings full-field power, plate discipline, and a plus hit tool along with functional defense at the hot corner. I’m trying to acquire him in my 20-team OBP league and suggest anyone seeking potentially affordable third base help consider the same in their leagues. Speaking of affordable, anyone know a reasonably priced hitman to take out Grey?” Okay, that’s not cool. Hold on one second, are you telling me the Rangers have a decent prospect? I call BS. This is the Rangers just trying to sneak Michael Young back out at 3rd base, and spell his name differently. Jung, you’re nothing but a Freud! Podcaster Ralph told me the other day, he thinks Jung is a 25-homer, 3-steal, .280 hitter. Not sure how much time Jung sees this year, but the draft season is still Jung! Sorry, hashtag never again. UPDATE: Will miss 6-to-8 weeks with a stress fracture in his foot. Jung, man, no need to be bruised. 2021 Projections: 21/6/25/.272/1 in 170 ABs
43. Spencer Torkelson – Everyone says this guy looks amazing, like a young Lyle Overbay! Wait, maybe they were saying I should overpay. Hmm… Well, anyway, Prospect Itch said, “Torkelson uses the opposite field and can access power to that side, which buys him an extra beat to see the ball, and I’d like to beat up Grey.” All right, unnecessary. I’m ranking Torkelson, because this late of a flyer doesn’t hurt, but I don’t think we see him in any great capacity this year. 2021 Projections: 12/6/18/.266 in 87 ABs
44. Isaac Paredes – Soon the Tigers are going to have Paredes and Torkelson and older Tigers fans are gonna be saying, “A parade of snorkelers?” Poor Old Tigers Fan. He remembers when all you needed to know was what brand of smokes Leyland was chimneying. Torkelson over I…C Paredes (from my window) because at this point you want upside overall, but I do think Paredes could/should be up sooner. He is a flashy, contact-sure-why-not 25-homer bat who has 20-grade speed. Is he standing still when they judge that? 2021 Projections: 34/14/38/.271 in 321 ABs
47. Yandy Diaz – His Launch Angle is–*bursts out laughing* Sorry, sorry. Okay, gonna try to get through this. Yandy’s Launch Angle is -7.9. That’s not me cutting off the 1st half with an em dash. That’s a negative sign. How does one get a negative eight Launch Angle? Is he trying to take the catcher out at the knees? Is he starting with the barrel of his bat pointed at the pitcher? Is he facing the wrong way? Is he like Ferdinand the Bull, in that he’s one of the strongest players but would rather smell roses and swing backwards? What is going on? His numbers are terrible. 2021 Projections: 41/10/44/.289/1 in 319 ABs
49. Matt Carpenter – Might be time to replace Carpenter, and become Matt Flat/bored. UPDATE: Torenado ripped through St. Louis and tore up Matt Flat/bored. 2021 Projections: 43/14/48/.231/3 in 388 ABs