All righty, Welcome Back and I’m back from a little rest and relaxation which was much needed. I had plenty of time though to stay plugged into the games and watch and listen to what was happening around the league. The dead zone of sports is almost upon us as the all-star break is just around the corner so now is a good time for a  little getaway with your significant other and/or family if you can swing it. Let’s talk some Third Baseman today and update the rankings just before the break here.

TOP DOGS

1. Jose Ramirez Guardians  Jose just got nominated to his 4th All-Star game the other day and is well deserved. Ramirez is churning out another highly productive season with a .370 OBP .571 SLG .941 OPS. He has driven in 68 RBI’s and stolen 13 SB. He still has more BB’s than K’s 39/36 which is mind-boggling in this day and age for a power hitter.

2. Rafael Devers Red Sox Devers got the fan vote to start at 3B over Ramirez in the All Star Game and looks like he can hit anything remotely close to the strike zone. Devers swings from his heels and nobody in baseball has more hard hit balls than Devers. He has one of the highest zone-swing rates (78.5%) in baseball and 60% of those batted balls have been hard hit.

3. Manny Machado Padres Machado was named an All-Star this past week and will start at 3B for the NL. Machado is having an excellent season at the plate with his .305 AVG .380 OBP .529 SLG .909 OPS. Machado is coming off an ankle injury and is slow getting started here in the month of July but look for him to get back on track after the break and start hitting like he did at the beginning of the season.

4. Austin Riley Braves Riley is currently not an all-star but wouldn’t be surprised if he suddenly becomes an injury replacement in a                     couple of days. He’s a big power hitter with an elite hard hit rate of 56.1% and is among the league leaders in HR at 24 which is as much as any All-Star not named Kyle Schwarber. He has the misfortune of being at a position with NL cornerstones Machado and Arenado but I’ll bet he gets there somehow this year as Cancun probably sounds better than Chavez Ravine to someone who got voted in.

5. Nolan Arenado Cardinals Arenado is going to another all-star game and is tearing the cover off the ball in July batting .400 with an OPS of 1.189. Still has that elite plate discipline and looks like he is going to vastly improve on his back-to-back .250 ish average and hit in the .290’s this season.

SOLID PRO’S

 6. Bobby Witt Jr. Royals Witt rockets up my rankings from April from #22 and sits just under the elite 3B. The improvement he has made month to month this year is truly impressive. Witt had a great doubleheader the other day producing 6 hits 2 runs 3 RBI’s and 3 steals in those two games. He looks like a .260’s hitter with 25 HR and 30 steals to me. I still think Witt can get that average higher as well and become close to a 1st rd pick in fantasy when all said and done. Just loves to play the game and is fun to watch.

 7. Brandon Drury Reds Drury as well has climbed the rankings after going undrafted everywhere the savvy fantasy minds got him off             Wowaivers early in the season and are riding a breakout season from the veteran utility IF. W0BA of .373 is elite and is barreling up the ball this season at a high clip. I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. He’s the real deal this season.

 8. Jon Berti Marlins 18 SB’s in June. Wow. If you missed the boat on getting Berti late you are feeling pretty sad right now as he was basically a late-inning flier in leagues and was on the waiver wire at the beginning of the season as well. It’s not like he is slowing down in July with 5 more SB’s and with above average plate discipline he can hit in the .270’s-280’s with no problem.

9. Eugenio Suarez Mariners Still K’s too much for my liking that will keep his average down but I have seen improvement over the season and now Suarez is getting on base at a higher clip. For instance in July so far his OBP is .405 with 5 BB/7K so Suarez is seeing the ball well and is a very streaky hitter so I would ride him if you got him and see where it takes you.

10. Alex Bregman Astros Bregman squeaks into top 10 because of the elite plate discipline he provides and gets on base. Bregman can still hit the ball well with his 20 2B’s but they appear empty and don’t factor too much into the stat line. I think there is a hot streak in Bregman as he still possesses good attributes and plays for a good offensive team which could help boost his numbers.

STUCK IN MIDDLE

11. Kris Bryant Rockies Bryant looks to be back and capable of shouldering a lot of the offense in Colorado. As long he remains healthy I think the skills haven’t diminished and the ballpark he plays in half of the time is always prone to big games. Could move up into top 10 very shortly if he finds himself in the lineup more often than not.

12. Luis Arraez Twins Talk about elite plate discipline. Arraez puts the ball in play and is rarely an easy out as his .419 OBP will tell you. A little one-dimensional for his batting average profile and runs but doesn’t hurt you and you can get the HR’s you need from someone else as BA could be the difference for you in winning your league.

13. Yandy Diaz Rays  Whew.. 10 multi-hit performances in his last 15 games with a slash line of an absurd .500/.569/.704. Not too much in the way of balls over the fence but who’s complaining. Plate discipline is extraordinary as well with 48/33 BB/K.

14. Patrick Wisdom Cubs You know what your going to get by now with Wisdom. The occasional HR and a lot of K’s. Depends if you are willing to live with his average because he’s not hitting above .230.

 15. DJ LeMahieu Yankees Everything under the hood is looking good. Does everything above average but not much else here. Consistent I think the arrow is pointing up as the summer wears on D.J. will find a groove and start putting together some good games.

16. Justin Turner Dodgers Hitting the ball well in July with a .400 avg and a 1.034 OPS.  Could this be the sign we needed to see from the wily veteran to get him in our lineups once and for all.

17. Matt Chapman Blue Jays Same mold as Wisdom but less HR’s and a better avg when all said and done.  Pick your poison he’s going to stay around the same production all season where he currently sits. Hard Hit rate looks good at 52.6% just needs to do more of it to remain someone you can count on day in and day out.

18. Jose Miranda Twins Got to like what you see from this kid. Plenty of sub par veterans ahead of him to pass if he can stay in the lineup consistently. Doesn’t look like the Twins have a full-time spot for him yet so a part-time player curbs his appeal at the moment.

19. Wilmer Flores Giants All he does is drive in runs and come up with clutch hits. Doesn’t hurt you anywhere. Nice useful piece.

20. Ke’Bryan Hayes Pirates Lack of power and not much else see him fall in the rankings. Still think he has something to prove and could see a resurgence in the 2nd half.

HAZY FUTURE

21. Brendan Donovan Cardinals Does a lot of little things right and average is good but the ceiling is very low and he’s right at the top of it at the moment.

22. Josh Donaldson Yankees 

23. Hunter Dozier Royals

24. Gio Urshela Twins

25. Isaac Paredes Rays

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a great week ahead and take some time off at the break to relax. See ya next week for an All-Star Edition.