Top 25 Third Basemen for 2015 Fantasy Baseball

*The order of these rankings are based on a valuation system for a 5×5 roto scoring league with 5 games played minimum for position eligibility.  This is not necessarily the order I would draft these players in, as different factors should impact which player to choose.

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  1. Miguel Cabrera – M-Cab will retain another year of eligibility at third base for some leagues, which is amazing for his fantasy value since third base is a bit weaker than first base. I went over him already in my Top 25 First Basemen2015 projection:  .305 AVG, 27 HR, 104 RBI, 95 R, 1 SB, 112 K, 61 BB in 577 AB
  2. Nolan Arenado – Arenado is one of my favorite breakout players for the 2015 season. He actually was one of my favorites for a breakout last year, and had it not been for a fractured finger that he suffered on a headfirst slide that sidelined him for nearly a month and a half, he would have had that breakout season already.  Coors Field does wonders for most hitters and Arenado is no exception, but he also has solid contact skills (12.4 K% last year), which helps his ability to hit for a high average, and developing power as he hit 12 HR after the All-Star break last year.  He is going to be awesome.  2015 projection:  .293 AVG, 25 HR, 97 RBI, 81 R, 3 SB, 77 K, 41 BB in 584 AB
  3. Josh DonaldsonDonaldson saw a spike in his HR total as it went from 24 HR in 2013 to 29 HR last year, though it seemed to be at the expense of his batting average as that fell from .301 in 2013 to .255 last year. What happened was that he apparently just started swinging for the fences more as he traded a lot of line drives for flyballs.  He was traded to the Blue Jays in the off-season and that puts him in much better situation as a hitter to be hitting behind the likes of Jose Reyes, Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion.  And let’s not forget the home park switch that should benefit his power stroke.  2015 projection:  .268 AVG, 29 HR, 96 RBI, 86 R, 5 SB, 120 K, 70 BB in 563 AB
  4. Adrian Beltre – Beltre has had an interesting career. From 1998-2009 with the Dodgers and Mariners, he had one outstanding season that was a huge outlier (steroids?), but other than that he was pretty much a .265 hitter with 20-25 HR capability and sneaky speed.  It wasn’t until his age 31 season in 2010 with the Red Sox that he once again became an elite fantasy third baseman, and that is what he has been in each of the subsequent years with the Rangers since then.  Though he was still one of the better third basemen in the league last year, we might have witnessed the beginning of a decline for Beltre, who will be in his age 36 season this year.  His great contact and high batting average ability was still present, but the power dipped a lot.  I would still feel pretty comfortable with him as my fantasy third baseman though.  2015 projection:  .303 AVG, 21 HR, 84 RBI, 80 R, 1 SB, 77 K, 45 BB in 567 AB
  5. Anthony Rendon – I went over Rendon in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .278 AVG, 17 HR, 73 RBI, 94 R, 11 SB, 107 K, 68 BB in 607 AB
  6. Chris Davis – I went over Davis in my Top 25 First Basemen. He is 15th as a first baseman, but 6th as a third baseman.  What a difference 127 ft and 3.36 inches makes!  That’s the Pythagorean Theorem at work there, ladies and gentlemen.  2015 projection:  .244 AVG, 34 HR, 95 RBI, 79 R, 3 SB, 188 K, 67 BB in 542 AB
  7. Todd Frazier – I went over Frazier in my Top 25 First Basemen. He is 16th as a first basemen, but 7th as a third baseman.  I just got a feeling of déjà vu…  2015 projection:  .264 AVG, 25 HR, 74 RBI, 82 R, 12 SB, 137 K, 52 BB in 587 AB
  8. Evan Longoria – It’s not often that a player peaks at the age of 23, but that’s apparently what has happened with Longo. He showed so much promise early in his career, but in what should have been his prime years, he has failed to live up to expectations with the bat.  For a while his name value that he built up in those first few seasons drove up his fantasy price for several years, but after last year when he posted just a .724 OPS, which was over 100 points lower than his previous career low, his fantasy price should be much more realistic.  2015 projection:  .261 AVG, 26 HR, 90 RBI, 81 R, 3 SB, 128 K, 65 BB in 574 AB
  9. Kris Bryant – The super prospect should begin the season in the Minors but join the Cubs sometime in May. He may strike out a ton upon reaching the Majors, but I like his chances to succeed more than fellow strikeout prone teammate Javier Baez.  His colossal power is going to be extremely valuable and once he is up in the Majors, Bryant will be a top 10 third baseman through the remainder of the season.  2015 projection:  .261 AVG, 28 HR, 88 RBI, 70 R, 9 SB, 159 K, 53 BB in 491 AB.  UPDATE:  Moved from #17 to #9 (3/31/15)
  10. Josh Harrison – I went over Harrison in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .293 AVG, 13 HR, 54 RBI, 84 R, 22 SB, 93 K, 27 BB in 618 AB 
  11. Kyle Seager – Seager’s career so far has looked a lot like Beltre’s early on in his career – a .265 hitter with 20-25 HR capability and sneaky speed. And coincidentally, the Mariners handed out a monster contract to Beltre when he was that type of player and they just gave Seager a 7-year/$100 million extension too.  Seager is a heavy pull hitter who could start to be heavily affected by the shift if he cannot figure out how to spray the ball to the opposite field.  He reportedly worked in the off-season to do that, but we will see.  2015 projection:  .269 AVG, 24 HR, 87 RBI, 73 R, 8 SB, 114 K, 53 BB in 576 AB
  12. Ryan Zimmerman – Zimmerman looks like a strong bounce back candidate if he can remain healthy. He is moving across the diamond to first base this season and that could go a long way to keeping his health in good shape.  And as evidenced by Mike Podhorzer of FanGraphs right here, Zimmerman can see a rebound in his HR/FB rate given that his average batted ball distance on HR and flyballs last year was pretty strong.  2015 projection:  .282 AVG, 22 HR, 82 RBI, 72 R, 3 SB, 103 K, 55 BB in 531 AB
  13. Manny Machado – The Macho Man Manny Machado has not exactly been very macho spending so much time sidelined with separate injuries to each of his knees. Okay okay, I am sure that I would be on my death bed if that happened to me, so I suppose he is pretty macho for enduring that and making comebacks from the scary injuries.  At just 22 years old, Machado has already proven that he can hang as a Major Leaguer and he also has a lot of room for growth.  2015 projection:  .282 AVG, 19 HR, 74 RBI, 77 R, 6 SB, 106 K, 35 BB in 561 AB 
  14. Pablo Sandoval – Pablo left San Francisco to play in Beantown, and that gives him a some more fantasy potential since he will get to take stabs at the Green Monster and he is now part of a powerhouse lineup. But one wonders if him being overweight will hinder him any more than it has already.  2015 projection:  .286 AVG, 18 HR, 83 RBI, 70 R, 1 SB, 81 K, 43 BB in 545 AB 
  15. Matt Carpenter – Carpenter offers little power and little speed, but he can hit for a good average and gets on base a lot via base on balls. His on base potential is what gives him value as a potential run scoring machine leading off for the Cardinals.  2015 projection:  .285 AVG, 9 HR, 61 RBI, 100 R, 4 SB, 109 K, 83 BB in 594 AB
  16. David Wright – What is wrong with Wright? Well, he had his 2014 season cut short due to a recurring shoulder injury.  That doesn’t sound promising.  That injury took away all his power and I would be very cautious with him when considering him this year.  That power may still be sapped and he could be in for another frustrating season.  2015 projection:  .286 AVG, 15 HR, 74 RBI, 71 R, 11 SB, 108 K, 53 BB in 521 AB
  17. Carlos Santana – I went over Santana in my Top 25 Catchers. 2015 projection:  .248 AVG, 27 HR, 86 RBI, 72 R, 4 SB, 118 K, 100 B in 544 AB   
  18. Yasmani Tomas – Tomas is listed at both third base and the outfield in Yahoo leagues despite never having played a Major League game. That seems a little fishy to me, but whatever.  He obviously has more value as a third baseman, but I think in the end he will be seeing most of his time in the outfield as most baseball people seem to think that he can’t cut it at the hot corner defensively.  And if he is in the outfield, then I think that hurts his playing time potential as Mark Trumbo, David Peralta, and Ender Inciarte are all capable of playing the corner outfield spots and the Diamondbacks might mix them all in.  I don’t think that Tomas will make the impact that Jose Abreu did.  Instead, I feel that he will end up more like a Yoenis Cespedes type of player or worse.  But he is just 24 years old, so he does have some room to grow and maybe eventually approach the level of Abreu.  2015 projection:  .258 AVG, 24 HR, 80 RBI, 60 R, 9 SB, 135 K, 35 BB in 507 AB
  19. Martin Prado – I went over Prado in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projections:  .281 AVG, 11 HR, 72 RBI, 70 R, 4 SB, 73 K, 36 BB in 569 AB
  20. Xander Bogaerts – Unrealistically, Bogaerts was expected by many to be an immediate impact fantasy player last year as a 21-year old rookie. Instead, he kind of fell flat on his face by hitting just .240 with 12 HR and 2 SB.  With that year of experience, Bogaerts now makes for an intriguing post-hype sleeper type of player.  He got stronger over the off-season and teammate Dustin Pedroia has stated how he sees a difference in the youngster this year.  By the end of the season, there may not be much difference between Bogaerts and Machado’s stats, except Bogaerts will have position eligibility at a much thinner shortstop position.  2015 projection:  .271 AVG, 17 HR, 70 RBI, 67 R, 5 SB, 123 K, 48 BB in 521 AB
  21. Nick Castellanos – Castellanos had a decent rookie season and can surely take a step forward as a sophomore.  He does not have a ton of power, but his knack for a high line drive rate coupled with his low infield fly ball rate means that he has much better upside than the .259 hitter that he was last year.  If he can keep those skills while cutting down on the strikeouts, then he has a chance to be a decent fantasy asset at 3B.  2015 projection:  .278 AVG, 14 HR, 73 RBI, 65 R, 4 SB, 132 K, 41 BB in 539 AB
  22. Chase Headley – Headley seemed to rediscover his hitting stroke when he was traded to the Yankees in the middle of last season. He was hitting .229 with 7 HR in 77 games for the Padres when he was traded, and he finished the season hitting .262 with 6 HR in 58 games for the Yankees.  He will never match his magical 2012 season, but with a full season in pinstripes, Headley appears set to post the second best season of his career as he should be able to take advantage of the short right field porch when he is facing righties.  2015 projection:  .263 AVG, 16 HR, 71 RBI, 69 R, 7 SB, 133 K, 58 BB in 510 AB
  23. Pedro Alvarez – Alvarez hit 36 HR in 2013 but saw that number get cut in half to 18 HR in 2014. He is not a player on my radar as I generally shy away from the “all or nothing” type of hitters, but if you’re in to his type then expect to see some rebound.  2015 projection:  .233 AVG, 27 HR, 82 RBI, 61 R, 3 SB, 164 K, 55 BB in 533 AB
  24. Marcus Semien – Check out my This Year’s Brian Dozier Will Be Marcus Semien post for more on this sleeper.  2015 projection:  .247 AVG, 16 HR, 59 RBI, 78 R, 12 SB, 126 K, 65 BB in 546 AB
  25. Brett Lawrie – I went over Lawrie in my Top 25 Second Basemen. 2015 projection:  .261 AVG, 14 HR, 60 RBI, 59 R, 8 SB, 88 K, 37 BB in 495 AB   
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2 thoughts on “Top 25 Third Basemen for 2015 Fantasy Baseball

  1. Pingback: Top 25 Shortstops for 2015 Fantasy Baseball | The Backwards K

  2. Pingback: Top 75 Outfielders for 2015 Fantasy Baseball | The Backwards K

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