2016 Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen Rankings

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The third basemen rankings are front loaded with some pretty excellent talent that includes an MVP, a slew of rising stars under the age of 25, and a couple of consistent veterans. Once you get passed all of that fantasy goodness though, the depth of the position really begins to lack as several of the players are also eligible at what are generally considered to be shallower positions like second base and shortstop — with second base lacking star talent depth and shortstop just lacking reliable depth. I certainly would want to come away with one of the first 8 or 9 third basemen listed in the rankings because after they’re off the board, the hot corner won’t be looking so hot anymore.

Below are THE BACKWARDS K 2016 FANTASY BASEBALL THIRD BASEMEN RANKINGS. Included for each player is “The Backwards K Quick Take” and a self-produced player projection for 2016.

***Please note the following:

  • The player’s names are color coded to signal different tiers at the position.
  • The rankings reflect standard 5×5 roto scoring settings (AVG/HR/RBI/R/SB) with position eligibility requirements as 10 total games played at a position in 2015, or 5 total games started at a position in 2015 (i.e. Yahoo! settings).
  • The numerical order is not necessarily a suggested order to draft them in, but it is the order that is calculated based on each player’s listed projections, unless noted otherwise.
  • Noted in some players’ “Quick Takes” is if they gain or lose notable value in points leagues that factor penalize hitter strikeouts and reward hitter walks.

  1. Manny Machado (Orioles) – The Backwards K Quick Take: “Baby Face Assassin” apparently is one of Machado’s nicknames according to Baseball Reference, but I would say that he graduated from that nickname last year when he matured 5 years before our very eyes to become the “Macho Man” Manny Machado. His power had been on the rise in 2014, but it came into full effect last year as he became much more selective at the plate to trim his overall swing% from 50.8% to 43.6% and his 0-swing% (outside of the strike zone swing%) from 36.1% to 25.7%. He also got more lift on the ball as his FB% went from 30.9% to 38.5%. Those are some drastic changes and very good signs moving forward for him being able to maintain his power production. Machado also began to steal bases at a rate that was most certainly unprecedented from him at the Major League level. This was a testament to how strong his legs must have been feeling after having operations on both his knees. Heck, he even played in all 162 games so I’d say he was given Robocops knees or something. I think his SB total will come down a bit this year though as he may spend more time hitting 3rd in the lineup instead of #1-2. What makes Machado even more valuable in some leagues is the fact that he will be eligible at SS. I literally have Machado and Donaldson valued pennies away from each other, and you really can’t go wrong with either. 2016 Projection: .285 AVG/33 HR/99 RBI/103 R/15 SB/110 K/68 BB in 705 PA
  2. Josh Donaldson (Blue Jays) The Backwards K Quick Take: Donaldson truly transformed into DONG-aldson last year in his first season with the Blue Jays. Practically everything that he hit went for a dong as his HR/FB% went up from 14.6% in 2014 to 21.8% last year, which translated to 41 HR. It’s a pretty hefty jump in HR/FB%, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to regress back to that 2014 mark this season. It was a combination of things that led him to such a power breakout: moving from a pitcher friendly home stadium to a hitter friendly one, moving from the AL West to the AL East, spending the whole year batting in front of guys like Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarncion for insane lineup protection that likely gave him better pitches to hit, and probably just some overall growth as a hitter. This all culminated towards an MVP award and Donaldson becoming the first AL player to lead the league in both runs and RBI since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Serving as the team’s #2 hitter for 88% of his PA makes that even more of a remarkable feat. I’d expect him to take some small steps backwards all across the board, but Donaldson should still be an elite fantasy talent. 2016 Projection: .286 AVG/35 HR/106 RBI/114 R/6 SB/129 K/73 BB in 710 PA
  3. Nolan Arenado (Rockies)The Backwards K Quick Take: Arenado had his big breakout last year after slowly climbing up draft boards all pre-season long. As one of the top 10 most aggressive hitters in terms of swing%, Arenado essentially ended up sacrificing his once pristine strikeout rate to add a lot of power (though a 16.5 K% is still well above average, especially for a power hitter). But it worked out well for him and fantasy owners had nothing to gripe about. It could potentially become a concern in the future, but he seems pretty locked in to keep producing well. He destroyed pitches on the inner half of the plate but saw his o-contact% (contact% on pitches out of the strike zone) go way down. In particular, he struggled a bit with the low and away pitches. So if pitchers stop trying to beat him inside and go low and away more often, then there could be some struggles for Arenado. Regardless though, he is capable of making adjustments, so for now I would count on another 30+ HR season for the soon to be 25-year old. And one very positive thing to note is that he had more HR on the road than at home, so he was more than just a product of Coors Field. 2016 Projection: .286 AVG/33 HR/110 RBI/87 R/3 SB/103 K/35 BB in 653 PA
  4. Kris Bryant (Cubs) The Backwards K Quick Take: The phenom Bryant essentially played the whole season last year in the Majors with the Cubs and boy, was it a good debut. He didn’t quite show the same prolific power that he had in the Minors but there was little to complain about with his final roto stat line. For this season though, it’ll be hard to expect him to hit .275 again unless he trims his strikeout rate a lot. While he did have a healthy 37.5 hard% to help contribute some to his .378 BABIP and he owns a career .397 BABIP from the Minors, that high of a BABIP mark was also driven by a 14.4 IFH% (infield hit rate). And his other batted ball profile stats weren’t extraordinary for BABIP. To put that IFH% into perspective, that was the absolute highest mark in the league among qualified hitters, but an IFH% that high is generally reserved for the speedster type of players. While Bryant does have some good base running skills, he’s certainly no burner so he should regress to lower his BABIP. A BABIP somewhere in the vicinity of .340 would be much more believable. However, for whatever he loses in AVG, he can definitely more than make up for it with his power and that’s exactly what I would expect him to do. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .263 AVG/32 HR/99 RBI/89 R/11 SB/198 K/76 BB in 664 PA
  5. Todd Frazier (White Sox)The Backwards K Quick Take: For whatever reason, in each of the last two seasons Frazier has put up monstrous first half numbers (2014 pre-All-Star break: .290 AVG/19 HR/53 RBI/57 R/14 SB, 2015 pre-All-Star break: .284 AVG/25 HR/57 RBI/54 R/8 SB), but then it’s like all of the sudden the weather heats up in the dog days of summer and he takes a swift uppercut to the jaw and “DOWN GOES FRAZIER! DOWN GOES FRAZIER!” (2014 post-All-Star break: .247 AVG/10 HR/27 RBI/31 R/6 SB, 2015 post-All-Star break: .220 AVG/10 HR/32 RBI/28 R/5 SB). Not to say that his second half numbers are complete garbage, because lots of players would kill to have 10 HR/5 SB in half of a season, but there clearly is a tail off and it makes you wonder what is going on there. In 2014, Frazier’s power appeared to be more natural than in 2015. He went from a 1.11 GB/FB ratio in 2014 to a 0.69 GB/FB ratio in 2015. So all those HR last year seem like he was kind of forcing the issue to sell out for more power, which is also evident in his pull% jumping from 37.7% to 46.1%. As fantasy owners, we’ll take the power numbers however they come, but this is just something to be aware of. This year Frazier moves from Cincy to Chi-town, which is a pretty neutral home park switch as both stadiums are good to hit in (though I’d still give the edge to Cincy), so that shouldn’t affect him too much. And I could see an uptick in RBI with a better collective group of hitters in front of him in Chicago (not just Joey Votto taking walks to 1B every other time after Billy Hamilton pops up). So overall, I think Frazier will be fine in the power department, but I can see the SB total dropping (potentially to single digits) because his new manager Robin Ventura is not very aggressive in the run game with the White Sox having ranked 23rd in SB attempts last year. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .259 AVG/31 HR/95 RBI/80 R/10 SB/137 K/46 BB in 654 PA
  6. Maikel Franco (Phillies)The Backwards K Quick Take: From a hitting standpoint, Franco will draw comparisons to Adrian Beltre from his really good years, but how about posing the thought that Franco could be this year’s Nolan Arenado? That sounds pretty mouthwatering. Like Arenado showed last year, Franco has some intriguing power for both HR and doubles and another similarity is that both Arenado and Franco are low strikeout guys that can post high SLG and ISO marks. Hitters with that skill set are somewhat of a rare commodity. Out of all qualified hitters last season, there were only six players who had a strikeout rate of 16.5% or less with a SLG above .500 and ISO above .200: Nolan Arenado, Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz, Jose Bautista, Anthony Rizzo, and Manny Machado. Had Franco had enough plate appearances to qualify, he would’ve just missed the cut with a .497 SLG, but that is a pretty elite group of talent to be thousandths away from joining — five surefire players to draft in the first two rounds and a 40-year old future Hall of Famer. Franco can show even better power numbers this year if he can get more lift on the ball to decrease his 47.0 GB%. Maybe this is a bit of an aggressive ranking/projection, but the early signs in Spring Training are that Franco is certainly hitting the ball in the air more, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he hits 30-35 HR. 2016 Projection: .279 AVG/30 HR/99 RBI/79 R/2 SB/100 K/41 BB in 625 PA
  7. Miguel Sano (Twins)The Backwards K Quick Take: Sano was called up mid-season by the Twins last year as they were surprisingly competing for a division title for a good portion of the season. The power that he displayed was tremendous, but it also came with a deathly 35.5 K%, but at least he helped to counteract that by boasting a 15.8 BB%. His power was supported by an average flyball + HR distance of 302 ft. (21st in the Majors) and he hit the ball with authority at a 43.2 hard% (which would have led the Majors with enough plate appearances) and a 94.9 MPH average exit velocity on balls hit (3rd in the Majors). So there is totally a lot to like here. Even with that though, it was a small sample size and there needs to be some expected regression factored in for his 2016 outlook. There’s just little reason to believe he can sustain his .396 BABIP from last year no matter how hard or fast he’s hitting the ball. Plus MLB pitchers are going to have a better idea on how to pitch against him after having collected data and film on him, and a player with his strikeout tendencies is likely more vulnerable to any adjustments pitchers make. The upside can be massive with Sano, but so can the bust factor. A little bonus will be that he will gain OF eligibility in fantasy leagues rather quickly. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .250 AVG/34 HR/96 RBI/87 R/3 SB/211 K/83 BB in 639 PA
  8. Kyle Seager (Mariners) The Backwards K Quick Take: Seager has been a steady performer since becoming the starting third baseman for the Mariners in 2012 and it’s pretty easy to count him down for another similar season, but at age 28 there is certainly some more growth potential. In fact, he showed growth last year by hitting .297/.324/.511 with 13 HR against lefties. That was a better overall stat line than he had against righties despite never having had better than a .242 AVG against lefties in a single season prior. Seager pretty evenly split his time last year batting 2nd and 5th, but if all goes well with Nori Aoki and Ketel Marte setting the table for the Mariners, then Seager should spend most of his time hitting 5th, which could be a solid run producing spot. If he can maintain his improvements against lefties, then this could be a career year for Seager when/if he sees his numbers against righties bounce back up to his norm. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .272 AVG/26 HR/93 RBI/80 R/7 SB/108 K/60 BB in 659 PA
  9. Matt Carpenter (Cardinals) The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Carpenter in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings where he does provide more fantasy value, but he won’t be eligible at the keystone in many leagues. Fortunately, at the very least he can provide quality production universally in fantasy from the hot corner. Click on the second basemen rankings to check out what the new version of Carpenter looks like. 2016 Projection: .272 AVG/23 HR/86 RBI/95 R/4 SB/148 K/79 BB in 673 PA
  10. Daniel Murphy (Nationals)The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Murphy in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Rankings and he is also referenced in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings. He doesn’t have universal eligiblity at first base, but it’s really second base and third base where you would want to take a look at him anyway. Head on over to the first base rankings page to see what could be in store for Murphy. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .281 AVG/21 HR/86 RBI/72 R/7 SB/65 K/35 BB in 598 PA
  11. Mike Moustakas (Royals)The Backwards K Quick Take: Last year, Moustakas finally had what can be considered a breakout season of sorts, but it was a rather confusing way he went about it. Basically, he compiled two different types of halves and mashed them together into what looked like a well-rounded season on paper. Moose’s main issue with getting loose in the past was his struggles against southpaws. With ease, lefties would strike him out, pop him up, or get him to ground out into the shift. In the first half of 2015 though, Moose did well to reverse those trends by making more consistent contact and spraying the ball to all portions of the field so that he became less predictable. The second half for him saw him revert back to his previous self, but it came with more of a power element at least. So if there was some way that he could figure out how to get the best of both of those worlds simultaneously then he could be a pretty dangerous hitter. It should be noted that he’s still young at age 27, so there’s still time to figure it out. My best projection path would for Moose would be be that he will be more of the power type of hitter that he showed in the second half, which will shave points off his AVG and could ultimately lead to him being dropped from 2nd to 5th or 6th in the lineup for the Royals where his power would play better and Alex Gordon’s OBP would be more suitable near the top. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .270 AVG/26 HR/87 RBI/74 R/1 SB/85 K/43 BB in 617 PA
  12. Adrian Beltre (Rangers)The Backwards K Quick Take: Entering his age 37 season, Beltre is considered a future Hall of Famer in my book, but he’s getting less and less exciting for fantasy purposes. He’s still performing at a perfectly acceptable level on the whole, but his power has been on a steady decline and he’s looking more and more brittle with age at a demanding position defensively. I wouldn’t feel too comfortable with Beltre as my starting third baseman because his skills can deteriorate rapidly at any time, but there are certainly worse picks to make. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .294 AVG/19 HR/83 RBI/74 R/1 SB/74 K/41 BB in 590 PA
  13. Evan Longoria (Rays)The Backwards K Quick Take: For a couple years now I have been clamoring for the general fantasy baseball public to slow their rolls on Longoria. He lived off his name value for so long in fantasy circles, but he definitely peaked at age 24. Now at age 30, Longoria is still serviceable as a fantasy third baseman, but finally it appears that people will stop reaching for him in drafts, which now could actually make him a decent, if not appropriate, value as there’s not a whole lot different from Kyle Seager to Longoria. 2016 Projection: .264 AVG/24 HR/87 RBI/77 R/3 SB/132 K/52 BB in 655 PA
  14. Anthony Rendon (Nationals) The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Rendon in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings. He’s got the upside if he can remain healthy, which is a serious question mark though. But even so, value plus  replacement player (VPRP) can be factored in to his implied value with any projected DL stint. With VPRP, Rendon’s implied value would push him up to the red tier. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES AND GAINS VALUE WITH VPRP) 2016 Projection: .276 AVG/14 HR/62 RBI/85 R/8 SB/100 K/63 BB in 601 PA
  15. Justin Turner (Dodgers)The Backwards K Quick Take: Turner really has transformed into a pretty valuable player in real life. And for fantasy purposes, he has shown tons of promise as well, especially in leagues where daily lineup changes can be made. As reported by Eno Sarris here, Turner altered his approach beginning in the 2014 season to generate more power. He made this change thanks to the advice from former teammate Marlon Byrd of all people. Since then, the results have been terrific as he’s upped his average flyball + HR distance the last couple of seasons, which has resulted in more HR, more doubles, and considerably higher ISO and SLG marks. Turner began to take on the lion’s share of playing time at third base in late May of last season for the Dodgers, but he still required several days off for rest. So he ended up starting about 75% of the games (excluding DL time) from that point onward, and I think that’s about what can be expected this year as well, especially with Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick capable of handling third base for the Dodgers if needed. In a way, Turner has turned into a more reliable David Wright if that makes sense. I’d expect Turner to continue his very solid production from the #3-4 spots in the Dodgers lineup, but he does have frequent nagging injuries and more serious ones as he has not avoided the DL in the past four seasons. Case in point, he’s coming off of microfracture knee surgery, but should be good to go by Opening Day or shortly after. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES AND GAINS SOME VALUE WITH VPRP) 2016 Projection: .296 AVG/17 HR/70 RBI/64 R/5 SB/85 K/43 BB in 515 PA
  16. Matt Duffy (Giants) The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Duffy in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings, but he’s only eligible there in some leagues and he’s a universal third baseman. After a surprise 2015 rookie season, he could be serviceable but I wouldn’t fall in love with him. 2016 Projection: .290 AVG/9 HR/64 RBI/66 R/13 SB/97 K/36 BB in 601 PA
  17. Cesar Hernandez (Phillies)The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Hernandez in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings where his universal fantasy is. He’s eligible at third base and shortstop in some leagues and will be a bit of a sleeper for 30 SB. 2016 Projection: .277 AVG/3 HR/41 RBI/78 R/27 SB/114 K/55 BB in 615 PA
  18. Nick Castellanos (Tigers)The Backwards K Quick Take: Castellanos was one of the Tigers top position prospects when he was coming up through the Minors, but after two seasons that can be deemed mediocre at best, he might be ready to have a mini breakout of sorts at age 24. Delving into his second half performance from last year, he showed better plate discipline to take more walks and he was just getting better contact and power overall, likely because he was laying off more pitches that were out of the zone. His strikeout rate isn’t great and it may not ever get a whole lot better, but he has the ability to hit a lot of line drives (28.5% in 2014, 27.0% in the second half of 2015) and he rarely pops it up (2.1 IFFB% in 2014, 1.2 IFFB% in 2015). This combination of skills comes straight from Joey Votto’s toolbox and is something that can eventually translate to a BABIP that’s higher than Castellano’s current .324 mark — he had a rather impressive .366 BABIP in over 1600 AB in the Minors. A full on breakout might be coming, but it might not be. But at the very least I do see Castellanos showing gradual improvements. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .278 AVG/20 HR/81 RBI/63 R/2 SB/143 K/45 BB in 617 PA
  19. Jung-Ho Kang (Pirates) The Backwards K Quick Take: Kang came over to the states from Korea for last season and he was a bit of an up in the air commodity as it was anyone’s guess how well his skills would translate from the KBO to MLB. There appeared to be an adjustment period as he didn’t hit all that well in Spring Training of 2015 and then struggled in sporadic playing time for the first few weeks of the season with a putrid .182/.208/.227 on April 28. It just seemed he was having trouble adjusting to Major League pitching and also likely just trying to get acclimated to North American living. But shortly after April 28, he essentially became a starting player and followed the treasure map to locate his “Pirates booty” and he had a blistering second half of play. Unfortunately, his season was cut short due to a torn MCL that he suffered as a defensive player on a play at second base. He’s been rehabbing his knee all off-season and is looking at a return by the end of April. There will be concern about how he might perform coming off that injury, so there’s the possibility that he doesn’t quite match last year’s pace. However, he essentially was one of the league’s worst hitters for the first few weeks, so I think it’d be reasonable to give him that same type of grace period to get his reps in to get back into a groove. Plus the fact that we know for sure that he is beginning the season on the DL means that he has some guaranteed extra implied value from value plus replacement player (VPRP). He’s easily stashable on the DL for those first three or four weeks (if your league has DL slots), so factor in replacement level type of stats and his VPRP would be somewhere in the red tier of third basemen. Kang is also eligible at SS in all fantasy leagues where he obviously has more value. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .274 AVG/19 HR/71 RBI/63 R/4 SB/117 BB/33 K in 538 PA
  20. Trevor Plouffe (Twins)The Backwards K Quick Take: When looking at the numbers, Plouffe is far from flashy and there’s very little upside, but he figures to be able to rival his production from last season if he stays healthy. He’ll get to hit cleanup a lot behind Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, and Miguel Sano, which isn’t a terrible spot to be in. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .252 AVG/21 HR/79 RBI/71 R/2 SB/123 K/49 BB in 616 PA
  21. Josh Harrison (Pirates)The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Harrison in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings and he’s also eligible in the outfield in some leagues. Extrapolate last year’s stats from an injury marred season and I think that’s about what Harrison will give over the course of a full season this year. 2016 Projection: .291 AVG/8 HR/52 RBI/66 R/13 SB/87 K/23 BB in 580 PA
  22. David Wright (Mets) The Backwards K Quick Take: Wright had been oft-injured since 2011, but he took things to a whole new extreme last year having played in just 38 games because of a strained hamstring and spinal stenosis. The back problem seems rather ominous and it could probably be something that flares up on him at anytime, which doesn’t make him a great bet to avoid the DL (amongst all the other possible injuries that he’s had problems with). The Mets have said they want to limit Wright to 130 games this season, and that’s with the assumption that he’s healthy enough to avoid the DL. So if you were to draft him, then you wouldn’t even get the full amount of the value plus replacement player (VPRP) because he would be clogging up an active roster spot — he would gain some in VPRP, but not a whole lot. Wright can probably still swing the bat well when he plays, but he’s not a gamble that I’d be willing to take. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES AND GAINS SOME VALUE WITH VPRP) 2016 Projection: .282 AVG/15 HR/58 RBI/62 R/6 SB/95 K/53 BB in 486 PA
  23. Hector Olivera (Braves)The Backwards K Quick Take: Olivera is a “prospect” that came over to the Braves from the Dodgers mid-season, and this came after the Dodgers signed him to a pretty lucrative 6-year, $62.5 million contract prior to the 2015 season. But make no mistake about it, Olivera isn’t some hot shot young player with a lot of upside. Instead, he is going to be 31 years old in the first week of the season and he has 87 Major League plate appearances to his name. It looks like that he will be a high contact hitter with maybe occasional pop hitting from somewhere in the bottom half of the Braves lineup to start the season. It’s not super exciting by any means, but I would say there’s at least some chance that he becomes this year’s version of Jung-Ho Kang. 2016 Projection: .279 AVG/15 HR/70 RBI/59 R/3 SB/74 K/32 BB in 566 PA
  24. (EDIT on 3/31/16: Added Shaw to the rankings) Travis Shaw (Red Sox) – The Backwards K Quick Take: Shaw didn’t make the initial set of rankings because he did not have a clear path to playing time because assumedly Pablo Sandoval and his big contract would continue to man the hot corner for the Red Sox. However, I was skeptical that Sandoval would actually come away with the job, so I at least was correct to leave Sandoval out of the top 30 third basemen. But it was announced that Shaw earned the job over the veteran and he makes for an interesting grab in leagues where he is eligible at third base (which will be every league within the first month of the season likely). Shaw doesn’t have big power, he doesn’t hit for a super high AVG, he doeesn’t have great speed…but what he does have is a starting role in a high powered offense and he’s perfectly serviceable. At times he has shown strong strikeout and walk rates in the Minors, so with a Major League gig secured he could tap into those areas of skill to come away with some upside. 2016 Projection: .259 AVG/18 HR/69 RBI/63 R/3 SB/117 K/44 BB in 549 PA
  25. Yangervis Solarte (Padres) The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Solarte in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings. Solarte is universally eligible at first base and third base (though it’s a slim chance that you would use him at first base) and he’s eligible at second base only in some leagues. He’s a fine player for deeper leagues, but the upside is probably limited. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .274 AVG/14 HR/68 RBI/69 R/1 SB/63 K/42 BB in 611 PA
  26. Danny Valencia (A’s)The Backwards K Quick Take: Valencia is an interesting story as he was somewhat of a journeyman his whole career, but he ended up with a career best year in his age 30 season last year when he split time between the Blue Jays and A’s. But in actuality, it wasn’t until he got traded to the A’s. He had always been known as somewhat of just a specialist against left-handed pitching, but he made booming strides to end up with an .881 OPS and .271 ISO against righties. However, diving deeper into his numbers, we can see that he had a completely unsustainable 27.1 HR/FB% against righties with bad rates of a 5.2 BB% and 24.5 K% against them as well. He’ll be back again with Oakland this season and can play third base or corner outfield, but third base should be where he sees most of his time. But the A’s roster is pretty deep and very “platoony” in several spots, so it’d be hard to expect a full slate of games from Valencia. Maybe he did indeed figure some things out last year, but I do see regression coming and potentially clouding his playing time situation. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .269 AVG/17 HR/68 RBI/60 R/3 SB/111 K/32 BB in 540 PA
  27. Brett Lawrie (White Sox) The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Lawrie in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings where he clearly has more value. He has the talent and some upside and is still pretty young, so it’s possible that he cashes in with that talent and a ballpark switch. But he’s also injury prone, so beware. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES AND GAINS VALUE WITH VPRP) 2016 Projection: .255 AVG/18 HR/65 RBI/57 R/5 SB/120 K/28 BB in 532 PA
  28. Yunel Escobar (Angels) – The Backwards K Quick Take: Escobar was quite an asset for the Nationals last season, but when he is included in the top 30 at third basemen, then that’s kind of alarming. But alas, Escobar is going to be the primary leadoff hitter for the Angels, so he is going to carry some runs potential in front of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Last year he hit for a .314 AVG, which was the first time he hit over .300 since his rookie year in 2007. He did so off a .347 BABIP, which will likely come back down to a more suitable level to hit skill set. There’s absolutely zero power or speed upside, so basically if you draft him in any league format you are hoping he lucks his way into a .300+ AVG again. (**GAINS VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .276 AVG/8 HR/52 RBI/78 R/3 SB/74 K/48 BB in 618 PA 
  29. Jace Peterson (Braves) – The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Peterson in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Baseman Rankings. He has more value at second base, but he does have some deep sleeper appeal for SB and can also potentially help in runs later in the season if/when he moves up the order. 2016 Projection: .263 AVG/5 HR/44 RBI/59 R/20 SB/103 K/57 BB in 561 PA
  30. Yasmany Tomas (Diamondbacks)The Backwards K Quick Take: Tomas definitely did not produce anywhere near what the Diamondbacks were hoping for when they gave him that $68.5 million contract. Had he qualified with enough plate appearances, Tomas would have ranked 6th in swing% and 8th in swinging strike%. Players with such a bad profile like that can make up for it with their power, so Tomas must have had power then, right? Nope. His .128 ISO was well below the league average of .150. The guy simply didn’t hit it in the air. Tomas’ groundball rate of 54.9% would have put him at 9th highest in the Majors. Okay, okay. So he swings a lot, swings and misses a lot, and is super groundball heavy — that must mean he at least has speed, right? Wrong again. He is listed at 6’2″/255 lbs., so how fast do you really think he is? One thing that Tomas actually does well is spray the ball to all fields. So for a groundball hitter like he is, that actually can help him to maintain a higher BABIP. However, even the .354 mark that he was at last year seems rather high. There’s just not much to like here and Tomas is far from being the next Jose Abreu. (**LOSES VALUE IN POINTS LEAGUES) 2016 Projection: .272 AVG/13 HR/60 RBI/52 RBI/6 SB/123 K/22 BB in 524 PA
  31. Eduardo Escobar (Twins)The Backwards K Quick Take: I went over Escobar in the 2016 Fantasy Baseball Second Basemen Rankings where he barely qualifies in leagues like Yahoo! and the same goes for his third base qualification. He’s only universally eligible at shortstop and outfield and probably should only really be considered as a fantasy factor at shortstop for the time being. 2016 Projection: .267 AVG/13 HR/61 RBI/57 R/5 SB/101 K/33 BB in 531 PA



Maikel Franco (Roto and Points leagues)

Daniel Murphy (Roto and Points leagues)

Mike Moustakas (Roto and Points leagues)

Justin Turner (Roto and Points leagues)


Cesar Hernandez (Roto and Points leagues)

Nick Castellanos (Roto leagues)

Trevor Plouffe (Roto leagues)

Hector Olivera (Roto and Points leagues)

Travis Shaw (Roto leagues)

Tyler White (not ranked) (Roto and Points leagues)


Matt Duffy (Roto and Points leagues)

Josh Harrison (Roto and Points leagues)

Danny Valencia (Roto and Points leagues)


2 thoughts on “2016 Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen Rankings

  1. Pingback: 2016 Fantasy Baseball Shortstop Rankings | The Backwards K

  2. Pingback: 2016 Fantasy Baseball Outfielder Rankings (1-30) | The Backwards K

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