FANTASY BASEBALL – 2016 3B Rankings: Bullish on Beltre
by Garion Thorne | 10:15 am, January 18th, 2016
Thorne’s 2016 MLB Fantasy Preview
Divisional Break-Downs: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West
Podcasts: ’16 Strategy w/ Fred Zinkie
Team Previews: Blue Jays | Orioles | Yankees | Red Sox | Rays | Mets | Nationals | Phillies | Braves | Marlins | Twins | Indians | Royals | White Sox | Tigers | Brewers | Reds | Cubs | Pirates | Cardinals
Thorne’s 2016 3B Rankings
- Josh Donaldson, Toronto
- Nolan Arenado, Colorado
- Manny Machado, Baltimore
- Kris Bryant, Chicago
- Todd Frazier, Chicago – Its undeniable how good Frazier was in the first half of 2015. His 25 home runs trailed only Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Albert Pujols – not terrible company. However, it is also undeniable how disappointing the former Red’s post All-Star performance was as Frazier’s .285 wOBA was over 100 points lower than the figure he had posted as of July 12th. Disappointing, but strange. Even with Frazier’s numbers falling across the board in the second half, the soon to be 30 year-old was actually making far less soft contact, his 15.2% rate a massive drop from 20.7% – a number far more in-line with an all-or-nothing approach. Toss in a .231 BABIP for the season with runners in scoring position and its clear that even in a career year, Frazier was a bit unlucky.
- Kyle Seager, Seattle
- Miguel Sano, Minnesota – Missed out on Chris Davis in the third round? Don’t fret, he has a 22 year-old clone. With an NFBC ADP of 62, no one is sleeping on Miguel Sano and, much like Davis, equipped with a similar ADP last season, its very unlikely the Twin finishes anywhere close to said ADP by season’s end. The concern is in which direction he trends. A 35.5% strikeout rate and .396 BABIP are obvious red flags, yet Sano’s archetypical power profile slightly numbs the pain of these two figures. Consider that Sano’s 43.2% hard contact rate would have led baseball last season if he had taken the at bats to qualify. More importantly, and mirroring Davis, Sano’s soft contact rate sat at a minuscule 11.7%. He’s never going to hit .300 and the contact, in general, will be sporadic, but when he does hit it – he really hits it. Expect the BABIP to stay above .330 and the herculean power to sustain in 2016.
- Adrian Beltre, Texas – Yes, his ISO has fallen each of the past five seasons. Yes, he hasn’t surpassed 20 home runs since 2013 despite reaching 600 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. Yes, he’ll turn 37 four games into the 2016 season. I don’t really care – Adrian Beltre is still getting it done. Even if the elite power is gone, the veteran still just makes insane amounts of contact for a hitter of his general profile. Beltre has complied an 84.2% contact rate since 2010, a number which directly translates to a .311 average over that span – the third highest mark among qualified players. Plus, after missing most of June with a thumb sprain (for which he also had off-season surgery), Beltre hit to a .378 wOBA over the year’s second half. That’s pretty good. So is Texas’ offence. With an ADP outside the Top 100, there’s value to be had with Beltre.
- Matt Carpenter, St. Louis
- Maikel Franco, Philadelphia
- Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
- Mike Moustakas, Kansas City
- Anthony Rendon, Washington
- Jung-ho Kang, Pittsburgh
- David Wright, New York
- Justin Turner, Los Angeles
- Danny Valencia, Oakland – The book on Valencia coming into 2015 was pretty cut and dry. He was a classic platoon player, as evidenced by his career .321 average against left-handed pitching. Well, 2015 turned into a strange season for the journeyman utility player, the only debate being whether his dominance of righties was mode odd than the fact the Athletics, of all franchises, were the ones to ignore his clear split preferences. After being claimed off waivers by the A’s in August, Valencia posted a 1.6 WAR in just 47 games, playing everyday regardless of starting pitcher, and, by season’s end, his .374 wOBA against right-handers was actually better than his number against southpaws. Now, a 22.2% HR/FB ratio seems unsustainable and the fact Valencia’s BB/K rate against righties (0.21) was dwarfed by his rate versus lefties (0.71) makes it seem like last season’s success might be more of an outlier. However, Oakland already traded Brett Lawrie, opening the door for everyday at bats. As long as the A’s believe in Valencia, he’s fantasy relevant.
- Alex Rodriguez, New York
- Matt Duffy, San Francisco
- Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota
- Yasmany Tomas, Arizona
- Yangervis Solarte, San Diego – Looking for a perfect player to round out your bench in a standard league? May I direct your attention to Yangervis Solarte. The Padre will enter 2016 with positional eligibility at 1B, 2B, and 3B, which, for a lot of people, would almost be enough. However, the utility man brings so much more to the table. Even if you’re not completely buying into a second half that saw Solarte hit nine home runs and post a .346 wOBA, he’s just got so many safe elements to his game. The former Yankee was one of just six qualified players to have a single-digit strikeout rate in 2015 (9.8%), his 88.2% contact rate was in baseball’s Top 15, and a massive 69.2% of his plate appearances last season came out of either the 1 or 2 hole in San Diego’s lineup. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more stable back-up.
- Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh
- Nick Castellanos, Detroit – After a strong finish to last season (a .343 wOBA in the second half), Castellanos is a popular name in sleepers circles heading into 2016. However, even with the division rival White Sox trying their hardest to build an all left-handed rotation, I’m not buying the hype with the 23 year-old’s current struggles with righty pitching. The Tiger hit .351 with a .414 wOBA against southpaws last season, his .230/.283 marks versus right-handers representing almost the complete other end of the spectrum. Really, the only time Castellanos wasn’t struggling against righties was when there happened to be runners on – his .400 BABIP with RISP ranked 7th highest in baseball. That equated to just 73 RBI. Unless you believe the “clutch” gene is strong in Castellanos, that luck won’t present itself again next year.
- Pablo Sandoval, Boston
- Chase Headley, New York
- Brett Lawrie, Chicago
- Jake Lamb, Arizona
- Hector Olivera, Atlanta
- Yunel Escobar, Los Angeles – Even putting aside how terrible the Angels’ lineup currently looks, I’m steering clear of Escobar’s 2015 exploits. From 2010 to 2014, Escobar hit .263 with incredibly similar BABIPs and strikeout rates each season (discounting a slight variance in 2011). Last season, he hit .314 with a .347 BABIP. Nope. Not for me.