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FANTASY BASEBALL – Updated 2015 3B Rankings


THORNE’S 2015 MID-SEASON RANKS: 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | C | OF | SP

2015 3B Rankings (as of June 29th)

  1. Nolan Arenado, Colorado
  2. Josh Donaldson, Toronto
  3. Todd Frazier, Cincinnati
  4. Manny Machado, BaltimoreAnthony Rendon, Carlos Gomez, Ian Desmond… These were the names that constantly came up in conversations about possible 20/20 players this spring. Yet injuries and general terribleness derailed these men’s chances leaving us with a name most had glossed over: Manny Machado. Remember in 2013 when we all dreamed about the version of Machado that would turn those 51 doubles into home run pop? It’s happening. Not only is the Oriole benefitting from a career-best, but not unsustainable, 16.1% HR/FB ratio, he’s also hitting far fewer ground balls – generally a key sign in the development of plus power. Machado has seen his GB/FB ratio fall to 1.10 after posting a 1.58 mark last season, another factor in his already career-high 15 long balls. Add in 11 steals on 13 attempts and you have a Top 5 third baseman.
  5. Kris Bryant, Chicago
  6. Adrian Beltre, TexasAt 36 years of age, the question isn’t if Adrian Beltre is nearing fantasy irrelevancy, but how quickly. A brief DL stint clouded the warning signs of last season’s down numbers, a campaign where the Ranger still had 600+ plate appearances, but 2015 is a bit of a different animal. The injury was more severe and, unlike 2014, the luck stats aren’t there to help out – at least not yet. The decline seems a little steep. Beltre’s pull rate is almost identical to last year indicating that bat speed might not be an issue, or definitely not enough to be the main culprit in a .254 BABIP – 91 points lower than it was just a season ago. A 7.7% HR/FB ratio also screams normalization, especially considering that, aside from an outlier 2009, it’s the first year the number has sat in single-digits. He doesn’t strike out, he plays in a hitter’s park, and the surrounding offence is much improved. Don’t give up on the veteran now.
  7. Alex Rodriguez, New York
  8. Kyle Seager, SeattleSay “hello” to third base Jose Abreu. Let’s go over what we know about 2015 Kyle Seager: he’s batting .262 – a number identical to his career average, he’s on pace to set a career-high in home runs if he can get to the 650 plate appearances he’s managed the past three seasons, and he’s striking out less than ever before at 13.7%. Add in a terrible offence and the only thing separating these two men is that Abreu is taking advantage of the few opportunities he’s gifted with runners in scoring position. Seager? Not so much, but it’s not necessarily his fault. Seager’s BABIP with RISP is an unspectacular .208 – the 17th lowest mark in baseball. Now, we could chalk this up to regular, run of the mill bad luck, but no, this is something special. The Mariner has managed that BABIP even with the 14th lowest soft contact rate in the situation at 9.6%, a figure that places him between Andrew McCutchen and Anthony Rizzo. In fact, of the 20 players with the lowest soft contact rates, only Seager has a BABIP below .250, with six of the 20 posting a number above .400. The luck will change. So will Seager’s results.
  9. Chris Davis, Baltimore
  10. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay
  11. Justin Turner, Los Angeles
  12. Carlos Santana, Cleveland
  13. Matt Carpenter, St. LouisCarpenter leads the league in BABIP with runners in scoring position at .528 and, even though he hasn’t hit a home run since May 24th, his 10% HR/FB ratio is still by far a career-high. This seems like a bad combination.
  14. Maikel Franco, Philadelphia
  15. Mike Moustakas, Kansas CityI really like the story of Moustakas, I do. At .322 the former top prospect finally seems to be living up to expectations with the ninth highest average in the league. Its just that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Even if we consider 2014’s .220 BABIP an outlier in the opposite direction, the 124 point bump to .344 this season seems a little extreme, and that’s not the only red flag. BABIP doesn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with hard contact, but the two are very connected. It would then be fair to deem it strange that Moustakas’ hard contact rate of 28% is actually substantially lower than it was last season. Combine that with underwhelming power numbers and you have the makings of a second-half disappointment.
  16. Anthony Rendon, WashingtonLikely a second round selection, you’re basically pot committed to Anthony Rendon at this point – and it doesn’t look good. Putting aside the sure normalization of a 26.3% hard contact rate and 0% HR/FB ratio, Rendon just has to get back on a field. It’s a solid bet that the combination 2B/3B won’t be back in the majors till after the All-Star break and even if he is there’s serious question marks about how he’ll be able to contribute – specifically on the base paths. Pegged as a possible 20/20 guy, Rendon only attempted 20 stolen bases last season, heavily relying on an 85% conversion rate. I mean, he only had six steals in his entire minor league career. Now, with a quad injury, I’d be shocked if the National got to double-digits in 2015.
  17. Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh
  18. David Wright, New York
  19. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington
  20. Jimmy Parades, Baltimore
  21. Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh
  22. Luis Valbuena, Houston
  23. Pablo Sandoval, BostonI could say that Pablo Sandoval has been a disappointment, but that would be underselling how average he’s been the past two seasons. Take a look at his 2015 slash line (.275/.321/.414) compared to his 2013-14 slash line (.279/.332/.416) – there’s really not that much of a difference. His strikeout rate is again hovering at 13%, his .322 wOBA is within 5 points of that 2013-14 timeframe, and he’s still shockingly just 28 years-old. Actually, the only change in Panda’s game is that he’s no longer a switch-hitter – if, as I noted back in November, you could even call him that after a dismal 2014. The former Giant hit a pathetic .068 over 46 plate appearances as a right-handed hitter against left-handed pitching, a number that’s jumped to .280 in 25 PAs left-on-left. Still, those at bats have produced just a single extra base hit. Aside from name value, there’s not much to Sandoval.
  24. Xander Bogaerts, Boston
  25. Brett Lawrie, Oakland
  26. Alex Guerrero, Los Angeles
  27. Yasmany Tomas, Arizona
  28. Chase Headley, New York
  29. Trevor Plouffe, Minnesota
  30. Will Middlebrooks, San Diego

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