Welcome to our series of Dynasty League Rankings. These rankings will be a little different from the keeper league rankings, and obviously the 2014 rankings. For this series, we’ll be looking at the next 5-7 years of production. There won’t be a lot of minor league players in these rankings, especially if they won’t be producing in the big leagues in 2014 or 2015. The idea behind this list is that you are drafting a new team in a new dynasty league, with the desire to be competitive for the next 5-7 years. Let’s get to it.
1. Miguel Cabrera, DET: I don’t think there is even a 2% chance that Cabrera remains at third for the next 5 years, but I think the production you get from him in the next 3 will be enough to warrant this spot. He isn’t improving defensively at 3B, so be ready to plan for a replacement there.
2. Manny Machado, BALT: At just 21 years of age, Machado, after his scorching start in 2013, gave less than average production for third basemen. In fact, most of his value in 2013 came from his defense. He did hit 51 doubles, and his production at his age looks remarkably similar to what Adrian Beltre was able to do. Over the next 7 years, nobody on this list is likely to play as many games or accumulate as many counting stats at the third base position.
3. Evan Longoria, TB: I had Longoria at 2 before reading Tommy’s article. At 28 years old, Longoria should be able to stay at third for the next 5-7 years. He was able to stay healthy in 2013 and hit 32 HRs. This would be the standard I would hold him to. 30 HRs, a .270 AVG. He might not be a first rounder any more, but he’s still a great 3B for any dynasty league.
4. Adrian Beltre, TEX: If it seems like Beltre has been around for 15 years, it’s because he has. Normally, I wouldn’t place a 34-year-old infielder anywhere near this ranking in a dynasty league. Beltre is my exception. In the past 4 years, Beltre has averaged 32 HR, 100 RBI and a .314 AVG. He’s like a fine scotch; the older the better. His BB/K rate keeps getting better too.
5. Miguel Sano, MIN: Sano has incredible power and has shown an increased likelihood of being able to stay at third base. At 20 years old, Sano may not accumulate any mlb time in 2014, yet 6 years of production even would permit this spot over others getting 7. Sano has 35 HR power, and while he strikes out a lot, he’s increased his BB%…and his iso was .330 for the year. As a 20-year-old! He’s one of baseball’s next great superstars.
6. David Wright, NYM: Wright enters the 2014 season as a 31-year-old, averaging 123 games played the last 3 years. When he’s healthy, he’s a steady excellent performer. While we likely won’t ever see a 30/30 season again, 20 HRs, 15 SBs while batting .300 can be expected. While his playing time will likely decrease as the years go on, even with one full season thrown in, his elite level of performance will call for this ranking.
7. Josh Donaldson, OAK: MVP! MVP! Donaldson produced a 7.7 WAR in 2013, and while I don’t expect a repeat, I do think we’re looking at an above average 3B for fantasy. Donaldson made remarkable gains in his BB rate, K rate, and slugging in 2013. While his BABIP was slightly inflated, he showed very good power in the minors and an excellent walk rate.
8. Pedro Alvarez, PIT: This is where things get ugly at 3B in dynasty leagues. At 26 years old, Alvarez gets the nod for me here, but with reservation. His 30% K rate means he’ll likely never hit over .250. His 26% HR/FB rate isn’t going up, so banking on more than 36 HRs is risky as well. He’s also swinging at more pitches out of the zone and hitting less pitches in the zone. He does have great power though, and he’s young enough to make some changes. He’ll need to in order to deserve this spot.
9. Nolan Arenado, COL: At just 22 years of age, Arenado has a very bright future. He’s an excellent defensive third baseman who makes consistent hard contact. His LD rate was 24%, producing 29 doubles in less than 500 PA. Arenado will never walk a lot, but the power should increase as he matures. Coors Field won’t hurt either. Arenado presents an excellent buy-low opportunity in dynasty leagues after a disappointing 2013.
10. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS: Zimmerman is 29 years old, and after 8 years it’s unreasonable for me to expect him to a) increase his playing time, b) get better defensively and c) fulfill the promise created from 2006-2009. While the Nationals have committed to him until 2020, I wouldn’t do the same. 20-25 HR, .275 AVG for the next 3-4 years is still pretty good though.
11. Kris Bryant, CHC: Bryant is on the fast track, and while he could see Chicago in 2014, 2015 is more likely. He has tremendous power and is looking more and more able to handle third base. Baez may push him off and into a corner outfield position, but I’m betting on Bryant being the Cubs 3B of the future.
12 Brett Lawrie, TOR: Lawrie will enter 2014 just at 24 years of age. He’s shown glimpses of greatness in the past 3 years, but has been a disappointment more often than not. He provides some speed at the corner, but doesn’t hit enough fly balls with power to give any real power numbers. While it may develop as he matures, it’s safer to forecast a 15/15 season for him.
13. Chase Headley, SD: After hitting 31 HRs and driving in 115 runs in 2012, Headley did what so many expected him to do in 2013: flop. His HR rate was 20+ in 2012, so I don’t expect him to more than 20 HRs in the future, but his extra base power is still there. I think he’ll be a bargain as he enters his walk year, at least in points leagues. 35-40 doubles and 15-18 HR with a .270 avg should be in reach.
14. Kyle Seager, SEA: 26 year-old Seager had a pretty similar year in 2013 as in 2012. There were some gains in his BB rate, but otherwise he looks like a 20 HR 10 SB .260 hitter. RBI and R could improve if the young hitters in Seattle progress. I think what you see is what you get here.
15. Will Middlebrooks, BOS: 25 year-old Middlebrooks was demoted after producing a .192/.228/.329 line to start 2013. When he returned he went on to hit .276/.329/.476. The problem is, his K rate (25-26%) didn’t get a lot better. I like his upside more than Lawrie, but he’s riskier.
16. Pablo Sandoval, SF: At 27 years old, Sandoval enters his walk year needing to lose some weight and improve his numbers. His days at third may soon be over too with his poor defense. There are some signs for optimism though. Sandoval still makes great contact, in and out of the zone. His BB/K rate has remained very good, and he has shown very good power in the past. With free agency ahead, I expect him to cut his weight and produce a good year in 2014, but I wouldn’t pay for beyond that.
17. Todd Frazier, CIN: 27-year-old Frazier is easily over-looked because of his poor performance in 2013. He has 20 HR power though and should hit better than last years .234. He made small progress with his BB/K rate, but watched his ISO drop from .225 to .173. He’s not the exciting sleeper he was before 2013, but he should have some relatively productive years ahead.
18. Mike Moustakas, KC: at 25 years old, Moustakas took a step back in 2013, hitting just 12 HRs while batting .233. He did improve his K rate, and he is due for some luck-correction moving forward with his BABIP. He also hits a fair bit of fly balls, they’re just shallow fly balls. His power is legitimate though, and I think he’ll hit 20 HRs consistently. There just isn’t much more there though.
19. Chris Johnson, ATL: At 29 years old, Johnson broke out in 2013 to the tune of a .321 AVG while playing 142 games. His BABIP was .394, but he produces such a high LD rate consistently, that it’s not as absurd as it seems. He can hit for a decent average, a little pop, while striking out 20% of the time. A unique hitter indeed. His defense isn’t good, and 30 isn’t usually the time when guys develop into everyday position players.
20. Cody Asche, PHI: Mediocre power and a high strikeout rate doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. He has a low ceiling, likely rounding into a replacement level third baseman. Not a lot for fantasy leagues though.
21. Matt Dominguez, HOU: Dominguez hit 21 HRs in 2013 as a 24-year-old for Houston. That’s all I got. He’s a great defensive third baseman though and he plays for the Astros, so I can imagine a scenario where he plays third for the foreseeable future. He really can’t hit though, and you’re looking at a .300 OBP guy with a .150 ISO.
22a. Matt Davidson, ARI: I have very little faith in Davidson as a hitter. His swing is long and has a ton of hit and miss. He does offer some power and at 22 years of age, if he can be an everyday 3B, he’ll have some value in deep leagues.
22b. Martin Prado, ARI: He’s got to be ranked somewhere. If Davidson falters, Prado could stay at 3B for the next few years. In this case, Prado is likely a top 13-15 performer.
Check out the rest of the Dynasty League Rankings.