2015 Third Base Dynasty/Keeper Rankings

Each week, the Assembly will put together their positional rankings for keeper/dynasty leagues.
 Players are ranked with the next five years of 5 x 5 category production in mind, so when you see Manny Machado ranked ahead of Adrian Beltre that does not necessarily mean that we believe Machado will be the superior short-term option. Also, players are only ranked at what is projected to be their primary position heading into 2015.

This set of rankings is easily the most interesting we have done so far. All of the old reliables at the third base position are now more old than reliable. Since the up and comers have not quite arrived yet, there is much discord at the top of the list. You will not find a consensus number one here. Some of the players who missed the cut include free agent veterans like Aramis Ramirez and Chase Headley, post-season hero Mike Moustakas and 2014 sensation Brock Holt.

Our 6 experts, with over 100 years combined fantasy baseball experience, each ranked the third base position, and here are the results:

Rank Player Tommy Jim Paul Ron Will Kevin
1 Josh Donaldson 3 2 4 3 1 3
2 Nolan Arenado 2 3 2 5 5 5
3 Evan Longoria 8 4 5 4 2 1
4 Manny Machado 6 8 3 1 7 6
5 Todd Frazier 5 1 10 2 12 2
6 Adrian Beltre 4 6 6 6 4 7
7 Kris Bryant 1 7 1 9 9 10
8 Kyle Seager 7 5 13 7 3 4
9 Matt Carpenter 10 14 8 11 8 12
10 David Wright 16 9 14 8 6 14
11 Josh Harrison 9 11 15 12 11 11
12 Nick Castellanos 13 15 7 15 13 9
13 Pablo Sandoval 17 17 16 10 10 8
14 Ryan Zimmerman 11 10 19 17 14 13
15 Joey Gallo 14 12 11 13 18 18
16 Miguel Sano 12 20 9 14 19 19
17 Brett Lawrie 15 13 12 N/R N/R N/R
18 Pedro Alvarez 18 N/R 20 16 N/R 16
18 Lonnie Chisenhall N/R 18 N/R 20 17 15
20 Maikel Franco 19 16 17 N/R N/R N/R

1. Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics

Paul: Donaldson maintained his HR/FB rate from 2013, but started hitting even more fly balls. The result? 93/29/98/.255. Fantasy owners will gladly take the hit on the batting average to get near 30 HR production from the hot corner.

Will: Donaldson didn’t finish the 2014 campaign strong, but right now, he is still the #1 3B off the board and that slot is his for a few years.

2. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Paul: Developing power, elite contact rates and a great home park make Arenado one of the top 3B to own in dynasty leagues. If he can maintain that .500 SLG, he’s a perennial all-star. His 20 pt rise in AVG was to be expected, and there’s no reason to think he won’t have a few .300/.350/.500 years ahead.

Ron: The Colorado factor is strong. He may never reach the home run totals of some of his positional counterparts but should be a solid source of batting average and will continue to develop over the next few years.

3. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Kevin: He’s inconsistent every year with BA and HR fluctuations, but he’s 28 and definitely has that power potential you covet at the corners. Just beware the three-year drop in HR/FB.

Tommy: I wrote an article last fall detailing why you should not take Longoria in the second round. Hopefully you listened. He is still a solid fantasy bat, but his plate discipline is getting worse and he is no lock for 25+ HRs anymore either. Longoria is a classic example of the name being worth more than the game. There are many 3Bs I would rather own in keeper leagues.

4. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles

Jim: He hasn’t delivered that WOW season yet, but the talent is there. Worst case scenario, he only becomes a bottom half top 10 player.

Ron: Considering he will be just 23 in July 2015 and the other top-tier options have already peaked, I’m taking a leap of faith that Machado can ascend to the top of the 3B ranks within the next few years.

5. Todd Frazier, Cincinnati Reds

Jim: Now that Dusty Baker is gone, the Reds have a real manager that knows how to utilize Frazier’s 20/20 talents. I’m all in on this one.

Will: I am not completely buying the 2014 production numbers and remember Frazier will be 29 when he takes his first AB of 2015. You can still expect 20-70-70, but I think ’14 will be the exception not the rule, from here on out.

6. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers

Kevin: He’s the oldest 3B in my top 10, and even though the power is down, you can’t deny that he knows how to hit. Texas as a team was horrible, so if they bounce back, so should his run production.

Tommy: I do not like ranking a 35-year-old this high, but he is one of the best pure hitters in baseball. Expect an average at or above .300 with about 20 HRs for the next couple seasons.

7. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

Kevin: Maybe ranking him in the top-10 is ridiculous, but I’d like to think he’ll net 500 AB in 2015, and if so, he’ll outscore a lot of the blah, average options at 3B.

Tommy: There are some quality players at third base, but none that I can justify taking in the first two rounds on draft day. Bryant posted 43 HRs and 15 SBs over 2 levels in the minors last year and he is easily the best fantasy prospect in baseball. He has the talent to be a top 3 overall fantasy pick in a couple of years, so if you don’t get him now, you may never get another chance. Given the void at the top, Bryant is the guy to bet all your chips on.

8. Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners

Paul: While I knock Seager for his ceiling, there’s something to be said about consistent performance. 70/22/80/.265 won’t knock your socks off, but it’s safe.

Will: Hey, I’m as surprised as you are. Did you know that Kyle Seager has three consecutive seasons of 20 homers? Okay, but did you know his HR total, batting average, slugging percentage and weighted runs created have all gone up each of the past three seasons? Well, now you know and also know this, Seager is headed into his prime. Boom.

9. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

Jim: I’d prefer his numbers at second, but he’s a good fallback option that will contribute everywhere without hurting your batting average.

Will: Have I mentioned third base is weird? Carpenter won’t get you power, but he will score a buttload of runs and stay strong on the non-counting categories.

10. David Wright, New York Mets

Kevin: The days of 30/30 are long gone, and after his health issues, it seems he may not return to 15/15. He’s not young anymore, and he makes a better real-life player than a fantasy option.

Will: While Wright is not the fantasy stud he once was, he should still be better than what he put up in 2014 and should be deemed fit to be reentered into the society of serviceable fantasy players.

11. Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates

Kevin: He was a great story all season, but don’t assume he’s going to break out much further. He’s more a smart runner than a speedster, his HR/FB is okay but not indicative of more HR growth, and his BABIP was high (though maybe sustainable). Could be he’s capable of a repeat, but 2014 may have been a perfect storm.

Tommy: There are some risks for sure with the free swinging Harrison, but his contact skills and HR/SB potential make him worth the gamble. He is projected to be the third baseman of the future for the Pirates with Alvarez and his terrible defense likely moving to first.

12. Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers

Paul: Nick Castellanos had the second best LD% in all of baseball in 2014, trailing only Freddie Freeman. He had 46 extra base hits at 22 years old, manning third for a contending ball club. While the overall numbers don’t scream Top Ten third basemen yet, the bat is special. Look for a consistent 20 HR, .280 hitter.

Ron: Could be a poor man’s Arenado. At only 23 years old in March there’s still plenty of room for growth.

13. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants (Free Agent)

Tommy: Sandoval will get a qualifying offer this winter, so we will see how that affects his potential suitors. On the field, he is a consistent .270 -.280 hitter who can bring about 15 HRs. Owners can expect solid, but unspectacular production when he is in the lineup.

Will: You know what you’re getting with Panda. 2014’s numbers? Expect those for the next several years.

14. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals

Jim: I love the overall package, but his body can’t handle the position. If he moves to first he becomes a decent CI play, but a move to the OF makes him a 3rd or 4th outfielder.

Ron: It’s really hard to make Zimmerman a part of your team’s plans going forward. Let him be someone else’s problem.

15. Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers

Kevin: No one denies his power potential. It’s the ability to have a decent BA or avoid a huge strikeout rate that will determine his value.

Jim: Adrian Beltre is a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, that opens the door for Gallo and his monstrous power swing.

16. Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins

Ron: Tommy John surgery stalled Sano’s arrival and has now bumped him down to third in the pecking order of super star 3Bs yet to take an MLB at bat. The 3B position has an exciting future and this young man will be a big part of it.

Will: Sano’s 2014 was derailed by injury, but he is the hot corner in the Land of 10,000 lakes for the foreseeable future (sorry Trevor Plouffe).

17. Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays

Paul: It’s hard to believe Lawrie will play all of 2015 at just 25 years old. He was on pace for 25 home runs before missing July, August and September. There are obvious injury concerns, but it is way too early to dismiss this young talent.

Tommy: It is way too early to write Lawrie off, but his sky-high ground ball rate and the fact that he stopped running in 2014 will be major obstacles impacting his future fantasy value.

18. Pedro Alvarez, Pittsburgh Pirates

Paul: Just a year ago, Alvarez was the NL home run leader but his brutal contact rates of the past not only caught with him, but they beat him senseless in 2014. There is some room for a bounce back, but there is a lot of risk as well. I’m not sure the potential reward is worth it.

Ron: There’s still plenty of power in this bat. Maybe the Pirates have soured on Alvarez a bit yet he will be just 28 years old in February and is still a guy who’s already given us a 36 HR season.

18. Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians

Kevin: He was lucky early in 2014, and he showed flaws in the second half, but remember that he used to be a pretty big prospect name. At 26 he still has time to figure it out.

Tommy: Chisenhall has decent plate discipline and good enough contact skills to post a decent batting average, but he lacks the power necessary to be a reliable fantasy option. Barring an age 26 power surge, Chisenhall is a replacement level fantasy player.

20. Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies

Jim: Franco could struggle with his average upon arrival like he did in AAA. He has a bright future and only Cody Asche standing in his way.

Paul: Franco’s 2014 call-up did not go well, with a 13:1 strikeout/walk ratio in 56 at bats. At 22 years old, Franco is ready though to take the next step and claim the 3B job in Philadelphia. He has power and (generally) a good contact rate. Look for 20 home runs and a batting average of .260.

Analysis

What a list! Amazingly, five different players earned votes for the top spot. Kris Bryant was the only player to earn two first place votes, yet he still finished 7th overall. Four of the players who received number one votes were also voted 8th or worse by another assembly member. Josh Donaldson earns the top overall spot by virtue of being the only player ranked in the top four by everyone. Nolan Arenado takes second, despite not getting any first place votes.

I am not sure there is any such thing as an elite player in this entire list, but the top-tier consists of 8 players. They are all at different stages of their careers. Some like Beltre are expected to deliver high-end numbers in 2015, while others like Machado and Bryant are still years away from their primes.

After the top 8 are gone, the second tier is just as large and equally difficult to project. Players ranked 9 to 16 are tightly bunched before another large drop off. This group is mostly composed of seasoned veterans, but there are a couple of prospects (Gallo and Sano) who have the potential to be elite power hitters in the future. After the second tier is exhausted, the remaining players are not likely to deliver much positive fantasy value.

In theory, there are enough quality players at third base for most teams to have a decent option, but there is not a lot of depth. If you end up with one of the old guys, it would be wise to try to pair them up with either Gallo, Sano or Bryant. None will come cheap, however.

In drafts, I don’t see anybody worth selecting in the first two rounds, but owners are advised not to wait too long to address the third base position. If you do, you could be chasing all season long. Be prepared to spend a mid round pick or use a keeper spot on third base.

2015 Dynasty/Keeper Rankings
CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitchersClosers – Top 200

Fantasy Rundown BannerStill need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose will be compiling rankings for the 2015 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.

The Fantasy Assembly Team

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A combined effort of the greatest fantasy sports minds money can buy. Maybe that is an exaggeration..... but it sounds good.

12 thoughts on “2015 Third Base Dynasty/Keeper Rankings”

  1. I am very surprised that their is such a big gap between Sano, Gallo, and Bryant. I really thought that they would be clumped together in the low teens. Is their a reason why Bryant is so much higher then the other two?

    Thanks!

    Matthew

    1. Thanks for the question Matthew. I ranked them 1, 9, 11 so I’m “guilty” so to speak. My reasoning is twofold.
      1) we’re looking at the next 5-6 years, so Sano and Gallo would accrue less time/stats than Bryant
      2) while all elite talents, Bryant is the most advanced and thus, at least for me, carries the least risk.

      Obviously I really like them all to have them each in my top 11.

    2. Bryan does seem closest to the majors, as well as his team having a (full-time) place for him right away. Also, it’s hard to argue against a Minor League Player of the Year taking the top spot. Sano has to work back from an injury, and Gallo’s K% is a big red flag. At least based on minor stats, Bryant has no obvious flaw.

      1. That makes sense. In a nut shell they are all pretty similar (Bryant seems to have less risk because of the K’s and succeeding in AAA), so I was just surprised that Bryant was that high!

    3. I play in a keeper league. I took Bryant with a 9th round pick in our supplemental draft in 2014, and I used a precious bench spot on him all year, biding my time. He’ll be one of my 11 keeper players in 2015. I had a strong hunch he was the real deal after he demolished the Arizona Fall League pitching, which was after he’d demolished college level pitching. And then he just kept on demolishing in AA and AAA, more than justifying the faith I’d put in him. He has yet to play at a level and not be a dominant player. His AAA OPS was 1.036. 1.036! Obviously, I am ALL IN on this guy. 🙂

  2. I ranked Bryant # 1 because I think he is likely to be an elite fantasy player in a couple years. Gallo looks a lot like Pedro Alvarez to me. He has talent for sure, but much downside risk also. I think Sano will also be a BA liability early on, and there is a good chance he gets moved to the OF at some point. I like him a lot, but to me he is not anywhere close to Bryant in terms of value.

  3. I hope everyone is right about Bryant, I traded Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey to Paul to get him in my keeper league. I’m sure Paul was regretting that trade within hours.

  4. I think Bryant will be a good, maybe great player, but I can’t believe two people ranked him number 1. He could conceivably be the best 3rd base option for the next 5 years, but I find it hard to rank him over guys who have already proven themselves, specifically Josh Donaldson. Bryant’s Ceiling is basically what Donaldson is already, with maybe a little more power. I would accept someone wanting to rank him number 2 considering the question marks surrounding other players, but I don’t think I would be able to confidently rank him above Longoria, Arenado, and even Seager. He would probably come in at # 5 for me. Also can’t believe 3 people had Frazier in their top 2.

  5. I would also add, as far as the 3 top prospects go, we have to consider the potential for a position change. All 3 of Gallo, Bryant, and Sano are no sure bets to stay at 3rd base during the next 5 years. Sano is the most likely to move at this point, followed by Gallo. Bryant seems like the most likely to stay at third for the foreseeable future considering the situation in Chicago (Baez seems like his only competition if they decide they want Alcantara at 2nd or choose to move Castro to 2nd instead of trading him), but scouts are still kind of torn on his ability to play the position. There is still a chance he ends up in RF, and it could be sooner rather than later.

    1. Thanks Brian for the comments and for reading.
      I think you’ve hit it right on the head…
      We took 6 guys who love this game and have been playing since… well, we’re old… and we can’t agree on the Top 3B option for dynasty leagues.
      Is picking Bryant kind of bold? Absolutely. But you don’t win by not taking some calculated risks.
      Do I think Donaldson is #1? Nope. Some warning signs in 2014 include his dramatic power drop in the 2nd half, awful LD rate, and the rise in K%.
      But… I do think our combined list is pretty darn good. I think what I take away from it, is this may be the time to target that 3B you want because value perceptions are all over the place. Would I trade Longoria for Bryant in one of my keeper leagues? Yep I would.

      You’re not wrong in your thoughts.. I don’t think any of us are. It’s a unique position right now. The overall list gives a pretty good overall ranking. It also, shows where there might be opportunities to sell and/or buy.
      Thanks as always!

      1. Thanks for responding Paul. We can agree to disagree on Bryant, but I do understand your thought process and it is shared with many other people in the industry. I also should have mentioned that the overall rankings are actually very good IMO (minus the Frazier ranking) for a tough crop of players to rank. It’s crazy how fast these rankings rankings have changed this year in the industry with Wright, Longoria, and Beltre aging, and with so many good young players having a repeating a breakout campaign and catching up to them. I guess my personal top 10 would go Donaldson, Arenado, Longoria, Beltre, Seager, Bryant, Wright, Machado, Castellanos, Sano. My rankings are pretty close to your consensus rankings. Anyone, nice work with the article.

  6. I’m sure everyone is aware of the news by now that the Nationals plan to move Ryan Zimmerman to first base in 2015 with Adam LaRoche leaving via free agency. I think I speak for everyone here in saying if you own him in a dynasty league, his value takes a big hit as this will be the last year he qualifies for third and you should look for an alternative if you don’t already have one in place.

    I personally believe he still has value as a first baseman though. Half of his injuries came from making that throw across the diamond, a problem he won’t have playing first. This should alleviate many of his health concerns and allow him to be the player he was in 2012 when he hit .282 with 25 home runs and 90+ runs and RBIs. That puts him in Adrian Beltre territory and a great fallback option once the top power hitters are gone. The shoulder is a degenerative problem so it will still act up from time to time, but it won’t be as much or as severe of a problem that it was in the past.

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