Third Base? Wait for it!

Third Base is one of the most intriguing positions in 2019 Fantasy Baseball drafts. There are bounceback candidates (Donaldson, Devers) busts (Bryant?), breakouts (Vlad the HoFer), prospects, etc. The position is ridiculously deep, particularly in points or OBP formats. I want to take a look at two guys at this position whose values are completely contingent on your draft room. I’m lumping them together because they have similar profiles and the industry isn’t completely ready to buy in. For the right price, I am!

Disclaimer: Several 3B eligible players may be drafted at other positions in your league. When you are looking at or making your 3B rankings, make sure to be familiar with the eligibility of guys like Ramirez, Bregman, Machado, Carpenter, Wil Myers, Travis Shaw, etc. For a 12 team league, it might be safe to assume 16+ 3B will be drafted as starters in a standard format. This does not apply to leagues with CI positions.

Eugenio Suarez 3B Cincinnati Reds
2019 NFBC ADP: 53 (Max: 78)

I like Eugenio Suarez. I believe he is who he has been the last two years. Many others do not. However, I am profiling him in this article to point out that you need to follow 3B closely in your draft. I suspect Suarez falls in a lot of drafts outside of the 5th round, and in those situations the value is obvious. If his current ADP falls closer to 65, I’m all in. Here’s why:

Actually walking less in 2018 than his 2017 breakout, Suarez still had a decent 10.6% BB rate. His K% is and will be high (23.4%), but remained identical to 2017 numbers. I expect the walks to get back closer to 12% with an improved Reds lineup, while the BABIP might be closer to .300 than last year’s .322. But the point is simple, he can and will repeat what he has done the last two years. If he does, he is a great value in Round 5 or later.

The proof to support this lies in the Hard Contact. Suarez cut his soft contact rate from 20.7% to 8.4%! His Hard Contact % jumped 33.6% to 48.8%. This is a top 20 batted ball profile, folks. This will allow him to sustain a high BABIP, and he plays in the most hitter friendly park in baseball which doesn’t hurt. Even with some regression on HR/FB%, which hovered around 23% in 2018, I don’t see much drop-off in BA or HR for Suarez. In fact, I think his OBP rises, which should add significantly in his runs scored totals at the lineup improves around him.

  • My Advice

If you were a Suarez guy before, you have no reason not to be now. In fact, let the regression hawks ignore the batted ball gains Suarez made. The bandbox of GABP combined with the lineup improvements in Cincy – give me Suarez at the end of Round 5, early Round 6 in 12 team leagues. I like him even more in leagues that use a CI slot, because as I’ve already chronicled, 1B is not deep. It’s not easy to predict RBI totals, but this is probably your best source for that stat in this range of the draft while not giving up much in terms of BA, runs, etc.

Matt Chapman 3B Oakland Athletics
2019 NFBC ADP: 111 (Max 142)

I can barely contain myself. I love this player, and you are all idiots for letting Matt Chapman have an ADP over 100. Ok, maybe not idiots but I hope I have your attention. Here we go…

Coming up in Oakland’s system, Chapman had a rare combination of a plus glove and plus power. Building himself into possibly the best defensive 3B in the game, let’s not sleep on his bat. The most important note on 2018 Matt Chapman is the cut in his K rate. If he can maintain this 4.5% decrease to 23.7%, his 9% walk rate should buoy a great No. 2 hitter in an underrated offense. Finishing with a whopping 137 wRC+ and a .369 weighted OBP, Chapman already broke out in my opinion. If he does it again, he’s the steal of the draft.

His .338 BABIP is a bit high, however, he increased his LD and GB %. Usually, this is not what you’re looking for. He has enough power to hit 25 HR. Plus, the profile we want from this hitter requires he maintains his BA and OBP gains. So, with above average foot speed, you want him hitting the ball harder (which he is), on the ground (higher BABIP) and just putting it in play in general (drop in K rate). His LD% jumped 4% and his GB% jumped 7%, but he is also pulling the ball more which pads these gains. His Hard Contact rate rose 7.2 points and his average exit velocity was 93 mph – which was 7th in baseball. 7th! He finished 20th in baseball in % of balls contacted that exceeded 95 mph. If his strikeout rate remains at 23% (which it could even improve from there) Matt Chapman is a 5th round value at pick 100.

Lastly, if you are an A’s fan or had Chapman on your team last year, you know what I’m saying is legit. The proof of this is the lineup construction. Chapman’s breakout was cemented when he earned his way into the Number 2 hole in Oakland’s lineup. If we take his 60 games in that position from 2018, here’s what a full season would’ve looked like. 110/30/88. He hit .291 with a .377 OBP in this batting position. Those numbers are elite, and particularly the runs category. Your traditional 3B options don’t necessarily excel in that category which is why Chapman is unfairly downgraded in many places in my opinion.

  • My Advice

Read what I just wrote and love Matt Chapman as much as I do! It’s that simple. Draft him just before he hits anyone else’s radar. Also, if you’re in an OBP or points league, move him up that much more in your rankings. I can’t wait to tell you I told you so!

 

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Colin Dinsmore

Written by 

Avid Fantasy Baseball player, Yankees fan, amateur gambler, dog-lover. @AssemblyColin