Last week in Dynasty Dugout, we ranked the top 50 fantasy baseball prospects. This week we begin our mid-season rankings for keeper and dynasty leagues.
Third base is full of great options and intriguing top prospects. The studs are still holding down the top of these rankings, but there are several new additions to the top 10. Between the new emerging stars and aging former stars, there has been plenty of movement at this position this season.
For 1st base rankings, click here.
|11||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||18||TOR|
|34||Jung Ho Kang||30||PIT|
#1 Kris Bryant – This has been a down year for the entire Chicago Cubs team, Bryant included. Now, Bryant is still having a fine season, but it’s not quite what you expected from him coming into the season. His RBI total is only low due to his slotting in the batting order (second) and the fact that it took Joe Maddon a while to finally realize that Kyle Schwarber isn’t a legit leadoff hitter. In the end, I’m not worried about Bryant at all. He showed us all what he could do last year, and that might just be the tip of the iceberg. He’s still one of the 10 best hitters in the game.
Kris Bryant is really good at baseball. His 2nd homerun of the day. https://t.co/fNY6XAVOAZ
— Cubs Live (@Cubs_Live) July 7, 2017
#2 Nolan Arenado – The Rockies superstar has become the model of consistency at the third base position. Over the past two seasons, Arenado has averaged 41.5 HR, 131.5 RBI, and 105.5 runs scored per season. All while keeping his average in the .290 range. The power is a little down this year, as he’s only on pace for 32 home runs, but Arenado is still on pace for another spectacular fantasy season. He’s not a threat on the bases, but there are not many better four-category assets in the game.
#3 Manny Machado – The 2017 season for Machado hasn’t been one to write home about. The power is still there and he’s even stolen a few bases, but the average has been a detriment to his value. After hitting no lower than .278 the last four seasons, Machado’s average sits at a measly .230 so far this season.
Fear not, though. Machado has simply been unlucky. All of his advanced statistics are in line with his career norms with the exception of his BABIP, which is only .239 this season. For reference, his BABIP last year was .309 and is .302 for his career. Stay patient with the young slugger.
#4 Josh Donaldson – Just like Machado above, the 2017 season has been a difficult one for Donaldson. He’s been on the field for only 161 at-bats and has been quite average in those at-bats. He’s hitting only .261 with nine home runs, 25 RBI and 19 runs scored. Most players would love those to have those stats over 161 at-bats, but it’s way off what Donaldson has done the last few years.
He’s only 31, so I can’t imagine a career decline is on the horizon, but something just isn’t right with him this season. If his struggles have lowered his trade price in your league, use that to your advantage and pounce.
#5 Miguel Sano – I think I speak for most of us when I say it’s about darn time. Sano has been “on the cusp” of breaking out for years, but something has always been holding him back. Some years it was performance based, others due to injury. It’s never been a secret that he has massive raw power. The question has always been about his batting average. His current .276 average will be more than sufficient for fantasy owners when you add in his 40-plus home runs and 100-plus RBI. As long as the batting average doesn’t plummet, Sano is going to remain a dynasty league stud.
Miguel Sano casually takes a ball the other way and…it lands in the second deck! pic.twitter.com/3pLaFhETh3
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) June 22, 2017
#6 Jake Lamb – Welcome to the top 10, Mr. Lamb. After posting career highs in home runs (29) and RBI (91) last season, Lamb is on pace to shatter both of those in 2017. The Diamondbacks have a very potent offense, and Lamb is hitting in the heart of it. Nothing about his minor league stats go against the player he has become with Arizona. There might even be additional batting average potential after hitting .321 over his minor league career.
#7 Jose Ramirez – Show of hands, how many of you before the season had Ramirez starting at third base for the American League in the All-Star Game? I’m not seeing any hands go up, even in Cleveland. Last season was a good but not great season for Ramirez, as he hit .312 with 11 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 565 at-bats. Apparently, that was just a hint of better things to come for the 24-year-old.
Ramirez started at the hot corner last night for the AL on the strength of his .332 average, 17 blasts, and 10 steals. The power should slow some, but this is a legit .300-25-20 third baseman moving forward.
#9 Rafael Devers – After talking about Devers’ raw power for years, he’s finally translating it into game power this season. He’s currently hitting .300 with 18 home runs and a .944 OPS for Boston’s Double-A affiliate in Portland, Maine. Fenway Park has typically been tough on left-handed power, but Devers certainly has the strength to overcome that. We could see him manning the hot corner in Boston as soon as this season, but don’t count on any significant impact until 2018.
#11 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. – This might be a slightly aggressive ranking. However, it also shows how much potential there is in this second generation talent. He has plus raw power and a plate approach well beyond his years. If Toronto decides to trade Donaldson or let him walk in free agency, they have a very good successor waiting in the minors.
#14 Travis Shaw – The mayor of Ding Dong City has been a force this season for his new team. I think it’s fair to say Milwaukee seriously won the trade with Boston so far, as Tyler Thornburg has yet to throw a regular-season pitch for the Red Sox. On the other hand, Shaw is on pace for 34 home runs, 116 RBI, and 12 steals. His minor league track record didn’t suggest he’d be this type of player, but it’s possible he’s just a late bloomer. Proceed confidently, but with a touch of caution. Shaw is a great sell-high candidate moving forward.
#17 Joey Gallo – So much power, so little average. The immense power makes you want to put him higher, but you can’t until he proves his average isn’t in danger of annually being under the Mendoza line. I guarantee Gallo breaks the single-season strikeout record several times in his career. Watch out, Reggie Jackson, you’re all-time strikeout record is in danger too. However, I’m sure Jackson would be fine with someone breaking that record.
#20 Adrian Beltre – Beltre has to be one of the most entertaining players in baseball to watch. He’s a stellar defender, solid offensively, and definitely a character. Watching him hit bombs off of one knee is a thing of beauty. The problem in dynasty leagues is that Beltre is approaching 40 years old. The tank isn’t quite empty, but the end is certainly coming.
Adrian Beltre, one knee homer…of course! ? pic.twitter.com/EW7fRAkc92
— Dugout Nation (@DugoutNation) July 8, 2017
#26 Maikel Franco – If you look back 18 to 24 months ago, you’d see Franco in some top 10 dynasty third base rankings. Yeah, not anymore. Franco has been a colossal disaster this year. Okay, I might have taken that a bit too far since he’s on pace for 24 home runs and 84 RBI, but power is up across baseball and those numbers aren’t that impressive anymore. Throw in his puke-worthy .217 average, mediocre runs scored pace, and total lack of speed and you have a player that does more bad than good for your fantasy team. Philadelphia doesn’t even want him anymore, so why should you?
Got a question about a player not covered here? Feel free to ask in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @EricCross04. Thanks as always for reading, and check back next Tuesday for another edition of Dynasty Dugout. Middle infielder rankings are on deck for next week. Stay tuned.