Miguel Cabrera is still our number one overall pick in 2014 fantasy baseball drafts, however there are over a dozen players I would be happy with as my starting third baseman this season. Because there is a lot of depth at third base, you can wait on the position if you choose.
Like any position there are question marks after the top talent whether it is due to old age, injury history, or inexperience but upside of the position outweighs the risk. During the draft do not feel as though you have to fill this position quickly because grabbing two third baseman both with some upside later in draft could be the best way to go.
Second Best at Position – Adrian Beltre
The 34 year old Beltre is a guy no one at FantasySmackTalk ends up drafting due to his draft day price tag but always continues to be a superstar in terms of fantasy. It is the solid production year after year that made him our number two at this position. You should expect solid average and huge counting stats. The addition of Prince Fielder to the Rangers does nothing but increases Beltre’s value.
Power Champion (not named Miguel Cabrera) – Pedro Alvarez
Alvarez had 36 bombs last season and that was not a fluke. This third baseman has the power and is always swinging for the fences in the heart of the Pirates line-up. Sometimes a guy gets hot and it really skews his numbers but that was not the case with Alvarez. He was pretty consistent month to month last year. One extremely important thing to note is if you are in daily set-ups leagues because this is not a fluke either. Pedro Alvarez hit 33 homeruns against righties to only 3 against lefties. If you are in a daily league might be worth it to grab another hot corner ball player later in your draft and somewhat play the match-up game.
Must Have Sleeper – Brett Lawrie
I don’t know if I can call Lawrie a must have sleeper and if you have paid the high draft day price for him over the last few years I am sure you are calling me idiotic right now. But, hear me out. The post sleeper production is a real thing in fantasy baseball. Typically a young gun shows a little promise then gets completely overdrafted and fizzles out the following year. The post hype sleeper then in a year or two breaks out and people always say “I knew he would, I was just a year early” (foreshadowing I will say this every show next year since Ball is taking over as the starter in Denver…but back to baseball). Baseball GM and scouts have Lawrie for years as a 5 tool player and the price you have to pay this year is so low why not grab a starter and back him up with the chances of Lawrie actually breaking out?
High Upside Potential – Josh Donaldson
We are absolutely in love with Josh Donaldson this season. His ADP is right around 70 which is fair but we feel he will exceed that when the season is over. He really came on last year and my most recent projections have him only 3 homeruns, 10 runs, 10 RBIs, and .015 average behind Adrian Beltre but at a significant discount on draft day. (oh and he should throw in 10 bags for you as well). Love him, will be on all my teams.
Cheap Speed – Chase Headley
First and foremost, we told you not to draft him last year and that 2012 was not the real Chase Headley, we hope you listened. If you didn’t, you hate him and rightfully so due to the huge disappointment but that disappointment is why you can grab him extremely late in drafts and he is really the only one down that list I can see stealing over 10 bags this season. Maybe, just maybe he starts off hot and you can deal him to the owner of him in 2012. This is great to do with guys that are very up and down year to year…when they are hot, look at who owned them the last time they have a big season and start sending the trades.
Cheap Power – Trevor Plouffe
I could have put Mark Reynolds here but anyone that has played fantasy baseball over the last few years knows his deal. Good deal of bombs but kills the average and if you have read any of my other articles you know I hate those guys. So in steps Trevor Plouffe of the Twins as my cheap power source. The 27 year old had 14 bombs in 477 at bats last season and is scheduled to be the everyday third baseman for Twins. A season ago he hit 24 homeruns in even less at bats. So, if he does get 550 trips to the plate this year he should fall between 22-28 bombs, not bad for a guy you can get at the end of your draft.
Draft Day Advice
Don’t panic; there is plenty of talent to be had and if you miss out on the top tier of players grab two and hope at least one breaks out. If both do, instant trade bait.