Yesterday, we continued our fantasy baseball positional rankings with second basemen, as we look to prepare everyone ahead the upcoming season. Now we will move across the diamond to discuss the top third basemen available for your fantasy drafts this season.
Below you’ll find Just Baseball’s third base rankings for fantasy baseball. Rankings are done in accordance with 5×5 scoring, meaning batting average, home runs, runs, runs batted in (RBI), and stolen bases are the only stats taken into account for the scoring.
1. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Guardians – ADP: 4
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .266 / 36 HR / 111 R / 103 RBI / 27 SB / 636 PA
Jose Ramirez is phenomenal in real life and in fantasy baseball. After Trea Turner and Fernando Tatis Jr, this is the player we are targeting with the third overall pick. He hit .266 last year, but he had a career-high hard-hit rate and an xBA of .281. He could easily hit .280 this year with how advanced his bat-to-ball skills are.
From 2016 to 2017 Jose Ramirez hit .315, but an increased flyball rate yielded higher power results, which has transformed him into one of the ten best players in baseball. He’s also one of the few at the position stealing 20+ bases, and last year, he was 27 for 31 in stolen base chances.
2. Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox – ADP: 16
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .279 / 38 HR / 101 R / 113 RBI / 5 SB / 664 PA
Devers is a fantasy monster. Last season, he hit .279 with 38 home runs, 101 runs and 113 RBIs. His best season was probably 2019, when he hit .311 with 32 home runs.
He’s basically a lock for 100+ runs and RBIs, and he can even steal you between 5-10 bags. Expect him to be a .280 hitter with at least 35 home runs, but with the potential to hit 45 and lead the league in RBIs. His current ADP of 16th overall is a great spot for him, and we wouldn’t be opposed to taking him at the end of the first round either.
3. Manny Machado – San Diego Padres – ADP: 23
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .278 / 28 HR / 92 R / 106 RBI / 12 SB / 640 PA
In his first year with the Padres in 2019, Manny Machado hit .256 and people were starting to get worried. He silenced the doubters in 2021, and 2022 might be even better. He finished last season with the 16th highest hard-hit rate in baseball, and his xBA of .294 shows there was more to be desired.
The discrepancy between his SLG and his xSLG points to the potential of more power production as well. He’s an exceptional force at the plate, averaging 34 home runs and a .280 batting average over the last six seasons. Unrelated to fantasy, but Machado is looking like he’s on a Hall of Fame trajectory. Is he becoming underrated?
4. Austin Riley – Atlanta Braves – ADP: 53
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .303 / 33 HR / 91 R / 107 RBI / 0 SB / 662 PA
Austin Riley exploded last season, hitting over .300 with 33 home runs and 107 RBI’s, vaulting himself into the top-five. He always had the potential, and he put it together at age 24. He hits the ball really hard, spraying to all fields. The only question is his ability to consistently hit .300, as his xBA is .281 and most projection systems have him around .275 for next year.
Regardless, the power is real and he’ll have plenty of RBI and run-scoring opportunities in a potent Braves lineup, especially if they re-sign Freddie Freeman.
5. Adalberto Mondesi – Kansas City Royals – ADP: 59
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .230 / 6 HR / 19 R / 17 RBI / 15 SB / 136 PA
If the Mondesi train gets going, he could win you your fantasy league. It’s challenging to know when to take Mondesi, as he has the potential for 70 stolen bases if healthy. He’s played north of 100 games just once since he debuted in 2016.
However, he was completely healthy in 2020, stealing 24 bases and hitting six home runs in 59 games. We just want to see what he’ll do if he gets more than 500 PA. He’s not going to kill you in other categories either. He has 15-20 home run power and will reach 70-80 runs with his speed. It’s so easy to dream on this guy, but he’s one of the most polarizing players in fantasy baseball.
6. Nolan Arenado – St. Louis Cardinals – ADP: 71
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .255 / 34 HR / 81 R / 105 RBI / 2 SB / 653 PA
Nolan Arenado will probably never be the .300 hitter that he was in Colorado, but the power is still there. Since 2016, Arenado has hit at least 34 home runs with 105 RBIs in every season except 2020. He has hit around .255 since 2020, and we think that’s where he’ll be moving forward.
His hard-hit rate isn’t ideal, but he hits over 60% of his balls in the air. The only thing with Arenado is that he may have limited upside. He’ll either do what he did last year or take a tiny step back as he enters his age-31 season. He’s one of the safest options on the board, but don’t expect him to exceed last year’s numbers.
7. Anthony Rendon – Los Angeles Angels – ADP: 109
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .240 / 6 HR / 24 R / 34 RBI / 0 SB / 249 PA
Let’s imagine we wiped your memory of 2021 away. Anthony Rendon has just put up four-straight seasons with a wRC+ above 140. He’s hit .307 over that span and is arguably the best third basemen in the game. Now let’s flash forward just one season.
Anthony Rendon hits .240 in 250 plate appearances. His hard-hit rate tanks while playing through a hip injury that would eventually cause him to have season-ending surgery. What should we expect?
Hip injuries are the toughest injuries to fight back from as an offensive player, so we shouldn’t expect peak Rendon. Still, if we project him to be 80% of his former self, Rendon could hit .285 with 25 home runs and 90+ RBI and runs scored. That is of course if he can stay healthy and his ADP is dropping due to those health concerns. If you can grab Rendon later in drafts, it could be the steal of 2022.
8. Kris Bryant – Free Agent – ADP: 93
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .265 / 25 HR / 86 R / 73 RBI / 10 SB / 586 PA
Where will Kris Bryant play next season?
That’s the question everyone’s wondering post-lockout. One thing we do know is he’s going to be expensive due to his offensive pedigree. He’s seen slight dips in power, only hitting 25 home runs last year, as we’ll probably never see 39 home runs from Bryant again. Still, he’s Kris Bryant.
You can pencil him in for a .270 average with 25 home runs and enough RBI and run opportunities. He qualifies in the outfield as well, and he’s one of the few third basemen who can grab you double-digit steals. It will be important to monitor where he goes in free agency, as the park factor could help or hurt his fantasy value.
9. Alex Bregman – Houston Astros – ADP: 90
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .270 / 12 HR / 54 R / 55 RBI / 1 SB / 400 PA
Alex Bregman did not look like himself in 2021, and 2020 wasn’t great either. Last season, he hit .270 with 12 home runs and the lowest ISO of his career (.152). In comparison, Bregman averaged a .239 ISO across his first five seasons.
Injuries can explain the regression to a certain extent, as he missed two months with a quad injury on his left leg, which could have impacted his ability to stay back on breaking balls and sell out for fastballs. It’s also fair to question his success against breaking balls after the sign-stealing scandal, as he has not been able to adjust for the past two seasons. He had a .286 wOBA on breaking balls last year, but had a .392 wOBA between 2018 and 2019. Wherever you place the blame, Bregman just hasn’t been the same. He’s a player that we would stay away from at his current ADP.
10. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers – ADP: 156
2021 Fantasy Slashline: .278 / 27 HR / 87 R / 87 RBI / 3 SB / 612 PA
At 37 years old, Justin Turner is still moving along quite nicely. The last time he hit below .270 was in 2012 when he hit .269. He’s been the model of consistency with the Dodgers. Since 2016, he’s hit .275 in every season and has eclipsed 20 home runs four times.
Turner is currently sliding in ADP, going 14th overall among third basemen. We can attribute that to age concerns. With the universal DH, those age and injury concerns should be mitigated a bit, so we expect him to be more than productive in 2022. In 2021, he hit .278 with 27 bombs, 87 RBIs, and 87 runs scored, and we don’t see any reason why he can’t do it again.