Fantasy Baseball Third Base Preview: Sleepers, breakouts, busts, top prospects, rankings and more for 2020

Third base is what first base used to be for Fantasy. Four of the top-10 players in Fantasy in 2019 are third base eligible for 2020, with a whopping 19 of the top 100 coming from the position. That means it’s not necessarily a position you have to go into the draft with one strategy.

If you pick in the second half of the first round, you could build your offense around Alex Bregman and Nolan Arenado, or you could take an ace pitcher and settle for Anthony Rendon, Jose Ramirez or Rafael Devers. Any one of those six could finish as a top-five hitter for 2020 and you wouldn’t bat an eye.

But you don’t have to make one of those players the centerpiece to be solid at third base. In the fifth-round range you’ve got elite potential in Kris Bryant, Manny Machado and Vladimir Guerrero; around 100 overall, Matt Chapman, Eduardo Escobar, Josh Donaldson and Mike Moustakas have all proven to be strong hitters with upside; and even outside of the top 150, you’ve got interesting young guys like Scott Kingery, Hunter Dozier, Miguel Andujar or Austin Riley with the potential to turn into difference-makers.

You probably need to get high-level production from third base to keep up with the competition in your league, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay full freight for it. This is one position where you’ve got the luxury to wait if that’s the way the draft falls. 

2020 Draft Prep

Third Base Preview

2020 Draft Prep

Don’t forget about …

2020 Draft Prep

Third Base Sleeper, Breakout & Bust

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2020 Draft Prep

Third Base Top Prospects

1. Alec Bohm, Phillies

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .305 BA (475 AB), 21 HR, 30 2B, .896 OPS, 57 BB, 73 K  

The third overall pick in 2018 looked the part in his first full professional season, laying waste to the lower minors before settling in at Double-A. There’s power to all fields, and the bat control is especially impressive given his 6-foot-5 frame. That awkward size makes it likely he ends up at first base, though.

2. Nolan Jones, Indians

Age (on opening day): 21
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .272 BA (430 AB), 15 HR, 22 2B, .851 OPS, 96 BB, 148 K  

Jones’ on-base skills alone are enough to earn him some prospect love, but his success will depend on him reducing the strikeouts or increasing the home runs, both of which seem possible given his plate discipline and ability to impact the ball. He’s pretty far along for his age, so it stands to reason he’d be a little over matched at this stage.

3. Nolan Gorman, Cardinals

Age (on opening day): 19
Where he played in 2019: low Class A, high Class A
Minor-league stats: .248 BA (456 AB), 15 HR, 30 2B, .765 OPS, 45 BB, 152 K

Though he has a claim to being maybe the best pure power hitter in all the minors, Gorman’s contact issues may become a hindrance. And though I’ll reserve judgment seeing as he’s still only a teenager, the fact he struggled to actualize all that power once he reached a more competitive level, homering five times over his final 73 games, is at least a little concerning.

4. Josh Jung, Rangers

Age (on opening day): 22
Where he played in 2019: Rookie, low Class A
Minor-league stats: .316 BA (174 AB), 2 HR, 14 2B, .831 OPS, 18 BB, 32 K

With a well-rounded offensive skill set highlighted by strike-zone judgment and an ability to drive the ball the opposite way, Jung finds himself in the same spot as Bohm was a year ago — a high draft pick who underwhelmed in his taste of the lower minors but whose backers remain fully confident he has the goods to take off.

5. Jonathan India, Reds

Age (on opening day): 23
Where he played in 2019: high Class A, Double-A
Minor-league stats: .259 BA (428 AB), 11 HR, 11 SB, .767 OPS, 59 BB, 110 K

The fifth overall pick of 2018 continued his steady climb up the minor-league ladder, putting him within striking distance of the majors, but again without the sort of fireworks you might expect for a prospect of his ilk. One area where he never falls short, though, is plate discipline, which is so advanced that most evaluators remain bullish on him developing into an impact bat (though possibly at second base).

6. Isaac Paredes, Tigers
7. Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox
8. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates
9. Abraham Toro-Hernandez, Astros
10. Kody Hoese, Dodgers

So which sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which undervalued first baseman can help you win a championship? Visit SportsLine now to get rankings for every single position, all from the model that called Kenta Maeda’s huge breakout last season, and find out.

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