Third Basemen ADP Analysis for 2022 Fantasy Baseball, Deep Leagues

Happy New Year, Razzballers! Yes, we’re in the middle of what already feels like an extra-long offseason, but I’m going to try my best to stay positive about both the upcoming year of baseball, and everything else currently happening on our little planet.  As I usually do, I started drafting during the week of Thanksgiving and have now drafted four teams (all mixed league, 15-team 5×5 redraft variety – two 30-rounders with FAAB starting in April, and two Draft and Hold leagues). So before I get to my regular weekly deep-league grind, we’ll spend the next several weeks taking a broader view of the fantasy baseball landscape, going position by position to talk about depth, approach, draft trends, hits and misses from last year, real-life or fantasy roster construction, predictions, hunches, and/or anything else that strikes our fancy. And I do mean “our”:  this winter, I’m finding diving headfirst into draft preparation and fantasy discussion that much more therapeutic, so I hope to hear from those of you like-minded individuals out there as often as possible in the comments — whether it’s a question, a comment, a piece of advice, or just a random thought about fantasy baseball.

Now, on to the hot corner. I chose third to start with simply because, after a few drafts, I’ve found myself approaching the position very differently than I thought I would before I started drafting. While I knew 3B wasn’t the deepest position, it proved to be even more top heavy than I’d realized. The last thing I’d expected to tell you in my first post of the year is that I already have two shares of Rafael Devers, who I don’t think I’ve ever owned on a fantasy team in my life, plus one of Austin Riley, who is going higher in drafts than I would have ever imagined last year. In my fourth draft, I took the opposite approach and waited as long as possible to fill the position (which for me translates to waiting as long as I felt I could to assure I’d end up with Jeimer Candelario; see below). Honestly, if I were to get one of the top three picks in a draft (somehow haven’t drafted higher than 9th yet, grr), I would seriously consider taking Jose Ramirez to kick my team off (and I’d absolutely consider taking Manny Machado at around his #23 ADP if he fell to me at the right part of a draft).

Here are a few early and random thoughts about Devers, Riley, Jeimer (yes, I’ve already drafted him enough times that I feel like we’re on a first name basis), and a handful of other third baseman while I continue to navigate the position as we approach the thick of drafting season. By the way, I’ll be throwing out ADP numbers a lot — as always, I try not to put too much emphasis on them when deciding which players to aim for, but rather to use them as an (albeit often unreliable, especially in January) tool to help me figure out when to pull the trigger on players I’ve already decided to target. (And if you’re curious about where a certain player went in my drafts so far, feel free to ask!)

Rafael Devers. Time will tell if I regret taking Devers in the second round of not just one, but two drafts this year. Normally I like to grab power/speed combo guys, preferably five-category players, in the first few rounds of a snake draft, so taking Devers early led to several speed-panic moments later on. When I drafted Devers, though, it was because I considered him the best offensive player available (and knowing how steep the 3B drop-off is, as I see it, helped make it feel like the right decision). Overall, I’m pretty happy with the look of my offense on my teams that include him.

Austin Riley. I’ll admit watching Riley at the end of last year probably made me way too eager to own him this season, but I really didn’t think his price tag would be quite so high (his current ADP is 51, which is about what I paid for him — and he was actually taken 31st overall in one of my leagues this year!)  I’m prepared for the average to come down significantly and when it does I may wonder what the heck I was thinking in potentially overdrafting someone who could well end up being a three-category player. While I’m not sorry I own him, I suspect I won’t be adding further shares at his current cost.

Adalberto Mondesi. I am not nearly the Mondesi fan that many Razzball writers/regular commenters are, and his current NFBC ADP of #59 feels awfully steep for a guy who qualifies only at third, and spent last season adding to his history of injury and disappointment. That being said, most of the third basemen in his tier come with their own significant concerns, but without the crazy upside.  If you believe in him and want to draft him this early, I won’t hold it against you.

Nolan Arenado (NFBC ADP #70), Kris Bryant (#90), Alex Bregman (#92), Anthony Rendon (#107), DJ LeMahieu (#111), Ke’Bryan Hayes (#139), Yoan Moncada (#144).  Yes, I’ve lumped all of these players in one group, because they all have one big thing in common for me at their current prices:  I don’t hate them, but in each case, there are several players, at all different positions, that I like much better at the same price point. Basically, if I don’t have a third baseman by now, I’m probably gonna keep waiting a while. One other thing to mention: only two of the top twelve 3Bs based on NFBC ADP are eligible at other positions in most leagues this year (Bryant at OF and LeMahieu at 1B and 2B). (Note: Just saw a clip from earlier this week of Bregman in a batting cage, and since it was the first thing I’d seen in ages that seemed like “legitimate baseball news,” it made me want to draft him. Not saying that’s necessarily the wrong thing to do, just saying that I hope you’ll band together with me in a group attempt to not completely overreact to any updates/rumors/tweets we receive during this strange, news-free off season).

Luis Urias (#155).  Also qualifies at second and short, which makes sense since he feels like a middle infielder to me, but he may prove to be a decent fallback option at third as well. Thought I’d have him on at least one team by now, but got sniped on him a few times already. Seems like we’ve been expecting big things from him for years, but he’s still only 24 and may just be getting settled in and hitting his stride in Milwaukee. Urias had a consistent and stronger-than-you-probably-realized season last year (including 77 runs, 75 RBI, 23 homers, plus 5 steals). Damn, now I’m even more sad I haven’t drafted him yet!

Justin Turner (#165).  Meh.

Matt Chapman (#185), Eugenio Suarez (#206). While I can see drafting either of these guys this late in theory, since one would assume the power will be there no matter what, I just can’t deal with the potential batting average drain and watching the pitiful-looking strikeouts pile up in between dingers.  To each her own!

Ryan McMahon (#166), Eduardo Escobar (#187).  Both also qualify at 2B, should that be of interest to you. I’ve already drafted each of these guys once as corner infielders/3B backups, and I do like the value at these draft spots. We’ll see if McMahon can take the next step forward in Colorado or will get lost in the shuffle, and we’ll see how Escobar fits in with a new team/less hitter-friendly home ballpark and if he can avoid his 2020-style ugliness. For now, I’m willing to take a chance on either — for some power without an average that will wound my soul — this late in a 15-team league or similar.

Jeimer Candelario. Late last year, Jeimer for me became the nice but boring guy who you’d ignored for years while looking through seemingly greener pastures for upside, then realized that he was right there under your nose the whole time, the answer to your corner infield problems.  (Who needs a medium ceiling when you’re enjoying the comfort of a solid floor?) He even was in my Perts’ League lineup for weeks on end in the latter part of the season, stealthily providing under-the-radar fantasy counting stats. Granted, this success has likely led to me putting way too much hope in him for 2022, but why not?  At this price, there’s really no risk. Thankfully for you, Grey already wrote this lovely sleeper post on Jeimer (did I mention we’re on a first-name basis, in my mind at least? Jeimer and me, I mean; Grey and I have been on a first name basis since approximately kindergarten.) Anyhoo, this link allows me to end both this blurb and this post here, rather than waxing poetic on my CI savior JC for a couple of additional pages: you’re welcome!

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