Third base is one of the deepest spots in fantasy baseball in terms of skill and overall statistical output. Yet this doesn’t take away the importance of grabbing a late third baseman that offers more value.
Many of these “value picks” play multiple positions. Cincinnati’s Todd Frazier, Seattle’sKyle Seager and Anaheim’s Mark Trumbo are three players who I already covered earlier in this series of sleeper articles but they also are third base eligible. If you are unable to grab one of those guys be sure to take a long look at Boston’s Will Middlebrooks and San Diego’s Chase Headley.
Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox
Middlebrooks, 25, played in his first major league game for the Red Sox in the middle last year and was able to play in 75 games. Those 75 games were strong enough for him to earn the opening day spot at third base in Fenway. To put his numbers into perspective we’ll do a side-by-side comparison with Middlebrooks and another third baseman who has been going much higher than him.
Both players missed time in 2012 but Player A played in 18 more games while Player B is being taken four-to-five rounds after Player A. Player A being Jose Bautista and Player B being Middlebrooks.
Given the 75-game sample size it’s hard not to expect double in almost every statistic. In 150 games you wouldn’t be far off expecting more than 25 home runs, 70-80 runs, 85-90 RBIs and an average above .275. He does have a strikeout rate that is a bit high but as he continues to play at this level I would expect that number to drop while his stock increases.
In the majority of mock drafts I’ve done, Middlebrooks has been going off the board in around the eighth round with guys like Freddie Freeman, Roy Halladay and Yadier Molina. I’d expect to take him in the seventh if you really want to add value to your team’s hot corner and let everyone else reach on other Player A’s.
Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
Chase Headley proved last year that there was more to San Diego than the beach, as Headley was one of few Padres worth owning in fantasy baseball last year. Headley played in 161 games and had 173 hits, a pretty good barometer to go by when we’re talking about value. In those games last year he finished the season with a .286 average, 31 home runs and 115 RBIs. The leader of his team in those categories as well as OBP (.376) walks (86) and runs (95).
Although Headley will start the season on the DL, this by no means warrants a pass on the third baseman. If anything, it gives you more reason to draft him as many will be scared off by the early injury.
Expect Headley to go in the seventh or eighth round and draft accordingly. He could be a top five third baseman by the end of the season and getting someone like that in the sixth or seventh round just oozes value.
If someone drafts Headley or Middlebrooks right out from under you here are a few more third basemen worth drafting later in your draft:
- Mike Moustakas, Toronto Blue Jays
- Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
- Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
Have any questions or disagree with my take? Let me know. You can reach me on Twitter@ThisJustM or leave a comment below.