March 12, 2023, 5:32 pm
Without a doubt (at least for me), third base is the weakest position for fantasy baseball in 2023. There is super elite talent at the top, as the first 6 names on this list typically are gone by the end of round three. After that, however, there is a big drop, with only 3 guys going in the next ~100 picks. In short, get your 3B taken care of early on in drafts or else you will likely be left with the scraps. There are definitely some names going later in drafts that I have a lot of interest in, but they are lottery tickets when compared with the safe bets at the front end of the draft.
Let’s dive in!
1 Jose Ramirez 2 Manny Machado 3 Austin Riley 4 Rafael Devers 5 Bobby Witt Jr 6 Nolan Arenado 7 Alex Bregman 8 Gunnar Henderson 9 Matt Chapman 10 Ryan McMahon 11 Jose Miranda 12 Alec Bohm 13 Eugenio Suarez 14 Max Muncy 15 Ke’Bryan Hayes 16 Anthony Rendon 17 Jordan Walker 18 Yandy Diaz 19 Josh Rojas 20 Brandon Drury 21 Luis Urias 22 Josh Jung 23 Brendan Donovan 24 Justin Turner 25 Yoan Moncada
I don’t expect much of an argument when it comes to placing Jose Ramirez at #1. Elite production across all five categories is all but guaranteed. He put up 29 HR, 126 RBI, 20 SB, and a .280 batting average, all while playing with an injured right hand that required surgery this offseason. A fully healthy J-Ram makes a very strong case to be taken first overall in drafts this year.
While you still get all five cats taken care of with Manny Machado, he won’t be as big of a help when it comes to stolen bases. Still, he is a huge target of mine that I have many shares of so far at the end of the first round. He’s an incredibly safe pick, especially when you consider how great the Padres lineup will be this year once Tatis is back.
Austin Riley and Rafael Devers are very close for me, and you can make a strong argument to select either one, but I lean towards Riley as the team context is just so much better. The Braves have a legitimate case as the best lineup in baseball and Riley could end up with 100 runs and 100 RBIs because of it.
I talked about how I am a bit lower than consensus on Bobby Witt Jr in my SS rankings article. He’s a good bet to reach 25-25 this season, but that will still come with a fairly poor batting average (especially compared with the top five on this list) and pretty limited upside in terms of counting stats in a fairly pedestrian Royals lineup. I would not spend a first-round pick on him in redraft for 2023. Next year, perhaps, but he hasn’t done enough to justify that for me just yet.
Most aren’t as high on Ryan McMahon as I am, but I’m really not too sure why. Here are his stats over the last three full seasons (excluding the short 2020 campaign)
2019 – 24 HR, 70 R, 83 RBI, 5 SB, .250
2021 – 23 HR, 80 R, 86 RBI, 6 SB, .254
2022 – 20 HR, 67 R, 67 RBI, 7 SB, .246
In short, you know what you’re gonna get out of him before the season even begins. His home park is Coors Field, and some people will point to his better numbers at home, but that’s the case with nearly every Rockie, and McMahon’s numbers on the road aren’t bad enough to make him unplayable. He’s a great target around pick 200 if you decide to wait on grabbing a third baseman.
Ke’Bryan Hayes is another great target if you don’t end up with an elite name. His power seems to be coming around a bit this spring and we already know he has the speed to give you 20+ swipes. You get pretty similar production to what Gunnar Henderson is expected to provide, except he’s going almost 100 picks earlier. I don’t recommend waiting on the hot corner, but if you do, Hayes and McMahon are great targets.
Anthony Rendon’s only roadblock to being a top-tier fantasy player again is health, and that has certainly been a huge question these past three years, but he’s priced for a buyback with his ~220 ADP. He’ll be occupying the clean-up spot in the Angels lineup behind Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, and as I said on Twitter the other day, his upside is a 100 RBI season, like we saw from him in Washington multiple times.
Jordan Walker is very tricky to rank, and he will almost certainly move (either up or down) on this list depending on if he makes the Cardinals out of spring training. The 20-year-old could be a five-category stud right off the bat (AKA this year’s Julio Rodriguez), or he could start the year in AAA and end up back on waivers in a couple of weeks. As of now, we do not know, but I can’t get behind his most recent price, which is sometimes a top-100 pick depending on the room you’re in. I’ll take a chance past pick 150 if you are still able to
Brendan Donovan has hit four spring training bombs after only getting four balls to leave the yard in 2022. If he has unlocked some more power, he could end up a huge asset for managers this year considering his cheap price (~280 ADP) and his spot in a fantastic lineup. He’s a solid utility option that won’t hurt you in any category, especially for batting average. His defense will keep him on the field regularly to ensure tons of PA’s, and you’ll absolutely take that from a .280+ hitter.