THE DYNAMIC BAKERS DOZEN
There is no magical formula for ranking players especially when there are so many formats (i.e different league sizes, roster sizes and categories). This list was based on a thorough study of the numerical stats, age, health, ball park factors and to be frank, my gut feeling. Third base in 2018 is a very strong group. Think about it: in the history of baseball only 17 third basemen are in the Hall of Fame and on the field this year there are at least six players that could someday get the sacred call to Cooperstown.
NUMBERS NERD BONUS– for those of you thinking my player capsules a bit brief and/or lacking numbers I concocted a G(ozzified) S(tatistical) R(eview) based on the last three years, which is located at the bottom of this diatribe. To be clear, the tables were made after my rankings were made, and added strictly for the Bill James in all of us.
13. Jake Lamb (ARZ)- batting in the heart of the D’backs lineup at his physical prime is the good news. The humidor at his home park is the bad. Unlike Goldie- Lamb’s home/road split (38HRs ‘Zona/ 31HRs other) does not bode well. Before this crappy bit of news (except for D’bax pitchers!) I had the Chop rated #8. Still a guy that could produce 75% of stats at 50% cost of the upper echelon. Temper expectations to borderline starter, $12/later round pick.
*12. Miguel Sano (MIN)- burly slugger on the verge of a breakthrough 50 HR season OR an injury plagued, kinda huge guy who may or may not get slapped by MLB for bad conduct (sexual assault). Let’s look at the red flags first. Ht: 6’4″, Wt: 260 (and then some). That is a load especially for a guy only 25 years old. Injuries: 2014 missed entire season (elbow that require T.J surgery), 2016 (missed over 40 games- hamstring), 2017 (missed over 40 games -first diagnosed as shin splints and later stress fracture). He had surgery in November and should be recovered by spring training. The legal issue doesn’t sound too serious based on what I read, but MLB may think differently. But before you jot down Sano on the DO NOT PICK list consider the following: a. he’s potentially healthy for the first time in three years, b. home run champion type of power and perhaps most important, c. owners will stay away from this guy in droves especially if he’s suspended. Selecting this guy is all about Risk/Reward- the gamblers jump on the 50% off sale, and say Oh Well if you get burned, and muchas gracias if you don’t. What will you do?
11. Kyle Seager (SEA)– I thought his being labeled as a 2017 bust by my peer at MLFS was a bit harsh. Boy was I wrong. Career lows in hits (144) and average (.249) helped drive last season’s misadventure. In his defense, he did crack 27 bombs, 17 of which were launched after the all-star break. Surely, his age (only 30) and track record of 25-87 .263 give hope in ’18. I’d bet on a return to normalcy but recommend him only after most teams in your league have a third sacker.
10. Eugenio Suarez (CIN) – not even 26 years old, he took the leap from just a guy to a potential force. Strikes out a ton but if you believe that last year’s walk total (84) was not a fluke, bank on his passage to the vaunted 30 HR & 100 RBI plateau. BUY.
9. Travis Shaw (CLV)- really streaky hitter among the best when hot and absolutely futile when in a funk. Nonetheless took a big jump in HRs (31 from 16) and RBI (71 to 101) after being banished by the Bosox. He even stole 10 sacks! At 28, could just be scratching the surface.
8. Justin Turner (LA)- another boneheaded move by the Mets or did Turner turn on a switch in L.A? Either way this Tasmanian Devil lookalike has strung together four solid seasons and at 33 doesn’t seem to be slowing down. A smarter hitter than a power hitter, he can be counted on for 22-88 -.300 if he stays healthy. Solid mid to late round pick even though he plays in Chavez Ravine.
7. Anthony Rendon (WASH)- somewhat under the radar type coming off his best year. Will never be a premier power hitter. But who cares with the OBP and OPS numbers he’s capable of? Play it safe and put a curve on last years numbers and he’s still MONEY.
*6. Alex Bregman (HTN)- one of MLB’s youngest rising stars Bregman had a solid year in 2017. Consider last year’s numbers ,which were good, (19-71-.284 with 17 steals) to be stage one for this rocket. Athletic enough to play shortstop (qualifies there) expect plenty more power and a run at my favorite milestone- 300 total bases. Funny things happen on the way to the H.O.F. But for this guy, lack of tools won’t be reason. JUMP AT THE OPPORTUNITY.
5. Manny Meathead Machado (BALT)- not the most likable chap. I’ll still take him on my team any day. Unless something changes, will gain SS eligibility quickly which enhances his stock. Seems like this guy’s been around forever but he’s still only 25! Consider last year’s batting average swoon (over 20 points below his norm) and put down in magic marker 35-120-.280. Chances are his double-digit stolen base days are over but you never know with this maniac. Be prepared to pay deep and then enjoy the ride.
4. Kris Bryant (CHIC)- to a man the Cubs underachieved last year. And no one more than Bryant (other than Schwarber) . Not to say he stunk; some numbers were more than fine- 111 runs, .295 average and .409 OBP. The problem was the loss of ten homers and an unbelievable 29 RBI. Surely, the cockeyed batting orders Madden composed didn’t help. In 2018, with the addition of Darvish and Chatwood to take the place of the Jakester, the Cubs will rebound strongly and Bryant will be a huge part of it. Arguably yet to have his “career year” picking Bryant has no downside with the exception of the lofty price tag attached to the likable big lug.
3. Josh Donaldson (TOR)- the path to the big leagues can be a long and winding one even for an MVP (2015). The journey started in 2007 as a Cubs draftee from Auburn (48th overall pick)- as a catcher no less. Thirteen months later he was swapped, along with what turned out to be three schmucks, to Oakland for a couple of pitchers, most notably Rich Harden. Donaldson’s rise through the minor leagues was, to be kind, methodical., But the A’s at least got him behind the plate. Finally, six seasons later at 26 years old he became a fixture in the A’s lineup for all of 2 1/2 years. So as a 28-year-old All-Star (8th in MVP balloting!) the A’s in their infinite wisdom traded him to Toronto for a solid, less expensive model (3B Brett Lawrie), uber prospect Franklin Barreto and two guys currently working at Walmart. A throwback player, the Human Mullet is a solid addition to any fantasy team. Bank on close to 40 big flies and a combination 230 runs scored/driven in.
2. Jose Ramirez (CLV)- also qualifies at 2B. Talk about a bust out. Even if you don’t trust the meteoric power surge, you can feel secure that this guy will steal 20+ in addition to potentially being the best overall hitter around this side of Altuve. One of the smallest, and best young talents in the game. Price may be prohibitive but he’s really, really good.
1. Nolan Arenado (COLO)- tremendous two-way player that never ceases to amaze. Generational talent in the midst of a hall-of-fame career. Incredible run producer (averaged 131 RBI the last three years!) with a decent eye that bops 40= THE MAN
NOTE: any player averaging over 400 at bats (or less than three years excluded)
*DENOTES not qualified for stats table
Dedicated to all those who ever had the stones to play the HOT CORNER
Thanks for reading the article
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show Episode #139, 2/21/2019 Host Corey D Roberts, Co-Host Kyle Amore TOPIC: A.L. West
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