For quite a while, third base was one of the toughest positions to fill on your squad after the middle infield, and sleepers were very important. We had our David Wrights, our Evan Longorias, our Adrian Beltres, heck even for a little while Ryan Zimmerman got us excited. However, as these guys have aged and become more injury prone, the position fell off the map for a year or two.
Thankfully over the past two seasons we have welcomed a fresh breath of air back to the hot corner. Hot shots such as Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado, Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier, and Kyle Seager have energized third base making those old has beens a passing thought in Fantasy players minds. With the position as deep as it has probably been since Fantasy Baseball became a mainstream hobby, you probably think you don’t have to pay too much attention to it and you’ll be fine.
Even if you do get a stud third baseman, there’s no reason not to pick up another. Pretty much all leagues have a utility spot, and many have a corner infield or generic infield spot to be filled. One league last season I had Josh Donaldson early, and then picked up Nolan Arenado a handful of rounds later (that won’t happen again!), and I owned third base! People who had an injured third baseman certainly looked at my squad with envy.
Depth at any position is never a bad thing and that is where sleepers for third base comes into play. You won’t see Maikel Franco or Jung-ho Kang here because I believe they broke out too big last year to be considered sleepers again.
Below you will find three guys for mixed leagues, as well as one each for AL-Only and NL-Only. Please follow me on Twitter @fightingchance.
Third Base Sleepers
Mixed Leagues Sleepers
Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds
Playing nearly exclusively shortstop, Suarez made the most of the opportunity afforded him and hit .280 with 13 home runs in just 97 games in 2015. The power waned some in September, but the Reds had to love what they saw from the kid. His power mostly comes when facing righties, but he hits for great contact against lefties.
Cincinnati traded away their star third baseman Todd Frazier to the White Sox and now the third base job is there for Suarez. He should not only get you in the high teens as far as homers are concerned, but he showed the ability to swipe some bases in the minors. If things break right for him he could outperform some of the aging guys at the position and will be a solid sleeper this season.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers
Improving on his rookie season, Castellanos hit 15 home runs and had 73 RBIs, but I feel like he is capable of more still. The Tigers are fully invested in him, as they have made no move to even threaten Castellanos from playing every day. He has all of the opportunity in the world to take the next step.
In order for that to happen, he is going to have to learn to not swing at everything, to show more consistency, and he needs to improve his batting average against right-handed pitching. Castellanos is one of few who excels against lefties, but it seems like he is always swinging for the fences against righties. With a little more experience, Castellanos should improve even more and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him reach 20 homers this season.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
One of the Rangers’ top prospects, Gallo came up in 2015 with a ton of fanfare after an injury to Adrian Beltre. Despite hitting for some early power, Gallo was clearly overmatched by Major League pitching as he hit just .218 in June with an eye popping 43 strikeouts in 87 at-bats. The Rangers brought him back in September with even worse results.
This kid is going to hit and he has nothing left to prove in the Minors, even if he does start 2016 at Triple-A Round Rock. He has shown immense power to all fields, but he has to improve his plate discipline which should come with time. Beltre is getting up there in years, and if not at third, Gallo could get playing time in left field if Josh Hamilton relapses or gets injured again. This one might not pay dividends in April, but it should at some point during the year.
Deep League Sleepers
Giovanny Urshela, Cleveland Indians
Called up in the second half of last season, Urshela showed much more promise with his glove than he did with his bat. He started out well in late June with seven RBIs in his first 19 games, but each month his production (mostly his batting average) continued to fade. He dealt with a shoulder injury in September and didn’t finish the season strong.
Fast forward to today, and the Indians have made no move to replace him as the starting third baseman. He hit for a solid average in his time in the Minor Leagues, and his plate discipline is much better than a lot of players his age. He showed more pop in his bat on the farm than he did in Cleveland last season, and I believe his best days are still ahead of him. If you could get a guy who will hit .280 with 13-15 home runs as a sleeper later in an AL-Only draft, I believe that you would sign up for that.
Adonis Garcia, Atlanta Braves
A former Yankees prospect, Garcia came up with the Braves after the wheels had completely fallen off for them in 2015 and did an admirable job. In 58 games, Garcia hit .277 with 10 home runs and 26 RBIs. At 5’9” and 190 pounds, this Cuban isn’t your prototypical size for a power hitter, but you can’t argue with his results. The Braves are not committed to him yet at third, but they are going to give him the first crack at the position.
The biggest issue Garcia will face with Major League pitching is his aggressiveness at the plate. In 1,114 at-bats in the Minors, Garcia walked just 57 times. That’s nearly once every 20 times to the plate. Pitchers in the big leagues will throw him garbage and watch him get himself out. Terrible baseball teams are often breeding grounds for Fantasy production because the players play more loose since they have nothing to lose. If Garcia can get this job and learn to wait for a good pitch, he could smack 18 long balls this season.
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