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Welcome to the 2016 Third Base Projections and Profiles for the National League, a part of the “So-Called” Fantasy Experts Fantasy Baseball Draft Package.

Third base was quite thin just a few years back, but young bucks like Kris Bryant, Maikel Franco, and Nolan Arenado, plus some huge bats in the American League have made the hot corner a prime source of power for your Fantasy Baseball team. Now about getting Miguel Sano that third base eligibility…

What follows are the 2016 Third Base Projections and Profiles for the National League. The players are listed alphabetically to make it easy to find the player you’re looking for. We’ve used the 20-game played threshold for position eligibility. If a player did not play 20 games at any position, we used the position they played the most games at. We also try and list players at the position Fantasy owners are most likely to utilize each player. For example, Kris Bryant played 19 games in the outfield last season and is eligible for that position in some formats. We’ve listed him at third base as that’s probably where he’s most useful. Of course that extra position eligibility doesn’t hurt.

The initial run of projections and profiles will focus on players with clear roles. As Spring Training approaches and rosters start to solidify, we’ll add names so that we can satisfy not only the needs of mixed league owners, but the traditionalists out there that play in 12-team NL-only leagues. These 2016 Third Base Projections and Profiles will be updated all the way up to Opening Day, so remember to check in occasionally to get the latest news.

2016 Third Base Projections & Profiles: National League

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

nolan arenado projections

Arenado put it all together in 2015, leading all of baseball with 130 RBIs and finishing tied for first in the NL with 42 home runs. He proved he is more than just a product of Coors Field as he hit 22 of his home runs on the road. He was also locked in when hitting with runners in scoring position, hitting a MLB best .376. The top of the third base rankings is littered with great, young talent and Arenado, who is clearly amongst the Top 4 third basemen, will likely go in the first round of most drafts next year. I would not expect too much growth, if any, on Arenado’s numbers going forward. However, given the batting line he produced in 2015, that should be completely fine with all Fantasy owners. – Fabian Taylor


Gordon Beckham, Atlanta Braves

Gordon Beckham, Atlanta Braves

Beckham will now ply his trade with the Braves after Atlanta signed him this offseason. It appears that Beckham’s career peaked in his rookie season, way back in 2009. He currently lacks both power and speed, in addition to failing to record a batting average greater than .230 over the past two seasons. He now seems destined for a backup role on a rebuilding Braves team that should challenge for the title of having the league’s worst offense. Even in the unlikely event that Beckham sees regular at-bats, it is hard to see him exceeding simple thresholds such as double digit home runs or a .250 batting average. He is off the Fantasy radar, even in super deep NL-Only leagues. – Fabian Taylor


Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs

Kris Bryant projections

As the unanimous 2015 NL Rookie of the Year, Bryant did not disappoint this past season. He led all rookies, across both leagues, in home runs, runs, and RBIs. Going forward, it appears that he may trade batting average for power. Given his batted ball profile, Bryant’s .378 BABIP does not appear sustainable and there also appears to be upside to his HR/FB rate of 15.8%. The 13 steals were an added bonus and it should help keep Bryant in the first round discussion heading into the 2016 campaign. – Fabian Taylor


Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals

matt carpenter projections

Carpenter became a different hitter last year. His transformation into a power hitter resulted in a career best 28 home runs. The underlying stats, for the most part, support the power surge. He recorded career highs in the following stats: hard hit rate, line drive rate, fly ball rate, and pull rate. The downside was also career worst marks in both his strikeout rate and his swinging strike rate. Given his age and career track record, I am not sure he will repeat his 2015 power gains, especially when you consider he hit an unsustainable 19 home runs after the All Star Game. Regardless of the power outcome, he should continue to post an elite run total, with serviceable figures in terms of both RBIs and batting average. Think of Carpenter as a Top 10 third baseman for 2016, a slight decline from the Top 5 season he posted last year. – Fabian Taylor


Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins

derek dietrich projections

Dietrich is probably a more useful to the Miami Marlins than he is to Fantasy owners. He has the ability to play both in the outfield and the infield. The way things stand now, Dietrich is merely a utility bench player without an everyday role, which places him only on the Fantasy radar for those in deep NL-only leagues. Even if he had a starting job, his upside looks to be around 20 home runs and a .260 batting average. His best asset is probably his power and even that isn’t very significant for a corner infielder. For Dietrich to be mixed league relevant, a lot of things would have to go right, including a few injuries to the players ranked ahead of him on the depth chart. – Fabian Taylor


Matt Duffy, San Francisco Giants

matt duffy projections

Duffy had a solid inaugural season with the Giants in 2015 finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year balloting. To say his season was a surprise would be an understatement, since not much was expected from the 2012 18th round draft pick. Duffy started the year as a utility player, but soon replaced Casey McGehee as the everyday third baseman. Duffy’s minor league track record showcased a contact hitter who could hit around .300 combined with a little speed. For the most part, that is what he delivered for the Giants. However, two things jump out at me that I do not think will be repeated, his HR/FB rate of 9.4% and his .366 batting with runners in scoring position. Duffy will be hard pressed to match his Top 10 3B finish from 2015 given the likely decline in his home run and RBI totals. – Fabian Taylor


Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies

maikel franco projections

Franco did not crack the Phillies lineup until mid-May, but once he did, he did not disappoint. His full season pace of 30 home runs along with 90 runs and 100 RBIs would have easily placed him in the Top 10 at the hot corner last year. His batting eye and maturity at the plate were impressive for anyone, let alone a 23-year-old rookie. Given he returned for the final games of the 2015 campaign, Franco seems fully recovered from the wrist injury that he sustained in August that caused him to miss nearly two months. His youth, power, and ability to hit for a plus average should allow Franco to crack into the upper echelon at his position in the very near future. Franco arguably possesses one of the highest upsides of the all the players left after the big four third basemen are off the board. – Fabian Taylor


Adonis Garcia, Atlanta Braves

adonis garcia projections

With a handle like Adonis, you would expect beauty and perfection; however, Garcia’s career in the United States been nothing to write home about. Last year, he did put together an impressive stretch of games with the Braves by hitting 10 home runs, along with a respectable batting average in less than 200 plate appearances. The power output was a surprise as Garcia has not shown the ability to sustain an annual 30 home run pace at any level throughout his career. Now, penciled in as the starting third baseman for the Braves, Garcia finally will get a shot to show his worth. Despite the potential path to over 500 plate appearances, Garcia is nothing more than a late, NL-Only pick. – Fabian Taylor


Alex Guerrero, Los Angeles Dodgers

alex guerrero projections

Guerrero has managed to hit everywhere he has played; however, his major league career has got off to a rocky start. Now, without a clear path to playing time, it makes sense that his name is constantly included in various trade rumors. He needs to be a bit more patient at the plate as his putrid K/BB ratio is doing him no favors. Obviously, the talent is there, especially the power, but he really needs a regular role. He should be owned in NL-Only leagues, but in mixed leagues he doesn’t seem like much more than a flier at this point. – Fabian Taylor


Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh Pirates

josh harrison projections

When Harrison went down with a thumb injury just prior to the All-Star Game, he was on pace for a similar season as his breakout campaign in 2014. The majority of Harrison’s value comes from his batting average and his speed; however, as he showed in 2014, he can provide a little pop too. Only two years removed from a Top 10 finish among third basemen, Harrison provides intriguing value as we go into next year. Playing time was going to be an issue, but with the loss of Neil Walker, the starting 2B role has opened up. One of Harrison’s best attributes continues to be his ability to play all over the diamond and last year was no different, providing great position flexibility for Fantasy owners. Harrison will once again be mixed league relevant and he should be useful is all five major roto categories. – Fabian Taylor


 

Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

Jake Lamb projections

After winning the Opening Day spot at the hot corner, Lamb had a tough start to 2015 as he suffered a foot injury in mid-April and missed nearly two months. Overall, Lamb had an unspectacular year, but the potential to hit for a decent average coupled with 20 homer upside remains. Throughout his minor league career, Lamb posted strong BABIP figures, and last year he recorded an impressive batted ball profile, so his .344 BABIP does not scream regression. With regular playing time, he has a decent shot at finishing amongst the Top 30 third basemen next year, placing him on the NL-Only radar for now. He will once again be hitting in a strong lineup and he plays half of his games in a great hitter’s park. – Fabian Taylor


Hector Olivera, Atlanta Braves

hector olivera projections

The Braves, who courted Olivera during the free agent process, finally landed him at the trade deadline. He will be playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, with the hopes of speeding up the process of getting acclimated to the American game. An everyday role, either at third base or in the outfield, appears to be the plan for 2016. Given his Cuban stats, where he hit .323 along with 96 home runs and 433 RBIs over 2,800 at-bats, Olivera definitely has the upside to hit over 20 home runs along with near a .300 average. It feels like there may be a few polar opinions when it comes to how Olivera will produce in 2016, but that being said, mixed leaguers should be all over Olivera, and a Top 20 ranking feels about right. – Fabian Taylor


Martin Prado, Miami Marlins

martin prado projections

Prado’s production in 2015 was what you have come to expect from him, a solid batting average, a touch of power and not much else. He missed just over a month of action in mid-June due to a shoulder issue, but he seemed fully recovered as his first half/second half splits were quite comparable. Now that he only qualifies at the hot corner, his lack of power is much more magnified. Back in the day, when Prado qualified at a number of different positions, his Swiss Army Knife value made up for his hitting deficiencies. Since he should hit near the top of the order, he will greatly benefit from full seasons out of the likes of Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton. Prado is right on the cusp of being mixed league relevant, but he will likely garner more intrigue in NL-Only leagues in 2016. – Fabian Taylor


Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers

justin turner projections

Turner has resurrected his career since joining the Dodgers organization a couple of seasons ago. The former utility man should get the bulk of the time at third base for Los Angeles depending on how Chase Utley is utilized. We’ll have to monitor this situation as Spring Training approaches. There’s also the issue of how quickly Turner recovers from a knee injury that he suffered in the playoffs. The line drive hitting machine should sustain a better than league average BABIP and a near .300 average. He adds a little pop and he should hit near the top of one of the better hitting lineups in the league. Given where he will probably be drafted, Turner could provide a great return as he attempts to crack into the Top 15 at his position. – Fabian Taylor


David Wright, New York Mets

david wright projections

Wright is a good hitter when he is healthy. Last year, he played a quarter of the season and his extrapolated full year numbers were 20 home runs, 100 runs, 70 RBIs, and eight steals. Also, his batted ball profile was in line with his career averages. The problem with Wright is he never seems to be healthy as he is dealing with a potentially career ending back ailment. He is extremely unlikely to play anything that resembles a full season and the Mets’ new infield additions could be a way to alleviate their reliance on Wright. His per game production could be decent in 2016; however, there is such a question mark surrounding his absolute production that he must be paired with a semi-reliable backup that plays every day. – Fabian Taylor


 

We’ll be updating the 2016 Third Base Projections and Profiles for the National League right up until Opening Day. There will undoubtedly be some names we add to the list and some we need to get rid of. Check back regularly and let the “So-Called” Fantasy Experts get you ready for the 2016 Fantasy Baseball season.

Also please check out the rest of our 2016 Projections and Profiles:

NL Catcher | AL Catcher | NL First Base | AL First Base | NL Second Base | AL Second Base | NL Third Base |  AL Third Base | NL Shortstop | AL Shortstop | NL Oufield | AL Outfield | AL DH | NL Starting Pitcher | AL Starting Pitcher | NL Relievers | AL Relievers |

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