May. 12, 2016
MLB Fantasy Sleeper Picks: Third Base
Over the last few years, some big name 3rd basemen have had to make the switch from 3rd to 1st (Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman) ultimately removing them from that position in pools unless given the (3B,1B) distinction. However, even with that and the decline of some players production, there are still players out there worth looking at.
Justin Turner, LA Dodgers - Turner split time with Juan Uribe at 3B over the course of two seasons (2014/2015), in the 2014 season he surprised all of us with 7 HR, 43 RBI and a gaudy .340 AVG. Unfortunately for Turner, that didn't amount to him getting the starting third base spot in the 2015 season, but after the Dodgers traded Uribe away in 2015, Turner was able to emerge as a more than viable option at the hot corner. In 126 GP in 2015 he hit 16 HR, 60 RBI, and a .294 AVG, not bad for a guy who was non-tendered by the Mets in 2013. After the Dodgers were eliminated from the 2015 playoffs by those same Mets, Turner underwent knee surgery. Thankfully though, he isn't expected to miss any pre-season games and should be available for opening day. In most Yahoo mock drafts Turner's being drafted in the 22nd round on average, so there's a good chance he'll be around late in your drafts to pick up.
Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks - Lamb has enjoyed a fair level of success over the course of his minor league career (247 G, 37 HR, 195 RBI, .321 AVG). Unfortunately though, he has yet to carry it over to the majors as injuries have cut his first 2 seasons short. The starting 3B spot is his coming out of spring training, so long as he can remain healthy and produces at a high level. I see him finally pulling it all together in the 2016 season. It's doubtful someone will draft Lamb so you could draft him in one of the last couple rounds or on the waiver wire post draft. Its a risky but likely solid pick.
Jung Ho Kang, Pittsburgh Pirates - When position players come from the KBO league to the Majors, teams and fantasy managers that draft them are taking a risk. Undoubtedly though, It's highly unlikely they'll have the same success since the pitching is much better in the MLB. Although Kang didn't have the same success he enjoyed in Korea, he was still able to produce a productive season for the Pirates in 2015 (15 HR, 58 RBI, .287 AVG). A brutal knee injury cut his season short last year but if that wasn't the case, he would have had even better numbers. Upon his return in June, Kang will assume his starting position at 3B and build upon his first season in the Majors. The fact that he may not be ready for opening day will leave fantasy managers hesitant to draft him in the middle rounds or even at all. Look for him in the late rounds or even on the waiver wire after the draft to grab a player that will be able to contribute to the ever important batting statistics in your pools.
Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs - Going with a guy like Baez could either be a great decision, or a terrible one. Over 5 seasons in the minors he played 393 games, compiling 89 HR, 300 RBI and a .288 AVG. Unfortunately for him and fantasy managers, he hasn't been able to carry that over to the Majors ( in 80 games he's stuckout 119). A lot of young hitters go through the same struggles upon making this transition, learning and making adjustments are necessary in order to achieve success at the level of an MLB player. If Baez is able to produce a hot start to spring training and win a starting job, I think he'll be able to carry it over into the season and have a great year. What does all this mean for your draft? His career numbers in the majors will almost guarantee that he'll be available late in your draft.
Until next time,