Fantasy State of the Position: Third Base
Overvalued: Martin Prado
I’m not really sure why, but I’ve never been a believer in Martin Prado. Folks seem to have gotten even more worked up about him in the last year. He’s currently going ahead of Manny Machado (see below), and Kyle Seager, both of whom, I have ahead of Prado. He’s shown that he’s an above average hitter posting a .291 average over the past 5 years, but over the past 2 years (when he’s had every day playing time) he’s only averaged 12 home runs. It’s not like he’s making up for much with his speed either, he’s only averaged 10 steals over that stretch. I know this is definitely a bias of mine, but I don’t see any value in Martin Prado and I think you can get a better player for less in your draft.
Undervalued: Manny Machado
If Manny Machado hadn’t torn apart his knee last September, he’d likely be a top 5 third basemen heading into 2014. There are definitely injury concerns, but he is one of the best young hitters in the game and his power production will only get better. He got off to a torrid start in 2013 and started cooling off around the All Star break. His OPS took a 160 point hit after the Break last year. Granted he was slashing .310/.337/.470 before the break, so a return to Earth should have been expected. He’s currently the 8th 3B off the board at an average position of 112.85. He could easily finish the season a top 5 third basemen, even if he does miss some time early as he’s getting back into shape. I project Machado to finish the year with 80 R, 19 HR, 85 RBI, 3 SB, with a .285 AVG and a .320 OBP. He’s not elite yet, but he’s also 21 years old.
Rising Star: Nolan Arenado
Arenado is entering his age 23 season with the Rockies which will be his first full season with the big club. He struggled when he first came up at the end of last April (), but then steadied himself and finished the season with a respectable .267/.301/.405 slashline. He posted a 82 OPS+ so he finished well below average for his position, but deliver 3.9 WAR. A lot of that WAR comes from his Gold Glove defense which only has fantasy relevance in as much as it keeps him in the lineup. Arenado probably doesn’t have have more than 20 homers in his bat in any given season, but he deliver an average batting average, and has shown in the minors the ability to get on base. If you’re looking for someone to man your corner infield and it’s late in the draft, take a chance on Arenado.
All ADP info is from NFBC ADP on NESN.