Heading into the 2020 fantasy baseball season, third base stands out as one of the most stacked positions. However, as the homers have gone up at this position, the steals have gone down, so many of the players seem similar — even ones 10-15 spots lower in the rankings. Because of this, separating 3Bs into tiers and sub-tiers on your cheat sheet is even more important when putting together your overall draft strategy.
With third base morphing into a version of its cross-diamond counterpart, most of the players below are all about power and run production, at least in the upper tiers. You can find some steals further down the list, but those aren’t guys you want starting for you at 3B after the draft. They’re good backups/CIs, but to keep pace in your league, you need a bopper at the hot corner.
2020 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfield | Starter | Reliever | Top 300
There are plenty who fit that description, though, so you don’t necessarily need to go into your draft with a specific target unless you definitely want steals or a high average from your 3B. You also don’t need to target a specific round to draft a 3B. You can take one anywhere between the first and 12th rounds and come away feeling fine about your starter. The only worry is some of these guys will be drafted to play other positions, which can thin out the 3B player pool a little quicker than expected, but you should still be in good shape if you don’t completely forget about the position.
Please note that our sub-tiers are based on the type of production a player offers. A player in Tier 2A isn’t necessarily better than a player in Tier 2C; rather, he provides noticeably more in one or more categories (i.e. more steals, better batting average). Also, our 3B rankings are based on the idea that a player is solely eligible at 3B. Players eligible at other positions may be ranked higher in our overall rankings.
Who are the best fantasy baseball 3Bs?
Eligibility based on Yahoo default settings
* = Player not eligible at that position on draft day but expected to play there during the season
You know what you’re getting from Nolan Arenado and Alex Bregman, which is why both will likely go in the first round, but there are just enough small question marks around Anthony Rendon and Jose Ramirez to drop them to the second. Either way, all of our Tier-1 3Bs are great anchors for any team.
Arenado and Bregman will both hit for good averages, club around 40 HRs, and post a lot of runs and RBIs. Rendon won’t hit quite as many homers, but the rest of his stats should be comparable. The only worry is his switch to a new team, but it’s not as if Nationals Park was a hitters park, so we expect him to be just fine in Anaheim.
Ramirez was at the top of this tier before last season, and despite a brutal first half, he manged to finish with decent enough numbers to land him here again. Overall, he was a disappointment, but as the only 3B with legit 30/30 upside, he still has a ton of value. With hardly any third basemen stealing bases, Ramirez provides category scarcity that might be worth building your team around, regardless of who you draft in the first round.
Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Alex Bregman, Astros (also eligible at SS)
Anthony Rendon, Angels
Jose Ramirez, Indians
2020 Fantasy Baseball Tiers: Tier-2 3Bs
It wouldn’t be a shock if any of our Tier-2 players wound up in Tier 1 heading into next season. Many have shown that ability before, and the ones that haven’t (Yoan Moncada, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) are among the most talented young players in baseball.
Tier 2A features sluggers who won’t steal many bases. They’re not all the same, as some have more power (Eugenio Suarez) and others will hit for a better average (Rafael Devers), but they’re classic four-category producers who should finish with a lot of RBIs and runs.
We’ve put DJ LeMahieu in his own sub-tier because he will likely hit for the highest average and fewest HRs of this group, though he can hold his own in the power department. Moncada will likely steal the most bases, and while that could be just 10 like last season, he has the potential to take 20-plus if he really wants to.
These players will start coming off the board in the third round and likely be gone by the seventh. Ideally, your starting 3B will come from one of the first two tiers, but you don’t necessarily have to reach if you find values at other positions. Because there aren’t many steals in this tier, you can probably find similar players at other positions, so unless you really like someone, you can wait it out and see who falls to you.
Rafael Devers, Red Sox
Kris Bryant, Cubs (OF)
Eugenio Suarez, Reds
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
Manny Machado, Padres (SS)
DJ LeMahieu, Yankees (1B, 2B)
Yoan Moncada, White Sox
2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers:
Catcher | First | Second | Third | Short | Outfielder | Starter | Each team
Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Tier-3 3Bs
What’s the difference between the guys in Tier 3 and those in Tier 2? Either batting average or age. That’s really it. So, if you don’t care about average, then you can wait until this tier to grab your 3B.
There are some big-time mashers and run producers in Tier 3A, but most will be a drag on your batting average. Miguel Sano offers the most power potential, but he’s an injury risk and offers the least upside in average. Everyone else will probably be between .250 and .270 and hit 30-plus homers, which isn’t bad for a pick in the eighth-12th round.
The players in Tier 3B actually do hit for good averages, but both are 35 and don’t hit for quite as much power. They’re risky because of their ages, but getting a 3B who can hit .300 with 25 HRs is never a bad thing, especially in the 11th or 12th round. If you need average help and can stomach older players, then waiting for Justin Turner or Yuli Gurriel makes sense — just be sure to get a good backup (preferably one who can play multiple positions).
Josh Donaldson, Twins
Max Muncy, Dodgers (1B, 2B)
Matt Chapman, A’s
Mike Moustakas, Reds (2B)
Eduardo Escobar, D-backs (2B)
Miguel Sano, Twins (1B)
Justin Turner, Dodgers
Yuli Gurriel, Astros (1B)
Fantasy Baseball Breakouts, Bounce-backs, and Boring Picks: Tier-4 3Bs
We cast a wide net with Tier 4, and while some of these players have more upside than others, they all seemingly have somewhat-limited ceilings. Tier 4A features players who steal some bases and have at least moderate power, while Tier 4B is full of players who will hit 20-30 HRs.
Two players from that tier stand out: Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis. Both hit over .300 last year, so you can make a case that they’re as good or better than Turner and Gurriel in the tier above. Davis seems less likely to post that high of an average, but his power is legit. McNeil will likely have a good average, but his homers could top out around 20.
Every player in this tier makes for a great backup or CI, depending how deep your league is. A boring veteran like Kyle Seager is a complete afterthought in drafts, but he could easily hit 25 HRs and post decent production numbers, so if you don’t want to reach for a more exciting breakout candidate like either of the Mets or Ian Happ, you can just wait and grab someone like Seager or Renato Nunez for cheap power.
Scott Kingery, Phillies (2B, SS, OF)
Danny Santana, Rangers (1B, 2B, SS, OF)
Tommy Edman, Cardinals (2B, OF)
Jean Segura*, Phillies (SS)
Jeff McNeil, Mets (2B, OF)
Ryan McMahon, Rockies (1B, 2B)
Ian Happ, Cubs (2B, OF)
Renato Nunez, Orioles (1B)
Brian Anderson, Marlins (OF)
Gio Urshela, Yankees
J.D. Davis, Mets (OF)
Kyle Seager, Mariners
Hunter Dozier, Royals (1B, OF)
Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Tier-5 3Bs
The players in Tier 5 all have playing time concerns, but if they do get regular at-bats, they could put up big numbers. Tier 5A features a bunch of sluggers, while Tier 5B features solid power guys who could also steal a few bases. Howie Kendrick is the least like the other players here, but he’s a great average hitter with moderate pop, so he’s still worth a look in the late rounds.
Grabbing one of these power sleepers late makes sense in deep leagues. It’s not that tough to find homers anymore, but there’s still value here.
Yandy Diaz, Rays (1B)
Austin Riley*, Braves (OF)
Yoshi Tsutsugo, Rays (OF)
Nick Solak, Rangers (2B)
Carter Kieboom* Nationals (SS)
Howie Kendrick, Nationals (1B, 2B)
Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Tier-6 3Bs
It’s unlikely many of the players in Tier 6 will be drafted, but at least several of them have everyday spots in their respective lineups. There isn’t much upside to be found for some of the moderate-power, low-average veterans (Tier 6A), but Luis Arraez can be a legit contributor in average and Jon Berti could really help in steals.
Tommy La Stella, Angels (2B)
Todd Frazier, Rangers
Maikel Franco, Royals
Evan Longoria, Giants
Starlin Castro, Nationals (2B)
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
Rio Ruiz, Orioles (1B)
Colin Moran, Pirates (2B)
Travis Shaw, Blue Jays (1B*)
Johan Camargo, Braves (SS, OF)
Asdrubal Cabrera, Nationals (2B)
Marwin Gonzalez, Twins (1B, OF)
Luis Arraez, Twins (2B, OF)
Hanser Alberto, Orioles (2B)
Jon Berti, Marlins (SS, OF)
Eric Sogard*, Brewers (2B, OF)
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