We have reached November. The baseball season ended a few weeks ago. That means it is time for some too early fantasy baseball rankings. To get things started, we will begin with the lovely catcher position. After the Top 30 rankings, there will be a breakdown of a few of the catchers to target. Those that take things too seriously may want to check into some updated rankings closer to January as a lot will change with the positional rankings this offseason. Many players are looking for new homes this offseason, and they may not sign with their new teams for quite some time. 

The third base position is loaded once again, heading into 2021. There’s the AL MVP runner up in Jose Ramirez, another MVP finalist in Manny Machado, and much more to like in the top tier of the position. There are some exciting bounce back targets and some young studs trying to take the next step. It is a position focused more on power with some batting average upside but overall lacks stolen base prowess. There is a lot to like at the third base position, and it appears the hot corner is back when it comes to a fantasy baseball power source.

Once the positional rankings are released, I will post a google sheet with all positions on one page (like last year). Make sure to keep a lookout for all updates as the rankings will be more fluid than usual this season; if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@bdentrek). 

Third Base
1- Jose Ramirez
2- Manny Machado
3- Rafael Devers
4- Nolan Arenado
5- Anthony Rendon
6- Yoan Moncada
7- D.J. LeMahieu
8- Alex Bregman
9- Josh Donaldson
10- Giovanny Urshela
11- Eugenio Suarez
12- Mike Moustakas
13- Matt Chapman
14- Ke’Bryan Hayes
15- Alec Bohm
16- Justin Turner
17- Maikel Franco
18- Jeimer Candelario
19- Edwin Rios
20- Jean Segura
21- Brian Anderson
22- Kris Bryant
23- Tommy Edman
24- Kyle Seager
25- J.D. Davis
26- Joey Wendle
27- Isiah Kiner-Falefa
28- Evan Longoria
29- Austin Riley
30- Eduardo Escobar

Clear Number 1

Jose Ramirez had a strong second half of the 2019 season and carried that over in a big way in 2020. Ramirez was the prominent bright spot in an overall disappointing Indians lineup. He finished with a .292 average, 17 home runs, and ten stolen bases. JRam also saw his barrel rate climb to a career-best 10.2%, which was closer to his 2018 8.3%. He struck out a bit more, but 16% is still nothing to scoff at while he walked more and hit the ball in the air more as his groundball rate dropped to 29.9%. JRam is a beast and continues to showcase his outstanding offensive skills. The fact he hits the way he does and steals bases makes him the elite option at third base and a first-round pick. Steamer has him projected for 32 home runs and 24 stolen bases, which would make him by far the top selection at third base in 2021. 

Bounce-back Options

I

t was a rocky year for a few at the hot corner, and 2021 could be an excellent bounce-back situation. Alex Bregman leads the way after a back-to-back season where he hit at least .286, hit at least 31 home runs, and scored and drove in at least 100. He was an MVP candidate in back-to-back seasons, but in 2020 it was quite the opposite. In 2020 Bregman only hit .242 with six home runs. He saw his barrel rate drop by a percent, his hard-hit rate dropping over four percent, his strikeout rate rose by a couple of percents, and his walk rate dropped by nearly four percent. A lot went wrong for Bregman, but at the same time, the overall hit tool is still there, and a bounceback should be in line. A former late first or early second-round pick can now be drafted late in the second or early in the third round as an excellent value. 

Bright Future at the Hot Corner

There are three prominent names I will be keeping an eye on this offseason, but that does not mean there are not more young guns to keep an eye on going forward. For now, though, it comes down to Ke’Bryan Hayes, Alex Bohm, and Edwin Rios. 

Hayes hit .376 with five home runs in his 24 games with the Pirates. The average will take a bit of a hit, but the power is definitely legit, and the speed is also there. He only stole one base in 2020, but he has stolen double-digit bases most years in the minors. Hayes could give you an excellent 20/10 or better upside at the hot corner, a little Jose Ramirez light. 

Bohm was the main third base prospect heading into 2020, and while Hayes was outstanding, Bohm was impressive as well. In his 44 games with the Phillies, he hit .338 with only four home runs. It was crazy Bohm only hit four home runs as he barreled the ball 10.3% of the time with a hard-hit rate of 46.8%. The likely reason he did not hit more home runs was a launch angle of only 4.8 degrees, which led to a 54% ground ball rate and a 15.1% fly-ball rate. Improving the launch angle and improving on a 28.6% pull rate will result in a lot more home runs for the Phillies’ third baseman.

Rios is a statcast machine. Almost everything he hits is hit hard as he barreled the ball 13.6% of the time with a 45.8% hard-hit rate. Rios hit eight home runs in limited playing time with the Dodgers while hitting .250. He also had a strong postseason that should raise a fantasy player’s interests going into 2021. If we can lock inconsistent playing time, that could be huge, and with Justin Turner being a free agent, the playing time may be there. Keep your eyes open for Rios.

Conclusion

There is a lot to like about the third base position. The top tier is loaded with four and some five-category contributors. The idea of getting an elite SS or OF to pair with JRam and lock up a great start to all five offensive categories is quite tempting. When going down the rankings, the youth is there, and some steady players may help in three or three and a half categories. It is a position to help grab some big-time power on the draft day, making it an excellent option for corner infield.