Analyzing the third base position and uncovering key players to pick and play in your FanDuel and DraftKings daily fantasy baseball lineups.
Chase is one of the newest writers to the Moxyball team and takes some time to share a quick overview of MLB’s top third basemen with you today. Please join us in welcoming Chase to the family and enjoy his column!
Each day as I start to create my DraftKings MLB lineup I feel like the classic Abbott and Costello skit – I DON’T KNOW – is playing third base.
Third base is by far the deepest position in the MLB this season. With 4 of the top 12 HR leaders coming from the position and several quality plays each day, DFS players are almost left choosing a name out of a hat when it comes to predicting if Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado, Luis Valbuena, or Josh Donaldson are going to produce the greatest value for day.
After compiling some statistics and comparing the top 15 third basemen in the game, here is some advice to keep in mind when trying to figure out who you should have at third base (no, Who is on first).
|HR||HR/AB||HRvLHP||HRvRHP||HRHome||HRAway||wOBAvRHP||wOBAvLHP||wOBA||RBI||OPS||Avg Salary||DK Points|
*Player has 1B and 3B position eligibility on DK
** Player has 2B and 3B position eligibility on DK
Note: Stats above are as of 6/29/15.
Todd Frazier – With the most homers of any third baseman and second most in the MLB, Frazier has become a force at the plate this year. While he has 7 more home runs against RHP this year as compared to LHP, he also has the most home runs off LHP. His ratio of homers between RHP and LHP is far better than many of the other top third basemen. If it comes down to multiple third basemen with LHP matchups, Frazier is your best bet for a dong and productive day as his wOBA splits are nearly the same. His dual position ability in DraftKings is especially conducive to building GPP or cash lineups.
Nolan Arenado – This guy absolutely owns RHP this year! 22 of his 24 homers are against RHP and his wOBA splits are .100 points higher when a righty is on the mound. He is also one of the few third basemen to have more homers on the road this year, which is crazy as Arenado’s home stadium is Coors Field! What!? Ideal play is Arenado against a mediocre RHP either away or home. Another interesting piece is that 14 of his 24 homers have come in the past month – about the same time frame that Troy Tulowitzki has been back in the lineup and feeling 100%.
Luis Valbuena – To be honest, Valbuena usually falls off my radar when I am building my lineup, but I think I need to start changing that, especially with his dual position eligibility at second and third. The most lucrative piece about Valbuena his is average salary over the past week and his HR/AB percentage compared to the other guys at the top of this list. He has the third highest HR/AB percentage but costs on average $1500 less than Frazier and Arenado! Ideal play for Valbuena is at home vs. RHP when he bats leadoff or second in the order.
Josh Donaldson – Possibly the biggest piece to Donaldson’s value isn’t on this chart, as it is his teammates. Batting in between Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista, Donaldson’s RBI and Runs Scored point potential outweighs his 18 home runs and could put him at 2nd or 3rd in third basemen overall rankings. He has 48 RBIs (fourth most from any third basemen) and 58 Runs Scored so far this year. Donaldson’s wOBA is higher against LHP, but he has more than double the homers against RHP. Conclusion… Donaldson can hit against anyone you throw at him. I wonder which arm Pat Venditte would use when facing Donaldson?
Miguel Cabrera – This guy is making a case to be in your lineup every single day either at first base or third base. He is having another MVP caliber year with an overall wOBA of .439 and a 1.043 OPS. One of the first things I do when I set my lineup is look at the Over/Under line for the Tigers game and how many projected runs for the Tigers v. opposition. If the O/U line is 7.5+ and/or the Tigers expected run is 3.7+, I make sure to have Cabrera in my lineup. It is that simple. (Note: With the resurgence of Albert Pujols and Paul Goldschmidt going nuts in Arizona, first base becomes a bit more tricky, where as before Cabrera was a lock. The nice thing is Cabrera can be in your lineup with either Pujols or Goldie on days when you can’t decide. Since writing this article, Miggy has succumbed to injury and will be out for a little while. Keep this in your back pocket for when he returns to the Detroit lineup).
Kyle Seager – Is quietly putting together a decent year on a team that ranks last in nearly every offensive category (dead last in team batting average at .230). The lack of offensive production from Seattle makes Seager a GPP play as his RBI and Runs Scored points are severely limited. Rolling your eyes? Think about it, the dude has 12 homers (9 of them on the road), a .383 wOBA against LHP and usually only costs only $3200 on DraftKings. If the Mariners are playing away, against a blah LHP, you have to give Seager at least a thought for a big tourney.
Justin Turner – Turner is a great cash game play on the right day. He usually costs $700-$500 less then the studs and is basically wearing a shirt that says, “RHP, I dare you.” All 11 of his homers are off RHP and his wOBA splits mirror that fact – his wOBA is .270 higher against RHP! If you are building your lineup and can’t squeeze in the top guys on this list, Turner is probably your next safest option as long as the Dodgers are batting against a RHP. Note: Mattingly rarely starts him against LHP (for good reason) so make sure to double-check starting lineups and confirmed starting pitchers before game times when playing Turner.
Follow @DFSchaser on Twitter for daily lineup and season long advice for MLB, NFL, and NHL.