Fantasy Sleepers: 3 Options at Third Base in 2016

Third Base is top-heavy in talent, ranking 4 players in the top 15 in most rankings. But what about those sleepers at the end of the draft?

If you missed out on the four horseman early in the draft, you can still snag some quality talent in the mid rounds. But if you’re looking for some talent with upside regarding ADP, the three names below can provide you some sneaky value.


Nick Castellanos

Some of you probably don’t remember that Castellanos was a very highly regarded third basemen in the minors. His 2012 and 2013 prospect ranking reflects that, ranking 10th and 11th overall respectively and most of his value was tied to his bat in the scouting grades. Can he reach those expectations that were set for him early in his career?

It’s important not to glean too much from small sample sizes, but his second half in 2015 provided optimism. And it was less about the results, and more about the approach. From the All-Star break forward, Castellanos put together a Batted Ball type of 27.7% LD/32.9% GB/39.3% FB. His line drive rate ranked him top five among qualifiers during that time frame and his ground ball rate ranked him top 15 overall. Additionally, he was spraying to all parts of the field, providing at least a 30% to left, center, and right. The increase in home runs can be contributed to a less than 10% Soft Hit% which ranked him right between Bryce Harper and David Ortiz at 6th best in the majors.

I won’t get too overly optimistic about Castellanos because he still strikes out at a tremendous rate and doesn’t offer the power needed to offset that hole in his game. But for a guy ranked just inside the top 20 on ESPN and who slots around 25th in ADP for Yahoo!, he is a very solid player to hold down your corner infield or utility slot.

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
155692075441321.270.321.449

Trevor Plouffe

Plouffe simply does not get the credit he deserves as a hitter and seemed to always bounce on and off the waiver wire. But Plouffe ranked 13th overall last season among third basemen according to Yahoo!. So what’s the worry this year? 

The questions that come up about Plouffe and why his ADP has dropped are the additions to the Twins in Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Byung-ho Park. Sano was a third basemen in the minors so the fear of Plouffe being displaced at that position was eased when the Twins announce that he would play in the outfield in 2016. Additionally, much of Plouffe’s value was tied to his lineup placement, batting cleanup for most of 2015 which fueled his counting stats. If Park were to slot there and/or Buxton at the top of the order, this could slide Plouffe down to fifth or sixth. Plouffe isn’t a sleeper because of a projected uptick in performance; rather, I believe that he still has a great chance to repeat his 2015 production in an offense that should be top ten in 2016.

So for a player ranked outside the top 20 on ESPN and outside the top 30 in Yahoo! ADP, you could grab yourself a solid contributor late in the draft before Plouffe, he’s gone. (God, please forgive me for that awful, awful joke)

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
150722187511202.250.318.436

Brett Lawrie

When Lawrie was called up for the Blue Jays late in 2011, he set the AL East on fire, slugging nine home runs and swiping seven bags in only 43 games. Since then, the only appropriate word for Lawrie’s career is disappointing, as injuries have robbed him of the potential that made him so highly touted as a prospect.

Lawrie is one of the players that sites like ESPN like in 2016, but come draft day, he just isn’t getting the same love. And the reason he is on this list is tied to going from one of the worst parks for home run hitters to one of the best: the HR Factor for the Coliseum is .827 (good for third worst) and U.S. Cellular Field is ranked sixth best with a HR Factor of 1.191. Since most of Lawrie’s value is tied to home runs, there is a strong believe he could top 20 taters for the first time in his career. And I really like the White Sox offense to improve with their offseason acquisitions after ranking last in the league in 2015.

If you’re drafting in Yahoo!, there is no risk drafting Lawrie near the 25th round his current ADP projects. But due to the injury and performance risks Lawrie has shown, I would not reach for him in any round before 20.

Projected 2016 Season Stats

GRHRRBIBBKSBAVGOBPSLG
145701969351195.267.312.422

My recommendation for drafting third base is to make sure you snag one of the top twelve guys; you don’t want to be left relying on Matt Duffy or Josh Harrison as your starting third basemen if you can avoid it and have more certainty at the position. Other players I really like to exceed their ADP and rankings: Mike Moustakas and Jung Ho Kang who both showed last year they can be 20 home run bats.