Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Third Base
We make our last stop of the infield in this Fantasy Baseball Sleepers Series with third base. The last two editions of this series, second base and shortstop, saw us feature a position that should be waited on in fantasy drafts. That isn’t the case with third base.
Third base is not a deep position that is top heavy. With the likes of first base, you find a lot of your power stats here. Don’t wait on third base in your upcoming drafts. Either way, you’ll need a second third base eligible player on your fantasy rosters and that’s where this article comes into play.
Each year I do this sleepers series, offering my favorite sleepers per position leading up to draft season. Typically per position I will offer my three favorites, while offering five sleepers for the outfield, starting and relief pitchers.
You can find the other editions of this series below:
First Base: https://www.weknowfantasy.com/post/fantasy-baseball-sleeper-series-first-base-2023
Second Base: https://www.weknowfantasy.com/post/fantasy-baseball-sleepers-second-base-2023
Brandon Drury (Los Angeles Angels)
2022 Stats: 568 PA, .263 BA, 28 HR, 87 RBI, 87 R, 2 SB & 126 SO
2023 Projections: 493 PA, .253 BA, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 65 R, 3 SB & 109 SO
Drury is fresh off a career year after getting every day at bats for the first time in a few years. He saw 568 plate appearances between his time in Cincinnati and San Diego. He now moves to Los Angeles to join the likes of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Part of his success in 2022 came while playing at a hitter friendly ballpark in the Great American Ball Park. He may not hit 28 homers again this season, but he will flirt with 25.
The left field wall is just two feet longer in Los Angeles. Angel Stadium ranks seventh in home run factor for right-handed hitters. Drury also flirted with 90 runs-batted-in a season ago with 87. Baseball reference projects him at 67, but playing in this Angels’ lineup and seeing as he could hit upwards of 25 homers, I don’t see why he couldn’t push that towards 75.
He also hits for a decent average, hitting .263 a year ago. He’ll hit over .250 with a chance to get up to that .260 number again. The strike outs will add up as he struck out over 100 times a year ago, but with the power numbers he brings in the 16th round of 12-man leagues, you can’t go wrong. He’s also set to be eligible at a multitude of positions, which adds to his value as well.
Ryan McMahon (Colorado Rockies)
2022 Stats: 597 PA, .246 BA, 20 HR, 67 RBI, 67 R, 7 SB & 158 SO
2023 Projections: 558 PA, .245 BA, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 66 R, 6 SB & 142 SO
If you’re looking for consistency and knowing what you’re getting, Ryan McMahon is your guy. He’s had near identical plate appearances and stats between 2021 and 2022. He’ll likely repeat those numbers again this year. He hits over the league average for batting average and right around 20 home runs. Last year he hit for 67 RBIs while swiping a handful of bases. The strikeouts are a concern but again, you’re getting a consistent third baseman who does everything else well.
McMahon has played over 150 games in back-to-back seasons. Playing over 150 games again this season would be the standard. I expect his numbers to be better than they were a year ago as well with a healthy Kris Bryant in the lineup and a full season with Ezequiel Tovar. As well as an improved supporting cast around him, McMahon’s barrel rate and hard hit percentages were up significantly from his 2021 season last year.
There isn’t much flashy about his game, but you know what you’re getting. It also helps that he gets to play half of his games at Coors Field. When selecting a backup third baseman, getting someone as consistent as McMahon goes a long way. You’re finding all of this in the 17th round of 12-man leagues.
Jordan Walker (St. Louis Cardinals)
2022 Stats: N/a
2023 Projections: N/A
When it comes to sleepers, sometimes you have to take chances. That’s what you’re doing with Jordan Walker. Walker is the Cardinals’ top prospect and has a very real chance of not only making the opening day roster, but securing a starting spot for the Cardinals. There is a chance he starts the season in Triple-A however.
Walker steam rolled his way through Double-A a season ago with a line of .306/.388/.510 with 19 home runs, 100 runs scored, 68 RBI and 22 stolen bases across 536 plate appearances. The Cardinals even transitioned him to the outfield last year to pave his way to the majors.
With a multitude of Cardinals’ players playing in the World Baseball Classic, that also opens up a better chance for Walker to make the Cardinals’ opening day roster. He brings a rare combination of power and speed with him. You’re also getting him in the 20th round of 12-man leagues so there is a low risk to a high reward.