This week’s fantasy baseball third baseman review will help you identify third basemen available in 50% or more of Yahoo! fantasy baseball leagues. For deep league players, the third is available in 85% or more of Yahoo! leagues.
Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh (48% owned)
Harrison has seemingly returned to his 2014 form where he played on a fifteen home run, twenty stolen base pace with a .315 average. Harrison was a top-flight third baseman back then, but he fell off in 2015 and 2016. Thus far this year he has six home runs and five stolen bases with a .294/.356/.442 slash line. Everything with his hitting profile is essentially the same (strikeouts, walks, BABIP).
However, Harrison changed one distinct part of his game this year: fly balls. He’s hitting more fly balls than ever before (42% rate compared to a career 37.5%), and more are going over the fence (8.8% compared to 5%). 8.8% finally has Harrison on the low-end of MLB average, which makes sense. He’s slightly below average on exit velocity and well above average on launch angle. You many not need to go out and pick him up now, but he should be tops on your list if an injury hits your squad.
Ryan Schimpf, San Diego (22% owned)
There are a handful of players in Major League Baseball who exemplify the “Three True Outcomes” concept: Miguel Sano, Joey Gallo, Chris Davis and Ryan Schimpf. The “3TO” philosophy seeks at-bats ending in strikeouts, walks or home runs. Singles, doubles, and triples need not apply. It’s essentially going up there looking for the perfect pitch to place over the wall, and that’s Schimpf’s MO.
Schimpf is fourth on that list with just under 55% of his plate appearances ending up in one of those three events. That means he a god awful average (.168) but is tied for tenth in home runs (14). Schimpf fits one very specific need: a team with a ton of high average, low power players who can support his bad average. If you need to make up some power in a hurry in a roto league though, Schimpf is your man.
Howie Kendrick, Philadelphia (12% owned)
Kendrick returned from his oblique strain on May 29 and picked up where he left off six weeks before. In a small sample since he returned to the lineup, he has both a stolen base and a home run. Kendrick carries a .892 OPS so far in this young season, and pretty much everything in his hitting profile is in line with his career average. The only fluky item is his extremely high BABIP, but Kendrick always carries a high BABIP. He has to beat out Michael Saunders to play every day, but that’s a laughable speed bump. He shouldn’t be owned in a massive amount of leagues, but 12% only stems from his DL stint. Snatch him up if you need some productive multi-position eligibility (2B, 3B, OF).