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.[Jeff]
Nick Castellanos, Detroit (49% owned)
Castellanos was well on his way to over thirty home runs last year when an injury stole over fifty games from him. This year a confluence of factors, including bad luck, has driven down his production. Castellanos is #8 in the league in “barrels,” one of MLB’s new statcast-driven statistics. A barrel is a well-struck ball that is expected to have a SLG over 1.500. It means that these are home runs a lot of the time.
Castellanos sits only one barrel away from tying Manny Machado, Joey Votto, and Miguel Sano. He’s hitting the ball hard but his average is suffering. His BABIP sits thirty points below his career average, and both his fly ball rate and his HR/FB rate are down from his breakout campaign last year. He’s barely below the threshold, so he may be a buy-low candidate instead of a free agency candidate.
Danny Valencia, Seattle (19% owned)
Valencia will continue to show up on both the first base and third base free agent pieces until he gets the ownership he’s due. Over the last two weeks, Valencia has a .340 average with two home runs, six runs and ten RBI. His batted ball profile doesn’t indicate anything is amiss, either, and that his production is relatively legitimate. Obviously, he won’t keep up the .340 average, but his season-long .244/.315/.397 slash line stems from stumbling out of the gate.
In May he’s turned around his slow start and put up a .322/.385/.508 slash line. He has multi-position eligibility, so he’s extra valuable for any Freddie Freeman owners who may need to slot him in at first base. He’s the #8 third baseman over the last two weeks, and #17 over the last month.
Trevor Plouffe, Oakland (3% owned)
Plouffe has an extremely deep league or AL-only flag to him, but he has played like the best version of Trevor Plouffe so far this year. His .236/.301/.407 slash line isn’t doing him any favors, but it’s virtually identical to when he was fantasy baseball relevant in 2012 slashing .235/.301/.405. The enticing part about Plouffe is real display of power this year, as he has six dingers already.
Plouffe’s HR/FB rate is off (26.1% is far too high), but his fly ball rate is well below career average. He’s Hitting the ball as hard as ever and pulling more than ever, so his power should stay. Don’t expect that average to get any better, though.