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.
Nick Castellanos, Detroit (34% owned)
I still believe in Nick Castellanos. He is currently working on a five-game hitting streak after bottoming out his slash line at .208/.283/.350 on May 30. There’s a lot to look at that says that Castellanos has a torrid streak in him. First, his BABIP sits .043 below his career line. He’s doing this while hitting the ball harder than ever before (48.4% hard hit rate compared to 35.5%). Those two numbers don’t flesh, and the hard hit % is the part Castellanos can control. His BABIP will normalize and with it, his production.
Second, statcast’s xwOBA or expected weighted on base average takes the powerful statcast data and predicts what a hitter should hit. Think of it as stripping luck from the equation. By analyzing his hit data, xwOBA calculates that Nick Castellanos’ .298 wOBA should be 0.374. That’s the difference between Joe Panik and George Springer. Luck has conspired against Castellanos, so reap the benefits of his turnaround.
Danny Valencia, Seattle (21% owned)
Multi-positional eligibility gets Valencia three spots this week in three articles. Valencia is a 2017 post-hype sleeper and an extremely slow start confirmed his sleeper status, but Valencia sleeps no longer. He rocked a sweet .565 OPS at the end of April, mostly due to his .222 BABIP. However, since the calendar turned over to May, his .565 gave way to a .514 slugging percentage. Since May 1, Valencia has a .339/,392/.514 slash line.
He missed some time in late May with a wrist injury, but that hasn’t stopped him lately. He’s hit even better since that injury. So far this year Valencia is pulling a .283/.343/.435 slash line with five home runs, 26 RBI, 22 R and a stolen base. He’s already a good AL-only play and could be on his way up to higher relevance. He’s the #6 third baseman over the last two weeks, and #1 in the last week. He has outfield and first base eligibility, which helps his relevance, as well.
Wilmer Flores, Mets (5% owned)
Nobody is having a quieter recent 1.031 OPS than Flores. Since he bottomed out on May 7 with a .178/.213/.311 slash line, he’s gone for .400/.417/.614. There’s a lot to unpack there, though. A .439 BABIP drives his .400 average, and a seeming complete inability to take a walk will drive down his OBP. Still, he has only ten strikeouts since bottoming out, which will give him more opportunity to get hits. While his average will decrease, it won’t by much. He’s hitting the ball harder, a lot harder. His Hard hit rate (37.8%) is over 9% higher than his career rate. He’s splitting time with Jose Reyes, but he won’t be much longer, as Reyes carries a robust .190/.263/.307 line on the year.