2022 Third Base Sleepers

There is upside to be had late in drafts at third base.

Let’s take a look at some options that are currently going outside the top 15 at third base per NFBC ADP.

J.D. Davis

 

NFBC ADP: 448.70, 3B #40

A wrist injury on a swing early in May wiped out the Mets’ opening day third baseman last year. The Mets activated him in mid-July, but the injury, a torn ligament in his left wrist, required surgery this past October. Before the injury, he was fantastic, posting a .481 wOBA through 14 games in April. And that has more or less been the story with Davis, when he plays, he’s been productive; for his career (1,074 PA) he has a .271/ .354/ .446 slash line and a .343 wOBA / 118 wRC+. In 2019, his only season with over 400 PA, he posted a .383 xwOBA and .309 xBA, both in the top 10%.

Now the issue is all how the Mets’ roster shakes out. Recent signing, Eduardo Escobar, adds uncertainty to how Davis fits their roster. Jeff McNeil and, yes, Robinson Cano are there too. Davis was candid back in October and described his chance of being back with the Mets in 2022 as “50/50”. With a new GM in town, the Mets should be one of the more active teams when things open back up. On that note, McNeil’s spot on the Mets’ roster could be tenuous at best, his now infamous run-in with Francisco Lindor in the dugout tunnel following a misplayed groundball in May was one of the low points last year. If the Mets move on from McNeil, they could shift Escobar to 2B who had 31 starts there last year. Or maybe the Mets, who have Brett Baty waiting in the wings, trade Davis who is isn’t a UFA until 2025. Again, there is a lot of uncertainty here, but considering his impressive rate stats, Davis might be worth taking a chance on at his ADP in the hopes that he finds a more secure role.

Alec Bohm

 

NFBC ADP: 283.16, 3B #26

After impressing in 2020, Alec Bohm was on the opposite end of the spectrum last year and bottomed out before being demoted to Triple-A Lehigh in August. The one thing that stood out was the jump in strikeouts, a product of a spike in whiff rate on fastballs. For a prospect whose bat-to-ball ability was always well regarded, his struggles against fastballs (.239 wOBA against last year) seem like they could have been a one-year blip.

Lots of groundballs. That’s another thing you can see right away in Bohm’s profile that is undoubtedly capping his ceiling. But, there is significant power lurking in his bat. One thing that can be interesting is to go back and explore early reports on prospects. On that note, Adam Lawler, way back in the winter of 2018, referenced notes on Baseball Prospectus that pointed to the 6’5″ righty’s substantial raw power. So, there is a ceiling here if he can unlock it. To give a better idea of what Bohm could be, when the Phillies selected him third overall in 2018, their amateur scouting director, Johnny Almaraz, cited his ability to hit home runs to all parts of the field while also controlling the strike zone exceptionally well.

Phillies GM Dave Dombrowski did specifically mention Bohm’s power swing as a point of emphasis following his demotion last year and on a similar note, they did also bring in a new hitting coach this offseason in Kevin Long. The lack of production last season on fastballs is a definite concern, but Bohm is still a potential post-hype option to consider late in the hopes that he and the Phillies can hit the reset button and restore his stock as a hitting prospect of repute.

 

Josh Jung

 

NFBC ADP: 282.87, 3B #25

There was at least a reasonable chance that Josh Jung, who Texas drafted eighth overall in 2019, would have made his debut last season had he not suffered a stress fracture in March that required surgery. Jung came back in June and ended the year in Triple-A Round Rock, where he cranked out a .305 ISO. One of the concerns with Jung was in-game power, but as Eric Longenhagen noted in his report last May on FanGraphs.com, Jung may have started to tap into more pull side power late in 2020. Billed as one of the most prolific hitters to ever come out of Texas Tech, Jung has power upside in a Rangers lineup that added Corey Seager and Marcus Semien in the offseason. There is uncertainty with where Jung starts the season, but Kennedi Landry of MLB.com said back in September that considering his domination in the minors, he had a strong chance of being named the Rangers’ opening day third baseman.

Bohm, David, and Jung are all speculative with a wide range of outcomes. But let’s also run through a few names that might be more stable options. If you’re looking for just secure playing time late in drafts, the Tigers’ Jeimer Candelario makes sense. The switch-hitter quietly racked up 42 doubles last season, perhaps hinting that he is starting to tap into more power.

Josh Donaldson’s batted ball data was superlative last season; among qualifiers, he was fifth in AEV on FB/LD at 98.7 and was third in barrels/PA at 11.2%. As the 20th third baseman off the board, there is profit potential for HR/RBI if he can somehow avoid a long stint on the IL. His batting average isn’t going to move the needle at this point, but he gets a big boost in value for those in leagues that value walks (.367 career OBP).

Searching for a boost in batting average? Look no further than Luis ArraezThe 27th 3B off the board, he has a .299 projected batting average on Steamer, fourth-highest. And he’s 2B/OF eligible too. He could be a useful option, provided your team has a strong base in HR.

(Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire) Adapted by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerGuyBoston on Twitter)

Ryan Amore

Writer for PL, artist, DFS enthusiast, and occasional Yankee fan. Once won a GPP with Henderson Alvarez. A proprietor of the Ketel Marte Fan Club. Appreciates walks but only of the base on ball variety.

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