Over the next couple of weeks at Harper Wallbanger, I'm sorting through the Big Board for 12-team 5x5 leagues to find the must-draft and must-avoid players at each position. Today it's onward to the hot corner!
STATE OF THE POSITION
3B has evened out a little bit, but we sitll mostly have a big gap between the elite and the rest. Bryant, Arenado, Machado, Donaldson, and Turner are the top guys. Rendon and Castellanos are then the only two that show up between there and a giant grouping in tier 6, where you'll find a mix of some nice value picks and risky bets. I have seen plenty of good values showing up in the mid-late rounds on guys like Beltre, Devers, and Moustakas, making 3B a position that could be waiting on. Included here is a repeat-target from last year who is still undervalued, an xStats darling, and a guy with big question marks here in '18.
TARGET: Justin Turner
500 PA, 27 HR, 90 R, 90 RBI, 5 SB, .310 AVG
Well, damn it. Turner was in here pre-injury, and I'm sticking to my guns. After suffering a non-displaced fracture in his wrist following a HBP from Kendall Graveman in spring training, Turner will land on the 10-day DL to start the 2018 season. Early reports are about as positive as could be expected for this injury, and so I'm docking Turner 100 PA from what I originally had him down for. That still makes him a near-elite hitter for 80% of the season, and he'll be heavily discounted following the injury. His ADP has dropped all the way to around 120 in recent NFBC drafts but I believe he can be a top-90 player. Even better if you play in a league with a good # of DL or bench spots, since he gets some credit for the "lost time" that you'll fill with another player's production.
When to target: Round 9.
Risk profile: Medium.
TARGET: Nick Castellanos
637 PA, 27 HR, 82 R, 92 RBI, 4 SB, .280 AVG
Are we tired of hearing about Nick Castellanos and his xStats numbers at this point? I think that may be what's happened, and so some people are writing off the likelihood that Casty has been pretty unlucky in his career so far. The best part is that you probably didn't even realize that his projection listed above is basically what he already did last season (26 hr, .272 avg)! So there is upside here. Look no further than his big 2nd half last year (.299/.329/.553) to see what we might get out of the Tigers third baseman this year.
When to target: Target in Round 11 or 12 for Yahoo/CBS, Round 8 in ESPN.
Risk profile: Low.
AVOID: Miguel Sano
520 PA, 30 HR, 74 R, 83 RBI, 1 SB, .252 AVG
An alleged sexual-harasser, with bad legs, who showed up to spring training fat? Sign me up! Sano is among the best young power hitters in the league right now, but there are just so many question marks around him that it's very easy to be 'out' on him at his current cost this season. Between injury risk and a potential suspension, it's not reasonable to project a full season of PAs. Sano can sit his "generous carriage" on the bench for this year, I'll be back in next year.
Risk profile: High.