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To read the previous editions in this series, follow the links below:

Today, our positional tier rankings series continues with a look at third base.

Players at each position are divided into five tiers, represented by a numerical star rating. Five-star players are the studs at their respective position. In general, they are the players who will be nabbed in the first couple of rounds of the draft, and they'll fetch auction bids in excess of $30. Four-star players are a cut below the studs at the position. They will also be early-round selections, and they are projected to be worth more than $20 in most cases. Three-star players are the last tier in which players are projected to provide double-digit dollar value in auctions, and two-star players are projected to earn single digits in dollar value in auctions. One-star players are late round sleepers and roster placeholders. The positional tiers aren't simply a regurgitation of last year’s values but rather try to offer some insights into what we expect will happen in 2014.

We retained last year's roster requirements for the positional tier series. Dollar values come from last year’s PFM using a 12-team, standard 5×5 scoring format, with 23-man rosters and the following positions: C (2) 1B (1) 2B (1) 3B (1) SS (1) CI (1) MI (1) OF (5) UT (1) P (9). The minimum bid for players is $1, and, as we did last year, we allocate $180 of a $260 budget to hitters. Players needed to play in 20 games at a position to qualify there. The PFM is customizable, so if your league uses a different format, you can adjust it to match your league settings and see how it impacts players’ dollar values.

Players with multi-position eligibility are listed at the position where it is most likely they would start in a standard fantasy league. So while Chris Davis is mostly thought of as a first baseman, his third base eligibility will likely result in most owners playing him there if they can.

Five-Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Josh Donaldson

TOR

$24.96

$29.12

695

608

93

29

98

8

.255

Donaldson has been one of the best players in baseball over the last two years, and while his average featured a 46-point drop, the rest of his stat line more than substantiates his placement in the five-star tier. Add to that a move to from the cavernous O.co Coliseum to the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre and a thunderous Jays lineup, and we could see improvement in his contextual stats from their already lofty figures.

Five-Star Value Pick: Josh Donaldson
He’s the only one here, bruh.

Four-Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Adrian Beltre

TEX

$16.31

$21.49

614

549

79

19

77

1

.324

Kyle Seager

SEA

$19.01

$25.06

654

590

71

25

96

7

.268

David Wright

NYN

$4.61

$14.73

586

535

54

8

63

8

.269

Todd Frazier

CIN

$28.83

$33.08

660

597

88

29

80

20

.273

Nolan Arenado

COL

$5.72

$15.01

467

432

58

18

61

2

.287

Evan Longoria

TBA

$17.45

$22.99

700

624

83

22

91

5

.253

Much of the initial talk when this was sent out to the group centered on David Wright and how he should be dropped on account of his horrid season and the fact that we have no clue whether choosing the rehab route will work out. Ultimately, Bret Sayre and I were in Wright’s corner, with the rest of our staff opting for sanity and a less aggressive placement. There’s no doubting the risk involved in valuing Wright this highly, but let’s take a quick look at the reward: .307/.391/.501 with 24 homers, 20 stolen bases, 94 runs, and 92 RBI per 162 games from 2012-2013. Honestly, I do think there’s a false sense of security with guys who choose surgery instead of rehab, as we don’t know how they’ll return from that either. If he fails, well, I’ll have been knocked down and we’ll see eye to eye, but as it stands, Mr. Wright will do right now.

Adrian Beltre is a wizard in the sense that he is good defensively and also in that he refuses to age, and basically we’re proceeding as though he’s a third base version of David Ortiz and assuming that he’ll be good at hitting until he decides to retire (or goes back to Seattle). Sure he lost some thump, but he more than made up for it in batting average. Kyle Seager might well be a wizard in that he seems relatively immune to the ravages of Safeco, although it’s possible it just seems like he’s immune because he’d be a super-duper star in almost any other park (cue the Seattle fans proclaiming this to be exactly the case).

There’s much-deserved skepticism about Frazier and whether he can repeat his near-20/20 season. He ranks here because 2014 proved he had upside to go with his usual dose of steady production. Arenado garnered some support for ranking above Frazier, and it was tempting to give in. Still, it’s worth remembering that we’re talking about 111 games of dynamic play from Arenado. That’s not nothing, but it’s less than the firmly mediocre season he put forth in 2013, and it’s possible we see some backsliding in 2015. That doesn’t mean he’s not a good player, but there’s reason to show at least a little caution. Longoria has been consistently good but rarely great in fantasy, mostly owing to his best seasons being cut short by injury. He’s only missed two games over the last two seasons, but he’s hasn't been able to recapture the magic that appeared in 2009, despite people repeatedly paying for it.

Four-Star Value Pick: Josh Donaldson
If he happens not to be the first third baseman taken, your best bet is nabbing him here. It would represent excellent value.

Three-Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Carlos Santana

CLE

$18.61

$22.42

660

541

68

27

85

5

.231

Ryan Zimmerman

WAS

-$9.97

$3.53

240

214

26

5

38

0

.280

Matt Carpenter

SLN

$11.68

$17.49

709

595

99

8

59

5

.272

Manny Machado

BAL

-$4.18

$5.73

354

327

38

12

32

2

.278

Pablo Sandoval

BOS

$8.91

$15.96

638

588

68

16

73

0

.279

Chris Davis

BAL

$6.10

$14.35

525

450

65

26

72

2

.196

Josh Harrison

PIT

$17.01

$24.07

550

520

77

13

52

18

.315

Ahhhh, the three-star tier, where all the guys who don’t really play third base come to rest (except for Pedro Alvarez). There’s probably a case for Santana to be in the tier above because his average should rebound towards respectability, and 27 home runs aren’t easily ignored. He’s never been a real asset in average though, if he falls back to the 20-home-run range, then this slotting seems a lot better. Zimmerman will remain a health risk even at first base, but at least he won’t be sat for defensive purposes – something that seemed unconscionable just three seasons ago.

Matt Carpenter’s 126-run 2013 is never coming back, but coming back with 99 last year was a solid encore. He experience quite a power outage (not in total homers, but in slugging), but showed he could still pack a punch in the playoffs. He can be expected to clear the .400 mark there this year. Machado continues to mix five-star talent with one-star health. He hasn’t put together a dominant fantasy season (even the one where he stayed upright) unless your league counts doubles, and now he’s working on two repaired-but-bad knees.

Three-Star Value Pick: Josh Donaldson
Your guess is as good as mine. Weird draft, maybe? Either way, he represents an insane value in this tier of player. I mean… 29 home runs!!

Two-Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Chase Headley

NYY

$1.97

$11.73

531

470

55

13

49

7

.243

Aramis Ramirez

MIL

$4.57

$14.64

531

494

47

15

66

3

.285

Nick Castellanos

DET

$2.08

$10.96

579

533

50

11

66

2

.259

Pedro Alvarez

PIT

$2.45

$12.71

445

398

46

18

56

8

0.231

Kris Bryant

CHC

DID NOT PLAY AT MLB LEVEL

I’m actually a Chase Headley doubter, but Yankee Stadium seems to suit him enough to head up this grouping of player. I’m an unabashed fan of Ramirez and Castellanos, but Aramis is trending in the wrong direction (while still producing), and is a good bet to land on the DL at least once a season. Castellanos is going to blossom at some point, but it’s hard to know if it will be next year. 2014 was a success developmentally, but not in terms of fantasy stats. Eventually those doubles will turn into homers, but until they do he’s just a safety-option in terms of a starter.

Alvarez is like the third base version of Adam LaRoche except the numbers aren’t there at the end. He mashed 30 or more taters in back-to-back seasons, but pitchers were able to exploit the numerous holes in his swing last year, limiting him to just 18 home runs. When 18 home runs is a baseline, it’s not all bad news, but his penchant for swinging-and-missing could result in another reduced role (445 PA last year) and that would be bad news for everyone involved. He’s a solid value play if he’s in the lineup and you’re starved for power though.

Bryant was originally a one-star guy because as much as we love to hype prospects, slow-playing their early career production is generally a solid strategy. That said, it’s possible Bryant is up as soon as the Cubs gain an extra year of control on him, in which case five-plus months of production should put him at least on par with the Castellanos’ of the world.

Two-Star Value Pick: Josh Donaldson
Even the second coming of Miguel Cabrera (Kris Bryant) can’t stop Donaldson from being the best stat-per-dollar producer here. I love Bryant, but Donaldson is almost assured of having a better season.

One-Star

Player

Team

Mixed $

AL/NL $

PA

AB

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

Juan Uribe

LAN

-$1.29

$9.17

404

386

36

9

54

0

.311

Chris Johnson

ATL

$1.88

$13.20

611

582

43

10

58

6

.263

Alex Rodriguez

NYY

DID NOT PLAY – SUSPENDED

Lonnie Chisenhall

CLE

$5.03

$13.30

533

478

62

13

59

3

.280

David Freese

ANA

$0.20

$8.76

511

462

53

10

55

1

.260

Trevor Plouffe

MIN

$8.13

$15.14

582

520

69

14

80

2

.258

Woof. Uribe is passable in deep leagues because he’s somehow managed a seventh* career revival. He’ll provide moderate power and a tepid batting average, but should get solid contextual stats batting in the middle of a deep Dodgers lineup. Chisenhall isn’t going to repeat his “breakout” 2014, as he’s more of the 591 OPS second-half player than he is the 915 first-half player. He’s a good bet to join Lonnie Maclin as the only MLB-Lonnies to never make an All-Star team. Chris Johnson is as good as his BABIP. Trevor Plouffe’s 20-homer days are gone and his name plays down.

*All numbers approximate

One-Star Value Pick: Alex Rodriguez
He’s going to get that $6 million from the Yankees. I swear it, nay… I oath it.