Previous articles in this series:

As you’re all aware by this point, a couple interesting third base options—such as Yasmany Tomas and Brett Lawrie—won’t appear on this list. For sake of continuity, Lawrie is considered a second baseman for this exercise, and Tomas will be featured in the outfield rankings because he hasn’t played a single game at third to this point. If you’re wondering where Cody Asche is, however, I can confidently assert that I left him off this list and I won’t apologize for it.

Note: This three-year ranking is not a staff consensus; rather, this is my personal three-year ranking at the third base position. I just don’t want you whining to Bret Sayre that BP ruined your keeper/dynasty league, when it was really me. And when I help you win your various leagues, I expect monetary rewards. I’m on that grad-school budget and could use a fancy night out at Chipotle.

Dreams, man. We all have to have ‘em.

Three-year rankings disclaimer: Most of the weight is placed upon projected 2015 performance, with a substantial drop in weighting potential 2016 performance and then another drop in how 2017 output is valued. Finally, remember these are themed around positions, so losing eligibility is a big deal within the confines of this particular exercise.

1. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

At only 29 years old and moving into a bandbox of a stadium in Toronto, Donaldson stands above his peers. He’s in his prime, and offers 30-plus homer potential and great contextual statistics. He even stole eight bases a year ago. If his BABIP rebounds a bit to near .300, he could be a true five-category producer for the next few years.

2. Kyle Seager, Mariners
3. Adrian Beltre, Rangers
4. Manny Machado, Orioles

This second grouping of players is intriguing because it offers a steady middle-of-the-order bat in his prime (Seager), an aging stud whose power may finally be slipping (Beltre), and a 22-year-old hotshot who mashed in July and August before succumbing to a knee injury. In many ways, this trio is about preference. It’s reasonable to assume their overall production will be similar—do you prefer the “boring” option, the mid-30s potential Hall of Famer, or the alluring upside pick?

5. Nolan Arenado, Rockies
6. David Wright, Mets
7. Evan Longoria, Rays

Over the past half-decade, Wright and Longoria have been mainstays atop fantasy rankings. They were once both true five-category producers in their careers, and due to injury or decreased performance in 2014, their value is suddenly questionable. If Wright remains healthy the next three years, he’ll deserve to be bumped up a notch. If Longoria can compile a .280-.300 batting average, he’ll similarly be more valuable than the no. 7 position. The question marks, though, keep them in Group 3, for me. As for Arenado, I recently wrote about him in the Players To Target article this week. I’m a fan.

8. Kris Bryant, Cubs
9. Todd Frazier, Reds
10. Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox
11. Carlos Santana, Indians

Here’s the man fantasy owners will be drooling over on draft day: Kris Bryant. He hit 43 homers last year, hit over .300, and stole 15 bases. The 23-year-old appears to be a bona fide superstar and he could be in the big leagues in April. Of course, people don’t much talk about the legit swing-and-miss in his game. I think Bryant will transition nicely to the majors, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. He could stutter-step before catching his stride.

I don’t love Sandoval, but the move to Boston should improve his fantasy production—even if he did hit better at AT&T Park than away from it. Frazier is a nice player with 20-homer power, but I’m not sold on the batting average remaining palatable. His stolen-base numbers will likely fall, too. I concede that reasonable people can suggest that I’m too low on Frazier, but a fantasy analyst has to take a stand somewhere, ya know?

12. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
13. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
14. Chase Headley, Yankees
15. Nick Castellanos, Tigers

Carpenter is a two-trick pony, but the pair of tricks can still attract a crowd. Given the construction of your team, grabbing a guy with massive run totals and a good batting average isn’t bad business, even if he’ll be mediocre elsewhere. It’s just tough to rely on the former 13th-round pick to anchor your offense. Zimmerman could be good value on draft day, but given his sudden injury questions and his likely move away from third base, he drops in the rankings. Finally, a lot of people have begun to look past Castellanos due to his pedestrian rookie campaign; however, he could still hit for average and post good run/RBI numbers with modest power. Of course, he’s brutal at third base and isn’t assured to have long-term positional value.

16. Chris Davis, Orioles
17. Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
18. Miguel Sano, Twins
19. Pedro Alvarez, Pirates

Alvarez and Davis are huge power guys with batting average issues and may not have third-base eligibility after the 2015 season. Aramis Ramirez is a wonderful hitter and has been for years, but age and injuries have cast a shadow on his fantasy shine. Our second prospect checks in on the list, too, as Miguel Sano could make a cameo in Minneapolis this year before assuming the everyday role in 2016. He hit 83 homers between 2011 and 2013, before needing Tommy John surgery. That level power is rare in today’s game. An optimist wonders if he’ll even hit for average, too.

20. Josh Harrison, Pirates
21. Joey Gallo, Rangers
22. Chris Johnson, Braves

The BABIP will fall for Harrison next year, but he could still offer double-digit production in homers and stolen bases with decent contextual stats. The question surrounds his long-term value. His defensive position remains unclear. His track record is also miniscule. Too many question marks here to place him too high over the next three years. Chris Johnson is unexciting, but has an everyday job and could be solid if the BABIP gods smile down on him.

Joey Gallo possesses 80 raw power and clubbed 42 homers a year ago. The transition to Double-A exploited his currently below-average hit tool, but that’s unlikely to ever be his calling card. For fantasy owners, though, he could be a middle-of-the-order bat with massive power, .240-.250 batting average, and gaudy contextual stats.

23. D.J. Peterson, Mariners
24. Mike Moustakas, Royals
25. Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians
26. Maikel Franco, Phillies

I really like D.J. Peterson. He could offer power, average, and runs. The problem, however, is that Kyle Seager is entrenched at third base in Seattle, and he may have to move to first base, regardless, due to his glove. Moustakas enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in the postseason and benefits from the Royals’ lack of depth at the position. Chisenhall isn’t the guy who hit .332/.396/.519 in the first half last year, but he could be nice strong side of the platoon for Cleveland over the next few years. And for Franco, the power and proximity to the big leagues are enticing; however, the severe holes in his approach and the defensive question marks that may have him moving across the diamond limit his three-year value profile.

27. Will Middlebrooks, Padres
28. Garin Cecchini, Red Sox
29. Trevor Plouffe, Twins
30. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

It seems Middlebrooks is going to see regular playing time in San Diego—unless A.J. Preller makes another half-dozen moves and winds up with a blocked prospect, such as Garin Cecchini, who is on the cusp of the majors. While Plouffe receives nothing but scoffs in fantasy circles, he’s a good bet for 15-ish homers and always is red-hot for a couple months during the year. The trick is figuring out which months those are, I guess.

Alex Rodriguez rounds out the list. The King of Darkness will be born again in New York.

Notable Omissions: David Freese, Angels; Casey McGehee, Giants; Juan Uribe, Dodgers; Conor Gillaspie, White Sox; Cody Asche, Phillies; Brock Holt, Red Sox; Jake Lamb, Diamondbacks; Matt Davidson, White Sox; Cheslor Cuthbert, Royals; Hunter Dozier, Royals; and Ryan Rua, Rangers.

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Where would Brett Lawrie rank for you?
Lawrie was ranked as a two-star option in the 2B tiered rankings last week, so that should help orient your thinking a bit in terms of his value. I like him a bit more than some. I would've sneaked him into Group 5 with Matt Carpenter and Co., though I think he has more upside than anyone in that group.
Brett Lawrie isn't in these third-base rankings, and wasn't on the second-base list either.
Rendon or Donaldson? (I think Rendon, despite Donaldson's value-pick status.)
Obviously he was ranked with the 2B, but if one were drafting him as a 3B, I mean. (And that's where he's more likely to be over to next three years.)
It's a good question. I think I'd still side with Donaldson due to the superior power, especially in the Rogers Centre, but I think they'd both be on the same tier. I don't think you could go wrong with either player -- not to mention Rendon's positional flexibility would be a boon in 2015, at the very least.
Rendon is right up there for most overrated going into 2015. Does anyone remember all of his injury concerns? One healthy season doesn't make those go away. Nor does one solid season vault you to the top of a list - it shouldn't anyway.
Rendon was rated 5th at second base a year ago. It's hardly a case of one season (which was more than solid) vaulting him to the top of the list. It's much more of a case of him demonstrating the talent that people knew he had all the way back to his college days. Also, injury concerns tend to be overstated, and Rendon's ankles will be less at risk at third than second.
Rendon hasn't been hurt in a few years and was very durable last year
The fact JP was willing to answer legitimate questions relating to players who were ranked at other positions immediately makes him my favorite BP writer. Where can I send that $10 Chipotle gift card??
I don't take such questions lightly.
I think Davis is underrated on all this week's lists. He had a serious oblique injury last year and, obviously, got his prescriptions/permissions for Adderall messed up ... based on his solid 2012 and 2013 seasons, he should rebound to 35 home runs and something approaching a league-average BA ... hitting in the middle of a potent lineup. AND he's three months younger than Donaldson, AND over the years he has repeatedly qualified at positions other than 1B ... If Machado isn't ready for opening day, or tweaks a hamstring at some point, I don't think Showalter would hesitate to move Davis over to third again for the 5 games it takes him to renew his Yahoo qualification, and he could even find himself in the outfield for a spell once again.
Love these three year projections J.P, but I have to take you to task over Nolan Arenado, I believe he will be comparable to, Beltre in his pomp, either this year or next and therefore should be top three on this list :)
Don't look at me like I didn't have Arenado in Group #2 just before submitting this to editing.
Well we both know you were shouted down by lesser fantasy mortals, and in 2016 when you are doing these, if you haven't moved on to bigger and better things, Arenado will be in a tier on his own, either the how did we miss him tier or the what the f%$k happened to him! tier. I personally think the former , though. :)
Ryan McMahon. Coming soon to a bandbox near you.