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The Market Report: Third Basemen

The Market Report is a weekly analysis of player valuations in the fantasy marketplace in an effort to find undervalued commodities.

As we continue to look at the market for each position, let's analyze third basemen this week. Once again, ADP values are provided in parentheses.

Tier One

1. Miguel Cabrera (2)

Tier Two

2. Adrian Beltre (15)

3. David Wright (18)

4. Evan Longoria (19)

Tier Three

5. Matt Carpenter (41)

6. Manny Machado (44)

7. Josh Donaldson (51)

8. Ryan Zimmerman (52)

9. Pedro Alvarez (62)

Tier Four

10. Kyle Seager (80)

11. Martin Prado (100)

12. Xander Bogaerts (106)

13. Pablo Sandoval (118)

Tier Five

14. Aramis Ramirez (134)

15. Chase Headley (136)

16. Brett Lawrie (136)

Undervalued

Pablo Sandoval (ADP 118)

I try to be as agnostic as possible in playing this game,  but you'll have to excuse me here, as this is more of a hunch. As we all know by now, Sandoval reportedly lost the equivalent of a kindergartener in weight over the offseason. I'm not sure what that says about Kung Fu Panda: should we praise him for getting into shape or criticize him for being that overweight in the first place? At any rate, the incredibly talented Wendy Thurm has previously pointed out that there seems to be a link between Pablo's weight and his performance on the field. Sure, it may just be a coincidence, but some evidence is there. Again, this is far from scientific, but I still believe in this bat barring injury. Unfortunately, that's asking a lot of Sandoval, who's always a good bet to land on the DL, as Eno Sarris notes. Given that his ADP lies outside the top 100, however, I think the third baseman's risk of injury has been built into his market price and then some. My general approach for this position will be to target an elite option like Miggy or Beltre with one of my first couple picks, but I view Sandoval as a volatile stock capable of significantly outproducing his current pricetag.

Aramis Ramirez (ADP 134)

Another fallback option available in the middle rounds, Ramirez has long been a personal favorite of mine. After missing a large chunk of 2013, Aramis has witnessed a dramatic decline in market value this offseason. Yes, he's up there in age, but I still think there's another good year or two in that bat. Albeit in a limited sample size, Ramirez still had an average flyball distance within a few feet of elite options at the position like Longoria and Beltre. He's always displayed good contact rates for a power hitter, and he even boosted his walk rate last year. While the Brewers are likely to be .500 at best, their offense should be strong with fantasy stars all over the place, helping his counting categories. It really all comes down to health with Ramirez, but this is a risk worth embracing given the current ADP.

Overvalued

Manny Machado (ADP 44)

It seems like we've been comparing Machado to a young A-Rod forever now, but the Orioles third baseman will be just 21 on Opening Day this year. There's no denying that Machado is a future superstar. In fact, he's probably already reached that level in real baseball, which is plain scary given his age. From a fantasy perspective, though, this is far from a finished product. I think fantasy owners are getting ahead of themselves by taking him inside the top 50 overall already. Let's keep in mind he had just 14 HR and 6 SB last year. He also had significant offseason surgery, although he should be fine for Spring Training. I think it's safe to say that one of these years Machado will make the leap to fantasy superstar status and be a perennial first round pick. I just don't think 2014 is that year.



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