Bold Predictions: Third Base Edition
1. Kris Bryant is a top 10 hitter in 2019
I’m expecting a full bounce back for Bryant. The shoulder injury that wrecked his 2018 is in the rear view mirror so we should have a healthy Kris Bryant. When he’s right, we’re talking about one of the most elite hitters in the entire league entering his prime. He has huge power, takes his walks, and has cut down on the strikeouts. He’s a complete hitter who will be hitting in one of the best lineups in the National League. You can count on Bryant in the 2nd round of your drafts.
2. Matt Chapman finishes as a top 10 third baseman
Man, I love the corner infield Matt’s in Oakland. Chapman and Olson are both primed for monster seasons in my mind. Chapman is currently going as the 15th third baseman off the board in NFBC drafts and that’s too low in my mind. He cut down on his strikeouts last year and still walks at nearly 10%. He’s one of the best defensive third basemen in the game so his bat is going to be in the lineup when healthy. Chapman was in the top 2% of exit velocity last season according to Baseball Savant. With some HR/FB% luck, some of his 42 doubles in 2018 will make their way over the wall in 2019. This guy just crushes the ball and will only be getting better. Go get him in a dynasty league. He’s going to be a monster.
3. Jake Lamb bounces back and hits 30 HR
“Rake” Lamb didn’t do a whole lot of raking last season. As I wrote in the Dumpster Dives article earlier this week, that was almost entirely due to the injury he sustained to his shoulder. He’s supposed to be healthy going into 2019 so I’m a believer in the power returning. He’ll also be at 1B so the risk of injury won’t be as great.
4. Rafael Devers is a top 10 third baseman
One of my favorite post hype prospects for 2019, Devers saw some of luster wear off his prospect shine following his disappointing 2018 season. He posted a .240/.298/.433/.731 slash line with 21 dingers last year which is concerning because the hit tool was his calling card in the minors. His batted ball profile and plate skills didn’t change much at all though. The only difference I’m seeing in his statistical profile is bad batted ball luck (low BABIP). He’s going to hit for more power as he gets older. Remember, he’s only 22! This is a former top 10 prospect that you can get for much cheaper this year. Don’t give up yet!
5. Josh Donaldson isn’t a top 25 third baseman
This is purely about injury for me. I don’t trust Josh Donaldson to stay healthy at all. He’s dealt with nagging injuries (calf, shoulder, hip) for the past two seasons and he’s only getting older. To make things worse, he won’t have the luxury of DHing on occasion to get him off his feet since he’s in the NL now. When he’s healthy, I still believe in the skills but I’m not going to bank on it.