Matty Kiwoom’s Rankings Deep Dive: 1st & 3rd Basemen

My rankings are out now!  You can find them on the Couch Guy Sports website.  Search “Rankings” on the home page.

Ready for another fantasy baseball rankings deep dive?  Me too! Baseball is back! Spring Training has begun, and baseball is being played by professionals.  Last week I took a look at catchers and relievers.  This week let’s take on the corner infield positions.  I will break down some first & third basemen.  This is an interesting group of players.  Some bounce back candidates, some breakouts, and even some “needs to prove it” guys will be highlighted.

Matt Olson (OAK)

Current ADP: 84.8

My 1B Rank: #6

The first baseman from Oakland had an interesting 2020 season.  Matt Olson bashed 14 bombs.  He also failed to reach the Mendoza line.  Truthfully, his slash line stunk too.  Diving into his statcast data brings a lot of reassurance that 2021 could be a very productive season.  Olson still hit the ball very hard.  Elite in exit velo, hard hit percentage, and barrel percentage.  His expected batting average was also 30 points higher.  A positive sign no doubt.  If he can improve his whiff rate or at least his strikeout percentage than a monster season is in the realm of possibilities.

Right now Matt Olson is being selected anywhere from round 7 to 9.  Vibes surrounding Olson is that he could start to rise up draft boards.  Right now the drafters have him as the 1B 10.  I currently moved him up to my 6th first baseman.  So I am higher on him than consensus.  It is very much possible that his strikeout rate goes falls back to his 2019 level.  Which could bring his average back up to .245-.265.  Luke Voit and Vlad G Jr are being taken ahead of Olson and I feel like they have the same red flags.  I am waiting 20-30 picks and taking the left-handed beast from the bay area.

Dominic Smith (NYM)

Current ADP: 113

My 1B Rank: #12


Smith is one of my favorite players from the 2014 draft.  So his breakout last year was awesome for me.  Not only did Dom Smith has good standard statistics.  His statcast data was also quite impressive.  Smith had career highs in doubles, RBIs, batting average, and all 3 slash lines.  Now all of those check out when you cross reference them with his advanced metrics.  The lefty bat was on pace to mash 27 home runs.  That would easily have been his high-water mark.  Smith hard hit rate, barrel percentage, and exit velo were all up as well.  Dominic Smith looked like a complete beast in 2020.

He does have his question marks.  Firstly, he cannot play DH in 2021.  Well, unless he was traded to the AL.  That would be very cool.  Reports have him as a starting outfielder, but he will most likely lose at bats due to late defensive minded replacements.  Overall, I believe he will return value for where he is being drafted.  Anywhere from round 8 to round 12.  Depending on how deep your league is.  Smith’s multiple position eligibility is also a positive.  If I do not grab a first baseman early on, Dom Smith would be a target for me.

Josh Bell (WSH)

Current ADP: 150

My 1B Rank: #13

Washington added Josh Bell in the offseason.  Coming off of a down season, I think Bell bounces back.  Just 2 years ago, Josh Bell had the best year of his career.  He is no longer a member of the worst lineup in the game.  Bell is currently projected to bat 3rd in the National’s lineup.  That would place him after Trea Turner and Juan Soto.  And right before Kyle Schwarber.  If just two metrics (strikeout rate & hard-hit percentage) return to 2019 levels, he will have a great bounce back season.  I like Bell’s value right now in drafts.  I currently have him higher than he is being selected.  If you are in a draft with me, stay away from Josh Bell.

Yoan Moncada (CHW)

Current ADP: 93

My 3B Rank: #7

Yoan Moncada the third baseman slash recording artist is looking to have a better 2021 than he did in 2021.  Down in basically every major offensive category.  Moncada may get a free pass from me.  He dealt with Covid-19 and that could be a massive reason for the problem.  He did play most of the shortened season, but the efforts of the virus can still linger.  Even if he was cleared to return to games.  Going into his 25-year-old season, Moncada seems ready to have a strong campaign.  Forgive me for the bro science but I just can’t see Moncada not bouncing back after returning to full health.  He just too good and has the ability to hit the ball so hard.  In 2019, he was in the 98th percentile for exit velo.  Have you seen him?  I assure you.  It makes sense.


The kid’s 2019 batted ball data is just too juicy to not take a chance on him.  Especially since he is hovering around pick 100.  Moncada will hit in a potentially loaded lineup.  The White Sox are poised for a big offensive season.  There are plenty of studs to pick from in Chicago.  In my opinion, Yoan Moncada is one of them.

Kris Bryant (CHC)

Current ADP: 114.6

My 3B Rank: #11


The former NL MVP is going outside of the top 100 picks in most drafts.  Even though he has had a bad 2020, I still cannot believe he is going that low.  Especially since he hit 31 home runs in 2019.  Kris Bryant was dealing with a wrist injury and many big leaguers have admitted how those types of injuries complete deplete power.  Freddie Freeman once said his wrist ailment made it feel like he was swinging a “wet noodle.”  This checks out when you look at the metrics.  Bryant was below the 20th percentile in exit velo and hard hit %.  Now healthy heading into 2021, I can’t help but think Bryant’s ROI will be hefty.

Chicago’s lineup is still pretty strong, and Bryant will be the anchor.  KB is staring at free agency after the campaign and if he produces than he will in line for a big pay day.  Unfortunately, he will not have outfield eligibility.  That’s okay…I will still have interest in Kris Bryant on draft day.

Josh Donaldson (MIN)

Current ADP: 189

My 3B Rank: #13

Another former MVP is getting selected late.  And much like Bryant, Josh Donaldson was dealing with injury in 2020.  Donaldson has already mentioned that he has taken drastic measures to try and prevent further injuries in 2021.  That is music to fantasy team builder’s ears.  Because when Donaldson is healthy, he can bring the rain.  Josh Donaldson will be in the thick of a very dangerous Minnesota Twins lineup.  Most signs point to the third baseman having some good value. But there are some glaring red flags.  First of all, he will be 35 this year.  Veterans can fall off a cliff in terms of performance once they get older.  Secondly, Nelson Cruz is the Twins’ full time DH.  Giving Donaldson frequent games at designated hitter will not be on the table if Cruz is healthy.  I will keep my eye on Donaldson come draft season.  I can’t be sure that I will target the vet because I have others in mind.  If you find yourself taking Donaldson around his ADP, I think you will be happy.

Make sure you check out my complete rankings on CouchGuySports.com.  The latest episode of the High Heat Fantasy Podcast is out now.  Kevin and I continue to dissect the 1st base and 3rd base positions as Spring Training is getting started.  Good luck and study up.

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– Matt Desrosiers (@MattyKiwoom on Twitter)



Matty Kiwoom

My name is Matt and I'm a sports-a-holic. *pauses for warm welcome*

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