With the Major League Baseball season officially kicking off today in South Korea, it means Opening Day and the 2024 Fantasy Baseball season is right around the corner. The busiest draft weekend of the year is upon us, and every manager drafting will be looking for the player who can exceed expectations and provide an elite return on investment.




For the third base position, I have developed four bold predictions based on valuation of players at all levels of the draft. Some of these predictions below are more realistic than others, but these are all things I believe could actually happen this season. 

To wrap up the third base positional spotlight for this offseason, here are my bold predictions for the 2024 season, highlighting some fantasy baseball third basemen with unbelievable power and one who could help win the steals category.

Fantasy Baseball Bold Predictions: 2024 Third Basemen

Austin Riley Hits 40 Home Runs & Drives In 125 Runs

Is Austin Riley the most consistent third basemen in Major League Baseball as we enter 2024? The numbers say yes. He has played 159 or 160 games the last thee seasons. 

In that span he has between 33-38 home runs, 93-107 RBI, 90-117 runs, and a .273-.301 average. His strikeout rate is 24%-25% every year and his walk rate hasn't deviated between 7.9% and 8.3%. You can set your watch to Austin Riley. But in 2024, this is when it all gets better. 

For the two bold predictions above, the 125 RBI might be the easy part. Riley will hit right behind Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies, who combined for about a .380 on-base percentage and 86 steals last season. Riley had almost as many plate appearances with men on (287) as he did with bases empty last season (349). Driving in runs will be simple.

Forty home runs will be difficult, but Riley can do it. He has raised his flyball rate each of the last four seasons, beginning with 34.5% in 2020 all the way to 40% in 2023. If he can continue that trend and revert back to the 22% HR/FB rate he produced in 2022 (19% in 2023), 40 is within reach. 

Riley has also set a new career-high in max exit velocity each of the last three seasons, so his power is still developing. Playing in the prime age-27 breakout season, this is the year it all comes together. 

Maikel Garcia Steals 35 Bases

Maikel Garcia is one of the few third basemen who could potentially help with stolen bases in the later rounds of drafts this year. But that might undersell just how much Garcia could run this year if Kansas City gives him the green light.

Garcia played in 123 Major League games last season and stole 23 bases, a pace of 30 steals for a full season. What could help Garcia top that number and get closer to 35 is Garcia's walk rate, which didn't line up with his robust Minor League numbers last year.

Garcia had a 7.4% walk rate last year, but he had six stops in the minors with at least 9.8%. If Garcia can bump that up and improve on his 82% contact rate, he could be in a position to steal even more in 2024. Kansas City was third in MLB last year with 163 total steals and they show no signs of abandoning their small-ball approach. 

Jake Burger Leads All Third Basemen In Home Runs

Really? After I predicted Austin Riley will hit 40 bombs this year? I'm sorry, I just can't quit ordering up some Burger this draft season, and I think he takes another power leap after his monstrous debut of 34 home runs in 2023. Burger grilled up a 98th percentile max exit velocity and a 91st percentile hard-hit rate last season. 

In a year that saw him play more than 55 games in the majors for the first time and split his season in between Chicago and Miami, but perform well no matter where he called home. He hit the ball to all fields in 2023 and showed massive power to all fields.

But the most intriguing thing about Burger's 2023 that could lead to some more success in 2024? His .250 batting average, while decent, did not come close to his .270 expected batting average, according to Baseball Savant. His power, launch angle, exit velocity, and patience should have given him a number of more hits last year, hits that could turn into homers in 2024. 

Junior Caminero Has 17 Home Runs & 40 RBI In Half A Season

Not many players come around as prospects with the kind of raw power Junior Caminero possesses. He grades out as a 70 on the 80-point scale for raw power according to most reports, and he smashed 20 home runs in just 81 games at Double-A in 2023, promoting a brief call-up to the big leagues for a seven-game audition.

Caminero, who can play third base or first base, was sent back to the minors for a little more polish, and for the fact that he is not even 21 years old and has never played a game above Double-A before his quick call-up last year. 

Assuming he mashes baseballs at that level, he should be able to supplant Jonathan Aranda at the DH spot by mid-season, giving him plenty of runway to hit double-digit home runs the rest of the year.