Saturday, April 6, 2013

Third Baseman Fantasy Rundown

 Top 20

1. Miguel Cabrera
2. David Wright
3. Evan Longoria

Miguel Cabrera won the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967. He joins a list of 15 Triple Crown winners, joining the likes of Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig. He is about the most consistent player in the league (which is scary since he's consistently great). He always plays a near full slate of games and is a sure bet for .310+, 35+ HR, 115+ RBI and 100 R. The only area Cabrera doesn't contribute is in the stolen base category. But I'm thinking his owners can forgive him, for what he contributes in every other category.

David Wright bounced back from an injury riddled and lackluster 2011 season to put up solid stats in 2012. He was rewarded in the off-season with a contract extension by the Mets brass.I believe he will reward them for their trust in him with one of his best seasons. What I like about Wright is his ability to hit for power, and he has the ability to steal 15-20 bags, or maybe more with his (2 SB's already this season).

Evan Longoria has dealt with his share of injury issues over the last two seasons, however when healthy, he's able to put up solid numbers. Since 2011, Longoria has a .507 slugging percentage to go with a .867 OPS, despite only playing 207 games over that span. I chose the Rays to win the A.L. East, largely on the bat of Evan Longoria.

4. Ryan Zimmerman
5. Adrian Beltre
6. Aramis Ramirez

Aramis Ramirez is a solid option if you miss out on the top tier players and don't want to pay the price on Zimmerman and Beltre. Ramirez does have a knee injury to worry about (having an MRI), but if it comes back clean, or if he's only expected to miss a couple games, I'd say grab him. If the injury is serious (I hope not since I drafted him), then clearly stay away.

7. Brett Lawrie*
8. Pablo Sandoval
9. Hanley Ramirez*
10. Mark Trumbo
11. Martin Prado
12. Chase Headley
13. Will Middlebrooks

This tier was  an extremely hard one to rank for me with injuries causing most of the confusion. I came close to dividing this into two tiers, but couldn't decide on who belonged where... so you get everyone in one. All the players in this tier can make an argument to be starting at 3B regardless of the league format.
With Hanley Ramirez out until late May, you might shy away from drafting him, but he will return to a strong Dodgers lineup once fully healthy. Once Hanley returns, I see him performing with the players listed in the second tier, so drafting (or trading for) him depends on how patient of an owner you can be.

Chase Headley is in almost the exact same situation as Hanley, so I will keep this short. He is expected to return sooner than Hanley, but has only had one true great season by fantasy standards. That is the reasoning for his lower ranking.

Will Middlebrooks is someone I mentioned in another post (Best Value by Position). Before his injury in 2012, Middlebrooks was performing with some of the best at the position. He is back to full strength now, and should pick up right where he left off. I see him putting up .275, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 75 R and 10 SB. Not bad for a later round pick, allowing you to fill out the rest of your roster.

14. Pedro Alvarez
15. Manny Machado
16. Mike Moustakas
17. David Freese
18. Kyle Seager
19. Todd Frazier
20. Jed Gyorko

Last season we saw Pedro Alvarez put up 30 HR and 85 RBI but the rest of his line was less than inspiring. If Alvarez is ever going to truly breakout, this will be the year. I drafted him to backup Aramis Ramirez in one of my leagues, and will need him to perform if Ramirez misses an extended period of time with his knee injury.

 Manny Machado, the third pick in 2010 by the Orioles, has star potential written all over him. He has seen limited experience so far in the bigs, with this expected to be his first full slate of games as the Orioles starting third baseman. Take him as a backup in most leagues, with the possibility of him turning into a starter depending on production.

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