2012 Rankings: Top 15 Third Basemen

We all know that third base is among the shallowest positions in fantasy sports.  Even with a few youngsters joining the mix (most notably Brett Lawrie), there is still a tremendous amount of risk involved in many of the options (i.e. Alex Rodriguez and Kevin Youkilis).  Let’s take a look at how things currently stand as we head into the season:

  1. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  2. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  3. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  4. David Wright – New York Mets
  5. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
  6. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
  7. Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays
  8. Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
  9. Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox
  10. Michael Young – Texas Rangers
  11. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
  12. Emilio Bonifacio – Miami Marlins
  13. Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
  14. Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals
  15. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays


  • Alex Rodriguez outside of the Top 10?  Really?  He’ll turn 37-years old during the 2012 campaign, has become an injury liability and no longer has the speed advantage that he once did.  The chances of him missing a significant amount of time is enough of a reason to look to avoid him in all formats, especially given where you would need to draft him in order to acquire him.
  • Speaking of injury risk options, can Kevin Youkilis play more than 140 games in a season?  He hasn’t achieved that since 2008, including playing in just 102 games in 2010.  Throw in the fact that the average plummeted (.258 in part due to a career worst .296 BABIP) and you just have to wonder.  I’m not recommending to avoid him, but there is a lot of risk involved in selecting him as your starter.  Just be prepared with a viable bench alternative.
  • Mike Moustakas is a young 3B with plenty of potential.  While he struggled in his first taste of Major League action, he also started to figure it out and excel in September.  At a weak position, that’s more than enough to continue to give him a chance as a bench option.  For my 2012 projections, click here.
  • Can David Wright recapture his glory years now that the fences of CitiField are being moved in?  It’s not like he performed particularly well on the road in 2011, hitting .268 with 9 HR and 35 RBI over 209 AB.  You can argue that the old field had a mental effect on his production, but time will tell in that regard.  There’s a chance that he performs like one of the elite, but it also wouldn’t be a surprise if he struggles once again.
  • Brett Lawrie had his Major League debut delayed due to injury, but once he arrived he showed what all the hype was about.  In 150 AB with the Blue Jays he hit .293 with 9 HR, 25 RBI, 26 R and 7 SB.  Could the power regress (he had a 17.0% HR/FB)?  Sure, but it’s not like it is going to fall off a cliff, either.  He has the ability to be a 20/20 force, something that is rare to find among 3B.  That gives him huge value at a position that is riddled with question marks.  You can see my 2012 projection for Lawrie by clicking here
  • Now is not the time to be giving up on Evan Longoria, who I think should still be considered for a selection at the tail end of the first round.  To find out why, click here

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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:


  1. TY says:

    i wouldnt touch zimmerman, arod, or youk, too risky/old/fragile/….

    3B has alot of familiar names, just alot of risk involved with so many of them.

    What round is Lawrie going around ADP wise right now? He’s intriguing.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      According to Mock Draft Central his ADP is 55.98 (the 54th player coming off the board). Seems a little high, though by the end of the year I would expect him to justify being taken that early.

      Still, there’s a lot of risk taking a fairly unproven player that early in the draft, especially since he’s going before Pablo Sandoval.

  2. Will says:

    I think 6 through 11 are pretty darn equal in terms of overall value- makes it tough to reach on one of them if another would be there 2-3 rounds later.

  3. Sawyer says:

    Any thoughts on Ian Stewart? Does he have the potential to crack this list?

  4. Rob says:

    I’ve heard Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez are moving to third this year because of the Fielder/Reyes signings.. If/when they gain 3B eligibility where would you slot them on this list?

  5. JGordon says:

    There’s also talk that Miguel Cabrera may see time at 3B. Whether he opens with eligibility there, remains to be seen…

  6. Marky Mark says:

    How much difference is there between Longoria, Beltre, Wright, and Zimmerman?

    I’m figuring they are all in roughly the same tier, and since I own Zimmerman, there wouldn’t be much point in shelling out very much in trade to get someone else from that group…

  7. Rotoprofessor says:

    As for as Miggy/Hanley go, I plan on doing a 3B rankings including them as well so everyone knows where they would fit in-season. Cabrera and Bautista will likely be interchangable at the top with Hanley a step behind at #4 (I would keep Longoria ahead of him). In other words, if both do end up at 3B, the position gets a huge boost.

    Marky Mark – I think Longoria is still ahead of them, though the other three are very similar. Unless you don’t need to add much to get Longoria, I’d stand pat.

  8. Brad B says:

    “Cabrera and Bautista will likely be interchangable at the top”

    really? Once Cabrera gains 3B eligibility he is the clear #1 at the position. Bautista is then the clear #2, but still well below Cabrera. I love what he has done over the past two years, but I’m still not buying the fact he is doing it legally. No one goes from a nobody to elite like he did at his age without cheating (see Brady Anderson).

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      In this day and age, with all the drug testing (and if you believe Bautista he’s been tested 16 times over the past two seasons), it’s hard to say that he’s doing something and getting away with it.

      The fact is that over the past two seasons he has the most HR (91) and it’s not even close (Pujols is second with 79, Cabrera is ninth with 68). He’s also tied for second in RBI with 227 (behind Cabrera’s 231). I don’t think you could argue with anyone as the top option.

  9. fpbraconi says:

    Why no respect for Lonnie Chisenhall? Find a difference between him and Robin Ventura at a similar age and experience level. I’ll take him over at least four of the guys on the top 15 list, especially in keeper leagues.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I would like to see him do a lot more at the Major League level to have faith in him in a yearly league (obviously, it is different in a keeper league). 51 HR over 1,472 minor league AB and a 22.0% strikeout rate in the Major Leagues is not all that encouraging.

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