Draft Day Decision: Five Third Basemen To Avoid In 2012

There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player.  It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or the recovery of a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between.  Let’s take a look at five third basemen I likely won’t be drafting in 2012:

Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
Once one of the dominant bats in the game, things have fallen apart for him a bit in recent years.  Now 36-years old (he’ll turn 37 in July), injuries have definitely become one of the major reasons for the falloff.  Earlier in his career he rarely appeared in fewer than 150 games and if he was under 145 it was a shock.  From 2001-2003 his low in games appeared on was 161. 

However, in the past four years he hasn’t played in more than 138 games.  Last season it hit an all-time low with just 99 games as he hit .276 with 16 HR, 62 RBI and 67 R.  It’s obvious he no longer has the wheels that he once did, as his knee has become a major liability.  He’s stolen just four bases in each of the past two seasons, no longer having that advantage over the field (he has stolen as many as 46 bases in a year and at least 20 six times).

That also has influenced his runs scored.  From 1996-2008 he never scored fewer than 100 runs (and only twice was below 110).  Over the past three seasons he has scored 78, 74 and 67.

He no longer has an advantage in those two categories and, at his age, there’s a good chance he doesn’t rediscover his 30+ HR levels.  With an ADP of 60.60 according to Mock Draft Central, there is just way too much risk.  I’d rather take someone like Pablo Sandoval a round later.

Emilio Bonifacio – Florida Marlins
He has eligibility around the diamond (also at SS and OF), but since he does have eligibility at 3B he can be included here.  Prior to the signing of Jose Reyes he would’ve likely avoided being on this list, but his potential value has significantly diminished at this point.

There was already a ton of risk involved in him, but now he won’t be hitting in the leadoff spot.  That likely will mean fewer opportunities to steal bases and fewer runs scored.   Couple that with the high strikeout rate (20.1%), inflated BABIP (.372) and lack of power and I would much rather roll the dice with another option.

Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
We all know that he has more than enough power (28 HR or more each of the past four seasons), but he couples that with one of the worst averages in the league.  Just look at the numbers over the past four years:

  • 2008 – .239
  • 2009 – .260
  • 2010 – .198
  • 2011 – .221

While 2009 may give a little bit of hope it came courtesy of 44 HR and a .338 BABIP.  Don’t go into the year expecting that.  Throw in the fact that the Orioles could easily opt to go with a younger option at some point in 2012 and Reynolds could be a disaster waiting to happen.  Obviously, if you need power than he’ll have value, but there is a lot of risk and the potential to destroy your average.

David Freese – St. Louis Cardinals
Can this guy stay healthy for an entire season?   That’s obviously a huge negative for fantasy owners, because if there is no guarantee he is going to play how can you depend on him?

You may also want to look towards his 2011 numbers (.297, 10 HR in 333 AB), but realize that those came courtesy of a .356 BABIP and a 52.4% groundball rate.  Can we expect him to hit for a lot of power when he pounds the ball into the ground?  Can we really expect him to replicate that type of luck?

Throw in the fact that he was a World Series hero, hitting .397 with 5 HR in 2011 postseason and you realize that he will likely be overvalued heading into 2012. 

Placido Polanco – Philadelphia Phillies
There was talk this offseason that the Phillies would try to upgrade at 3B, so it’s clear that they aren’t sold on him as their full-time option.  If that wasn’t enough, he doesn’t bring anything to the table outside of maybe average.  He hits for no power and he brings no speed.  There’s a little bit of name value and he plays for a good team, but there is absolutely no value for fantasy owners.

What are your thoughts on these five third basemen?  Are you targeting any of them?  Why or why not?

***** Order the Rotoprofessor 2012 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, complete with updates from January through the start of the season, for just $6! As an added bonus, if you purchase by 3/15 you will be entered to win a Michael Pineda autographed baseball! To place your order click here. *****

Make sure to check out our look at other players to avoid for the 2012 campaign:

 

9 comments

  1. TY says:

    snag up a 3B early or…..forever hold your peace.

    im looking to have mine situated by the end of the 3rd round, usually in the 2nd round i grab wright, 3rd round i’d take wright/pablo…

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Not a bad strategy at all. I still prefer Ryan Zimmerman to Sandoval and wouldn’t mind Brett Lawrie, depending on when he falls. The point is the same, though. If you are without a 3B by the fourth or fifth round, there is going to be a lot of risk involved.

  2. Nick Tenaglia says:

    How did Youkilis not make this list? He is just as much an injury risk as A-Rod, and has worse numbers when he actually plays.

    Also, in my dynasty league (20 Teams, 30 keepers, 10 draft picks) I was using Bonifacio as a SS, but I just traded him for Alcides Escobar and a 2nd Rd Pick. I realize that there is just as much risk with Escobar as there is with Bonifacio, but who do you see putting up better numbers in 2012?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Youk was right on the cusp, but he is being drafted later than A-Rod. You could 100% make the argument, though.

      I honestly don’t love either SS for this season, though I do think Bonifacio will be a little bit better. He is guaranteed to hit #2 which, while it will hurt his production, is a better spot than Alcides. If Escobar bats ninth, how many runs can we expect him to score?

  3. yummy says:

    After winning my Keeper league the last 2 years and therefor drafting last again, I made a bold move to aquire a 3B. I was the only managaer w/o a 3B keeper while others were stockpiling. My choices to drfat here were highlighted by Valencia type players. I then put up Cole Hamels for a 3B and was able to aquire Brett Lawrie. I was thrilled. Remember after this year that many 3B will ose eligibility, Bautista, Young, Reynolds, Prado. Im looking at Lawrie to be the first 3B in 3 years to go 20/20.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I like the deal, depending on how long you can keep the guys? Is it forever, or only a few years?

      Lawrie does have the chance to be something special.

  4. mtnrider says:

    Good thing is that Hanley and Miguel will be gaining eligibility. Phew..

  5. Ross says:

    Had are draft in January. 12 team 6 keeper league. Was about to draft freese in the 8-9 th round when I guy offer me Brett Lawrie for Derek holland so I counter with holland nd my next pick ( probably freese) for Lawrie and anibal Sanchez and the sucker accepted it. Pretty sweet huh?

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