Top 15 Third Basemen for 2011: An Extremely Early Look

It’s amazing how top heavy third base has become.  Yes, there are some players putting up big years, but do we really trust them to be able to replicate them in 2011?  Let’s take a look at how things currently look heading into next season for those of us who are rebuilding (remember, these can, and probably will, change dramatically by the end of the season):

  1. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  2. David Wright – New York Mets
  3. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
  4. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
  5. Mark Reynolds – Arizona Diamondbacks
  6. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
  7. Adrian Beltre – Boston Red Sox
  8. Michael Young – Texas Rangers
  9. Casey McGehee – Milwaukee Brewers
  10. Ian Stewart – Colorado Rockies
  11. Aramis Ramirez – Chicago Cubs
  12. Scott Rolen – Cincinnati Reds
  13. Kevin Kouzmanoff – Oakland Athletics
  14. Placido Polanco – Philadelphia Phillies
  15. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays

Thoughts:

  • Kevin Youkilis is not included on this list, having played just one game at 3B this season.  Barring an injury to Adrian Beltre, I just don’t see him getting enough games to be eligible in most formats for 2011.
  • Other players who are not listed due to likely losing eligibility at the position include Troy Glaus, Chone Figgins & Martin Prado.
  • It has become clear that Alex Rodriguez just isn’t the same player that he once was.  Yes, he’s still among the best 3B in the game, but he’s no longer significantly better then the rest of the field.  In fact, there certainly could be an argument made to put Ryan Zimmerman ahead of him, but I’m not quite there yet.  He is still hitting .281 with 9 HR and 48 RBI on the season. 
  • David Wright has turned things around in a heartbeat and is once again looking like one of the elite hitters in the game.  That certainly has to make owners happy.
  • While Pablo Sandoval & Mark Reynolds haven’t quite lived up to expectations for 2010, they have played well enough to hold their preseason spots on this list.  Plus, just look at the dropoff after the top six.  I’d much rather take the risk on players like them, with tremendous upside, then the rest of the mess behind them.
  • Thus far, Pedro Alvarez is proving those concerned about his ability to make contact look like geniuses.  Until he improves there, he’s going to be a low-end option, at best, since he isn’t likely to show the power of someone like Reynolds while hitting for a poor average.
  • I like Placido Polanco, but he doesn’t hit for power and he doesn’t steal bases.  Out of my 3B, I would like him to produce something in one of those categories.  Without that, he’s a low-end option, at best.
  • Michael Young is proving that he is back to being the type of player he was prior to 2006 and that 2009 was no fluke.  Given how weak the position is, he has entrenched himself as a viable option in all formats.
  • Jose Bautista’s spot is not a mistake.  Yes, he showed a lot of power early, but he’s fallen off and it’s hard for me to believe that he will come close to hitting for significant power from here on out.  Barring a resurgence later on, I wouldn’t consider him a Top 15 option for 2011, though he would be in the Top 20.

What are your thoughts on these rankings?  Who is being overvalued?  Who is being undervalued?

Make sure to check out our other extremely early 2011 rankings:

9 comments

  1. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Are you going to be doing “An Extremely Ealy Look” for Top 50 Prospect list for 2011???

    That would be awesome

  2. Rotoprofessor says:

    To 50? Probably not, but I’m going to be doing something. You’re just going to have to wait for it :-p

  3. Sawyer says:

    I actually would be very interested in that also. Maybe we can do a compromise and you could do a Top 10 Prospects In The Minors Right Now column?

  4. Jim says:

    “Other players who are not listed due to likely losing eligibility at the position include Troy Glaus, Chone Figgins & Martin Prado.”

    Agreed on Glaus and Prado.

    Disagree on Figgins. What will most likely happen is a shift back to 3B, as Jose Lopez will probably not be back with the M’s in 2011(he’s not a free agent, but he does have an option which could not be picked up, or he could be traded). The 2B of the future, Dustin Ackley, will likely be the 2B next year(even if he’s not ready, I could see the M’s pursuing a veteran 2B to fill the gap for a while until he is ready).

    So, while Figgins may not have 3B eligibility to start 2011, he should get it within the first week or so(however long it takes to get it in most leagues). 🙂

    Where he is on the list is up to you, of course. 😉

  5. Nick Tenaglia says:

    Well I say Top 50, because every major Prospect Ranker typically include the same players within the Top 50. You can look at ESPN, MiLB, Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and they are all pretty much the same – however they may be in different orders.

    We all know the Top 50 prospects that would be “graduating” from the list – Stras, Heyward, Feliz, Santana, Posey etc etc…. But I want to see the new guys that will be entering the Top 50 – Daniel Hudson, Grant Green, Danny Espinosa – and the guys who may have slipped out – Yonder Alonso, Ryan Westmoreland.

  6. Rotoprofessor says:

    Nick, like I said, I am working on something, just working out all the fine points of it. Hopefully I’ll have a full update on it in the coming days.

  7. Keith says:

    I’d put Zimm above Wright but I think it’s a preference thing. I agree that Rodriguez is #4. It’s gutsy to put him that low but thank you for doing it.

    Pablo Sandoval has got to be the biggest disappointment this year. I’m so glad I moved him and Youk this off-season for Zimm. I don’t think Pablo is top 8 right now.

    Aramis geting hot might push him top 7 for next year.

  8. Matt says:

    I’d have Callaspo on there especially over Kevin Kouzmanoff. And Sandoval is looking more like a one year wonder. Callaspo at least did something 2 years straight. More consistent that both Kouzmanoff and Sandoval.

  9. will.overton says:

    Kouz has just as good of numbers as Callaspo this year and he has been a consistent .260 – .270 hitter with 15 – 20 HR’s a year and 70 – 80 RBI for four years in a row now. He’s not an elite guy or anything, but he is certainly consistent.

    I like Callaspo, but I don’t tbink he has as much power as Kouz and while he hits for a better average, I don’t think it’s drastically better. And with Izturis in LA I am not convinced he gets as much playing time either.

    And while Pablo has taken a hit in the rankings this year for sure, he still has way more upside than either Kouz or Callaspo and I think he’ll figure things out. He has to take a hit in the rankings, but I think it’d be a mistake to just write him off as a one year wonder when he’s only 23.

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