We all know that third base has quickly become one of the shallowest in baseball. Outside of the top four options, there is a ton of risk involved. Yes, there are players with tremendous upside, but there are significant red flags hanging over them. Let’s take a look at how I currently have the Top 15 ranked (as well as Top 12 for those in AL or NL-Only formats, which can be found at the bottom of this post):
- Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
- David Wright – New York Mets
- Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
- Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
- Michael Young – Texas Rangers
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
- Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Martin Prado – Atlanta Braves
- Aramis Ramirez – Chicago Cubs
- Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
- Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
- Casey McGehee – Milwaukee Brewers
- Placido Polanco – Philadelphia Phillies
- Juan Uribe – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Adrian Beltre’s move to Texas helps keep his projections high thanks to the friendly confines, but he is still a big-time risk given his history. We’ve seen it from him before where he posts a big season in his walk year only to regress after being given a fat contract. I know he’s coming off a year where he hit .321 with 28 HR, 102 RBI and 84 R, but there is a lot of risk involved. The power could certainly hold up, but the only other time he approached the average was in 2004 (his last year with the Dodgers). A fall is likely so proceed with caution.
- Speaking of Beltre, his move to Texas sends Michael Young into more of a utility/DH/potentially 1B role. He should continue to see every day at bats, but it is fair to be slightly concerned at this point. The Rangers were in on Jim Thome and if they ultimately add a DH type offensive force, things will get really interesting. I’m leaving him where he is for now, but he certainly has the potential to fall in these rankings as we get closer to the season.
- Kevin Youkilis adds depth to the position, but since he does not have eligibility at 3B yet he is not included on the rankings. If he was included, he’d easily be a Top 5 option.
- I know it was a Wild Prediction, but I recently discussed the idea of Ryan Zimmerman outperforming Evan Longoria in 2011 (click here to read). While that’s not likely, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Zimmerman emerge as the #2 third baseman in baseball by year’s end. Had he not missed time due to injury he likely would’ve posted his second consecutive 30/100/100 season in 2010 (he was at 25/85/85 in 525 AB). With the potential to hit .300+, there is an awful lot to like.
- Placido Polanco is an extremely nice player, but he doesn’t bring power (his high over the past six seasons is 10 HR) and he doesn’t bring speed (in the past seven seasons his high is 7 SB). He’s going to hit for a solid average, but he’s no lock to be over .300 (.285 & .298 the past two years). Sure, he could score some runs if he stays in the #2 slot of the Phillies lineup, but it just isn’t enough. He’s a perfect example of a player who is more valuable to his actually team than to fantasy owners.
- Does anyone really expect Jose Bautista to replicate his 54 HR outburst? I would find the low-to-mid 30s as being much more of a realistic expectation.
- Can Pablo Sandoval rebound? The stories are already coming out about him shedding weight and being in great shape. Can we really believe it? Until we see it on the field it’s impossible to put any stock into the comments. Consider him a risky pick, but one that can offer a pretty attractive reward.
AL/NL Only Rankings:
|1.||Evan Longoria||David Wright|
|2.||Alex Rodriguez||Ryan Zimmerman|
|3.||Michael Young||Pedro Alvarez|
|4.||Jose Bautista||Martin Prado|
|5.||Adrian Beltre||Aramis Ramirez|
|6.||Mark Reynolds||Pablo Sandoval|
|7.||Jhonny Peralta||Casey McGehee|
|8.||Edwin Encarnacion||Placido Polanco|
|9.||Danny Valencia||Juan Uribe|
|10.||Kevin Kouzmanoff||Ian Stewart|
|11.||Brent Morel||Scott Rolen|
|12.||Brandon Inge||Chipper Jones|
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings: