Top 15 3B For 2011: Take Two (AL/NL-Only Rankings Included)

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):

  1. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
  2. David Wright – New York Mets
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
  4. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
  5. Michael Young – Texas Rangers
  6. Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
  7. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
  8. Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates
  9. Martin Prado – Atlanta Braves
  10. Aramis Ramirez – Chicago Cubs
  11. Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
  12. Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
  13. Casey McGehee – Milwaukee Brewers
  14. Placido Polanco – Philadelphia Phillies
  15. Juan Uribe – Los Angeles Dodgers

Thoughts:

  • 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:

  AL-Only NL-Only
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:

7 comments

  1. GT says:

    I think Casey McGehee is one of the most underrated players in all of baseball. He’s got great splits, and except for a June swoon last year he has been the model of consistency since June ’09. I would love his consistent production in my lineup rather than the *huge* risks that Sandoval, Aramis Ramirez, and Alvarez pose.

    Speaking of Alvarez, I love his power potential especially at 3B, but isn’t everyone a little optimistic about the kid? I mean, he’s being drafted as if he’s a proven commodity when he’s only 23 years old. Pedro struck out 34.3% of the time last year and if not for a September rebound, actually got worse from June to July to August. His contact numbers were pretty bad last year and he stunk on the road. I need a little convincing

  2. Dan Semsel says:

    Two words for Pedro Alvarez….Alex Gordon. Talent is there but expectations should be properly tempered.

  3. carlito says:

    zimmerman over wright

  4. Dave says:

    I don’t like the #15 ranking of Uribe at 3B; since he qualifies at SS and 2B he should be drafted there long before he’s picked as a 3B. Same goes for Peralta qualifying at SS. So going off your AL/NL lists it would appear to be either Stewart or Encarnacion at as the 15th ranked 3B. Either way, both those guys carry playing time risk and emphasize the lack of depth at third base.

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    carlito – I highly considered that, but Wright’s speed gave him a small edge. At the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Zimmerman outperform Wright in ’11.

    Dave – I don’t disagree that you may not want to draft Uribe as a 3B, but he’s eligible there. At the same time, given how shallow the position is, I don’t think it’s a stretch that people in deeper leagues would consider him there.

    As for Alvarez, I agree that you need to be cautious, but there is a lot to like and, given how shallow the position is, grabbing him and someone like McGehee gives you a lot of potential at the position.

  6. I think you draft Youk for 3B and play him at CI or Util until he’s eligible. Bautista is going to be an interesting player to track.

  7. Kyle Johansen says:

    Love Youk this year, hoping the injury last year has decreased his value a bit. As for Alvarez, 40 minor league home runs in just 707 ab is incredible. Any huge power guy is going to strike out a ton. I’m not concerned with the high K-rates since he has paired it up with high BB-rates throughout the minors and into the majors.

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