Third base was a shallow position to open the season and in the last few days we’ve seen injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Ryan Zimmerman and David Freese shrink the potential talent pool even more. Yes, owners who have been waiting for Evan Longoria to return can finally get excited, but what about the rest of us? Let’s take a look at a few potential replacements who may be available:
Ian Stewart – Colorado Rockies – He’s a forgotten man at this point, but the newly recalled third baseman (as of this morning) seems to have figured things out while playing every day at Triple-A. In 36 AB he hit .361 with 3 HR and 13 RBI at Triple-A. While it hasn’t been confirmed that he will receive regular playing time at the hot corner, it’s hard to imagine the Rockies recalling him to simply sit on the bench. He may not provide great help in the average department, but he has power and is worth taking a flier on.
Mike Aviles – Kansas City Royals – He has been streaking since April 24, going 9-26 with 4 HR, 11 RBI, 6 R and 3 SB (through Sunday). Would anyone have ever projected that type of streak for a player who hit 8 HR in 424 AB in ’10? He hit 10 HR in 214 AB at Triple-A in 2008, but that’s the closest stretch we’ve seen from him that resembles what he’s doing now. Is that enough? Of course not, and we all know this is a mirage and nothing more. Still, considering what’s out there, he’s got value for the short-term.
Juan Uribe – Los Angeles Dodgers – Injuries may have caused some owners in your league to run away from him, but he’s active again and playing a vital role in the middle of the Dodgers order. He may not give you much in the average department (entered yesterday at .235), but the power/run production should more than make up for it.
Kevin Kouzmanoff – Oakland Athletics – Here’s a player that I have always been a fan of, though he continuously disappoints. This season has been no different, entering Monday hitting .208 with 2 HR, 9 RBI and 7 R (0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 R over his previous 6 games). However, you can point to a below average BABIP (.241) and a strikeout rate (26.0%) significantly higher than his career mark as the reason for his struggles. The former is luck related, but can he rectify the latter? That’s the real question, but he has shown offensive ability in the past (it feels like the distant past) and you could get lucky and catch lightning in a bottle. He’s worth keeping an eye on if you are truly desperate.
Keep An Eye On:
Allen Craig – St. Louis Cardinals – Thought of as an outfielder, Craig actually so significant time at 3B in the minor leagues (248 games). Prior to his injury there had been rumblings of him seeing time at the hot corner and you have to think that those talks could once again be revisited now that Freese could be out for three months. He has proven that he can hit at every level, with a minor league career line of .308, 90 HR and 358 RBI in 1,906 AB. The question is going to be if he can handle the position defensively (just a .927 fielding percentage in the minor leagues). Time will tell, but his bat could certainly intrigue the Cardinals. He’s not likely eligible at 3B yet, but if he gains it he is going to be a good play in all deeper formats.
What are your thoughts of these options? Would you target any of them? Is there anyone else you are looking at?
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