Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fantasy Baseball Rankings Day 3 Part 2: Third Basemen

This season, third basemen are the power hitters in the infield along with the first basemen.  While the second basemen are the contact hitters third basemen are home run hitters.  However, the power numbers are very high, the batting averages are not as low as one would think.  Third basemen should go early in the draft, especially the top 5.  If you make it into the third round and any of the top five players on this list are still there, grab them! Because other league members will grab them before you have the chance if you pass them up.  With that being said, to the list:

1. Evan Longoria, TB
Now many people ask me why the number one third baseman in Major League Baseball isn't Alex Rodriguez.  The fact of the matter is that while he will probably go down as the best third baseman career wise, his age is becoming an issue.  He is getting older, while the Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is young with a blossoming career.  If he stays healthy Longoria should hit close to 30 home runs, well over 100 RBIs and just over a .300 batting average.  Those are great numbers for anyone.  He is a young man who can also run from time to time, so look for him to have a few stolen bases as well.  Longoria will undoubtedly out play any other third baseman in baseball as long as he stays healthy.  That being said, his team is depleted after a horrible off season for the Rays in which they lost a lot of their power.  He may try to shoulder too much of the offense and get hurt.  I would take Longoria in the second round, maybe pushing it in the third.  But closer to the end of the draft, pick up a back up in case he does get worn out.  But even if he plays 90 percent of the games in the season, he will still earn you plenty of points to win!

2. David Wright, NYM
Again, with the number 2 third basemen we're going with youth over experience.  David Wright is younger than the bigger named New York third baseman, and will be able to play in more games and probably hit better.  Look for Wright to have similar numbers to Longoria in home runs and RBIs, but a slightly lower batting average.  However, 30 home runs, 100 RBIs and a .285 average is nothing to scoff at.  Wright will still perform great this season and rack up the points for your team.  I would pick him in the third round after getting a power bat and a pitcher in previous rounds.  Wright will act as a contact and power bat in your line up, he is definitely not someone you want to pass over.  Look for Wright to have a huge year this year especially with the Mets trying to perform well in the highly competitive NL East.

3. Alex Rodriguez, NYY
And now for probably the most controversial pick I will make this whole week.  Many of you will pick Alex Rodriguez with your first over all pick, unless you have the #1 pick in your draft, in which case report to my first ranking of the first basemen.  And I will admit, if you're in a league with people who don't know the science of baseball very well and just go by reputation, A-Rod will not be in the draft for long.  But something to consider.  A-Rod, much like his counterpart on the Yankee left side of the infield is getting older.  He got a nice big contract a few years back and a World Series ring so he has nothing to prove anymore.  With all that being said, I don't see him having the kind of year people expect out of him.  People expect 40 home runs and 130 RBIs.  That wont happen this year, and it may never happen again for the rest of his career.  He will have over 100 RBIs, probably close to 120 with the bats in front of him.  But he will only be able to drive maybe 30 balls over the fence, and that's being generous.  I would look for him to have only 25. And I know, 25 bombs and 120 RBIs are great, but his average will be very low.  Look for it to be around .250-.275 at best.  If you can pick up a second baseman like Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia who will get plenty of hits, that may balance it out enough to take him.  Like I said, his power will not be what it was, but it will still be well about average.  If you want Alex Rodriguez, take him in the first round because everyone else in your league will think he's the best.  But if you want my advise, use the first round pick on someone a little better like an Albert Pujols or Joey Votto and wait til the second or early third round to get Longoria or Wright. But if both of those guys are gone in the third round and A-Rod is miraculously still there, jump on him!! Just make sure you get a good contact guy in your lineup to make up for his low base hit total.

4. Kevin Youkilis, BOS (Can also be drafted as a first baseman)
Now on for a man who a lot of people are forgetting about.  ESPN doesn't even have him ranked as a third baseman.  But people need to remember that he is in the prime of his career and just moved back to his original position of third base.  Also, with some big signings in the off season by the Sox, Youkilis will not have the spotlight on him and can just worry about hitting, which he will do.  Youkilis will probably still be around in the mid third round, so if you see him in the second pass on him, unless you really want him for your team.  If you go into the draft with a set list of people you want, and Youk is one of them, grab him in the second or early third (and I mean if you have the first pick in the third that kind of early) because there is a chance someone will catch him early. But most baseball people will recognize he is good, but probably not good enough to waste a first or second round pick on. Look for 32 home runs, 115 RBIs and about a .305 batting average from Youkilis this year, good enough to get you some real points this season.

5. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
And now to another man who is having the spotlight taken off of him.  Zimmerman is a great hitter who has consistently been getting over 25 home runs and over 70 RBIs a season along with a respectful batting average.  This year the Nationals picked up first baseman Adam Dunn, a big power hitter. Z-man should hit third in that lineup in front of a great power hitter.  You can compare the season Zimmerman should have to David Oritz's season in the early years of the last decade, with Manny Ramirez hitting in front of him.  I would say 35 home runs but only 85 to 90 RBIs just because he doesn't have a lot of great hitters around him to get on base.  However, his batting average will be over .300 which will definitely make him come up huge.  I would say Zimmerman will be passed up quite a bit, so I think you can wait until the fifth round to pick up this sleeper, but he will definitely pay off.  I am looking for Ryan Zimmerman to set career highs in most offensive categories in 2011.

6. Jose Bautista, TOR (Can also play Outfield)
7. Adrian Beltre, TEX 
8. Aramis Ramirez, CHC
9. Michael Young, TEX (Can also play First Base, don't be afraid of Beltre taking his spot)
10. Martin Prado, ATL (Can also play Second Base)
11. Casey McGehee, MIL
12. Pablo Sandoval, SF
13. Mark Reynolds, BAL
14. Pedro Alverez, PIT
15. Ian Stewart, COL
16. Placido Polanco, PHI
17. Michael Cuddyer, MIN (Can also play First Base and Outfield
18. Scott Rolen, CIN
19. Omar Infante, FLA (Can also play Second Base, Shortstop, and Outfield)
20. Juan Uribe, LAD (Can also play Second Base and Shortstop)

As always, please comment with opinions if you agree, or more importantly disagree.  I always love to hear if people think differently than me.  And I am serious.  I want to know if anyone thinks this list is wrong.  I look forward to reading them.

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