FANTASY BASEBALL 2012: THIRD BASE RANKINGS
For more rankings and notes around Spring Training, read the DRAFT GUIDE.
Strategy: There is a lot of talent at the 3rd Base position this year. If you miss out on Bautista or the eventual Cabrera, then you can still snag elite talent 7 3rd Base options later with Ryan Zimmerman or Brett Lawrie. Point is you do not have to reach, but do not wait too long as after the top 14 it gets a little risky. If you want a deep sleeper, take Ryan Roberts and do not look back.
#1. Jose Bautista – Prediction (.290 Average. 45 HRs. 110 RBIs. 10 SBs. 107 Runs)
First Jose blew up with 54 HRs. Then the following season for an encore he hit over .300 while proving the power was no fluke with 43 bombs. Do we expect something in the middle between the two? I do. I think Jose is one of the most confident hitters in baseball and the surge will continue, 45 Bombs with double digit steals.
#2. Miguel Cabrera – Prediction (.330 Average. 35 HRs. 115 RBIs. 4 SBs. 108 Runs)
Miguel will not open up the season eligible at 3rd Base. But it will not take long for the ex 120 RBI man to qualify there. With Prince Fielder protecting him in that Tigers lineup, which could potentially lead the majors in runs. There is no reason to think Miggy cannot be the potential #1 option in all of baseball. His batting average has been over .320 in 6 of the past 7 seasons, including last year’s .344.
#3. Adrian Beltre – Prediction (.280 Average. 39 HRs. 121 RBIs. 2 SBs. 100 Runs)
Beltre is a beast. He delivers 1st round talent, and goes sometime in the 3rd or 4th round. Last season in 124 games, he drove in 105 RBIs, while hitting .295 and 32 HRs. The Texas lineup is stacked and scoring runs comes easy for this bunch. Adrian is already having a nice Spring, and MVP type numbers are possible as Beltre proved his time in Seattle was a fluke. I am buying on the former Dodger.
#4. Evan Longoria – Prediction (.290 Average. 35 HRs. 110 RBIs. 7 SBs. 101 Runs)
Longoria was MVP hot at one point in the season. He finished with 31 HRs, and 99 RBIs, in 133 games. He is supposed to be one of the best hitters in baseball. There is no reason to believe this will not be the year he continues to step forward. The .243 Batting Average was a fluke, he rarely struck out, just got unlucky.
#5. Alex Rodriguez – Prediction (.285 Average. 33 HRs. 110 RBIs. 5 SBs. 111 Runs)
For some odd reason, everyone thinks maybe the greatest hitter of all time is done at the age of 36. The greatest hitter on a team where you can drive in 70 RBIs if your name is Russell Martin. The season prior to last A-Rod drove in 125 RBIs with 30 HRs in 137 Games. The two seasons before that he drove in 100+ RBIs in less than 140 games. In fact the last full season A-Rod played, he put up he drove in 156 RBIs and hit 54 HRs in 2007. Yes I know it is 2012, but A-Rod will bounce back as he looks to be the leader of this Yankee Franchise. He falls to the 6th round of most drafts, and I will be a buyer on draft day.
#6. Aramis Ramirez – Prediction (.280 Average. 32 HRs. 107 RBIs. 2 SBs. 95 Runs)
Usually a move to a new team is the kiss of death for a lot of good fantasy options. However Aramis just moved from NL Central team, to another. This is just like when he went from Pittsburgh to the Cubs, and his numbers actually improved. The Brewers are a better fit for his fantasy game as he now plays in a lineup that will score a lot more runs. He will still face the same pitchers, even get to go back to Wrigley a few times this season. Aramis will need to semi-replace the shoes of Prince Fielder. I think he can come close enough. Staying healthy will be the big challenge.
#7. David Wright – Prediction (.295 Average. 24 HRs. 101 RBIs. 18 SBs. 102 Runs)
Wright used to be a god at the 3rd base position in fantasy. He would steal 20+ Bases, and knock out 30+ HRs. Now Wright is missing games, he has bad ribs, and the Mets ball park seems like a problem for his style. However the fences have been moved in closer. Already complaining about rib problems this spring, I will pass on him on draft day and let someone else burn a 2nd round pick on him. The 20/20 potential is still there, but Lawrie looks to be the replacement of the throne. After the 4th round he is worth the gamble.
#8. Ryan Zimmerman – Prediction (.290 Average. 32 HRs. 105 RBIs. 4 SBs. 107 Runs)
Zimmerman has proved he can be a beast in a full season. 30+ HRs, 100+ RBIs, and a batting average that nears .300. The Nationals are a stacked team this season, and they have a chance to go places if Zimmerman can be their solid go-to-batter. If healthy expect the numbers above easily, already having a nice spring.
#9. Brett Lawrie – Prediction (.290 Average. 23 HRs. 87 RBIs. 22 SBs. 102 Runs)
Lawrie is one of those guys that can win you your league if you get him late enough. He has the potential to hit 25+ HRs, and steal 25+ bases. That is very rare from a 3rd Base option, very similar to what David Wright used to bring to the table. If I do not have to spend an extremely high draft pick on him, I will snag the young gun. If not, I will take Ryan Roberts a handful of rounds later and probably get similar production. Lawrie is already hyped as an amazing talent, unless he explodes, he will be a disappointment. Give me the proven superstars ahead of him that go later.
#10. Pablo Sandoval – Prediction (.304 Average. 31 HRs. 101 RBIs. 2 SBs. 85 Runs)
Kung Fu Pablo found his inner peace last season dropping a bunch of weight. His skills as a fantasy option reached new heights in the 117 games he played when he totaled 23 HRs, 70 RBIs, and a batting average over .300. If he managed to last a full season, you are looking at a 30-100 option. I am a believer that he can keep it going, and now with Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera batting ahead, there is no reason to think the RBIs will come at a quicker rate.
#11. Kevin Youkilis (.311 Average. 24 HRs. 108 RBIs. 2 SBs. 103 Runs)
Pukilis once again failed to play over 140 games. Something he has not done since 2008. Somehow though, in 120 games he managed to drive in 80 RBIs, while posting an incredibly low .255 average. He is a very good hitter who hit over .300 in each of the prior three seasons. If he can avoid the injury bug you are getting yourself a steal for someone who goes as late as the 6th round. Drafting a 3B early does not prove to be a necessity anymore, if 100+ RBI guys like Youkilis are around this late.
#12. Michael Young – Prediction (.319 Average. 14 HRs. 111 RBIs. 4 SBs. 100 Runs)
Young is a great batting average guy with some pop. If he did not have the Texas Ranger lineup his RBI total would probably be south of 100. But he does, so he is a 20-100 candidate with a .300+ batting average once again.
#13. Mark Reynolds – Prediction (.220 Average. 35 HRs. 100 RBIs. 10 SBs. 87 Runs)
Reynolds will not hit for average. But what he will do is give you 30+ HRs, nearly 100 RBIs, and potentially double digit steals. He goes very late well past the 10th round, but if you can look past the average you are getting 3rd round quality numbers. He is worth the late flier in all drafts.
#14. Ryan Roberts – Prediction (.260 Average. 24 HRs. 70 RBIs. 22 SBs. 95 Runs)
Roberts is a 20/20 guy who is only getting better. With a full season slated ahead at 3B, you can expect Roberts to build off of the 19/18 in 143 games a season ago. He is already having a hot spring with 3 HRs in the first week.
#15. Chris Davis – Prediction (.244 Average. 24 HRs. 82 RBIs. 2 SBs. 70 Runs)
If there was ever a guy who will go in the very last rounds of your draft who could hit 40 HRs. Chris Davis is probably that guy. His power potential is enormous, and playing in Baltimore is the perfect situation as he will have a long leash. 20 HRs can easily be expected, everything more will have his owners thrilled.
#16. Mike Aviles – Prediction (.290 Average. 15 HRs. 65 RBIs. 17 SBs. 75 Runs)
You gotta love the potential of Aviles as a full-time option in Boston. The lineup has talent all around that will leave Mike with a lot of RBI chances. Especially if he can get back to that .300 batting average form he flashed a season ago. Nice wheels, with some pop leaves him as a great sleeper.
#17. Emilio Bonifacio – Prediction (.250 Average. 2 HRs. 33 RBIs. 31 SBs. 90 Runs)
Emilio is a great fantasy baseball option. He qualifies at multiple positions, and he steals a lot of bases. He is looking to be the everyday center fielder, and with the chance of being on base behind Jose Reyes. There should be plenty of double steals where no ball is thrown to attempt to get Emilio out. He should steal 30 bags again easily. However you should expect a lot of sacrifice bunting, and Luis Castillo showed us in the past if you bat 2nd, you are going to lose on SB opportunities. There is a risk.
#18. Martin Prado (.301 Average. 15 HRs. 65 RBIs. 4 SBs. 96 Runs)
As a 2nd Base option I really like Prado. Now that he only qualifies at 3rd and OF, I am a bit skeptical. His batting average should near .300, but his power is definitely on the low-end of the great players. His RBI total will not win you any leagues, and he does not steal many bases. But he scores runs.
#19. Mike Moustakas – Prediction (.270 Average. 21 HRs. 75 RBIs. 2 SBs. 70 Runs)
Mike has some ways to go before he becomes the fantasy option every knows he can be. 5 HRs last season in 89 games for a guy who hit 20+ in the minors is a bit discouraging. He does have it in him to hit 30+ at some point in his career, but for now 20+ would be a step in the right direction. His leash will be long all season as he and Hosmer are the future of the Royals. I will throw Billy Butler’s name in that group as well.
#20. David Freese (.295 Average. 18 HRs. 75 RBIs. 2 SBs. 80 Runs)
Mr. Freese is a low risk/medium reward option. His batting average keeps him as a solid option as he will hit nearly .300, but what will really be the difference is he if builds off of his 10 HRs in 97 games. If he can take it to the next level as the everyday 3B option and knock out 20 HRs. You got yourself a steal. I’m not willing to go all-in on the potential, but it is there.
#21. Matt Gamel – Prediction (.270 Average. 18 HRs. 75 RBIs. 2 SBs. 75 Runs)
If there was ever a time for Matt Gamel to make a name for himself, this is the season. He looks to be the everyday 1st Base option with no more Prince Fielder. The HR potential is about at the 20 range, but his batting average should keep him active in your fantasy lineup nonetheless. That is if he can resort to his old minor league days where he used to hit over .300. He has already hit HRs in 3 straight games this Spring.
#22. Danny Valencia (.265 Average. 16 HRs. 82 RBIs. 70 Runs. 3 SB)
Valencia proved that if you double his rookie stats in half a season, you will get the same player. With a full year of experience, Danny could be ready to jump to the next level. However it is more likely he stays at the rate we have come to expect. 20 HRs would be great, 15 sounds more accurate. Great bench option.
#23. Edwin Encarnacion (.250 Average. 17 HRs. 60 RBIs. 4 SBs. 60 Runs)
Edwin is the type of hitter that could hit 30 HRs in a season if he gets regular at bats. Problem is, he is a liability in the field and the Blue Jays are extremely deep all-around this season. When Edwin is out there, he is a great start. When he plays 3 games in a week, he is a bit risky as his rhythm goes off. There will be stretches of the season where he plays like a MVP, and others you will want him on your bench. Worth the late round pick in all leagues as a very valuable bench option.
#24. Chipper Jones (.270 Average. 15 HRs. 70 RBIs. 3 SBs. 80 Runs)
Chipper appeared on the decline from 2007-2010 being an injury filled seasons where his stats were worse every season. Then last year happened. He only played 126 Games because of another injury, but he knocked out 18 HRs and drove in 70 RBIs. He may not be done yet, and it would be wise to take him as late as he will end up going. Always nice to stack your bench with future hall of famers who are still out there because they love the game and want to keep dominating it.
#25. Ty Wigginton (.250 Average. 16 HRs. 60 RBIs. 3 SBs. 55 Runs)
If Ty can find a way to get everyday ABs, his value as a fantasy option will be worth something. His versatility gives him a chance, but it will take injuries or everyone realizing Placido Polanco is a worthless fantasy option. Unfortunately nobody thinks that way except for us, and Wigginton’s journey for PT will start with Ryan Howard on the DL.
#26. Sean Rodriguez – Prediction (.260 Average. 14 HRs. 60 RBIs. 13 SBs. 65 Runs)
Sean Rodriguez has always had potential to be a huge player in the majors but has never had the chance to put it together for a full season. As an everyday guy last year, Rodriguez looked solid about a two RBIs a week. He did hit 29 HRs in in 365 ABs one season in the minors, so the potential is there especially getting the chance to open up as the everyday SS.
#27. Jed Lowrie – Prediction (.259 Average. 15 HRs. 60 RBIs. 4 SBs. 55 Runs)
Lowrie has nice power potential and moves from the high pressure Boston to the I do not care if win 60 games Astros. Jed will get his chance to finally prove his power potential with no competition for playing time. Now is his chance to show who he is as a player.
#28. Chase Headley – Prediction (.270 Average. 9 HRs. 60 RBIs. 15 SBs. 68 Runs)
Chase took a step back in his major league career sinking to 4 HRs in 113 games. He still proved he is a SB threat from the 3rd Base position continuing his double digit streak to 3 seasons in a row. He is the low-end Brett Lawrie aka Lawrie 0.5.
#29. Lonnie Chisenhall – Prediction (.260 Average. 15 HRs. 66 RBIs. 3 SBs. 55 Runs)
Usually I could care less about rookies who only hit 7 HRs in 69 games. But Lonnie has showed in the minors that he has some power with 32 in his last two minor league campaigns before coming to the show. Do I expect 15 HRs? Ya, that sounds about right.
#30. Pedro Alvarez – Prediction (.240 Average. 14 HRs. 65 RBIs. 4 SBs. 68 Runs)
Pedro has nowhere to go but down from here. After hitting 16 HRs in 95 games as a rookie, he hits 4 HRs in 74 games. Pedro already has a HR this spring, but his leash is no longer long. The Pirates have Casey McGehee, and Alvarez needs to perform now. There is a chance he finds his stroke again and shows off what once was 30 HR potential, but somewhere in teens sounds more accurate if anything.
#31. Daniel Murphy – Prediction (.308 Average. 11 HRs. 65 RBIs. 9 SBs. 70 Runs)
Murphy is a solid 10/10 candidate with a batting average that should be around .300. Anything more than that is a bonus, he truly does not hurt you in any category which is key for the 2B spot.
#32. Chone Figgins – Prediction (.240 Average. 1 HR. 10 RBIs. 20 SBs. 60 Runs)
Figgins gets another opportunity to be a fantasy option. His speed is very valuable, his batting average and everything else reminds you why he will go so late. If he can keep the job all season, which will not be easy with the Marines prospects. Then you got yourself a steal, literally.
#33. Ian Stewart – Prediction (.240 Average. 13 HRs. 55 RBIs. 4 SBs. 60 Runs)
Ian went from sleeper of the year, to biggest bust. He hit 0 HRs in 48 games. Now moves to Wrigley where they will want results. Will he resort back to his 20 HR form? Probably not, but double digits would be a good start. You can find him very late in your draft if you want double or nothing on him.
#34. Scott Rolen – Prediction (.260 Average. 11 HRs. 55 RBIs. 3 SBs. 60 Runs)
The Bionic Man starring Scott Rolen is still playing baseball. The reason he is a bionic man is because he keeps getting injured, and who knows what mechanical things they had to put in his body to keep him performing. 20 HRs would be spectacular, but 10 HRs sounds more realistic.
#35. Brent Morel (.260 Average. 11 HRs. 55 RBIs. 4 SBs. 60 Runs)
I am not going to draft Brent Morel. His power reminds you of a 2B option, his speed reminds you of a catching option. He brings nothing to the table that gets you excited.
#36. Eduardo Nunez – Prediction (.260 Average. 7 HRs. 40 RBIs. 14 SBs. 30 Runs)
Nunez was more than great filling in for Derek Jeter and A-Rod with his knee injuries. However both come into camp healthy, and that leaves Nunez as someone who you will want later on in the season than now. When he plays full-time he is a great option with some decent pop and speed. Hitting in a Yankee lineup helps as well.
#37. Placido Polanco – Prediction (.280 Average. 6 HRs. 45 RBIs. 60 Runs)
Placido may hit .300, besides that he is as worthless as they come as a fantasy option. He could score 70 Runs, but he will also hit less than 50 RBIs and drive less than double digit HRs. On top of that he is rarely healthy for a full season. Placido is not on my draft list, even though I ranked him.