Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fantasy Focus: Third Base Rankings

Third base is actually a pretty shallow position, maybe more so than SS or 2B, or even Catcher, when the gap between the elite players at the position and the approximately 7-15 range.  Here's what I have:

1.  Miguel Cabrera, Tigers:  103 R, 44 HR, 137 RBI, 3 SB, .348 BA, 652 PA.  The #2 overall fantasy player, IMO, behind Mike Trout.  I would bid up to $60 for him in a standard auction draft.  There is that much of a gap between him and Trout and the #3 player in MLB.  Will move to 1B, but keeps 3B eligibility for at least one more season.  He's almost as valuable at 1B, but most owners will draft him and play him as a 3B.

2.  Adrian Beltre, Rangers:  88 R, 30 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB, .315 BA, 690 PA.  Beltre just keeps cranking out seasons like this.  He's become a very consistent player!

3.  Evan Longoria, Rays:  91 R, 32 HR, 88 RBI, 1 SB, .269 BA, 693 PA.  Another player worth spending on.

4.  David Wright, Mets:  63 R, 18 HR, 58 RBI, 17 SB, .307 BA, 492 PA.  Wright crushed it when he was in the lineup, which was not enough.  Staying healthy has been an issue for him.

5.  Josh Donaldson, A's:  89 R, 24 HR, 93 RBI, 5 SB, .301 BA, 668 PA.  Breakout season in 2013. Can he do it again?  Was a very good college hitter, so I'm going to say yes.

6.  Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals:  84 R, 26 HR, 79 RBI, 6 SB, .275 BA, 633 PA.  Some talk of him moving to 1B, but the Nats still have Adam LaRoche over there.

7.  Manny Machado, Orioles:  88 R, 14 HR, 71 R, 6 SB, .283 BA, 614 PA.  Would be an elite fantasy SS.  Not so much at 3B, but has a lot of upside.

8.  Aramis Ramirez, Brewers:  43 R, 12 HR, 49 RBI, 0 SB, .283 BA, 351 PA.  Another guy who was terrific when he was on the field.  Getting a bit long in the tooth and injury prone, but probably still undervalued because of that risk.

9.  Pedro Alvarez, Pirates:  70 R, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 2 SB, .233 BA, 614 PA.  Perfect fit for the team that is looking to punt BA in order to maximize dingers.

10.  Chase Headley, Padres:  59 R, 13 HR, 50 RBI, 8 SB, .250 BA, 600 PA.  Headley looks to bounce back from a terrible season.

11.  Kyle Seager, Mariners:  79 R,  22 HR, 69 R, 9 SB, .260 BA, 695 PA.  Not a terrible pick if you wait out the position which is probably what I would do if I missed out on one of the top 4.

12. Pablo Sandoval, Giants:  52 R, 14 HR, 79 RBI, 0 SB, .278 BA, 584 PA.  I drafted Pablo and kept him all season.  I was reasonably happy with what he gave me when he was healthy and DL'd him when he wasn't.  I'll probably fall for the allure of a breakout season again this year.

13.  Chris Johnson, Braves:  54 R, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 0 SB, .321 BA, 547 PA.  Breakout season in 2013. Can he keep it up?

14.  Martin Prado, D'Backs:  70 RBI, 14 HR, 82 R, 3 SB, .282 BA, 664 PA.  Again, not a terrible choice for a final round pick or else a utility/IF position.

Cabrera will almost certainly be the #2 overall fantasy draft pick.  One of two players worth breaking the bank for in auctions.  Beltre, Longoria and Wright are solid.  If you miss out on one of them, then wait until the end of the draft.

Potential "breakout" stars:  Nolan Arenado, Will Middlebrooks, Brett Lawrie(for the umpteenth time!). Xander Bogaerts may play 3B and will have eligibility at third but most owners will want him to play SS if he is eligible, which he should be.

Rookie Watch:  Nick Castellanos, Tigers.  I'd be cautious with him, but definitely put him on my watch list.

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