Fantasy Preview – Third Basemen


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 Third Basemen for 2010

1. Alex Rodriguez – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
78 30 100 14 .286
Rodriguez missed almost 40 games last season, and still put up amazing numbers during that time. I can pretty easily see a return to 100 runs, 20 steals, and even possibly 40 homers for A-Rod. Throw in that there shouldn’t be quite as much pressure on him now that he’s won a championship for the Yankees, and he’s a definite first rounder and probably going to end up as a top-5 player for me.


2. David Wright – NYM
R HR RBI SB AVG
88 10 72 27 .307
Wright was a huge disappointment for his owners last season, as they drafted him expecting something similar to a 30-30 season. Wright saw a huge spike in his strikeout rate last season, but still posted a similar walk rate. I’m inclined to believe that he’s due to rebound this season, and while his power may not necessarily get back to the 30 HR range necessarily, I can see a 25-25 guy in Wright with a great average.


3. Evan Longoria – 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
100 33 113 9 .281
Longoria posted another excellent season, building on an excellent rookie campaign in 2008. Longoria is still maturing, but in the Rays lineup he’s a pretty good lock to provide around 100 runs, 100 rbis, and 30 homers. Throw in the handful of steals, and he’s one of the few 3B who will provide value in all 5 categories.


4. Mark Reynolds
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 44 102 24 .260
I talked about Reynolds in the 1B preview as well. At 3B, the power and speed combination more than makes up for the drag he is going to be on your batting average. I still don’t think he’s likely to give you 40 HR again, but 30 HR and 20 stolen bases are definitely possible.


5. Ryan Zimmerman – WAS
R HR RBI SB AVG
110 33 106 2 .292
Zimmerman, very quietly, has developed into an excellent fantasy 3B. Realistically, he’s one of only 2 fantasy useful players on the Nats, so he tends to be forgotten. However, don’t sleep on him, as he’s very likely to provide similar production to his 2009 season.


6. Kevin Youkilis – BOS
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
99 27 94 7 .305
You can see my thoughts about Youkilis in my 1B rankings. He’s another player who will provide stats in all categories, and in my opinion is much more valuable if you draft him to play 3B than if you draft him to play 1B.


7. Aramis Ramirez – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
46 15 65 2 .317
Ramirez spent a major portion of last season on the disabled list, missing nearly 2 months with a separated shoulder. As a result, he may be dropping in people’s rankings when looking solely at his season numbers. Looking at his season splits, Ramirez appears to be fully recovered from the injury (11 HR, .304 from July onward). As a result, I can see him returning to his 30 HR form, and driving in 100 again.


8. Chone Figgins – SEA
R HR RBI SB AVG
114 5 54 42 .298
Figgins goes from a lineup with the Angels that really was run heavy, to a Mariners lineup that is probably similar in makeup. The biggest difference for Figgins himself is that he’s likely going to be hitting #2 in the order as opposed to leading off, due to the presence of Ichiro. He’s still a threat to steal 40 bags, and should still score quite a bit of runs. My only concern with drafting Figgins is that you’ve plugged a speed guy into a position where there are a majority of power hitters. You’ll want to make sure you get your power in some other positions, potentially 2B, SS or C.


9. Pablo Sandoval – SF
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 25 90 5 .330
I wrote about the Kung Fu Panda in my 1B rankings. Obviously, he provides more value at 3B than 1B, but he’s going to give you good production regardless of where you play him in your fantasy lineup.


10. Michael Young – TEX
R HR RBI SB AVG
76 22 68 8 .322
While Young no longer brings the added value of qualifying at SS, he’s still a solid value pick at 3B. His run total seems a bit low to me, but that is mostly due to his missing a couple weeks of time in September. I think he approaches 100 runs again this season, while posting similar numbers in the rest of the categories. A good solid player who unfortunately probably doesn’t have a lot of upside, but you still need players that provide as expected.


11. Gordon Beckham
Will qualify at 2B after 5 starts
R HR RBI SB AVG
58 14 63 7 .270
I wrote about Beckham in my 2B rankings since he’s the presumptive starter for the White Sox there. He’s a definite upside pick, as you’re hoping for potentially a 20-20 player. I think he can do that, and the positional flexibility will be nice as well.


12. Ian Stewart – COL
Also qualifies at 2B
R HR RBI SB AVG
74 25 70 7 .228
I also wrote about Stewart in my 2B rankings. The warning remains the same – watch to see that he does in fact win one of the starting jobs. I would be shocked if he didn’t, but there’s always a chance I suppose.


13. Jorge Cantu – FLA
Also qualifies at 1B
R HR RBI SB AVG
67 16 100 3 .289
Cantu is another under-the-radar type of player, as I really wasn’t aware he had driven in 100 last season or that he had posted useful numbers in the rest of the categories either. I am not sure he’ll post another 100 RBI this season, but he’ll probably be close to that number. His run total seems like it was a bit low as well, and could see that improving into the 75-80 range on the Marlins.


14. Casey Blake – LAD
R HR RBI SB AVG
84 18 79 3 .280
Blake quietly had another solid year in Los Angeles last season. He’s not going to provide you with elite production in any category, but he will provide at least some reasonable value to you in 4 of the categories. Another player who’s a better real-life player than a fantasy one. But still useful to be sure.


15. Chipper Jones – ATL
R HR RBI SB AVG
80 18 71 4 .264
If you’re looking for the Chipper Jones of the early 2000s, you’ve come to the wrong place. At this point, he’s going to give you some power, and will provide some runs and rbi. I’m not sure that the batting average is going to rebound back to the .364 he hit in 2008, or even the .300 range in general. No upside here really, but another useful player. Just hope you don’t need him to provide great production, because that’s pretty unlikely at this point.



After my top 15, there’s a lot of players with minor flaws. You have players like Scott Rolen and Adrian Beltre, who haven’t really been healthy. You’ve got younger players like Alex Gordon and Edwin Encarnacion, who have not proven that they can play well for multiple seasons. You’ve got Chase Headley and Martin Prado, who have some upside, but only as late round picks. There’s definitely some high-risk, high-reward types out there. But I know I’d prefer to not have to take too many of those types of players on my team.

Tomorrow will be another fantasy preview, this time for SS.

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