Irrefutable Fantasy Rankings – Third Base

The hot corner isn’t exactly a hot position this year. Things get uncertain pretty quick once you get past the studs. When Alex Rodriguez is coming into the year with question marks you know that there aren’t many sure things in 2011:

The Been

1. Evan Longoria – Some people were actually disappointed with the 24 year old putting up a .294/96/22/104/15 line last year.   Should be more focused this year now that he will no longer have to deal with Tony Parker jokes:  .285/90/30/105/12

2. David Wright – You may not yet be confident with the home runs, but at least you’ll know he always gives great helmet.  2009 looks to be more the exception than the rule.  Draft with confidence:  .285/85/27/100/18

3. Alex Rodriguez – I really wanted to go with Zimmerman here, but didn’t quite have as much confidence in him as A-Rod has in himself. The trends are worrisome, but in his worst years he is better than most:  .280/75/34/110/8

4. Ryan Zimmerman – Losing Dunn doesn’t help, but his new lineup production won’t be Werthless (pun!).  If he can stay on the field, you’re looking at the potential for 30 hr and a .300+ average:  .290/85/32/100/2

5. Kevin Youkilis – If you know anything about fantasy baseball, you will be drafting Youk as a 3b.  If you’re an ESPN fantasy expert, then you will be deciding between him and Teixeira to be your 1b. Depending on your league’s settings, you’ll have to wait a little bit to plug him into the hot corner, but the beard of truth is worth waiting for:  .295/95/28/110/4

6. Adrian Beltre – We all know about the contract year peaks, but if you throw out 2009 (the guy had a ruptured testicle for chrissake) Beltre averaged 24 hr and 88 rbi per year in his time at cavernous Safeco Field.  The average won’t repeat, but the counting stats should be pretty all right:  .270/80/27/95/10

7. Jose Bautista – Yes, 2010 seemed to come a bit out of nowhere (career hr totals:  16, 15, 15, 13, 54!), but many people tend to think it wasn’t totally a fluke.  3b is a weak position, so he’d be worth the risk at the right price:  .260/85/30/90/5

8. Aramis Ramirez – Once one of the most reliable 3b’s in the game, A-Ram is starting to see a bit of a slide.  But he did have a strong 2nd half last year and will be playing for a contract this year.  Could be a good time to buy low:  .285/80/28/90/2

9. Mark Reynolds – We all know the Stew doesn’t like average risk.  Well, Mark Reynolds is way above average risk.  If he could just hit .250 he’d be a lot higher up this list.  But who am I to talk. . . I write baseball blogs as a hobby.  His average won’t be pretty this year, but should be comfortably above the Mendoza line:  .235/85/35/95/10

10. Pedro Alvarez – Probably the last year Pedro is this far down the list.  Only 24 and has a ton of power.  If his defense doesn’t force a move to 1st, he’ll be one of the top 3b for a long time:  .265/80/28/90/2

11. Casey McGehee – The guy no one wants to admit is any good.  Seriously, I tried to trade him for months last year.  Nothing flashy, but should provide good, cheap production at a weak position:  .280/75/22/90/1

12. Pablo Sandoval – Remember this guy?  He was supposed to be a top 3b last year.  Just goes to show you that there’s a very fine line between Kung-Fu Panda and Jabba the Hut.  Of course he is taking this off season very seriously and is probably in the best shape of his life.  On a serious note, I expect a bit of a bounce back:  .290/80/20/85/4

The Stew

1. Evan Longoria – Alex Rodriguez is dating Cameron Diaz. If that is not a sign he is no longer the top fantasy option at the hot corner, I do not know what is. While A-Rod is crushing washed up crease Longoria has himself in the top-6 of most draft boards. Draft expecting a slight uptick in power+steals: .285/95/35/110

2. David Wright – Wright spent some time complaining about Citi Field. Looks like he adjusted accordingly. Not too many third basemen can run like Wright and he’s a true 5-category star. Drafters may still be wary of that 2009 but don’t be. He may not be 30/30, but he is a lock for 20/20: .305/100/25/95/20

3. Ryan Zimmerman – I will put Invader Zim here since The Been didn’t have the heart. He isn’t a burner but knows how to score runs. Will A-Rod continue to steal 15+? If he does, this may be the last year he does so: .300/100/25/100/4

4. Alex Rodriguez – He scored 74 runs last year and knocked in 125. That is a pretty big disparity. He is inching closer to Carlos Lee territory. Man, he is still pretty darn good but…Madonna? Cameron Diaz? Looks like A-Rod isn’t the only one out of his prime: .275/75/30/110/8

5. Kevin Youkilis – Where is Youkilis going to hit in the Red Sox lineup? Let’s look at it this way; worst case scenario is he hits 6th behind a mixture of Ellsbury, Pedroia, Crawford, Gonzalez and Ortiz. If he is sandwiched somewhere inbetween there, watch out: .290/90/25/100/0

6. Aramis Ramirez – That is about as bad as he can get people. You saw it already and there is only one way to go from here: Up. Derrek Lee is gone so Ramirez will be slotted to hit 3rd in a Cubs lineup that isn’t dynamite but far from punchless. I don’t care who you are. If you are hitting third you will put up stats: .285/85/33/95/0

7. Casey McGehee – He will be playing in a lineup with a Prince Fielder who is playing for money. That is gotta help your counting statistics. Plus, Ryan Braun ain’t no slouch neither. He’s not sexy, but I bet he does better than Adrian Beltre: .280/85/23/85/2

8. Pedro Alvarez – Who is into upside? Don’t look now but the Pirates might actually be fielding a team this year. Well, at least on offense. Alvarez is going to hit bombs, that is for certain. And it isn’t like they’re going to bench him if he doesn’t hit. I mean, the Pirates stuck with Andy Laroche for almost an entire year. By all accounts, Alvarez won’t be a Mark Reynolds drain on your average: .260/80/30/80/1

9. Adrian Beltre – Is he playing for a contract? No? Well, then I guess I’m not paying. The move to Arlington can’t hurt but it’s not like Fenway is a bad place for righties: .275/80/20/80/3

10. Jose Bautista – Sigh…gotta put him somewhere: .265/75/28/80/2

11. Pablo Sandoval – I’m a believer. In the “I believe he will hit over .300 and push 20HR” way. I’m looking at a Billy Butler-like output from Sandoval. He needs to take some eating tips from Lincecum and Zito. If those two can keep off the late night munchies then anyone can: .310/75/20/80/0

12. Mark Reynolds – Ugghhhh. I hate Mark Reynolds and will never draft him. I’m just such a sucker for batting average. But hey, he is going to hit bombs and steal a few. Plus, Baltimore’s offense is actually shaping up to be pretty respectable: .220/75/35/80/10

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