Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen Rankings
Third base is a position undergoing a bit of a transition. In a stark contrast to the usual high level of fantasy third basemen it has been a bit of downturn at the position in recent years. However, as the youth movement undergone there recently has started to pay dividends the position should be on the upswing once again. David Wright (Mets) and Evan Longoria (Rays) are both very young, already elite talents both at the plate and in the field. This season the hope is that Ryan Zimmerman (Nats) and Alex Gordon (Royals) can finally tap into their vast potential and take the next step. Also, young players like Ian Stewart (Rockies), Pablo Sandoval (Giants), and Dayan Viciedo (White Sox) may get a chance to shine and usher in another era of elite third base talent.
Third Basemen Rankings:
1. David Wright (Mets)
2. Evan Longoria (Rays)
3. Aramis Ramirez (Cubs)
4. Alex Rodriguez (Yankees)
5. Kevin Youkilis (Red Sox)
6. Garrett Atkins (Rockies)
7. Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals)
8. Chipper Jones (Braves)
9. Adrian Beltre (Mariners)
10. Alex Gordon (Royals)
11. Mark Reynolds (Diamondbacks)
12. Edwin Encarnacion (Reds)
13. Jorge Cantu (Marlins)
14. Carlos Guillen (Tigers)
15. Troy Glaus (Cardinals)
16. Chone Figgins (Angels)
17. Ian Stewart (Rockies)
18. Casey Blake (Dodgers)
19. Ty Wigginton (Orioles)
20. Melvin Mora (Orioles)
21. Kevin Kouzmanoff (Padres)
22. Joe Crede (Twins)
23. Mike Lowell (Red Sox)
24. Dayan Viciedo Perez (White Sox)
25. Josh Fields (White Sox)
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With Alex Rodriguez's injury, David Wright (Mets) has become the most coveted 3rd baseman for the upcoming fantasy season. Wright has been performing at an MVP level for the last four seasons, and there is no reason to think that the 26 year old can't continue to produce at an elite level. Evan Longoria's (Rays) impressive rookie season has made him a coveted fantasy player, and in his first full season we should see him break the 100 RBI barrier as well. Aramis Ramirez (Cubs) continues to hit for power and you can expect more of the same this year. Ramirez will help you in every category but steals. Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) and his injury has significantly hurt his fantasy value. If selected, be sure and pickup another 3rd baseman later in the draft to fill in for the first month of the season.
If you are in a bind late in your draft and haven't grabbed a 3rd baseman, take a close look at Casey Blake (Dodgers), Ty Wigginton (Orioles), and Mike Lowell (Red Sox). There is nothing exciting about owning any of these veterans, but they all have produced respectable totals throughout their careers and should give you a nice fill-in if you find yourself looking for a 3rd baseman late. A player I really like is Josh Fields, who showed flashes of brilliance in 2007 when he hit 23 HR's in 100 games. He has 30 HR potential and should get more playing time now that Joe Crede has moved to Minnesota.
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Three risers for this season are: Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals), Ian Stewart (Rockies), and Dayan Viciedo Perez (White Sox)
Zimmerman is just a year removed from being considered a near elite 3rd baseman, before his 2008 season was derailed by injuries. He is still very young (only 24) and if he can stay healthy all year, he should get you 25 HR’s and 100 RBI’s.
However, if you would rather take a risk on a guy with upside, take a look at Ian Stewart. Stewart will be fighting for playing time, but if he can improve his contact skills (94 strikeouts in only 266 AB's last season) he could find himself becoming an everyday player at Coors Field, which you have to like.
Meanwhile, Viciedo is a young prospect who will be an intriguing option if he gets playing time. Right now he is still very raw, and he is probably best suited to stash away on your bench until he secures a full time major league spot. He profiles as a power bat and he will only see his draft value rise as his career moves forward.
Chipper Jones (Braves) is nearing the twilight of his career. While he posted an amazing .364 average last year, he benefited from an extremely high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) rate and can’t be expected to produce like that again this year. Also you have to worry about his power numbers slipping and his playing time reduced due to age and injuries. He’s had a great career, but he’s no longer an elite fantasy 3 rd baseman.
Chone Figgins (Angels) is one of those real life players than fantasy players. He had a paltry 22 RBI’s last season and only 1 HR, so if you draft him, you will have to make up your power numbers elsewhere. He can still steal and provide a decent batting average, but that’s about it.
Melvin Mora (Orioles) is another player who is just getting old. He struggled running the bases in the WBC, and you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank. Temper your expectations if you draft him.
Mat Gamel (Brewers) has Ryan Braun like power potential. Unfortunately for him, he is a liability on defense and is unlikely to gain enough playing time to warrant drafting at third-base.
We really like Pablo Sandoval (Giants) and think that he will end up being a top 10 3 rd baseman. However, since we have already ranked him at two other positions, it seemed excessive to rank him here. Mark DeRosa (Indians), another multiple position player, would be a top 15 3 rd baseman if he were included in the rankings.
Aubrey Huff (Orioles) will probably have a down year and would be included as a Faller, but he profiles more as a DH than a 3 rd baseman. In any case, don’t draft him expecting 2008 numbers or you will most likely be disappointed.
As far as sleepers go, Joe Mather (Cardinals) could be a great acquisition if he can win the job there. This is also important to note in case you own Troy Glaus (Cardinals), because Glaus will begin the season on the DL and you will need someone to fill in until he comes back.
By: Joseph Kelley
MLBcenter.com Fantasy Correspondent
Brian Chmielewski, Director of Fantasy Content, contributed to this article.
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