2012 Fantasy Baseball: 5 Third Basemen to Avoid in 2012

Eric StashinSenior Writer IFebruary 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates the Tigers 3-2 win as Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees reacts after striking out for the games final out during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player.  It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or recovery from a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between.  Let’s take a look at five third basemen to avoid drafting in 2012.

Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees

Once one of the dominant bats in the game, things have fallen apart for him a bit in recent years.  Now 36 years old (he’ll turn 37 in July), injuries have definitely become one of the major reasons for the falloff.  Earlier in his career, he rarely appeared in fewer than 150 games, and if he was under 145 it was a shock.  From 2001-2003 his low in games appeared was 161. 

However, in the past four years he hasn’t played in more than 138 games.  Last season it hit an all-time low with just 99 games as he hit .276 with 16 HR, 62 RBI and 67 R.  It’s obvious he no longer has the wheels that he once did, as his knee has become a major liability.  He has stolen just four bases in each of the past two seasons, no longer having that advantage over the field (he had stolen as many as 46 bases in a year and at least 20 six times).

That also has influenced his runs scored.  From 1996-2008 he never scored fewer than 100 runs and only twice was below 110.  Over the past three seasons, he has scored 78, 74 and 67.

He no longer has an advantage in those two categories and, at his age, there’s a good chance he won’t rediscover his 30-plus HR levels.  With an ADP of 60.60 according to Mock Draft Central, there is just way too much risk.  I’d rather take someone like Pablo Sandoval a round later.

Emilio Bonifacio, Miami Marlins

He has eligibility around the diamond (also at SS and OF), but since he does have eligibility at 3B he can be included here.  Prior to the signing of Jose Reyes, he would have likely avoided being on this list, but his potential value has significantly diminished at this point.

There was already a ton of risk involved in him, but now he won’t be hitting in the leadoff spot.  That likely will mean fewer opportunities to steal bases and fewer runs scored.   Couple that with the high strikeout rate (20.1 percent), inflated BABIP (.372) and lack of power, and I would much rather roll the dice with another option.

Mark Reynolds, Baltimore Orioles

We all know that he has more than enough power (28 HR or more each of the past four seasons), but he couples that with one of the worst averages in the league.  Just look at the numbers over the past four years:

  • 2008 – .239
  • 2009 – .260
  • 2010 – .198
  • 2011 – .221

While 2009 may give a little bit of hope, it came courtesy of 44 HR and a .338 BABIP.  Don’t go into the year expecting that.  Throw in the fact that the Orioles could easily opt to go with a younger option at some point in 2012, and Reynolds could be a disaster waiting to happen.  Obviously, if you need power than he’ll have value, but there is a lot of risk and the potential to destroy your average.

David Freese – St. Louis Cardinals

Can this guy stay healthy for an entire season?   That’s obviously a huge negative for fantasy owners, because if there is no guarantee he is going to play, then how can you depend on him?

You may also want to look towards his 2011 numbers (.297, 10 HR in 333 AB), but realize that those came courtesy of a .356 BABIP and a 52.4-percent groundball rate.  Can we expect him to hit for a lot of power when he pounds the ball into the ground?  Can we really expect him to replicate that type of luck?

Throw in the fact that he was a World Series hero, hitting .397 with five HR in 2011 postseason, and you realize that he will likely be overvalued heading into 2012. 

Placido Polanco – Philadelphia Phillies

There was talk this offseason that the Phillies would try to upgrade at 3B, so it’s clear that they aren’t sold on Polanco as their full-time option.  If that weren’t enough, he doesn’t bring anything to the table outside of maybe average.  He hits for no power, and he brings no speed.  There’s a little bit of name value and he plays for a good team, but there is absolutely no value for fantasy owners.

What are your thoughts on these five third basemen?  Are you targeting any of them?  Why or why not?

Make sure to check out our look at other players to avoid for the 2012 campaign: