While it generally is considered the weakest position, third base has actually grown a lot deeper (and will get another influx of talent in the first few weeks of the year), though it is littered with injury risks. Reaching for one of the better players at the position is no longer a necessity, because there will likely be plenty of talent that will be available a few rounds later. With that said, let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand:
- Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays
- Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
- Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
- David Wright – New York Mets
- Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals
- Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants
- Brett Lawrie – Toronto Blue Jays
- Aramis Ramirez – Milwaukee Brewers
- Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox
- Michael Young – Texas Rangers
- Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
- Emilio Bonifacio – Miami Marlins
- Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
- Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals
- Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays
- Obviously once Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez gain eligibility they will join Bautista and Longoria in the top four at the position. Unfortunately, as we prepare for our fantasy drafts, they don’t have eligibility yet. That means if you want to look at one of them as a 3B (specifically, Ramirez could make more sense as a shortstop) you are going to have to also add a temporary fill-in later on in the draft (like Mat Gamel or Chone Figgins).
- David Wright is a risky proposition at this point, as he has yet to play in a spring game thanks to an abdominal strain. It is unknown if he is going to be ready for Opening Day, and you can’t rule out a setback at some point either. When you mix in last season’s struggles, is he a player you are going to trust? Thanks to the change in dimensions at CitiField, he should be better, but the injury concerns are legitimate. Let’s consider his spot tenuous, at best, and he will have to be reevaluated once we see if he can return to the field shortly or not.
- Speaking of injury risks, does anyone believe that Kevin Youkilis or Alex Rodriguez can stay healthy for an entire season? Youkilis should at least play every day when he’s healthy. As for Rodriguez, the Yankees are very likely to give him ample time off in an effort to keep him on the field all year. That will likely mean more time at DH and on the bench, which does influence his value.
- We have spoken a lot about Mike Moustakas and how he showed signs of putting things together late in the year (as has been a trend with him at every level). In other words, don’t let the struggles cause you to write him off. For my projection on him for 2012, click here.
- Is Evan Longoria worth considering in the first round? While he is coming off a poor 2011 campaign, he also posted a .239 BABIP (the first time in his career he was below .300). In other words a resurgence is likely and, at the tail end of the round, he definitely is worth considering. For more on why I believe that is the case click here.
Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: