by Derek of The Sportmeisters
Today we look at the top 15 third basemen of 2009.
1. David Wright – New York Mets – Projection: .310 BA 110 R 30 HR 115 RBI 20 SB
Wright moves into the number one 3B after A-Rod’s injury. However, it was close even before that. Wright is a beast. He will hit for power, steal bases, and hit for average. He has a monster lineup around him, and should hit 30 HR’s and hit around .300 with 20 SB’s.
He could be the No. 1 overall pick, but more likely just a first rounder.
2. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays – Projection: .288 BA 96 R 35 HR 110 RBI 12 SB
Longoria had a monster rookie year in 2008, hitting .272 with 27 HR’s in just 448 AB’s. Now, imagine what he will do in a full season. He may not be a first round pick, but definitely a third or fourth rounder, possibly as early as the second round.
3. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees – Projection: .305 BA 96 R 33 HR 102 RBI 14 SB
Usually the consensus number one overall pick, A-Rod takes a hit after undergoing hip surgery. He will be out eight to 10 weeks and the rankings and projections reflect that.
He will still hit 30+ HR’s and if he slides to the third round, I would snatch him quick and stash him on the DL until he returns.
4. Aramis Ramirez – Chicago Cubs – Projection: .290 BA 92 R 30 HR 110 RBI 2 SB
Ramirez has been fairly consistent over the past three years, hitting 38 HR’s, 26 HR’s, and 27 HR’s. Plus, hitting for average and knocking in 100+ RBI. Ramirez is right outside the big-three 3B and you should pounce on him as early as the fourth round.
5. Chipper Jones – Atlanta Braves – Projection: .335 BA 90 R 22 HR 90 RBI 2 SB
The only problem with Chipper Jones is his injury history. He hasn’t had a season with more than 137 games since 2003, but has hit over .320 with 20+ HR’s each of the past three years. Expect more of the same this year and grab him around the sixth or seventh round if he’s there.
6. Garrett Atkins – Colorado Rockies – Projection: .290 BA 86 R 22 HR 100 RBI 2 SB
Atkins has regressed each of the last two years. But still hits .285 with 20+ HR’s. He may lose AB’s to Ian Stewart and Todd Helton, so don’t draft him too high, but don’t let him slip too far.
7. Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals – Projection: .280 BA 77 R 20 HR 90 RBI 2 SB
Zimmerman is coming off of an injury-shortened year, only getting 248 AB’s. However, he still hit .283 with 14 HR’s. Expect a full recovery and a 2006-like season (.287 20 HR 110 RBI) this year.
8. Michael Young – Texas Rangers – Projection: .295 BA 90 R 12 HR 80 RBI 8 SB
Young may have a different type of year with his position switch from SS to 3B. He still has SS eligibility and will get 3B eligibility within the first two weeks. He can hit the ball, as we all know.
He should still hit in the .295-.295 range with 10-15 HR’s, so draft him in the middle to late rounds and be happy about the position eligibility.
9. Adrian Beltre – Seattle Mariners – Projection: .270 BA 75 R 25 HR 85 RBI 7 SB
Beltre had a decent year last year, despite Thumb and Shoulder problems. He hit 25 HR’s with those issues, imagine what he will do when healthy. Expect 25-30 HR’s and 80-90 RBI. Use a late round pick on him.
10. Chone Figgins – Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim – Projection: .280 BA 85 R 3 HR 45 RBI 40 SB
He wowed everyone in 2007 with a .330 BA with 41 SB’s, but fell back to earth last year with .276 and 34 SB’s. He has some injury history, but if he stays healthy, expect a .280 BA with 35+ SB’s.
11. Mike Lowell – Boston Red Sox – Projection: .285 BA 75 R 20 HR 80 RBI 1 SB
Lowell is coming off of an injury-filled season, in which he only had 419 AB’s. After 2007, where he hit .324 with 21 HR’s and 120 RBI, he was expected for another big year.
He still had a decent year, hitting .274 with 17 HR’s and 73 RBI. If he stays healthy, he could be a late-round steal, especially in that Boston lineup.
12. Alex Gordon – Kansas City Royals – Projection: .270 BA 75 R 20 HR 77 RBI 10 SB
Gordon has been off and on in his first two seasons in the majors. He has hit just .247 and .260 in those seasons. However, he has shown some pop, hitting 15 and 16 HR’s. He has the potential to hit 20+ HR’s and has a decent team around him.
Expect decent numbers, but don’t reach for him until the late rounds.
13. Edwin Encarnacion – Cincinnati Reds – Projection: .265 BA 77 R 25 HR 78 RBI 3 SB
The Reds lineup is considerably weaker this year, without Griffey and Dunn, but Encarnacion showed his power potential last year, hitting 26 HR’s. Expect the usual numbers from him and don’t draft him as your starting 3B, but he could be a late round pick as a utility man.
14. Mark DeRosa – Cleveland Indians – Projection: .280 BA 88 R 18 HR 82 RBI 3 SB
DeRosa is leaving the friendly confines of Wrigley Field and going to Cleveland, where he will move to 3B. At age 34, he still has some pop in his bat and could put up similar numbers as he did last year.
Plus, he has 2B and OF eligibility. He could be worth a late round flyer.
15. Brandon Inge – Detroit Tigers – Projection: .255 BA 70 R 15 HR 75 RBI 6 SB
Inge will finally get regular playing time at his preferred position of 3B this year, but still has C eligibility. He may not rock the socks off the ball, but is in a potent lineup and will be playing almost every day.
Take a late round flyer on him.