Tier Rankings: Third Base

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Tier Rankings: Third Base
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Imagine your co-worker, the company's best employee,  moving on to a better position at a better company. That's what it feels like at the third base position. For the second straight year, an elite hitter has left third base for better and bigger things with this year's permanent vacationer being Miguel Cabrera . (Ryan Braun left for the outfield last season).

It's not that we don't wish all the success in the world for Cabrera, but his departure couldn't have come at a worse time.

When you think of third base, you think of mashers; guys who can hit 30+ home runs and drive in 110 runs with ease. Well this year, the position has eight of those guys, and then it gets ugly fast.

We at Baseball Professor recommend you grab one of those eight players, or else be faced with serious questions going into the 2010 season. Let’s face it. All of the top eight third basemen could make the top 60, but it wouldn't surprise me if the rest fell out of the top 90.

Be prepared to reach in your draft to ensure you equip your team with a serviceable third basemen going into the 2010 season.

Tier One

Alex Rodriguez (NYY), David Wright (NYM), Evan Longoria (TB)

It’s scary to think what kind of damage Alex Rodriguez can do in a full season in the new Yankee Stadium. He hit 30 HR in just 444 ABs and he was coming off hip surgery , which tells me 40+  HR is very much in reach.

David Wright is no longer a first round lock, but you can’t ignore the 30-steal potential at the position, and he should return to a respectable 20+ HR level. 

Evan Longoria followed up a stellar rookie campaign with an even better sophomore season. There’s no question this guy can hit with the best of them, and those nine steals are just gravy, baby.

 

Tier Two

Ryan Zimmerman (WAS), Pablo Sandoval (SF), Mark Reynolds (ARI), Kevin Youkilis (BOS), Aramis Ramirez (CHI)

Think Longoria with less upside and no steals, and you have yourself Ryan Zimmerman . This guy slips in every draft, which can probably be chalked up to the fact he plays on the Washington Nationals.

Pablo Sandoval is another guy who plays on a bad team and therefore doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The fact is, Kung Fu Panda provides you with an elite batting average at a position where very few guys hit over .300, and he has power to go along with it.

We project a slight downgrade for Mark Reynolds in 2010, but that power/speed combo is still hard to pass on. 

You definitely aren’t winning any of your leagues by selecting Kevin Youkilis in the fifth round, but you certainly aren’t losing them either.

Every year he’s always a great value pick, and now coming off an injury I introduce the 2010 Sleeper of the Year, Aramis Ramirez . If you don’t have a third baseman and he is the only one still left, make sure you grab him at all costs.

 

Tier Three

Gordon Beckham (CHW), Chone Figgins (SEA), Michael Young (TEX), Chipper Jones (ATL), Jorge Cantu (FLA)

Gordon Beckham starts the huge dropoff at the position, but if he can build on his 14 HR and 63 RBI in just 104 games, he should be serviceable as an everyday starter.

Luckily, Chone Figgins isn't a power hitter, so his move to Safeco Field doesn't kill his value too much. But the Seattle lineup is nowhere near as good as the Angels' so don't expect a repeat in his 2009 run totals.

Michael Young and Chipper Jones are both injury-prone and aging but still have some value in average and power categories. Make sure to insure them with a solid player because a DL stint is most definitely in both of their futures.

Jorge Cantu is a nice value in the middle-to-late rounds because of his average and RBI totals.

 

Tier Four

Ian Stewart (COL), Chris Davis (TEX), Adrian Beltre (SEA), Mark DeRosa (SF), Jhonny Peralta (CLE), Casey Blake (LAD)

When will we see Ian Stewart 's breakout season? He's doing his best "recent graduate" impression as he can't seem to find a full-time job anywhere. It must be the economy. 

Maybe a trip to the minors is what Chris Davis needed as he hit .308 with six home runs in 133 ABs after getting called back up in August. 

Boston will be a better fit for Adrian Beltre , but he could lose some at-bats to Mike Lowell throughout the season and we aren't completely sure his shoulder is 100 percent. 

Mark DeRosa 's move to the Giants doesn't bode well for his fantasy value as his only lineup protection will be Sandoval.

The Indians are a mess on offense, and Jhonny Peralta 's near-50 fewer runs in 2009 are a great example.

Always solid across the board, but not great in any category, Casey Blake rounds out our fourth tier.

 

Tier Five

Alex Gordon (KC), Kevin Kouzmanoff (OAK), Chase Headley (SD), Jake Fox (OAK), Edwin Encarnacion (TOR), Brandon Inge (DET), Casey McGehee (MIL), Matt Gamel (MIL), Garrett Atkins (BAL), Troy Glaus (ATL), Andy LaRoche (PIT)

Don't give up on Alex Gordon just yet as a hip injury derailed his 2009 season.

Can you call the move away from Petco Park an improvement for Kevin Kouzmanoff if his destination was Oakland? Didn't think so. 

Only 25 years old and getting better, Chase Headley could make for a nice matchups-type player.

It's no secret. Jake Fox can flat out rake as he posted a line of .409/.495/.841 in 45 Triple-A games last year. Now he just needs a full-time job.

Edwin Encarnacion will have a full-time job, but will have to prove he is fully recovered from offseason surgery.

It's a tell-tale sign of what type of hitter Brandon Inge is when he hits 27 HRs and his OPS is .720.

Casey McGehee is coming off knee surgery and will have to rely on luck to repeat his 2009 rookie season.

Mat Gamel isn't quite ready for the majors as his defense and plate approach aren't up to speed just yet.

Moving away from Coors Field usually isn't the best career move, especially if you are a 30-year old coming off a career-worst season like Garrett Atkins .

Troy Glaus will see regular time at first base for the Braves, but injury concerns and age will limit his upside in 2010.

Much like his brother, Andy LaRoche is a streaky hitter and should only be considered when he is on one of his hot streaks.

For more articles like this one and more in-depth statistical fantasy baseball analysis, check us out at Baseball Professor !

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