Over the past three or four years, third base has been one of the shallowest positions in fantasy baseball—with only a few players worthy of an early-round pick.
As the 2011 season quickly approaches and fantasy owners begin drafting their teams, many owners will be pleasantly surprised to see that the third base pool is no longer filled with just a small handful of players.
In fact, we have five third basemen ranked in the top 25 of our official Kramerica Sports top 200 rankings—including new full-time 3B Kevin Youkilis and the highly-touted Ryan Zimmerman.
For those owners who miss out on a top-tier third baseman early in the draft, there are a few valuable players who can be targeted in the later rounds. One such player is Mike Aviles, a third-year player who was drafted in the seventh round of the 2003 amateur draft out of Concordia College.
After a few years in the minors, Aviles was called up on May 29th, 2008, and proceeded to hit .325 in 102 games with the Royals. Although injuries limited Aviles to only 36 games in 2009, the young infielder bounced back in 2010 with a respectable .304 average with 14 stolen bases and 63 runs scored.
What makes Aviles such an interesting sleeper this season is that he will likely be the team’s starting third basemen, with Alex Gordon moving to the outfield. In addition, Ned Yost announced to reporters today that Aviles is his likely candidate to bat leadoff this season.
As a solid-hitting third basemen with above-average speed, it is not unreasonable to expect close to 100 runs scored and 15 to 20 stolen bases from Aviles, making him an excellent late-round steal in both mixed and AL only formats.
Check out our other sleepers for 2011:
This article was originally published on www.kramericasports.com. The home of free fantasy baseball news, rankings and advice.