Fantasy Baseball 3B Preview: Bautista Getting Company at the Top
Fantasy Baseball: The only player in the top tier who will be eligible to play third base at the start of the season, Jose Bautista, is now an outfielder. Two other top picks, Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez, are switching to third this season, so they will be eligible before too long in your league. But they may well be drafted to play their original positions, 1B and SS respectively. With Michael Young, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Reynolds also eligible at 1B, the 3B pool may be more shallow than it first appears.
But before you feel obliged to reach for a 3B, bear in mind that all six players in the second tier missed significant time last season. Evan Longoria had the most games played with just 133. David Wright played in just 102 games and Ryan Zimmerman just 101. Brett Lawrie broke his hand in the minors and broke a finger on the other hand in the majors.
The youngest player in Tier Three, Kevin Youkilis, turns 33 March 15. Both Youkilis and Alex Rodriguez also missed significant time last year and are big health risks.
In other words, most of the third basemen come with some risk, and some come with a lot of risk.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Cabrera is probably the number one overall pick – and he’ll have multiple position eligibility. Bautista showed 2010 was not a fluke with a sensational 31-65-.334 first half. But he tailed off significantly in the second half: 12-38-.257, when he had a series of nagging injuries. Bautista is said to be healthy now. After missing 70 games last year, Ramirez is also healthy and looks ready to return to five-category greatness.
Evan Longoria, Rays
Adrian Beltre, Rangers
David Wright, Mets
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
Longoria hit 20 HR in the second half. His BA plummeted, but so did his BABIP. Longoria is still only 26. Beltre played only 124 games, but still hit 32 HR. Playing home games in Texas helped Beltre – he could have a huge year if he stays healthy. Wright still gets steals, and his power stats could rebound now that the Mets have moved the fences in. Or he could be traded at the deadline to a contending team with a better lineup. Zimmerman has now played under 110 games two of the last four seasons. But the Nationals believe in him, since they just gave him a six-year contract extension. Zimmerman hit .306 in the second half. Sandoval regained his 2009 form after a down 2010. In the second half, Sandoval had 15 HR and hit .325. Great things are forecast for Lawrie, who hit .293 with 9 HR and 7 SB in just 150 AB in his debut. Just remember that he only has 150 MLB AB.
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Michael Young, Rangers
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
After a couple of off years, Ramirez rebounded with 26-93-.306. Young’s .338 BA and 105 RBI were career highs, but Young turns 36 in October. Young is also eligible at 1B. After going 13-52-.295 in the first half, A-Rod hit just .191 in 19 second-half games and had experiment treatments to his knee and shoulder in the offseason. Youkilis hit just .258 last year and has missed 102 games over the last two seasons. Youkilis is eligible at 1B in Yahoo! leagues.
Mark Reynolds, Orioles
Martin Prado, Braves
Reynolds is for those willing to sacrifice BA for HR. He hit 37 HR with a .221 BA, and that was up from 2010’s .198. Prado is yet another 3B-eligible who missed a lot of time due to injury (a staph infection in his leg). Prado’s BA fell to .260 after two years at .307. His BABIP fell even further.
Photo by Keith Allison.
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