“Foster Your Roster” – 2013 MLFB Third Basemen Ranks
Looking at Third Basemen this year, there is Miguel Cabrera, a clear second tier, a group of talented second year players, and a bunch of other viable options. Anyone in the top five could make a case to be the second ranked Third Baseman, but here is my take on it:
- Miguel Cabrera: It’s impossible to argue against the Triple Crown Winner
- Evan Longoria: He has the potential to carry your team when healthy, and I think his injury prone reputation is a bit overblown. His injuries have impacted multiple seasons, but they seem to be separate issues, and nothing that should linger if he’s entering the year healthy.
- Adrian Beltre: Two consecutive years over 30 HRs, 28 HRs in 2010, and three years over 100 RBIs.
- Hanley Ramirez: The trade to LA helped increase his desire to play (he was notably lazy at times in Miami). I think 25/25 is within reach, and he should improve his AVG too. He’s still going to be better for you at SS, but if you need him at 3B, he’s potentially an elite contributor.
- David Wright: Wright is talented. The issue with him is a bad situation. Citi Field suppresses his power, even with the dimension changes. He was a 30 HR hitter at Shea, but since then is closer to 20. Plus, hitting in the middle of the lineup with “run producers” behind him, limits the aggressiveness he can have as a base stealer.
- Aramis Ramirez: He provides remarkably consistent performance, year after year.
- Ryan Zimmerman: The nationals have put together a good lineup, so maybe he gets back to his breakout 2009 stat line, but I expect numbers similar to 2012.
- Chase Headley: Regression will happen for Headley. His HR to Fly Ball ratio in 2012 was 21%, compared to the prior four years of 4%, 6%, 8% and 11%. Not only is that an unsustainable increase, but 4% was last year, and 11% was in 2008. Therefore, he was actually trending down from his rookie year until last season. In spite of that, he should still be able to land between 15/15 and 20/20.
- David Freese: He’s had an AVG above .290 the past three seasons, with increasing RBIs and a HR to flyball ratio that seems reasonable.
- Will Middlebrooks: The Red Sox wouldn’t have traded away Youkilis unless they felt Middelbrooks was ready. With 15 HRs in half a season of at-bats, it looks like a smart move. His season ending, broken wrist makes me somewhat hesitant, but if it isn’t an issue beginning the year, then he should be in line for a good season.
- Brett Lawrie: After David Wright, he is the best bet to go 20/20, especially if he can replicate his first half success from 2012 without a second half decline.
- Mike Moustakas: He is another young player who struggled in the second half, after a very strong first half of 2012. I don’t anticipate that being an issue this year. He has 25-30 HR potential, but the SBs and AVG will be lower than Middlebrooks’ and Lawrie’s.
- Pablo Sandoval: Based on Sandoval’s previous up and down pattern, 2013 could be an up year for him, but I don’t have much confidence given his inconsistent past. His 2009 and 2011 years were valuable, but 2010 and 2012 put him among guys you could find on the waiver wire.
- Todd Frazier: He should start everyday, after saving the Reds offense from injuries last season. With the additional at-bats, I expect him to hit over 20 HRs with 80 RBIs
- Martin Prado: He normally hits around .300, and if he can add a few more HRs by playing in Arizona and repeat double digit SBs, then he will be a good value.
- Pedro Alvarez: He still strikes out 30% of the time and struggles against left handed pitching. Until he corrects those issues, .250 with 30-ish HRs is likely to be his ceiling.
- Kyle Seager: His AVG can come up to the .270 range and he can provide solid production across the board to go with it.
- Manny Machado: I’d rather take Machado than guys on the decline, but he’s too much of an unknown to take above guys with even a limited track record. Don’t be tricked by last season, not all highly touted prospects shoot to the top of the pack in their first full season.
- Kevin Youkilis: He’s had a big drop in BABIP the last couple of seasons, which could just be terrible luck, but it is more likely to be eroding skills. As a result, he’s making worse contact. He should still provide some HRs and RBIs in hitter friendly Yankee Stadium, though.
- Michael Young: Last year was his worst season, so if you’re desperate, he’s not a bad guy to take a chance on.
- Trevor Plouffe: HRs are all you can hope for from him, unless he finds a way to improve his AVG.
- Chris Johnson: He could be a replacement option if he winds up as the starter in Atlanta.
Alex Rodriguez: He may come back for part of the season, but my advice is to let someone else waste a roster spot on him. Nothing about a 37-year-old with hip surgery sounds promising.
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