Friday, March 17, 2006

Fantasy Preview - Third Basemen

All right, this is one instance where I'm going to ask that you disregard a player's ranking to some degree. The top player on the list of third basemen is not really the top pick, though he certainly has much value in at least one category.

Player Value
Chone Figgins 51.84
Alex Rodriguez 49.14
David Wright 47.30
Miguel Cabrera 41.63

Hank Blalock 29.84
Eric Chavez 28.91
Melvin Mora 28.58
Morgan Ensberg 28.29
Bill Hall 28.25
Aramis Ramirez 28.19
Adrian Beltre 26.96
Garret Atkins 26.83
Troy Glaus 25.42

Edwin Encarnacion 24.70
Brandon Inge 22.65
Pedro Feliz 21.61
Mike Lowell 20.13
Joe Crede 19.72
Scott Rolen 18.54
Chipper Jones 18.31
Ryan Zimmerman 17.93

David Bell 15.72
Joe Randa 15.56
Bill Mueller 14.43
Kevin Youkilis 13.87
Sean Burroughs 12.74

Chone Figgins is a real threat at the top of the Angels lineup, and he will provide a boost for both stolen bases and runs scored. But the class of this category are the two New York superstars. Undoubtedly there should be a lot friendly - and not so friendly - banter between Met and Yankee fans as to which of David Wright and Alex Rodriguez is the premier third baseman in baseball. David Wright has already proven that for the first time in about two decades all the hype over a Met prospect was actually merited. He is the future (and present) of this franchise. And for all the crap that gets thrown A-Rod's way, he is the second best offensive player in the game, and you'd be a fool to pass on him. He will have even more RBI opportunities with Johnny Damon leading off for the Yanks, and might blow all previous statistical seasons away.

Of course, what's funny is that even with paycuts and everything A-Rod is still costing the Yankees around $20 million. Wright, who should produce similar numbers, will be paid less than $400,000 this year.

Joining those two studs at the top of the list is Miguel Cabrera, as the Marlins have moved him in from the outfield. He'll have less protection in the lineup, and also fewer RBI opportunities. But he should still produce monster numbers - .325 BA, 35-40 homers, 120+ RBI, 100+ runs.

Scott Rolen is a mystery. I have low numbers projected for him, so much depends on how he bounces back from injury. I'd be cautious, taking him only in the later rounds and not allocating much cash. Troy Glaus also comes with a bit of a warning label, but I have much more confidence in his ability play 150+ games this season.

I expect Adrian Beltre to bounce back a bit, but I don't think he'll ever put up the kind of numbers he did in 2004. He's a mid-round pick in my estimation.

There are a couple of sleepers here. Kevin Youkilis has a shot at a full-time job this year, and could put up some big power numbers. If he's available in one of the later rounds, grab him. The same holds true for National rookie Ryan Zimmerman, a potential Rookie of the Year candidate. He plays in a cavernous ballpark, but he looked good late last season when he was called up. He'll probably put up better numbers than Youkilis, at least this year.

And I almost forgot my own keeper - Morgan Ensberg. He's been two players thus far in his career - an outstanding power hitter in 2003 and 2005, and a major diappointment in 2004. I'd expect him to be more like the true power threat he has been in his two good seasons, but I would also expect his numbers to slip just a tad off his 2005 season. And for ten bucks, he's a no-brainer keeper as far as I am concerned.

Long story short - just like second base and shortstop was where you needed to find speed, here's where you should get a big bopper. Don't be like me and get stuck with Corey Koskie. There's plenty to choose from in this loaded category.


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