Staff rankings: Third base

We finish up the infield with the top 25 men at the hot corner. The staffers who ranked are Josh Shepardson, Ben Pritchett, Brad Johnson and yours truly. We used to create our composite rankings, and if you follow the link provided in our rankings, you can see how ours compared with a slew of other experts’.

Assume a 12-team, mixed league with standard 5×5 settings. Click on the links with our names to get to our Twitter accounts, where we’ll happily answer your baseball and fantasy questions year-round.

2012 Third basemen rankings
Player name Nick
Expert Consensus
Jose Bautista 1 1 1 1 1 compare
Evan Longoria 2 2 2 2 2 compare
Adrian Beltre 3 4 3 4 3 compare
Ryan Zimmerman 6 5 5 3 4 compare
David Wright 4 3 6 7 5 compare
Brett Lawrie 5 6 4 8 6 compare
Pablo Sandoval 7 10 7 5 7 compare
Alex Rodriguez 8 8 8 6 8 compare
Michael Young 9 7 11 10 9 compare
Kevin Youkilis 11 9 10 9 10 compare
Aramis Ramirez 10 11 9 12 11 compare
Mark Reynolds 12 12 12 11 12 compare
Mike Moustakas 13 14 14 13 13 compare
David Freese 14 13 13 15 14 compare
Edwin Encarnacion 16 17 15 14 15 compare
Emilio Bonifacio 15 15 17 19 16 compare
Chase Headley 19 20 16 16 17 compare
Martin Prado 17 16 18 20 18 compare
Ryan Roberts 18 18 20 17 19 compare
Chipper Jones 20 21 19 21 20 compare
Lonnie Chisenhall 21 19 21 21 compare
Daniel Murphy 22 25 22 22 compare
Casey McGehee 33 18 23 compare
Pedro Alvarez 24 22 24 compare
Danny Valencia 25 32 23 24 25 compare

Fantasy Baseball Rankings powered by FantasyPros, the leading aggregator of expert fantasy advice.

Next Monday… Outfield

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  1. Brad Johnson said...

    Hanley’s going to be used as a SS 90% of the time. And I was considering McGehee as their 1B. He may platoon with Jones of course, but if he starts on the right foot he could have a full time job quickly between 1b and 3b.

  2. Dylan B said...

    Yeah, but is someone really going to put Hanley at third? Unless you also have Reyes, Tulo or Castro; you would probably better off keeping him as your SS and picking Ramirez or Reynolds as your 3b.

  3. Ben Pritchett said...

    I could see several scenarios where Hanley ends a draft as your third baseman especially if the 3B position fills fast in leagues without a MI position. Hanley could be drafted as a shortstop but wind up as a third baseman if I’m having to draft Stephen Drew over the likes of Chase Headley. I’d much rather have Drew at SS and Hanley at 3B than Hanley at SS and Headley at 3B.

    In agreement with Brad, that may be a 10 percent occurrence.

  4. Brad Johnson said...

    I think you’ll also find that over the course of the season, the “crap” at third base is going to be a lot better than the “crap” at SS. So once you start making waiver moves, you might end up with an Ian Stewart taking over at third base and pushing Hanley back to SS.

  5. Jim G. said...

    I’m surprised that no one is including Miguel Cabrera in these rankings with his return to 3b. Succeed or fail defensively, he’ll play enough to get rated in most fantasy leagues, and I would expect top the list.
    (Maybe this piece was put together before the Fielder signing.)

  6. Brad Johnson said...

    I started considering Polanco around #15 bu never had the heart to put him down.

    I’m a Phillies fan, so I feel qualified to speak to Polanco’s prospects. He’s battled a ton of injury over the last two seasons. He’s a warrior who can play through serious hurts, but it damages his fantasy numbers. His upside is a high batting average with no power, no steals, and at best average R/RBI. Based on the other guys we have on that list, I can’t imagine ranking that upside above them…especially since the last two years have indicated that the downside is far more likely.

  7. Ben Pritchett said...

    @Mike- As for me, I had Polanco at my 25. He didn’t make the list because no one else ranked him.

    Jim G- Cabrera is not ranked because he is not yet Yahoo eligible at third. Same thing can be said for Hanley. We based these rankings on Yahoo eligibility. As you’ll see in our overall rankings, the possible future position eligibility will be calculated in there.

  8. Brad Johnson said...

    You’ll notice that right away on my top 250 list. I have Pujols as the top 1B yet Cabrera tops the big board on the expectation that he’ll gain 3b eligibility.

    I tried not to consider position eligibility in my position lists. I know some of my colleagues did, perhaps we should have discussed that ahead of time…

  9. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Assuming positional eligibility, I’d re-rank with Cabrera and Hanley:
    Rank   Player Name   Team
    1   Miguel Cabrera*  DET
    2   Jose Bautista   TOR
    3   Hanley Ramirez   MIA
    4   Evan Longoria   TBR
    5   David Wright   NYM
    6   Adrian Beltre   TEX
    7   Ryan Zimmerman   WAS
    8   Alex Rodriguez   NYY
    9   Pablo Sandoval   SFG
    10   Brett Lawrie   TOR
    11   Michael Young   TEX
    12   Kevin Youkilis   BOS
    13   Aramis Ramirez   MIL
    14   Mark Reynolds   BAL
    15   Martin Prado   ATL
    16   Edwin Encarnacion   TOR
    17   Mike Moustakas   KCR
    18   Ian Stewart   CHC
    19   David Freese   STL
    20   Emilio Bonifacio   MIA
    21   Chipper Jones   ATL
    22   Lonnie Chisenhall   CLE

    I think people are a little too down on Hanley, who is a perennial .290+/15-20/30 guy on a much improved roster. Longoria will likely hit .280/30/10 and Wright .280+/20-25/15-20. I think Hanley is in the same tier as those two guys but with better overall upside. I would not be offended if someone made me put Longo over hanley though

  10. Jeffrey Gross said...

    In fact, if I had to break down the above list into “tiers” it would look like this (a break is a tier)

    Rank   Player Name   Team
    1   Miguel Cabrera*  DET
    2   Jose Bautista   TOR

    3   Hanley Ramirez*  MIA
    4   Evan Longoria   TBR
    5   David Wright   NYM

    6   Adrian Beltre   TEX
    7   Ryan Zimmerman   WAS
    8   Alex Rodriguez   NYY
    9   Pablo Sandoval   SFG
    10   Brett Lawrie   TOR

    11   Michael Young   TEX
    12   Kevin Youkilis   BOS

    13   Aramis Ramirez   MIL

    14   Mark Reynolds   BAL
    15   Martin Prado   ATL
    16   Edwin Encarnacion   TOR

    17   Mike Moustakas   KCR
    18   Ian Stewart   CHC
    19   David Freese   STL

    20   Emilio Bonifacio   MIA
    21   Chipper Jones   ATL
    22   Lonnie Chisenhall   CLE

  11. Mark Himmelstein said...

    My tentative Top 20:

    1. Jose Bautista
    2. Evan Longoria
    3. David Wright
    4. Adrian Beltre
    5. Ryan Zimmerman
    6. Pablo Sandoval
    7. Brett Lawrie
    8. Alex Rodriguez
    9. Aramis Ramirez
    10. Kevin Youkilis
    11. Michael Young
    12. Mark Reynolds
    13. David Freese
    14. Mike Moustakas
    15. Chase Headley
    16. Edwin Encarnacion
    17. Emilio Bonifacio
    18. Martin Prado
    19. Ryan Roberts
    20. Pedro Alvarez

    I actually think 3B looks a bit better deeper this year than the last couple years, but there’s a lot more risk.  Gone are the days when you could really feel secure in drafting a Top 3B and not worry about the position for the whole year. 

    A few notes:

    -I’m willing to give Wright one more shot at 25-25 with a reasonable AVG thanks to the new dimensions at CitiField. 

    -I flipped Wright and Beltre a number of times.  They’re pretty interchangeable in value.  Wright has the SB which gives him more upside and a different kind of floor, but no matter how weird it feels to say it, Beltre is “safer”. 

    -I’m very bipolar on Lawrie.  In one sense, I love his upside and feel his speed helps give him a high floor for a young player.  However, ultimately, I’ve been burned too many times by investing heavily in young players because I focused too much on their recent performance and upsides (Read: Jason Heyward).  If I’m willing to pay $25 for Wright, I don’t want to pay more than $20 for Lawrie, even if a part of me feels more comfortable with the latter.  I’d rather risk someone else getting a slight bargain on him than risk reaching for him too early myself. 

    -Young and Youkilis can be flipped—Youk offers more potential reward in HR but carries more risk while Young is a nice safe play at 3B. 

    -Ramirez can be infuriating to own at times, but I like him as a safer version of Youk if you can be patient with him through the bad times, so he gets a bump. 

    -Headley has some sneaky upside if the Padres decide to move him, though that may not happen until the second half, if at all. 

    -I’d rather take a chance on Alvarez finding a way to make more frequent contact than conceding the spot to an essentially replacement-level player like Murphy or Valencia. 

    -Chipper Jones could essentially be 20b, but I wanted to point out that I still have a sliver of hope for Alvarez.

  12. Derek Ambrosino said...

    I. too, would consider Alvarez a good flier. I’d rather play the lottery on him than draft somebody like Chipper or Polanco, who has pretty much established bench-level fantasy value.

    I’d even take a shot on McGehee, depending on what news comes from Pirates camp. He could platoon at 1B with Jones, and if Alvarez tanks again, that would be another route to playing time. If last year was mostly an outlier, you could very conceivably wind up with solid starting CI level value from him. …But, the path to full time ABs has to be become largely unobstructed.

  13. Dave Shovein said...

    At first glance, I think Sandoval is too low. I have him 5th, ahead of Zimmerman and Lawrie

    I also wouldn’t have McGehee on the list at all, I think that would have Brent Morel, Ian Stewart or Scott Sizemore getting some consideration for the last couple of spots on the list as well.

  14. Jeffrey Gross said...

    Hopping in early. My tentative top 20:

    Rank   Player Name   Team
    1   Jose Bautista   TOR
    2   Evan Longoria   TBR
    3   David Wright   NYM
    4   Adrian Beltre   TEX
    5   Ryan Zimmerman   WAS
    6   Alex Rodriguez   NYY
    7   Pablo Sandoval   SFG
    8   Brett Lawrie   TOR
    9   Michael Young   TEX
    10   Kevin Youkilis   BOS
    11   Aramis Ramirez   MIL
    12   Mark Reynolds   BAL
    13   Martin Prado   ATL
    14   Edwin Encarnacion   TOR
    15   Mike Moustakas   KCR
    16   Ian Stewart   CHC
    17   David Freese   STL
    18   Emilio Bonifacio   MIA
    19   Chipper Jones   ATL
    20   Lonnie Chisenhall   CLE

  15. Ben Pritchett said...

    I had the Panda sixth, Brad. For the reason I liked him last year, it seems I will have the opposite feeling since he’s back hitting the buffets.

    And Dave, I had Morel in my top 25 and Sizemore wasn’t far away if memory serves me correctly.

  16. KISFantasy said...

    A-Rod doesn’t even make my top ten.  After name recognition, I see a chronically injured (legs and hips, including surgery) 36 yo who has basically admitted his best numbers were inflated by steroid use, which may also be playing a part in his body’s breakdown now.  His slugging% is in a 5-year decline, the SB’s are gone… you are paying for brand name.

  17. Brad Johnson said...

    Probably true. I’m gambling a little on the Orthokine treatment helping him measurably.

    If healthy, a 90/25/110/5/.270 projected line probably isn’t overly bullish. That compares favorably to the 75/20/80/15/.285 line I have pegged out for Wright.

  18. John Baranick said...

    Just curious; I play in a 6×6 ESPN league where the only “limits” per se are total number of starts made by SP’s.  In that regard, I’ve found myself looking at more high OBP multi-positional players, and tend to draft more east coast “starting” batters (all things being relatively equal) so if they’re not in the line-up, I can slot in somebody else with a later starting time.  Thought being if your “starter” is a LA based OF’er and all the other games have started before you find out he’s not in the lineup, you can’t move another guy into that slot.  (our cats. are R, RBI, AVG, SB, HR, and OBP for batting; since OBP stays fairly static, only the AVG category is non-cumulative, making filling each slot as much as possible every night a critical strategy)  Any of you guys stress East Coast batters in that way?

  19. Brad Johnson said...

    I play Yahoo leagues, I’ve never heard anyone say anything terribly positive about ESPN, so I’ve never investigated.

    Yahoo hasn’t supported that sort of style in the past. If it did I would definitely employ a similar approach. Currently, if I have an east coast guy and he doesn’t make his expected start, he’s still locked into that roster spot.

    I’m kind of glad it’s done that way. I already spend too much time micromanaging.

  20. Brad Johnson said...

    My thoughts:

    I think I see every negative when it comes to David Wright. Needless to say I won’t be drafting him. It’s probably just a relic of my days as a Mets hater, but he seems to get substantially worse every season.

    I think A-Rod has a couple full seasons left in the tank. Being able to take on DH duties from time to time could help. Putting him ahead of Wright is probably silly, but that’s how I would draft.

    There is a CLIFF after Youkilis/Young. Solve your 3b situation in the first 10 picks or don’t solve it at all.

    I’m the only one with McGehee love apparently. Thinking back, I didn’t adjust for park or the likely platoon he’ll end up in. That’s a ranking that could change quickly with spring training information.

  21. Ben Pritchett said...

    McGehee isn’t in my top 250 or 300 for that matter. I want to say the Pirates have already said that the third base job is Alvarez’ to lose. I’m not going anywhere near except as a bench play in AL only leagues.

  22. Ben Pritchett said...

    And in all fairness Brad, there’s two big names possibly three gaining eligibility early on which should help solidify the position a bit (Hanley, Cabrera, and Trumbo)

  23. Derek Ambrosino said...


    I’m definitely familiar with the approach. During the season, I have a side job that puts me in an an office at a computer right around the start of the East coast games. So, I’m able to check my starting line-ups a few minutes before game time and make needed swaps to fill out any rest day DNPs.

    But, here are my thoughts on this -

    1. Unless you are hyper diligent about this, I don’t think this consideration is worth paying much attention to on draft day. It’s a strategy that gets you marginal advantage over the season, but I don’t know if it really tips the scales in favor of anybody. The best thing I can say about it is that it helps mitigate concern over rostering balky veterans prone to nagging injuries who require more random off days than the average player.

    2. I’m not sure there’s much of a East/West factor at play anyway though. If you check before East coast start time, what you need is a back-up option. You could have another east coast player on the bench who is starting who you can rotate in. Further, your west coast sub could get a day off too.

    3. There’s some general talk about using this strategy specifically for catchers in the catchers ranking thread – seeing as Cs are the most common pseudo-random DNP position. You might want to read through that as some of the points made specifically about C-platoons are somewhat broadly applicable to the strategy at large.

  24. Buck Turgidson said...

    Can those whom wanketh the Lawrie hype chain the hardest take a deep breath and come home to reality please?

  25. JoeC said...

    I’m afraid Hanley’s wonky shoulder is gonna fall off. Therefore, though I have him as the #3 SS, I’d never take him.

    I never liked malingerers anyways.

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