2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Basemen

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Savvy fantasy drafters realize that the pool for third basemen this year isn’t as shallow as catchers and shortstops, but it isn’t as deep as second basemen either (which may sound surprising to some owners).

What does that mean to you? Well, if you don’t grab one of the top seven or eight third basemen in your draft, then good luck trying to figure out which player after that will exceed expectations.

Drafting third basemen is pretty cut and dry. If you don’t land one of the top 3 (Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria or David Wright), then focus on drafting one of the next five 3B’s available or you better hope that Gordon Beckham or Ian Stewart are the ultimate sleepers this season. We don’t need to sell you on why you should take A-Rod, Longoria or Wright, so we’re going to concentrate on the next five rated players on our list, which we’ve highlighted for you below.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
There’s a good chance that Zimmerman will plateau at around 30 home runs (which is nothing to scoff at), but it’s hard to argue with what he’ll bring to the table in terms of production across the board. He should hit around .300 (or maybe a little south of that number), with 100-plus runs and RBI, all while stealing 5-10 bases and hitting the aforementioned 25-30 home runs. That’s solid production for your third base position if you happen to miss out on one of the top three guys.

Pablo Sandoval, Giants
There are some experts that are worried that Sandoval’s average will eventually fall off a cliff after he hit .330 in 2009. But we actually think the fun loving Panda can hit upwards of .320 again and finish with roughly the same amount of home runs (25) and RBI (90) as he did last season. Don’t confuse him with a true home run hitter, because he’ll probably top out at 25-30. But also don’t fall into the trap that some are in thinking that Sandoval was just a one-year wonder. We think he’s the real deal and his fantasy production will be there in the end.

Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
Reynolds’ breakout 2009 campaign brought a smile to fantasy owners’ faces that snagged him late in their drafts last season. He finished with 44 home runs, 102 RBI, 98 runs scored and even swiped 24 bases. The problem is that Reynolds will probably come off the board sooner then he should. And it’s important to remember that he only hit .187 in September last year and stuck out a whopping 223 times. If he goes in the first four rounds, don’t fret because it’s clear that Reynolds was overrated by whoever drafted him. But if he falls to the middle of your draft, then snag him and reap the rewards of his power production.

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
Youkilis is about as reliable as they come in terms of predicting what you’ll get from him. He finished with similar numbers the past two years, so it’s safe to say that you can bank on another .305/28/95/100/5 season out of Youk. And assuming he stays healthy, there’s a possibility that he could even improve on some of those areas, especially average, home runs and RBI. He also carries some extra value because he’s eligible at both corner positions in the infield.

Chone Figgins, Mariners
If you wind up with Figgins, hopefully you drafted power in the earlier rounds because you won’t get it here. He’ll hit for average, score 95-100 runs and steal 35-plus bases, but don’t expect anything in the home run or RBI department.

Below is our official ranking of third basemen. As we previously mentioned, we highly recommend snagging one of the top 8 players as your starter. But if you aren’t able to, there are a couple of players ranked lower that have upside, namely Beckham and Stewart. (If he can stay healthy, Aramis Ramirez wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize either.)

1. Alex Rodriguez, NYY
2. Evan Longoria, TB
3. David Wright, NYM
4. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
5. Pablo Sandoval, SF
6. Mark Reynolds, ARZ
7. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
8. Chone Figgins, SEA
9. Aramis Ramirez, CHC
10. Gordan Beckham, CHW
11. Michael Young, TEX
12. Ian Stewart, COL
13. Chipper Jones, ATL
14. Adrian Beltre, BOS
15. Jorge Cantu, FLA
16. Chris Davis, TEX (May not be eligible for 3B in some leagues)
17. Jake Fox, OAK
18. Alex Gordon, KC (Out a month with a broken thumb)
19. Brandon Wood, LAA
20. Casey Blake, LAD


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