2011 Fantasy Rankings: Third Basemen

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Third base: it’s almost as bad as shortstop.

In retrospect, we’d like to add a twelfth MLB player we would not want to be in 2011, and that is Jose Bautista. Going undrafted in most leagues, he scored over 200 points more than any other third basemen in one of our leagues last season, which means he now has a giant fantasy bullseye on his chest, and if he doesn’t finish in the top five among third basemen this year, he’ll be considered a bust. The reason? The sixth-ranked third baseman in the draft projections is a second baseman (Martin Prado). Yikes.

San Francisco Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval watches a splash home run head for the water as Arizona Diamondbacks catcher John Hester (L) looks on at AT&T Park in San Francisco on September 30, 2010. The Giants completed a sweep of the Diamondbacks with a 4-1 victory. UPI/Terry Schmitt


But fear not, fellow roto-geeks. There are some bargain picks to be had at the hot corner once the big five (Evan Longoria, Alex Rodriguez, David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, and Bautista) are off the board. Obviously your best bet is to get one of them, but if that is not an option, stock up on as many other positions as you can, and with some luck, these men below will hopefully keep you competitive.

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
The Greek God of Walks will obviously do more than just keep you competitive, but you’ll need to wait a few games (ten in most leagues) before you can play him there. Once he’s set, though, just sit back and enjoy the show. And by the show, we mean the shots of Youkilis cursing at himself on the bench whenever he makes an out. Competitive bugger, that Youkilis.

Pablo Sandoval, Giants
The Panda lost 38 pounds this offseason, and is already tearing the cover off the ball in spring training. We love players who have something to prove, and after compiling a limp .268-61-13-63 stat line in 2010, Sandoval is that guy. But is he really sloted to bat eighth in the order? That’s a little disconcerting.

Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
Contract year, ahoy! Yes, the Cubs have an option for 2012, but it’s at $16 million, and it will only be guaranteed if Ramirez wins the MVP or the Cubs go to the World Series. (In other words, it will not be guaranteed.) He looked like his old self by year’s end after a putrid first half, and with the addition of Carlos Pena, the Cubs lineup has the potential to be dangerous. It could also implode at a moment’s notice – witness yesterday’s dugout dispute, which involved the normally laid-back Ramirez – but we expect Aramis to sing for his supper.

Mark Reynolds, Orioles
Talk about an ideal situation. Reynolds is currently projected to bat seventh for the new-look O’s, and even there, he’ll have Derrek Lee in front of him and Matt Wieters behind him. He won’t have any of the pressure to produce that he had in Arizona, and one has to think that will have a huge impact on his approach at the plate. Of course, we’re still avoiding him like the plague in our points-based leagues (those 200 strikeouts are death), but he’s definitely worth a late flier in 5×5 leagues.

Casey McGehee, Brewers
He led the Brewers in RBI last year. Let us guess – you thought that honor belonged to Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder? So did we. McGehee could stand to take a few more walks (all right, a lot more walks), but he’s a damn fine hitter overall.

Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
He’s probably going to strike out a ton this year now that the teams have him on video, but he’s probably also going to hit close to 30 dingers and drive in 100 runs, and can likely be had in the 17th round. Works for us.

Chris Johnson, Astros
Meet the new Mark Reynolds, same as the old Mark Reynolds? Time will tell, but he could be good for 20 homers, if you can stomach the strikeouts.

Martin Prado, Braves / Chone Figgins, Mariners
Why, again, would you play either at third base when they’re eligible at second base?

Use him while you can

Michael Young, Rangers
Who the hell knows what he’ll be eligible at next year.

Below is our official ranking of third basemen.

1. Evan Longoria, TB
2. Alex Rodriguez, NYY
3. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
4. David Wright, NYM
5. Jose Bautista, TOR
6. Kevin Youkilis, BOS (will not be eligible at beginning of season)
7. Adrian Beltre, TEX
8. Pablo Sandoval, SF
9. Aramis Ramirez, CHC
10. Casey McGehee, MIL
11. Michael Young, TEX
12. Pedro Alvarez, PIT
13. Michael Cuddyer, MIN
14. Mark Reynolds, AZ
15. Scott Rolen, CIN
16. Chone Figgins, SEA (will not be eligible at beginning of season)
17. Chipper Jones, ATL
18. Ian Stewart, COL
19. Placido Polanco, PHI
20. Chase Headley, SD
21. Chris Johnson, HOU

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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