We finish off the infield with the top 20 3rd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball. The 2011 fantasy baseball rankings from shallowest to deepest go catchers, shortstops, third basemen, 2nd basemen then 1st basemen. That’s right, I think the 2nd basemen are deeper than the 3rd basemen. 3rd base gets the gas face. In 2009, I punted 3rd base for Mark Reynolds late. Worked out fine. In 2010, I punted 3rd base for Ian Stewart late. Didn’t work out fine. In 2011, I really want a top 3rd baseman. I ain’t mucking around. As with other top 20 rankings, I list where I see tiers beginning and ending and my projections. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball:
1. Evan Longoria – In the top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is Longoria’s projections.
2. David Wright – In the top 10 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is Wright’s projections.
3. Ryan Zimmerman – In the top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is Zimmerman’s projections.
4. Alex Rodriguez – In the top 20 for 2011 fantasy baseball post is A-Rod’s projections.
5. Kevin Youkilis – See the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball for Youkilis’s projections. (Note: He might not have 3rd base eligibility when the season starts, but he’ll get it soon enough.)
6. Mark Reynolds – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Casey McGehee. I call this tier, “Where the hell are all the top 3rd basemen?” If someone sees the top 20 3rd basemen, send them in my direction. I went over the Reynolds fantasy move to The Big ‘More. The gist of that post is he won’t be as bad as he was in 2010 or as good in 2009. You go read it yourself, I only counted three tipos. 2011 Projections: 80/35/95/.235/12
7. Adrian Beltre – I went over my Beltre fantasy when he moved to the Lone Star state. To be completely honest with you, before he signed with the Rangers, he was in the tier of players I’m avoiding. His move bumped him up to a more attractive tier. I’m sure his mother is proud. 2011 Projections: 80/24/95/.285/7
8. Michael Young – I’m worried that the bottom on Young’s power is going to drop out. His HR/FB% last year came down from its high of 2009, but it can still come down further. Then you throw in a guy who’s aging and still refuses to take a walk. I think his career decline is going to come fast and hard. Like a 14 homer, 3 steal season is around the corner. 2011 Projections: 85/17/80/.280/5
9. Casey McGehee – He’s more or less Pablo Sandoval with a bit more power and less average. And that is the first time anyone’s ever been more Pablo Sandoval. Usually they’re less. Personally, I want power over average so I’d lean towards McGehee. Plus, his average shouldn’t be terrible without some bad luck. 2011 Projections: 75/24/90/.280
10. Pedro Alvarez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Aramis. I call this tier, “I’m going all in on one of these guys if I don’t get an elite 3rd baseman because shizz gets drastic after these two.” I already went over my Pedro Alvarez fantasy. If I miss out on the top 3rd basemen, Alvarez is the guy I want in every league. He is Julio Upsidiero for 2011. He needs a fantasy sleeper post to really beat into your heads how much you need him. (Yes, I’ve even thought about how scary it’s going to be being pot-committed to watching the Pirates.) 2011 Projections: 70/27/85/.260/3
11. Aramis Ramirez – I only like Aramis because I’m all out of Drakkar. See what I did there?! It’s cologne humor! I like Aramis this year because he seems to be going pretty cheaply in drafts. Is he suddenly going to hit 35+ homers again? Sure, and just because you replaced your Mom’s name on your cellphone with Natalie Portman it means it’s the star of Black Swan calling you three times a day. 2011 Projections: 75/25/90/.280
12. Jose Bautista – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Sandoval. I call this tier, “No, thanks.” Anyone who is drafting Bautista is out of their flippin’ mind. There, I said it. I don’t even know how anyone’s drafting a guy who went from 13 homers in 113 games in 2009 to 54 homers in 161 games. Doesn’t that just ring a bit weird for you drafters of Bautista? His HR/FB% for his career is 13.8%. Last year, it was 21.7%. That’s absurd. If you remove his best average month of July, he hit .242 in 471 other at-bats. That was in his best season! There’s still no warning signs? How about the fact that once pitchers realized he was using a corked bat with Sammy Sosa’s signature on it, he hit .224 in September and October? Still not enough? Eh, go back and stick your head in the sand. 2011 Projections: 70/25/80/.240/5
13. Pablo Sandoval – You know who Pablo Sandoval looks like? No, not Rerun. He looks like a young Lyle Overbay. I obviously mean, his stats look like a young Overbay. High teen power, good average. It’s a’ight, I suppose, but if he struggles out of the gate the Giants won’t extend his leash anywhere near how long they did last year. 2011 Projections: 70/18/80/.305/3
14. Placido Polanco – This tier goes from here until Rolen. I call this tier, “There are so many more 3rd basemen that I don’t want compared to ones that I do want.” Went over Polanco’s projections in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball.
15. Chase Headley – I actually recommended him last year. Well, they’re not all world wide web gems. I obviously forgot he plays his home games at Petco. In 295 ABs at home, 3 homers and a .237 average. Last year Luis Polonia hit better in the Sexual Predator League at Rikers. 2011 Projections: 70/15/85/.255/7
16. Martin Prado – Went over Prado’s projections in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball.
17. Scott Rolen – Post-All-Star break he had 188 ABs and 3 homers. That’s someone you should draft. Maybe you can platoon him in and out with Troy Glaus. 2011 Projections: 55/15/70/.275
18. Ian Stewart – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until the end of the list. I call this tier, “You have nothing here but upside. Meaning: you may get nothing.” I know, Ian Stewart buckled under the pressure of being nicknamed, Mini Mini Donkey. It was a lot of brays to live up to. So why do I still believe in him? Because he really didn’t buckle under the pressure, he just didn’t get enough ABs. With an everyday job, he’s a 25-30 homer, 5 steals and a .260ish average. Of course, you might end up drafting Nadir Bupkis if Wigginton steals a lot of playing time from him. Stewart will definitely see his share of the bench vs. lefties. In this bear market of third basemen, it’s worth the flier on Stewart in the endgame. 2011 Projections: 65/22/75/.260/5
19. Chris Johnson – Is it bad when two of the bigger upside picks come from the Pirates and Astros? Yes, yes it is. Honestly, I don’t fully buy into the Chris Johnson fanwagon. He arrived with little fanfare last summer, because he was kinda whatever. He struck out 91 times in 94 games last year and I think Johnson’s pretty numbers are a small sample size talking. (That’s what she said!) But he is in his prime and has upside. It’s worth a flier if you’re back against the wall. 2011 Projections: 65/20/80/.260/3 (<–optimistic but whatevs)
20. Danny Valencia – I see your upside, Danny Valencia, and I’m not that impressed. Listen, you’re real deep into a position by this point. If you draft Valencia, there’s a good chance you’re going to drop him by April 10th for a guy who starts out hot. If Valencia starts off hot, then maybe you can flip him for a better piece. If this doesn’t sound like the greatest upside pick in the world, it probably isn’t. Best case scenario, he hits 17 homers with a good average. It’s a’ight. 2011 Projections: 65/15/75/.300
After the top 20 3rd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball, there’s a lot of names but here’s two that stand out:
Mike Moustakas – I already went over my Moustakas fantasy. It involves some PG-13 nudity. 2011 Projections: 50/17/75/.280
David Freese – I’d actually rank Freese above Chris Johnson overall if he’s healthy. I only slotted him down here to highlight him. If he shows up to camp healthy, he could surprise with some power. In 464 Triple-A at-bats in 2008, he hit 26 homers. In 2009, he hit a homer every 20 at-bats. He’s probably not going to blow your mind with his stats, but he’s being drafted crazy late, if at all, and could surprise. 2011 Projections: 70/20/80/.300/3