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First off, thanks Grey for this opportunity. Second, please be gentle, Razzballers…this is my first time.

I’ve now played in a 12 team yahoo mixed league where we start two at each infield position and five in the OF (LF,CF,RF,OF,OF) for over five years. In this type of league setting, it’s much harder to cobble together a strong team throughout the year. You don’t find the Alex Gordons of the world out in the FA pool. If they start for their team, they’re getting drafted and chances are if they’re rehabbing and will be back ‘later in the spring’ – I’m looking at YOU Kendry(s) Morales – their backup is drafted as well. The late rounds of these types of leagues are integral to having a good year which makes it vital to know what players are being virtually ignored by their ADP.  Sleepers become a regular part of your starting lineup so you’ve got to dig deeper than the headlines to find those late round gems. Sometimes it’s a player that everyone assumes is washed up – read: Lance Berkman – or a player coming off an injury that everyone has forgotten like Asdrubal Cabrera.  You can’t drop Mike Morse in April and expect to find him in May when he picks it up.  You’ve got to look ahead and take those risks early or in the draft if you wanna survive.  With that out of the way, lets start with a review of 3B.

Third base is an interesting position for 2012.  It will have a new top 25 caliber SS added to it by the end of April in both yahoo and ESPN leagues in Hanley Ramirez and may have the top 1B in baseball in the fold by May if the defensive blasphemy experiment goes well in Detroit for Miguel Cabrera.  The first 10 of the Razzball top 20 third baseman  are well priced and won’t make you want to pull your hair out.  If/when Miggy and HanRam join, you might put it at 12 useful 3B for the year.  From a depth perspective, this to me is the least worrisome IF position to fill that has the ability for a lot of great pairings in leagues that start two.  If you’re drafting Jose Bautista or Evan Longoria, I’d willingly hold my breath all the way down to Edwin Encarnacion while I bulk up at thinner positions such as SS and 1B (yes, 1B is thin this year and yes I fully expect to get flack for that statement).  That said, I don’t see myself drafting a top tier 3B because of the abundance of useful ones. Waiting until round 5 on for 3B allows you to bulk up at 1B, OF, 2B and SS.  In redraft leagues, I’ll be targeting a combo of these third baseman: Pablo Sandoval, Kevin Youkilis, & Mark Reynolds.  My preferred path is Sandoval with Reynolds, but won’t argue with Youk in replacement of Pablo in this scenario.  Both should counter Reynolds BA drain while netting you 55~60 combined HRs.  My only hesitance with Youk – along with A-Rod, Aramis, & Zimmerman – are their health history.  In leagues where each team already owns two 3B, finding a 3rd one to clean up when those guys go down is tough.  These players handcuff you into drafting Swiss army knives like Emilio Bonifacio or Mike Aviles, something I prefer not to do as these players are priced for their eligibility, not their skill set.

I’ll Avoid:

Michael Young – His overall 2011 line seems like a nice 3B to fall back on in the 6th round until you look a little closer.  Despite slugging .474 and having 106 RBIs, he only had 11 HRs.  He also had a career high BABIP  in his age 34 season. Since he’s not Forever Young, that means he’s 35 this year.  I’d rather take a chance that Prado comes close to that line in the 16th round before I draft Young.

David Freese - His upside is .300 20/80/80/5 over 150 or 160 games.  Considering he’s more brittle than the paper the constitution was written on, I’d rather take Moustakas 5 rounds later while he pimps his ride for someone else.

I’ll go for:

Mike Moustakas – It’s like the person typing about David Freese knew exactly what was coming next!  He has struggled at the beginning of every new level of his career and last year was no different.  I’m willing to believe in  his August thru September line for this year in the 19th round as my secondary 3B.

Brent Morel – Though his 2011 was all over the place, he seemed to find his power stroke in the second half belting 8 of his 10 HRs in Sept/Oct.  He’s not going to hit much higher than .260, but could give you 20 HRs.  Hey, in the 23rd round [insert fungus joke here].

3B Situation to monitor: Colorado

We’ve got Casey Blake at the hot corner for the Rockies this year.  Seriously, should someone that’s 38 not named Kate Beckinsale be at anything called the hot corner?  But I digress, Colorado has what they believe to be their 3B of the future in Nolan Arenado moving up to AA this year.  Casey has already recognized and accepted his role of mentor for whenever Arenado arrives.  Colorado does not shy away from bringing prospects straight up from AA – as Juan Nicasio from last year shows – so don’t be surprised to see Nolan with the ballclub in June.  Draft and stash accordingly.

From Around The Web

  1. Bourne says:
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    ONC guest posting! Very nice. Any thoughts on mat gamel compared to your listed players?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Bourne, hey thanks Bourne :)
      I hesitated listing Gamel since he’s only listed as 3B in ESPN leagues from what I’ve seen and UTIL in yahoo. I’d draft him ahead of Morel if he were 3B eligible due to his upside potential. Improved K-rate and walk rate, put in the heart of a very thin lineup and heading into prime years. I’ll be targeting him as a late round 1B flier in my yahoo leagues. Nice pickup for the price he’s going for. Keep your eye on Taylor Green if he doesn’t cut it; he’s coming off a strong 2011 AAA season and looks to be the incumbent for almost anyone in the infield in case of injury/inability.

  2. royce! says:
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    Awesome post and a toast to your avatar…we were just talking about “Bad to the Bone,” though it was more about not wanting it to have it stuck in one’s head. The Mariners need to bring back “Buhner Buzz Cut Night.” That oughta solve their issues.

    Speaking of the M’s and deep leagues, any thoughts on Figgins?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @royce!, Thanks! I really got into baseball watching Bones, Edgar & Tino Martinez and the big three (Grif/Big Unit/A-Rod) blossom with the Mariners in the early/mid-90’s. I’d gladly shave my head if we had a shot at a .500 season this year :)

      Figgins collapsed under the weight of the contract he signed, in my opinion. I do think there could be a sneaky 35 to 40 SB potential from him this year with his move back to leadoff if he stays there. It’s also sounding like he’ll get OF eligibility as they’re talking of him playing some CF with Guti down. If he gave a reprise of his 2010, I wouldn’t be surprised but I’m not particularly high on him this year.

  3. Anthony says:
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    @Oregon Nut Cups: What do you think of my this team ????

    1. Evan Longoria (TB – 3B)
    2. Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B)
    3. Pablo Sandoval (SF – 1B,3B)
    4. Hunter Pence (Phi – OF)
    5. Jon Lester (Bos – SP)
    6. Brian McCann (Atl – C)
    7. Madison Bumgarner (SF – SP)
    8. Lance Berkman (StL – 1B,OF)
    9. Andrew Bailey (Bos – RP)
    10. Dee Gordon (LAD – SS)
    11. Emilio Bonifacio (Mia – 3B,SS,OF)
    12. Cory Luebke (SD – SP,RP)
    13. Ervin Santana (LAA – SP)
    14. Jemile Weeks (Oak – 2B)
    15. Lucas Duda (NYM – 1B,OF)
    16. Kyle Farnsworth (TB – RP)
    17. Adam Lind (Tor – 1B)
    18. Bud Norris (Hou – SP)
    19. Brennan Boesch (Det – OF)
    20. Jim Johnson (Bal – RP)
    21. Trevor Cahill (Ari – SP)
    22. Rafael Furcal (StL – SS)
    23. Josh Collmenter (Ari – SP,RP)

    I stopped selecting after my 20th pick – 21-23 dont seem to be bad picks though. Thoughts on team ???

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Anthony, Not a fan of taking a catcher or a closer in the first 10 rounds and you have a lot of speed guys with Dee, Bonifacio and Jemile. I’d see if I could sell some of them for a power upgrade or another arm. What arms are available on the FA? If Jonathan Sanchez is floating out there, drop Collmenter for him.

      Your 15-21 picks are stellar and could pay huge dividends. All and all, not bad, just unload the speed ASAP for some pop.

  4. Howard says:
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    @Oregon Nut Cups Great article! What do you think about Josh Donaldson who currently has C eligibility in Yahoo and ESPN but should be getting 3B for the A’s?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Howard, Thanks! I pretty much like any cheap C that won’t actually play C :) If he gets the starting job, I’m all over him. They’ve been talking about other possibilities, but I’d have no problem drafting him in the late 20 rounds for a chance at 13 to 15 HRs from one of my catchers. He’ll probably saddle you with a .230 wouldn’t hurt you in an OBP league. He’s on my C radar for my upcoming draft.

  5. Howard says:
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    Thanks! I need a temp 3B while I wait for Hanley (10 games at ESPN) so I might pick up Morel as a late flyer.

  6. ONC Mazeltov on the first post. You’re a smart cookie. With Halladay, Longoria and Upton already in the fold, is my fourth-round pick Konerko in a 5×5 ten-teamer?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @The Miracles, Grr my smartphone tricked me into thinking I was replying directly. I did post below but just in case you didn’t receive the message I’m not high on Konerko this year. Getting up there in age and hate to be there when the wheels come off. I’d wait on Morse and target Uggla if he’s still out there.

      • @Oregon Nut Cups, Thanks. Did get your message. Will give Uggla some thought.

  7. Anthony says:
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    @Oregon Nut Cups: Im not too worried about pitching since pitchers can be found off waivers during the season. ie cory luebke last season. That was only a mock draft but i think that lineup was pretty solid. Big fan of hitting for average, speed, and occasional pop. AKA a well rounded team im not gonna go heavy and select all these guys who hits alot of hrs but have low averages its just not my forte. What do you think of this team:

    P:S: You might say my closers are week but again u can always find closers on the waiver wires during 2nd half if you really need one. ie. Jim Johnson

    1. Evan Longoria (TB – 3B)
    2. Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B)
    3. Pablo Sandoval (SF – 1B,3B)
    4. Hunter Pence (Phi – OF)
    5. Dan Haren (LAA – SP)
    6. Brian McCann (Atl – C)
    7. Ian Kennedy (Ari – SP)
    8. Shane Victorino (Phi – OF)
    9. Heath Bell (Mia – RP)
    10. Dee Gordon (LAD – SS)
    11. Nick Swisher (NYY – 1B,OF)
    12. Anibal Sánchez (Mia – SP)
    13. Ervin Santana (LAA – SP)
    14. Jemile Weeks (Oak – 2B)
    15. Lucas Duda (NYM – 1B,OF)
    16. Joe Nathan (Tex – RP)
    17. Carlos Lee (Hou – 1B,OF)
    18. Brandon McCarthy (Oak – SP)
    19. Matt Joyce (TB – OF)
    20. Jim Johnson (Bal – RP)
    21. Scott Baker (Min – SP)
    22. Danny Espinosa (Was – 2B)
    23. Travis Hafner (Cle – Util)

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Anthony, Understandable, everyone has their own approach. I want to get as close to 120 HRs from my first 4 picks as I possibly can, regardless of average. My approach is a HR is worth 3 stats: HR, R, RBI. I tend to level out my team later with steals as I see them no differently than Saves. I don’t worry much about average, I feel I can find enough out there later in the draft to counterbalance any risk I take on.

      Not big on Ian Kennedy with his 21 wins last year pushing up his price. Same thing as last time for me about the C and the RP in the first 10 rounds. I try and aim for hitters through my first 6 or 7 rounds, which is landing me Bumgarner as my ace, something I’m fine with. I’d prefer not to have as many bench bats as you have. Do like most of the picks based on their level of talent and value from 15 to 22, though. I feel this team would struggle on the pitching side, depth wise, and will struggle with HRs and RBIs.

  8. Oregon Nut Cups

    Oregon Nut Cups says:
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    @The Miracles, Danke
    Not big on konerko this year, would rather wait for Morse. Uggla still around?

  9. Lance Berkman says:
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    Thanks for the positive mention..it’s more than I can say for grey =(

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Lance Berkman, Hey Berkman, I do love your spring training ‘stache this year but ain’t high on ya either. Sorry :( Could hit 20 to 25 with a .270 average but there are too many negatives – only 7 HRs after the ASB last year, Pujols is gone, he’ll be 36 this year – for me to buy in.

      • Lance Berkman says:
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        @Oregon Nut Cups, I take back my thanks!

        >:O

        • Oregon Nut Cups

          Oregon Nut Cups says:
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          @Lance Berkman, Well, I guess we’ll always have Houston.

  10. Melvin Emanuel says:
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    After a few mock drafts, I think I’m leaning towards waiting until the 3rd or 4th round for a 3b. When I’ve picked a 3b early(bautista or longoria), I find myself with only a few good 1b left, ultimately leaving with Hosmer. I think I’m fully content with one of Zimmerman, panda or beltre and picking a top 1b in the first or second.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Melvin Emanuel, I’m more than willing to wait until Lawrie or Youk in 1 3B leagues, personally; I definitely agree having a top end 1B is best given the 3B depth. Outside the first 6, the next 1B I’d want off the board is Morse.

  11. Dr Hocker says:
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    BE GENTLE? You should know by now that this group will bend you over the table with a rhinocerous horn if given the chance amigo.

    Peronally though, I agree with you on avoiding Freese. He bought us all a drink last year, but I’m not ready to go steady just yet.

    Morel: that entire 2011 Sox team may have been the most enigmatic squad I’ve ever seen. Paulie was solid, but Dunn, Beckham and Rios–what they sam hill? I have a feeling the lot of them will bounce back under Ventura and Morel will benefit from it and see great pitches.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Dr Hocker, Ha, yeah; I’m making sure not to drop the soap around here.

      100% with you on the White Sox. I think a lot went wrong last year surrounding Ozzie and management. A new voice is going to improve the clubhouse a bit there. I don’t see them contending, but do see a better team out of the gate.

  12. Raj says:
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    I find it odd that you use Michael Young’s .367 BABIP as a major knock against him…to the point of preferring Prado in the 16th over Young in the 6th. He has also hit BABIPs of .366, .354, .351, .345 and .342 in his career. From his break out season in 2003 onward, his lowest BABIP was .311 in 2010. His average BABIP over those 9 seasons was .344…which is what I would expect this upcoming season.

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @Raj, I said it not as a knock against Michael Young’s skill set but moreso a recognition that there are high contact, low speed and low power producing 3Bs later in the draft. Young is getting the price tag for years of service, not for his underlying stats. I pointed out the BABIP because he does not get the counting stats he did last year – 88 runs and 106 RBIs – without it when he only has 11 HRs. Go look at the Bill James projections on fangraphs for an idea of how I’m viewing him this year. If you are expecting that line, do you really want to draft him as your 1B,2B,3B where he’s going in the draft? I personally don’t see there being much value in his price at this point:

      http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1286&position=2B/SS

  13. jimmy john says:
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    do you prefer hosmer or desmond jennings as a keeper?

    • Oregon Nut Cups

      Oregon Nut Cups says:
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      @jimmy john, more of a needs thing (speed and runs vs rbi’s and power). I think Desmond has the better year this year but like Hosmer more, long term.

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