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Top 20 catchers, 1st basemen and 2nd basemen for 2011 are in the books.  We continue around the horn (that means we’ll go back for the shortstops; don’t ask, I was getting fancy) bringing us to the top 20 3rd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball.   This year 3rd base gave most of you the gas face.  For the most part, you were lucky if you didn’t draft a top ranked one cause most of them bombed.  I mean, Emilio Bonifacio is a top five 3rd baseman?  That’s an eff in the coolie if I’ve ever heard one.  Zimmerman, Longoria, Wright?  Made you look smart in opposite world.  Also, to recap, this final ranking is from ESPN Player Rater with my comments.  The Player Rater allows me to be impartial while looking at how I ranked them in the preseason.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:

1. Jose Bautista – A very wise monkey once said, sometimes when you go out on a limb, the branch breaks.  To use limb in another sentence:  I don’t think it’s much of a limb when I say Bautista was my biggest snafu since I started this blog.  I really didn’t believe him at all.  The kicker was usually when I Mr. Bungle a player as bad as I did with Bautista, Rudy will correct me, but he punted Bautista too, so I wasn’t even counterbalanced.  I can’t say this for sure, but it seems like most ‘perts don’t give a flying elbow if they make right or wrong calls, but I will say Bautista taught me one thing.  I don’t like being wrong; it really annoyed me that I mucked him up.  Now watch next year when I project him for 40 homers, he’s gonna hit 12 and make me into a Mr. Bungle once again.   Preseason Rank #12 (Yes, I was that much a non-believer; I had Pedro Alvarez above him.  I will now eat an apple laced with cyanide.), 2011 Projections:  70/25/80/.240/5, Final Numbers:  105/43/103/.302/9

2. Michael Young – Went over Young in the top 20 1st basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball post.

3. Adrian Beltre – I was pretty accurate with my mid-tier 3rd basemen preseason ranking.  Beltre, Young, Reynolds, Alvarez, Aramis and McGehee turned out as I thought they would, minus McGehee and Alvarez, obviously.  Unfortunately, I ended up with Alvarez and McGehee on more teams than I care to admit.  Alvarez, in particular, killed me.  This, however, is supposed to be about Beltre.  As soon as he signed with the Rangers, any trepidation I had went out the window.  Man Standing Outside My Metaphorical Window, “Stopping throwing trepidation on me!”  Preseason Rank #7, 2011 Projections:  80/24/95/.285/7, Final Numbers:  82/32/105/.296/1

4. Aramis Ramirez – Here’s one way to look at how pee poor the 3rd basemen were.  I pretty much nailed Aramis’s projections with his final numbers and I ranked him 11th and he finished 4th.  That, more or less, means seven 3rd basemen bombed.  Also, more or less should be one word.  Moreorless — doesn’t that look better?  You’re welcome, English language; I’m fixing you.  Preseason Rank #11, 2011 Projections:  75/25/90/.280, Final Numbers:  80/26/93/.306/1

5. Emilio Bonifacio – There’s nothing I can say that will illustrate how bad the 3rd basemen are that can’t be said by just seeing how high Bonifacio ranked here.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  78/5/36/.296/40

6. Jhonny Peralta – After looking like a lock for 20+ homers and a .270 average back in 2008, he wrestled with major league pitching like I wrestle with his superfluous H.  Due to some luck, his average was about 20 points too high, but everything else seems right in line with what he can do.  He’s ranked this high because 3rd basemen sucked this year.  Have you heard that before?  Yeah, thought so.  Preseason Ranked #16 for Shortstops, 2011 Projections:  65/17/80/.255, Final Numbers:  68/21/86/.299

7. Pablo Sandoval – In the preseason, I compared him to an in-his-prime Lyle Overbay.  Still sounds about right.  Before you scoff, scoffer.  Lyle Overbay’s best year 82/22/92/.312/5 was better than this year by Sandoval.  Preseason Rank #13, 2011 Projections:  70/18/80/.305/3, Final Numbers:  55/23/70/.315/2

8. Mark Reynolds – Went over Reynolds in the top 20 1st basemen post.

9. Ryan Roberts – Went over Roberts in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2011 fantasy baseball post.

10. Evan Longoria – I may still rank Longoria in the 1st round next year.  Absolutely nothing changed for him except his luck fell off the map.  If it wasn’t for bad luck, he would’ve had no luck at all.  His K-rate actually went down, his walk rate went up, his HR/FB% stayed where it should be.  I may even pick him to win the MVP next year.  I will probably say some variation of the preceding a dozen times this offseason, so if you missed this, don’t worry.  And if you read the preceding, forget it so it seems fresh the next twelve times I say it.  Preseason Rank #1, 2011 Projections:  105/33/115/.280/10, Final Numbers: 78/31/99/.244/3

11. Edwin Encarnacion – On one hand, I can’t believe Encarnacion ranked this high.  On the other hand, it’s more of an indictment of the 3rd basemen because his numbers don’t look that good.  On a third lesser known hand that is actually a mitten on the end of a broomstick, he was valuable in the 2nd half of the year.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  70/17/55/.272/8

12. Chipper Jones – He didn’t go unranked in the preseason because I overlooked him.  He was coming off a year when he nearly retired from injuries.  In fact, I think he did retire then decided to come back, if I remember it correctly.  Whatever.  Glass Chipper hits when he’s healthy but that ‘when’ is the size of King Kong Bundy.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  56/18/70/.275/2

13. Alex Rodriguez – It totally bit me in the ass saying I wanted a 3rd baseman in the first two rounds of last year’s drafts.  3rd base was my cross to bear, or bare if you’re a nudist.  A-Rod, Wright and Zimmerman were off the charts terrible.  Sure, A-Rod had the decency to get injured so you could replace him, but who were you replacing him with?  Wilson BetemitDavid Freese?  Bleh and Belch.  Preseason Rank #4, 2011 Projections:  90/32/110/.280/7, Final Numbers:  67/16/62/.276/4

14. Kevin Youkilis – It’s easy to say this was an off season for Youuuuuuk, but, at age 32, this could be the beginning of the end.  This is the third year in a row that he’s failed to top 136 games and the 2nd year in a row he didn’t hit 20 homers.  On a side note, here’s what I said in the preseason about Youk, “Other fantasy baseball ‘perts will say 1st base is one of the deepest positions and you shouldn’t pay for it on draft day.  …Do you feel as safe with Youuuuuk as you would with, say, Te(i)x?  I wouldn’t.  Do you feel as safe with Morneau as Fielder?  Do you feel as safe with Dunn as you do with any of the first basemen in the 1st tier?  And this is only one tier down.”  And that’s me quoting me!  Sure, that was about 1st basemen, but it mentioned Youk so I included it here.  Sue me for your zero dollar subscription fee.  Preseason Rank #8 for 1st basemen, 2011 Projections:  95/27/95/.300/5, Final Numbers:  68/17/80/.258/3

15. David Wright – It wasn’t just that the 3rd basemen were bad this year, but it was worse than that.  The good 3rd basemen weren’t just less good so you still got some draft value.  Across the board, 3rd basemen killed you.  For the first time, I felt like Wright didn’t care either.  I get it, you can go 1-for-4 with a run.  How about you hit a home freakin’ run?!  I think Metco is in his head too.  If the Mets move the fences in only one foot, but told him they moved the fences in thirty feet it would have the same impact on his power.  Preseason Rank #2, 2011 Projections:  95/30/105/.285/17, Final Numbers:  60/14/61/.254/13

16. Daniel Murphy – Went over Murphy in the top 20 2nd basemen post.

17. Albert Callaspo – Was about as steady a performer as you can find with his 3 homer, 3 steal 1st half and 3 homer, 5 steal 2nd half.  This was an illustration of how being steady isn’t always a good thing.  Callaspo may have to replace Polanco in the yawnstipating definition.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  54/6/46/.288/8

18. Ryan Zimmerman – If a player’s season can be summed up by the company he’s keeping on the year-end rankings, look at the players around Zimmerman.  Callaspo’s above him!  Daniel Murphy had a better season than Zimmerman and he stopped playing on August 7th!  I’d say 2011 was a step back for Zimmerman, but it was more like a step back, then he fell into a ditch, then someone popped a squat above him and crapped on his head.  On a side note, I’m way off on a lot of these 3rd basemen projections, but I guarantee you all ‘perts are off with these guys.  No one could’ve told you Wright, Zimmerman, etc would’ve been this bad.  I only mention this because I think it’s ridiculous some people charge for their projections.  I could pretty much tell you what any player is going to do assuming their healthy, barring a few here and there like Bautista.  But guys like Bautista are me going on a limb.  I could’ve told you 35 homers and a .280 average like everyone else and been less wrong, but what fun is that?  Now someone help me down from my soapbox.  Preseason Rank #3, 2011 Projections:  90/32/100/.285/5, Final Numbers:  52/12/49/.289/3

19. Martin Prado – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen post.

20. Chase Headley – If you ever wondered to yourself whether or not 3rd base was really as bad as it seemed this year, notice Chase Headley making the top 20.  Then notice he had 4 home runs on the year.  He only hit one homer at home all year.  All year!  On the positive side, he outperformed Casey McGehee.  Recurring Theme, “The third basemen were really bad this year.”  Preseason Rank #15, 2011 Projections:  70/15/85/.255/7, Final Numbers:  43/4/44/.289/13

  1. Steve says:
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    I just think it’s great that you and Chase are back together.

  2. chata says:
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    why you were in such a hurry to skip over the shortstops and delve into
    this waterloo of crap is beyond me .

    in a big rush to leave austin ?
    leaving skid marks on your way out of town .

    trouble is …. you’re flying .

  3. Pete says:
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    chata – when scoring baseball thirdbase = five, shortstop = six, I imagine that is what he meas by getting fancy.

  4. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Pedro Alvarez….man, that name takes me back.

    Too bad he was killed chasing a churro cart into traffic.

    At least, that’s how i like to remember it.

  5. RandomItalicizedVoice says:
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    I’m gonna love drafting 3rd basemen next year. I could see Longoria going 2nd/3rd round (see 2011 Kemp, Matt) and Zimm going somewhere around 4th/5th or even later. Wright should be a bargain as well.

    Bautista in the 1st? I’ll likely be staying away from that, though.

  6. Josh says:
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    Appreciate the honesty and accountability Grey. I’m still waiting for Matthew Berry to realize maybe Kyle Blanks and Tyler Colvin won’t each hit 40 HRs.

  7. Mark says:
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    So assuming the Mets move the fences in a bit and replace their training staff with a bunch of recent clown college grads, you going all in on Metsies next year?

  8. K RoC says:
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    What about Freese? At least that way you can take Headley off haha.

  9. Eddy says:
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    Chien-Ming Wang is talking contract extension with the Nationals.

    So in other words, the Nationals want to extend their Wang.

  10. Tony says:
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    @RandomItalicizedVoice: i doubt Longo slips much past the 2nd round, IF THAT…. wright i could see mid to late 2nd MAYBE early 3rd and zimmerman will be a 3rd-4th rounder…. they’re gambles, but i see someone going for it at that point in drafts.

  11. papasmurf says:
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    Brett Lawrie’s gonna crack the top 10 next year, ain’t he? Assuming he’s healthy.

    Wright did have that back thing.

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @papasmurf: Yeah, I think he’ll be right around there. Around where Alvarez was this year. Sorry for that example.

  13. SwaggerJackers says:
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    I think Longo still goes late 1st round. Maybe 12 overall.

    Youk could bounce back and put up solid numbers.

    Is Casey Mcgehee even a starter next season?

  14. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SwaggerJackers: Sounds about right for Longoria. Youuuuuuk’s now going on two years where he hasn’t been great, but sure anything’s possible when a guy takes walks. I don’t think he’s definitely the starter, but he’s probably the first in line as of right now. Barely.

  15. DrEasy says:
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    Now as much as I supported Bautista last year, I don’t see him repeating next year. His second half (HR derby curse?) makes me think he’ll be a 30-HR, low AVG player next year. I’ll stay away.

  16. theguarantee says:
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    Would also concur that I think Longo goes plenty early last year. Maybe top-10 even. Around 12 looks about right though. The other guys have more dings against them and less to be excited about. And maybe even more reason than ever to want a stud 3B next year, in my opinion.

  17. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Oops. He asked me to pass you a note. I must have put it in the wrong desk.

  18. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: Now you’re abandoning him? Aw, geez…

    @BookieBob: Ha! Wow, that’s random.

    @theguarantee: Yeah, didn’t work wanting a stud 3rd baseman last year though.

    @Steve: Pass him a note for him, tell him to leave me alone.

  19. Steve says:
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    @Grey: I would, but I just saw him go behind the gym with Berry.

    So – the BBQ was good? Also – did you see Moneyball yet?

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: J Mueller BBQ was incredible. Was probably the best BBQ I had in my life but good BBQ is so abundant in Texas Rudy said it wasn’t even the best in Austin. Was a trailer in a parking lot and the brisket was heavenly. Moneyball was a disappointment. My hopes were high. People gave it A+ marks. I’d give it around a B/B-.

  21. Steve says:
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    @Grey: Oh man, just did some research and that all sounds so good. Most envious.

    His website needs some work, though (emoticon)

  22. honestly i think drafting for a thin position bites you in the ass more often than it helps you. in the last few years i’ve shifted to a hardcore, no-exceptions strategy of “ignore position and just imagine this guy in the batter’s box facing your favorite team’s pitcher, if that scares you, draft him” and i’ve been killing it. like, tulo, the fact that he’s a SS, ok, i’ll consider that. but after that point, no. draft beast hitters until they’re gone, full stop. as long as you do a good job of identifying who the beast hitters are, it really works.

  23. i think the overlooked factor has something to do with replacement value. like grey was saying in the 1B writeup. monster 1Bs don’t really come out of nowhere. just doesn’t happen. they also don’t crap out on you that often. at 2B/3B/SS, yes, there are no studs to draft, but that also means that (A) most of your opponents aren’t going to have studs there either, and (B) it’s so much easier for a random ryan roberts type dude to have a surprise year that’s just as good as 90% of the guys who got drafted at that position. and (C) the guys you’re drafting aren’t studs and so might totally crap out on you. those positions are high variance. so i just draft sluggers at slugger positions until i have them stacked two deep and then fill in the thin positions with up and comers off the FA wire. (in standard leagues that’s a lot easier than deep type leagues, of course.) it really works well.

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Yeah, it’s pretty freakin’ incredible. I could’ve bathed in the sauce. Actually, I did bath my mouth in it.

    @wily mo: I agree that you should just draft beasts. Some would say Longoria was a beast coming into 2011 though and he disappointed. I also agree with your 2nd comment (which I think is agreeing with me). You need big power bats, especially now with no steroids in the game.

  25. TheKingAdRock says:
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    i stuck Alex Gordon at third after i youk started to suck… i’m in a yahoo league wasn’t he 3b eligible in ESPN leagues? thanks for a great season Grey!!!

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @TheKingAdRock: No problem. He was not eligible in ESPN from what I see.

  27. @Grey: yeah, i wasn’t really addressing any particular comment there, just general philosophy of position scarcity while we’re on the subject of 3B being horrible.

    longoria to me is a beast with questions. i keep on expecting him to finally be huge the next year and he keeps on not quite doing it. still not sure why that is. i mean he was my example for why bautista was good, i kept saying bautista “turns on fastballs like longoria,” and then bautista came out and did it and longoria didn’t. so what’s his problem, i don’t know. just health? but i’m just drafting him on his bat, at this point, whatever i decide i think about it. if i get suspicious he’s fixing to flake out on me again i’m passing on him until at least the late second round, by which time he’ll probably be gone. or will he? i have no clue yet what the market’s going to be. i haven’t even built my preliminary stack of hitters for 2012 yet. maybe you can’t push him down that far.

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @wily mo: He actually had a solid season last season minus the average and that was because of some shizzy luck. I think the market per ESPN will have Longoria in the late 2nd round, which will be absurd.

  29. Steve says:
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    Am I the only one who’s wondering how awesome it would be if the Red Sox pitchers drank beer and ate fried chicken on the days they WERE pitching?

  30. Nick says:
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    I think the Overbay/Sandoval comp is fundamentally flawed in a lot of ways. Firstly, Sandoval’s already had a season better than Overbay’s peak year (in 2009, he hit .330 w/25 homers and 90 RBI). Secondly, Overbay’s “big” year came at the age of 29; Sandoval is exceeding that production at the age of 24. And yes, Sandoval’s 2011 is less than/equal to in counting stats to Overbay’s 2006 season, but in 155 fewer AB’s. A fully healthy Sandoval very likely could have pushed 30 HR and 100 RBI. Even after breaking his hamate bone, an injury that scouts say saps a hitter’s power, Pablo continued to hit home runs to all fields. He very well could project out to be a top 5 third baseman going into 2012.

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Ha! I like how that’s become a focal point for their collapse. Like Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle or so many others weren’t three sheets to the wind even when they were playing…

    @Nick: It was more of a comp for this year. Going forward, he’s young and can get better.

  32. @Grey: i actually keep forgetting longoria wound up getting to 30 last year. he came on late, 17 in august & september. but after the power binges he went on when he was so young, every spring i keep expecting him to go for 40. so yeah, he’s probably a good target for next year.

  33. chata says:
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    @Steve:

    you can bet your azz that it would take more than a few beers
    for me to step into the batter’s box .

    and , just in case the pitcher i was about to face was a little wild ,
    fried chicken doesn’t seem like such a bad choice for a last meal .

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