Third base finally showed signs of a glimmer in 2012 fantasy baseball. There were a good ten 3rd basemen and another handful that could’ve covered your corner infidel slot. The only shizzy thing was that there were more than a few complete curveballs. Bautista, A-Rod, Moustakas, Reynolds and Sandoval, to name a few, were hot garbage and Headley, Encarnacion, Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez came relatively out of nowhere. Also, a lot of them were first basemen or 2nd basemen or shortstops, so it wasn’t like they were hanging out on waivers looking for room on peoples’ teams. Then there’s Ryan Zimmerman who made me look smart in opposite world. Also, to recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball 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 2012 fantasy baseball and how they compare to where I originally ranked them:
1. Miguel Cabrera – Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
2. Edwin Encarnacion - Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
3. Chase Headley – Absolutely insane year from Headley. He had a year that you would’ve loved to get from A-Rod three years ago when he was off the juice, but still in his prime. He had a year that would’ve gave you the ball tingles if you got it from David Wright. His HR/FB% was sky high, literally. His counting stats would’ve been good from a middle of the order hitter on the Yankees and he did it in Petco with the Padres. His strikeouts actually went up from previous three years; his line drives went down and his ground balls went up. So, is this year repeatable? More to come from January Grey. January Grey, “It’s a lot of pressure you’re putting on me.” Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 95/31/115/.286/17
4. Adrian Beltre – Aside from Miggy with his hope of getting 3rd base eligibility and Aramis, Beltre was one of the easiest pick to make at 3rd base. You could’ve drafted Wright, but he was coming off a terrible 14-homer season. There was Hanley, but he too was coming off crizzap. Zimmerman, Trumbo… There were question marks all over the position like the Riddler’s leotards. Preseason Rank #4, 2012 Projections: 75/28/100/.280/3, Final Numbers: 95/36/102/.321/1
5. Aramis Ramirez – As briefly alluded to above, besides an injury-shortened season, Aramis has provided nearly identical power for almost ten straight seasons. He’s only hit below .250 one year and that was just a weird outlier with bad luck. He’s one of those guys that gives you exactly what you expect until he no longer does. How’s that for some confirmation bias? Preseason Rank #9, 2012 Projections: 75/25/95/.295, Final Numbers: 92/27/105/.300/7
6. David Wright – I’ve already beat this horse dead about me telling you to sell him back at the end of May that the point is now glue, so let me just say this. In the huge swings of value up and down through the course of the season, you either trust my projections or don’t. Wright wasn’t ever a .380 hitter who was on pace for 30 homers. He was a .300, 24 homer, 15 steal guy with some standard rate of deviance. Always has been, always will be. Preseason Rank #3, 2012 Projections: 85/24/100/.290/15, Final Numbers: 91/21/93/.306/15
7. Hanley Ramirez – Went over him in the top 20 shortstops for 2012 fantasy baseball.
8. Mark Trumbo – Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
9. Ryan Zimmerman – Speaking of trusting my projections, I should’ve. Let me take you back to June. Zimmerman had 3 homers on the year and was coming off a season of 12 homers. He was nursing a sore shoulder, and we were looking at a guy whose name value looked to be 20+ homers, but at that point 10 homers seemed like a pipe dream. Oh, and he was hitting in the .230′s. Then he got a shot of cortisone. I can’t remember someone turning a season around so dramatically from a shot of steroids since… Well, everyone, but it’s been about 5 years. Preseason Rank #6, 2012 Projections: 80/27/100/.290/5, Final Numbers: 93/25/95/.282/5
10. Chris Davis - Went over him in the top 20 1st basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
11. Kyle Seager - Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
12. Martin Prado – 17 steals from Prado is a new career high by 12 steals, that’s including the minors. 6 of those came in May. In related news, the Atlanta Braves gave away free Red Bulls to the first nine players to arrive to the stadium in the month of May. Preseason Rank #20, 2012 Projections: 80/12/70/.300/5, Final Numbers: 81/10/70/.301/17
13. David Freese – Here’s a little Razzball behind the scenes director’s commentary. In the preseason, I wrote a David Freese overrated post (and one for Matt Kemp), but I didn’t publish them. I figured coming off his huge October in 2011, Freese was going to be wildly overrated. Nope, didn’t happen. People were more conservative than I gave them credit for, and maybe too conservative, considering the year Freese ended up having. (I’ll talk about the Kemp one when we get to the outfielders.) Preseason Rank #19, 2012 Projections: 55/15/65/.290, Final Numbers: 70/20/79/.293/3
14. Pedro Alvarez – I told you he was going to be a huge breakout (in 2011)! How was I supposed to know Alvarez had a nice pedigree, but no sense of urgency? The only player he trailed in strikeout percentage was Adam Dunn, who hit .204. I.e., Alvarez was a burp away from hitting .200. Alvarez needs to cut his strikeout rate by about five percent or never drink anything carbonated. Preseason Rank #25, 2012 Projections: 60/18/75/.240, Final Numbers: 64/30/85/.244/1
15. Alex Rodriguez – I’m not saying the Yankees regret their $275 million A-Rod contract, but the other day I saw an ad on Craigslist selling a 3rd baseman that can’t stay healthy, who used to be one of the best in the game and has a penchant for women with a washboard chest. Preseason Rank #8, 2012 Projections: 70/24/85/.270/5, Final Numbers: 74/18/57/.272/13
16. Daniel Murphy – Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
17. Jose Bautista – If I knew all it would take to knock Bautista back to earth was me to trust him, I would’ve two years ago. Prepare yourself for the Edwin Encarnacion 2013 sleeper reverse psychology post. Preseason Rank #1, 2012 Projections: 100/38/105/.265/10, Final Numbers: 64/27/65/.241/5
18. Mike Aviles - Went over him in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
19. Trevor Plouffe - Went over him in the top 20 shortstops for 2012 fantasy baseball.
20. Mike Moustakas – Not a terrific season by any stretch of the imagination, but let’s stretch our imaginations anyway. If 15 bloop singles would’ve dropped in — two and a quarter hits per month — Moustakas would’ve hit his projections on the nose. Though quarter hits are only something his teammate Billy Butler gets when he runs two feet down the first base line then stops, complaining that his mansierre is chafing him. Preseason Rank #15, 2012 Projections: 60/20/80/.270/4, Final Numbers: 69/20/73/.242/5