We finish off the infield with the top 20 3rd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball. The 2012 fantasy baseball rankings from shallowest to deepest go shortstops, third basemen, catchers, 2nd basemen then 1st basemen. That’s right, I think the catchers and 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 wanted a top 3rd baseman and punted Jose Bautista while targeting Pedro Alvarez, Ryan Zimmerman and David Wright, which taught me a valuable lesson. I’m a moron. (A very hurtful lesson, mind you.) 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 2012 fantasy baseball:
3. David Wright – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Reynolds. I call this tier, “We’re too early in a top 20 for question marks. So why are there so many question marks?” Honestly, how many times can we go to this Wright well? The Wright well hasn’t paid whividends in a whery, whery whong time. Stupid Elmer Fudd voice in my head. The one non-scientific stat we have to look at is how he’s alternated good power years with bad ones and in 2012 we’re due for a good one. Yeah, that’s so non-scientific it’s kinda silly. The better news is The Great Wall of Flushing is coming down and in. That’s definitely a cheaper way to acquire offense than signing Pujols or Fielder and more legal than accidentally bumping into players with a steroid needle. How much the new dimensions will actually affect Wright’s power is threefold. First fold, his “Just Enough” homers could increase. Second fold, the park’s size may have got in his head and psychologically he may feel more confident about hitting at Metco and end up hitting more homers. Third fold, there’s no third fold. Who ever heard of a third fold? 2012 Projections: 85/24/100/.290/15
4. Adrian Beltre – Great lineup, great ballpark, one man who they call “The Guy Who Brings Them Towels In The Locker Room” sneezes and the whole team goes down with the flu for 15 days. Yeah, I’m not sure why, but no one on the Rangers gets injured by themselves. They’re like dominos. Nelson Cruz goes down, then there goes Hamilton, there goes Kinsler, there goes Beltre… It’s a shame to blame one man but The Guy Who Brings Them Towels In The Locker Room does have shifty eyes. 2012 Projections: 75/28/100/.280/3
5. Pablo Sandoval – After wrestling to lose weight and change his name to Sandrectangle, Pablo embraced his girth and hit 23 homers last year. Still this guy’s big question mark is where does he find pants that fit him? Oh, and is the power for real? It looks like it is plus or minus 2 homers from the 23 last year. Maybe he can pass his cure of blimpotence over to Billy Butler. Also, similarly to Butler, Sandoval’s got a way with the good average. After a flukey injury sidelined him last year expect a nice step forward. 2012 Projections: 80/27/95/.320/3
6. Ryan Zimmerman – In my special no-no area, I have a tingling sensation that Zimmerman’s about to have a huge year. He’s 27, an age when hitters really hit their prime, and he’s proven before that he can hit 30+ homers if he stays healthy. Mummify him in bubble wrap and send him out to take grounders! 2012 Projections: 80/27/100/.290/5
7. Brett Lawrie – Yeah, I ranked him pretty high. We’re going to talk about two hypothetical scenarios. First scenario has you drafting Lawrie before your leaguemates. All your leaguemates groan, they all wanted him. Lawrie starts off the season slow and people are glad they didn’t draft him. (Or he starts off fast. Either scenario work for this scenario. We’ll call these Scenarios 1A and 1B.) Then he turns things around in 1A, everyone wants him. Or he continues pounding the ball in 1B and everyone still wants him. You could trade him for a much more valuable piece or you can ride the wave. Second scenario (2A), you draft Aramis, he gets hurt in May and no one wants him, not even you. Then Aramis comes back and hits, but still no one wants him because people don’t trust him to stay healthy. Or (2B) you trade Aramis for less than his worth because you just want to be done with him and then he continues to hit and you get an ulcer. In 1A and 1B, you have Lawrie or whatever you want (within reason and depending on what your state constitution allows). In 2A, you have a piece you don’t even want and an ulcer (2B). I also went over my Brett Lawrie 2012 fantasy. 2C click the link. 2012 Projections: 90/20/70/.290/24
8. Alex Rodriguez – When I was doing my research for A-Rod, I was looking through some of his past years — 52 homers, 18 steals in 2001, 57 homers and 9 steals in 2002 — how again did we not know there was steroids in baseball? I mean, every BBWAA member is saddened and disheartened and synonym now when they talk about these players besmirching the good name of baseball. Why weren’t they saddened etc. when it was going on? Wasn’t it obvious? I wasn’t bothered because during these years I was smoking weed. Was every BBWAA member high? Any the hoo! A-Rod’s presumably clean of the clear now, but his body is breaking down because of the years on it. That’s his question mark. Can he stay healthy? I have my doubts. 2012 Projections: 70/24/85/.270/5
10. Kevin Youkilis – Okay, basically no 3rd baseman can stay healthy. I think something that gets lost in the Sawx hype is The Greek God of Can’t Walk Half The Time has hit less than 20 homers over more seasons than he’s hit above 25 homers and has never hit more than 29 homers. Pablo Sandoval, who’s 7 years younger than him, has as many 20+ homer seasons. Youuuuuuk is a good name for people who like names. For people who like players to actually hit, he’s not as good. 2012 Projections: 75/19/85/.270/3
11. Michael Young – Went over Young’s projections in the top 20 1st basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
13. Emilio Bonifacio – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Roberts. I call this tier, “You should draft someone else.” Went over Bonifacio’s projections at the top 20 shortstops for 2012 fantasy baseball.
14. Ryan Roberts – Went over Roberts’s projections at the top 20 2nd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball.
15. Mike Moustakas – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Stewart. I call this tier, “The good news, but it comes with degrees of risk.” This is the good news because 3rd base is about to get infusion of talent. To use a phrase that sounds like a cliche, brighter days are on the horizon. Whether it’s Moose, Valencia, Stewart or Gamel, one or more of these guys should provide sneaky value. Obviously not all of them will, so choose wisely. I wrote a Moustakas 2012 fantasy post already. It’s six parts brilliant and one part dumb. It’s up to you decide which is which. 2012 Projections: 60/20/80/.270/4
16. Danny Valencia – Valencia, California is also known non-ironically as Awesometown. So I suggest we call him Danny Awesometown. Makes you more excited about Valencia, doesn’t it? No?! Geez, you’re tough. How about the fact he can hit almost 20 homers and get maybe three steals? That gets you going, doesn’t it? All right, how about Danny Might-Be-Solid-Considering-How-Late-You-Can-Draft-Him-town? 2012 Projections: 75/18/85/.265/3
17. Mat Gamel – Here’s what I said earlier this offseason, “No one likes Mat Gamel. The Brewers wanted to try Gamel in Spring Training last year and he was 30 pounds overweight. Lay off the mayonnaise, doode. His Triple-A manager said he’s “hard-headed.” (No one ever said that of Justin Morneau.) I get this feeling with a beat provided by will.i.am that Gamel is gonna go the way of Matt Murton. I hope he doesn’t. I hope he gets a real shot at 1st base in Spring Training. I think now that McGehee is gone he will. Even if all Gamel does is hit homers and make errors. In 2007, Milwaukeeans called that The Braun Exacta. I propose the Brewers correct Gamel’s defensive problems similar to how the Rockies went to the humidor. They should put The Vacuum in Miller Park. Whenever the visiting team is hitting, you turn The Vacuum to suck and watch as everything is hit to the left side. The Vacuum sucks so Gamel doesn’t blow. He had another great year at Triple-A — 28 homers, .310. He looks like he’s more than ready with the bat. Definitely will be someone I’ll look at late in drafts for my corner infidel spot. Could get a cheap 25 homers and a .290 average.” And that’s me quoting me! In the end, Gamel is either going to give you 25 homers or 2 homers and you have to drop him because he’s lost the job. 2012 Projections: 60/25/75/.290
18. Ian Stewart – Incredibly, I’m willing to give Mini Mini Donkey one more chance, especially if he’s being drafted late enough. For a late round flyer what does Stewart have over, say, Pedro Alvarez? He’s had a full season where he hit 25 homers. That’s one. Why him over, say, Freese? Same reason. Over Prado? Same reason. Stewart also his sneaky 7 to 10 steal speed like his mentor, Mini Donkey. 2012 Projections: 60/24/75/.245/7
19. David Freese – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Edwin Encarnacion. I call this tier, “My New Year’s Resolution was to not see the movie New Year’s Eve and to draft a 3rd baseman before this tier.” 2011 World Series MVP David Freese has little power, no speed and the hype of changing his name to 2011 World Series MVP David Freese. Oh, and he can’t stay healthy. Sounds like he should be the mayor of Awesometown. 2012 Projections: 55/15/65/.290
20. Martin Prado – The other day Prado showed up at my window singing The Promise by When In Rome. He was trying to curry favor with me because he knows that his lack of power and speed makes me not want to draft him ever. When he was done singing, I still didn’t want to draft him but I did invite him in for some risotto. I have a big heart! 2012 Projections: 80/12/70/.300/5
After the top 20 3rd basemen for 2012 fantasy baseball, there’s lots of names, but these five stand out:
Edwin Encarnacion – He’s either going to stay healthy and hit .250 with 25 homers or get hurt and have 15 homers and .250. In most leagues, you’re not going to hold onto him if you draft him so why bother? Go for upside with someone else. 2012 Projections: 60/20/70/.255/3
Scott Sizemore – UPDATE: OUT FOR THE YEAR
You really shouldn’t have Sizemore on your team outside of AL-Only leagues, and even there he leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s the deal — dealio, if you’re trying to sound hip but aren’t really — 3rd base is not a deep position and if you’re this deep you don’t have many options. Sizemore had his best season last year with a 11/5 season and that looked like it was ceiling, and with a ceiling like that who needs floors? (<–I think that makes sense. Think about it.) 2012 Projections: 65/10/70/.260/7
Casey McGehee – Casey McGehee is a Baha Man. He was a guy who looked destined to be a utility man, had a huge season and people started inserting Casey McGehee into the poem, Casey at the Bat. Turned out he was a utility man who lucked into a big season and those same people wished they didn’t use pen when inserting his name into the poem, so they changed McGehee to MacDonald and told everyone they did a mash-up of Casey at the Bat and Old MacDonald. 2012 Projections: 60/16/70/.260
Pedro Alvarez – Yes, Casey McGehee might steal his playing time. What I think actually happens is Alvarez or McGehee goes to first base and the other plays — I don’t know — third base. Last year all went wrong for PeAl (hmm, that nickname doesn’t really work). The first year he had a 30.8% K-rate, but he was buoyed by a .341 BABIP. When his BABIP came back to earth, his K-rate left a crater the size of the Grand Canyon in his average. He needs to cut back on his Ks or he’s going to be back in the minors, carrying his own bags and staying in dumps with no running water. Well, that sorta sounds like nice hotels in Pittsburgh, but you catch my drift. 2012 Projections: 60/18/75/.240