Yesterday, we went over the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball and today we (hint: it’s in the title) go over the top 20 3rd basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball. We should call all the 2013 fantasy baseball rankings where in the world is Marco Scutaro and Martin Prado? Marco…Prado! It’s like the Italian guy who went to Asia and brought back knockoff designer handbags. Now, this is not that we like them, and by “we” I mean me, but due to their flexibility on the chart of 2013 fantasy baseball position eligibility, we can compare and contrast where they are to get an idea of how shallow or deep positions are. Prado was 16th for the 2nd basemen, 12th for shortstops and 19th for 3rd basemen. Then Scutaro was 21st for 2nd basemen, 22nd for shortstops and 24th here. Quickly we could surmise, shortstops are light on top, but bigger in the middle and at the end. 3rd basemen are heavy on top and in the middle while light on the end. 2nd basemen are heavy on top, but light in the middle and at the end. Or shortstops are big-booty’d women, 2nd basemen are Playmates and 3rd basemen are the zaftig, voluptuous, BBW or simply Billy Butler. So, that all sounded much better in my head. As always, my projections and tiers are noted. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball:
4. Ryan Zimmerman – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Sandoval. I call this tier, “They’ve all burned me before but I’m not bitter, thanks to my shrink.” My shrink, Dr. Fefferschtepper, says I have to learn to calm myself. I have to learn to forgive. I need to stop thinking that every time a player fails to leave up to expectations that it’s some kind of personal affront to me. I have to learn that when a player does live up to expectations after INEXPLICABLY not doing anything the first three months of the season and then going on a barrage of production over the final three months to save their entire season right after I drop them that it’s not meant personally. That Ryan Zimmerman didn’t mean to hit only 5 homers through the end of June, then ten homers in July. Well, you could’ve fooled me, but I’ll go on that touchy-feely perception of events and pretend Zimmerman isn’t a total jackass sent directly from Planet Screw-Up-Grey with one mission in mind. See, how well I’ve healed? 2013 Projections: 88/27/108/.293/6
5. David Wright – It was a uncharacteristically warm January day in 2011 when I said David Wright just hit 29 homers in 2010 and now he was ready to take an even bigger step for next season. Well, that worked out great! He’s now hit 35 homers over the last two seasons combined or in just over 1100 plate appearances. But I’m no longer bitter about that. Nor am I bitter that I told everyone to sell him last May to then get grief about it for the next 4 months, even though his production did steadily decline in the final four months. Not bitter at all. I sound healthy! 2013 Projections: 88/24/102/.286/15
6. Pablo Sandoval – Coming off a 2009 where he hit 25 homers, it was reasonable to think he’d repeat in 2010. He then hit 13 homers. Coming off a 23-homer 2011, it was reasonable to think he’d– He hit 12 homers last year! So he does well one year, then disappoints the next, and vice versa. I got the pattern. So he’s coming off a 12-homer season, which would be disappointing, but then he hit about that many homers in the postseason, so it doesn’t seem like his 2012 was as disappointing as it was. So does that mean he will or won’t disappoint? Or will he just break another hamate bone? Or will he break his front teeth on a ham bone? Please, Ben Zobrist’s wife, write a song to God and ask these questions for me. 2013 Projections: 84/25/90/.289/3
7. Aramis Ramirez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Lawrie. I call this tier, “I’m worried about this tier. Perhaps irrationally so. Who’s irrational? Me?” Aramis is going to be 35 years old in June. I don’t tell you this so you can set your iCal reminder to send him an e-card. At some point, the wheels are gonna come off. Now it will either be a slow, steady decline where we get 25 homers this year, 22 homers next year and then we’re praying for 20 homers the following year but only get 12. Or maybe the wheels come off this year and then he struggles to get the wheels back on for a few years until he retires. Or maybe he’s going to get better at the age of 35 like Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire. Emoticon with a needle sticking into its butt. 2013 Projections: 72/24/87/.277/3
8. Brett Lawrie – Obviously, Lawrie said something nasty to Dwayne Murphy and Murph didn’t share with him the special homer sauce that he gave to Bautista and Encarnacion. If I were Dwayne Murphy and Dwayne Murphy were still the Blue Jays hitting coach, I’d tell Lawrie to stop hitting every pitch into the GEE DEE ground. Super-friendly hops aside, ground balls are not how you hit home runs. His 50.2% GB rate was up there with such homer stalwarts as Ichiro, Daniel Murphy and Jemile Weeks. Emphasis on “warts.” He needs to drop that rate to around 45% and raise his fly ball rate (which was 29.8%) to around 34%. All doable things. If he does that, he’ll hit 15 homers even with a terrible 9 % HR/FB rate as it was last year. If he raises that just a tad, he hits 20 homers. The steals are another whole set of question marks. He has speed, but 13 steals and 8 times caught as it was last year isn’t gonna cut the cheese. Isn’t gonna butter the biscuits and definitely isn’t gonna mustard up the frankfurter. Last year was a lost year. He could easily turn things around a’la Heyward from 2011 to 2012, but there’s no guarantees here. 2013 Projections: 74/17/83/.278/14
9. Todd Frazier – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Machado. I call this tier, “I irrationally like these guys. But, just so we’re clear, I’m so not irrational. Right?” I already went over my Todd Frazier 2013 fantasy. I wrote it while watching a Three’s Company rerun and trying to figure out if it was still okay to be attracted to Suzanne Somers even though she’s now 66 years old. 2013 Projections: 72/29/89/.268/5
10. Mike Moustakas – People seem oddly down on Moustakas this year, in the non-sexual way. Last year, his line was 69/20/73/.242/5. Throw the average out. He’s more a .260 hitter. He hits a ton of fly balls, which isn’t great for his average, but he could hit 30 homers with better contact and an uptick in his HR/FB rate. At 24 years old, I could see Moustakas easily taking another step forward. 2013 Projections: 75/25/92/.259/3
13. Pedro Alvarez – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Prado. I call this tier, “I’m missing you (Tiers of a Clown).” I might do a post about this, but let’s talk quickly about cusp hitters. I look at players that start the tiers between favored tiers and unfavorable tiers as cusp hitters. They were almost in a more favorable tier, but ended up starting off the less favorable tier. Some cusp hitters over the last few rankings posts are Asdrubal, Infante, Utley, Jed Lowrie and Ryan Howard. Cusp hitters are not as unfavorable as other guys in the tier. Cusp sayin’. Alvarez is as terrible as Mark Reynolds and Adam Dunn for Ks and, ergo, henceforth, vis-a-vis batting average. I hear what you’re saying, “Grey, you’re handsome as always today, but what I don’t understand is you’ve liked Reynolds and Dunn in the past, even with their average, but you’re down on Alvarez? That seems like a double standard. Is Alvarez not donkey-ish enough for you?” I liked, neigh, loved Mini Donkey when I thought he could steal 15 bases. Big Donkey had my admiration, bray, support, when I trusted him to hit .240 and 40 homers. Alvarez has no speed, and doesn’t look like a 40 homer hitter. 2013 Projections: 60/27/81/.245/1
14. David Freese – He probably doesn’t deserve to be in this tier. There’s no reason to worry about Freese. Or just no Freason, if portmanteaus tease your buddy like your right leg. Except his past injury history. Last year, he was more or less fine, playing in 144 games, which is excellent for a Cardinals team that is carrying on La Russa’s tradition of making sure even the 12th man off the bench gets 50 ABs. If Freese gets another 500 ABs, he’ll have basically the exact same season as he just had minus a couple homers due to an inflated HR/FB rate in 2012. 2013 Projections: 74/18/90/.297/3
16. Trevor Plouffe – Let’s say that Plouffe had a good year in 2012. I’m not saying that, but let’s say it. His line was 56/24/55/.235/1. An off year by Ryan Ludwick just called and pfft’d. When Ryan Ludwick’s off year is pfft’ing that’s an issue. “I don’t know why this is about me,” said Ryan Ludwick’s Off Year. There was a reason why Plouffe came out of nowhere last year. In four years at Triple-A — yes, I said four — he put up around a .260 average. The Twins didn’t exactly have Mike Schmidt diddling himself at 3rd during this time. Plouffe just looked like a Quad-A guy with some power. He still looks like that. Sorry, I’m not trying to blow up his spot. He can do that himself. Plouffe goes the dynamite! 2013 Projections: 65/22/72/.244/2
17. Chase Headley – Headley disappointed me because of what he did do rather than didn’t do. Bluntly, how do you go from four homers in 2011 to 31? As an experiment, did Petco move in their fences last year for just Headley, and, after it was a success, decide to move in the fences for everyone this year? Were the fences on a dolly? Were the fences on the backs of cloned sheep named Dolly? I don’t know, guys and four girls, but this sudden boost in power has me tentative. His HR/FB% has me more tentative. His 31% FB rate has me tentativer. His increasing ground ball rate has me really tentatively tentativer. His three “Lucky” homers and 11 “Just Enough” homers, which was fourth most in the majors, has me the most tentativest. The fences moving in at Petco could remove some of Headley’s lost power, but won’t completely fix all my tentativiousness. UPDATE: You win some, you lose thumb. He’s out a month with a fractured thumb. 2013 Projections: 60/15/78/.271/9
20. Mark Reynolds – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Polanco. I call this tier, “Your slightly older brother’s 3rd basemen.” Already went over Reynolds’s projections in the top 20 1st basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball.
21. Kevin Youkilis – Already went over Youkilis’s projections in the top 20 1st basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball.
22. Michael Young – Already went over Young’s projections in the top 20 1st basemen for 2013 fantasy baseball.
25. Placido Polanco – I was thinking I’ve never seen such a terrible tier of players before, then Crapolanco has to go and up the ante. Or maybe that’s down the ante. Maybe I’m just anti-Polanco. 2013 Projections: 74/5/52/.268/4
26. Jedd Gyorko – This is a new tier. This tier goes from here until Stewart. I call this tier, “Upside, but more question marks than the Riddler’s leotards.” I already went over my Jedd Gyorko 2013 fantasy. Go read it, Gyorko! 2013 Projections: 60/18/70/.265/4 (assuming an everyday job)
27. Chris Johnson – Here’s what I said when the Diamondbacks signed Eric Chavez, “D’Backs signed him to platoon with Chris Johnson. That’s the Chris Johnson who doesn’t need a platoon partner. Yay.” I was shining up a Chris Johnson sleeper post prior to the Chavez signing. Then Johnson is sent to the Braves with Upton and I start to feel a giddiness coming up from deep in my nethers. I say, nethers, you got something good for me. Nethers, “No, Juan Francisco is Johnson’s new platoon partner.” He would’ve been up near the 15th ranked guy if it wasn’t for Francisco, so I like him as a flyer. In 44 games with the D’Backs, he had 7 homers, and he hit 4 homers and .245 vs. lefties last year, but 11 homers and .295 vs. righties, which makes him puzzling as a platoon partner with Juan-Fran. 2013 Projections: 44/13/48/.274/4
28. Juan Francisco – I probably would’ve wrote a sleeper post about Juan Francisco, too. Yes, I left my heart in Juan Francisco. His major drawback is the aforementioned Chris Johnson platoon. If he weren’t platooned, I’d give him the line of 60/25/78/.248/3. In a platoon… 2013 Projections: 51/16/54/.251/2
29. Lonnie Chisenhall – He’s all ready for the breakout, or so everyone thought two years ago, then bupkis. Chisenhall should be the starting 3rd baseman, but Aviles is lurking there to step in and prospblock at any point. Also, Jonny Gomes’s brother, Yan, might step in to steal some 3rd base ABs. Chisenhall is hideous vs. lefties. In his career vs. the ones that can’t use the regular scissors, he’s hitting .227 in 88 ABs. If the Indians go to a Lonnie/Yannie platoon, it’ll kill both of their values. 2013 Projections: 59/16/79/.253/3
30. Josh Donaldson – He couldn’t even stick with the A’s last year, hitting .153 through his first 28 games. From April to June, he had one walk. He couldn’t hit the ball even if he was swinging with his dad Sam Donaldson’s eyebrows. When he returned, he looked like a new man, hitting .290 with 8 homers in 176 2nd half ABs. His September (4 homers, .257 in 101 ABs) looks repeatable. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced his April through June aren’t repeatable, as well. 2013 Projections: 58/16/68/.258/4
31. Ian Stewart – I didn’t nickname Stewart Mini Mini Donkey without serious donkey-introspection. I touched my inner donkey and sprayed donkey juice all over Stewart, which is illegal in 49 of 50 states — thanks, Vermont, for hearing me out! Like Reynolds and Dunn (when they were younger), Stewart could hit bombs, steal some bases and hit for a terrible average. Now Stewart looks like he might be lucky to get ten homers, a .220 average and a full season of at-bats. 2013 Projections: 42/17/54/.239/4
After the top 29 3rd basemen, there’s a bunch of names (Matt Dominguez, anyone?), but here’s two that stand out:
Josh Vitters – When he was called up last year, I said, “He comes with high expectations simply because Cubs fans are like a 104-year-old virgin who would just love to touch the playoffs’ boobies. He has solid power and this year he’s finally taking a free pass in the minors (not dramatically, but he’s been better — 30 BBs in 439 PAs). The Cubs have no reason not to let him play 3rd for the final two months and have said that.” And that’s me quoting me! Oh, and the Cubs did play him, and he looked like hot poop left on your dashboard in the sun overnight. (The car is in Alaska where there’s sun at night in the summer, and it’s a common custom to leave poop on your car dashboard in Alaska. Google it if you don’t believe me, but you would hurt my feelings if you didn’t just take my word for it.) 2013 Projections: 38/12/47/.249/3