Previously, we covered the top ten and twenty overall draft picks. Then we went onto the top twenty 1st basemen and 2nd basemen to draft. Now, we cover the top twenty third basemen. 3rd base is stacked with talent, Pete Nice and MC Serch notwithstanding. To contrast and compare, you can look at our 2007 Player Rater here.
4. B.J. Upton – (Here’s what I said about B.J. when he placed 3rd overall for the top twenty 2nd basemen.) …His BABIP was leprechaunian so the average will drop a bit, but he’s a young Soriano. Speed, power, quick wrists. Projections: 100/30/85/.280/27
5. Ryan Braun – Here’s what I said when not placing Braun in the top twenty overall: He’ll probably go before “after 20,” but that’s fine. You don’t want him in ’08. For every McGwire Rookie of the Year, there’s a dozen woulda-shouldas. Let someone else deal with the possible headache, because as stated here by The Baseball Analysts:
The only disconcerting split involves (Braun’s) BB/SO totals against righties. He has drawn five more walks vs. LHP in 151 fewer AB while striking out just 13% of the time as compared to 24% vs. RHP.
As you can see, I’m not completely down on Braun, because I am placing him fifth overall at 3rd base. Just be careful about overvaluing him. Since the top twenty overall was written, he will now play outfield. This will give him position flexibility, so he’s a bit more valuable. I still wouldn’t go overboard. Projections: 100/27/105/.280/12
6. Aramis Ramirez – As I wrote here, he’s in for a big rebound. To summarize what was written, he had wrist problems for half the season and then started clubbing homers in September as he started to feel well. Projections: 95/37/120/.305
7. Garrett Atkins – Those buckteeth are magnificent, aren’t they? His pre- and post-All-Star splits were bad for average(.259/.349), but they were pretty even for power(13/12). He didn’t take it to the next level in ’07 like some predicted, but he’s still only 28. Projections: 85/34/115/.300
8. Mike Lowell – Everything broke right for Mr. Lowell last year. Every time he came up with runners on, he was dyn-o-mite. .406 average with men on first and second. .615 average with men on second and third. .318 average with the bases loaded. He batted forty points above his career average on the season at the age of 33 (He looks like he might be in his 40s.). The Green Mawnster is a haven for a rightie doubles hitter, so maybe the drop off won’t be that bad, but expect a drop off. Projections: 75/20/105/.290/3
9. Chipper Jones – Not sure I understand the allure of Chipper. Feel he gets some sort of boost on name value. He’s long past the days of hitting 30 home runs and you’re begging for 100 RBIs. His eye is impeccable, so you’re getting someone that will avoid prolonged slumps, but you’re not getting any upside whatsoever. Projections: 85/25/85/.315/5
10. Alex Gordon – Member what you thought Zimmerman would do last year? Well, Gordon’s gonna do it this year. I think the hype Braun’s getting this offseason, Gordon will be getting in ’09. You missed Braun last year; don’t miss Gordon this year. Projections: 80/25/90/.280/20
11. Adrian Beltre – I had him on one team when he had his I’m-playing-for-a-contract season. I will never have him again. He’s a nightmare of inconsistency. Six homers one month, 1 homer and a below .200 average another month. He’ll drive you mad. Projections: 85/25/85/.260/7
12. Kevin Kouzmanoff – He really seemed to figure it out in the 2nd half of last year and he’s hitting third this year (as long as he doesn’t repeat his 1st half from last year). He always knew how to take a walk in the minors, and I think he can do the same in the bigs. Here’s to high hopes. Projections: 90/27/105/.285
13. Ryan Zimmerman – He had wrist surgery in November of ’07. His team is better offensively this year than last, but… He had wrist surgery. Do you really wanna be messin’ with this? Come back to him in ’09, he’ll still only be 25. Projections: 90/18/90/.275/5
14. Chone Figgins – You want Juan Pierre at 3rd base? Follow along, if you have five home runs from your 3rd baseman, you better have someone hitting 50 home runs elsewhere. Also, last year’s average was an aberration. There’s a time and a place for Figgins. You find yourself falling behind in steals. Trade for him, get a boost in steals and then trade him away. Projections: 105/5/60/.290/45
15. Edwin Encarncion – Maybe I’m effin’ crazy, but I like Encarncion. He’s not winning a batting title or the Roberto Clemente Award. The Cincinnati Reds may trade him because he sucks at being a teammate and Dusty may get fed up, but if he gets his ABs he could surprise you. Projections: 75/25/85/.275/15
16. Kevin Youlikis – See top twenty 1st basemen.
17. Troy Glaus – A pothole at 3rd base. I was going to leave him off completely, but I thought people would rise up in revolt. Avoid Glaus at all costs, especially if he ends up on the Cardinals. A switch of leagues could mean a .240 average. Projections: 65/22/70/.255 and LaRussa offers to be his designated driver by the All-Star break.
18. Ty Wigginton – If you’re taking Wiggs, you’re not trying hard enough. This late into a position, go for a high upside guy. Such as #19 or #20. Ty’s Projections: 70/20/70/.270
19. Evan Longoria – Iwamura’s going to 2nd base and Morgan Ensberg’s gonna play 3rd. Or Evan Longoria. Let’s see, who will be playing there, Ensberg or Longoria? Now think about how the Rays bungled Upton and Young in the minors. Leaving them there about a season too long. So Longoria might not be playing in the majors this year, but this is a spring training decision for you to make. If you’re drafting now, you have to take a flyer. Projections: 70/20/75/.285 and he’s manning 3rd base from May until October.
20. Andy LaRoche – He’s done all there is to do in the minors by the age of 23. It’s him or Nomar. Please, Torre, put Nomar out to pasture. Mia needs help with the kids. Projections: 60/22/75/.310/5
After the “top twenty,” plenty obviously, but one I like that there was no room for is:
Casey Blake – He’ll come super cheap and you can do a lot worse. He’s on a good offensive team and his manager knows how to use him. Don’t expect the world, but in AL-only, you draft him. Projections: 75/20/75/.270/5
Who I don’t like after the top twenty – Scott Rolen. It was a fine career. It’s over. Now go wrap yourself in an endangered mongoose coat and drive slowly by LaRussa’s home.
Tomorrow we finish the infield with the top twenty shortstops.