First we went over the top 20 catchers for 2008, then top 20 1st basemen for 2008 and top 20 2nd basemen for 2008. Now, as they say in the tire business, we roll right along moving onto the top 20 3rd basemen for 2008. This year third base gets the gas face. Starts off predictably with Wright, Arod, Braun then the list hits a hard left like Vin Diesel’s career after The Pacifier. Huff high, Atkins low, Mora there. The top 20 3rd basemen for 2008 list starts strong and ends up ugly like any match involving a white boxer. I’m surprised Joe Randa didn’t show up on this top 20 list. Ya know, the Patron Saint of Yawnstipating. Because, right here, we have The Joe Randa Also-Rans. Anyway, here’s the top 20 3rd basemen for 2008 in fantasy baseball and how they compared to where we originally ranked them:

1. David Wright – My preseason predictions are nearly right on for Wright. Yet, I had him ranked #2 instead of number one. It’s not as pronounced as our first basemen list, but again, we’re seeing a theme in these top twenty lists, offensive was down across the board. Preseason Rank #2, Preseason Predictions:  115/34/120/.310/20, Final Numbers:  115/33/124/.302/15

2. Alex Rodriguez – Okay, you know Arod, so I’ll tangent for a second. He’s headed to being the greatest home hitter that has ever played the game. 553 HRs at the age of 33. He should surpass Bonds in five to six years. Since 1996, he’s been a top ten fantasy player. He is arguably the best we have ever seen. That’s not really much of a limb. Now, has there ever been anyone in the history of any sport that is so roundly considered arguably the best of all-time and simultaneously ignored? (Yes, there were a lot of adverbs in that sentence. My bad.) Not to mention, Arod plays in New York. Yet no one cares about him!  He should be at least as “big” as Tiger Woods, Gretzky or Jordan. He’s nowhere near them. Okay, interesting, perhaps, but what really has me puzzled is why? Is it his lack of personality? Maybe, but Gretzky, Woods and Jordan were/are/were an amalgamation of what their endorsements made them. Is it because Arod excels with such relative ease?  Nah, they all were/are/were effortlessly great. Is it the lack of championships? It would appear so, but here’s the thing. Not everyone is a Yankee fan. If he helps them win 5 championships, this would piss off as many people as it would excite. So because of his lack of success for a team that many of you don’t like, you don’t respect Arod? Hmm… Maybe.  Preseason Rank #1, Preseason Predictions:  120/42/130/.305/15, Final Numbers:  104/35/103/.302/18

3. Ryan Braun – I had serious reservations about how well he would come back from his insane rookie year. I discounted him as much as I could and I still thought he should be ranked third for third basemen in the preseason rankings. So, as you can see, I still liked him a lot. I was just was trying to temper expectations because I knew his unreal average from his rookie campaign would come down and it did. Preseason Rank #3, Preseason Predictions:  100/27/105/.280/12, Final Numbers:  92/37/106/.285/14

4. Aubrey Huff – Already covered him in top 20 1st basemen for 2008. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  96/32/108/.304/4

5. Kevin Youkilis – Already covered him in top 20 1st basemen for 2008. Preseason Rank #16, Preseason Predictions:  90/21/115/.290/3, Final Numbers:  91/29/115/.312/3

6. Chipper Jones – I can’t say his name, even in my head, without thinking of the great Skip Caray. You’ll be missed, sir. As for Chipper, he was in some kind of zone for average, but average as a stat yawnstipates me. Rudy will have something this offseason about why average is really the least of your worries when it comes to roto. Preseason Rank #9, Preseason Predictions:  85/25/85/.315/5, Final Numbers:  82/22/75/.364/4

7. Miguel Cabrera – Already covered him in top 20 1st basemen for 2008. Preseason Rank #3, Preseason Predictions:  110/35/125/.315/4, Final Numbers:  84/37/127/.292/1

8. Aramis Ramirez – What’s that smell? Aramis. His power is going down more than Stephanie Pratt on Doug. Preseason Rank #6, Preseason Predictions:  95/37/120/.305, Final Numbers:  97/27/111/.289

9. Jorge Cantu – Already covered him in top 20 1st basemen for 2008.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  92/29/95/.277/6

10. Mark DeRosa – Already covered him in top 20 2nd basemen for 2008. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 103/21/87/.285/6

11. Melvin Mora – You’re traveling through another dimension — a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land where two Orioles third basemen are in the top 11. That’s a signpost up ahead: your next stop: The Twilight Zone! Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers:  77/23/104/.285/3

12. Garrett Atkins – Already covered him in top 20 1st basemen for 2008. Preseason Rank #7, Preseason Predictions:  85/34/115/.300, Final Numbers:  86/21/99/.286/1

13. Russell Martin – Already covered him in top 20 catchers for 2008. Preseason Predictions:  85/20/90/.290/15, Final Numbers:  87/13/69/.279/18

14. Evan Longoria – Didn’t start the year with the club as it looked like the Rays were purposely dragging their feet on another prospect, then he missed a month from August 8th to Sept. 13th and he’s still ranked 14th. Wow. Longoria’s going to be a good one. Preseason Rank #19, Preseason Predictions:  70/20/75/.285, Final Numbers:  67/27/85/.272/7

15. Mark Reynolds – The only player to strikeout more than 200 times in a season. I can handle 200 Ks if you’re dropping your badonkadonk more than 40 times. Reynolds’s 28 home runs? It’s not walking the dog. It’s not applying mustard to the hot dog. It’s not unbuttoning your pants after your second dessert. It just isn’t. Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 87/28/97/.239/11

16. Adrian Beltre – I’d like to see someone put together a list of the top ten players of the last twenty-five years who have wasted the most talent. I have to think Beltre is somewhere on that list. Imagine, if you will, a player that has Beltre’s talent and Ankiel’s desire. Preseason Rank #11, Preseason Predictions:  85/25/85/.260/7, Final Numbers:  74/25/77/.266/8

17. Troy Glaus – I thought he was going to be bad. He was bad. In the preseason, I ranked him 17th and here he is. Don’t you love how that happens. Preseason Rank #17, Preseason Predictions:  65/22/70/.255, Final Numbers:  69/27/99/.270

18. Casey Blake – Turned out to be exactly the end of the draft bargain I thought he would be. Many of you probably had Kouzmanoff, Encarnacion, Guillen, Lowell and Gordon instead of Blake, but guess who is on this list and guess who is not. Okay, no fair, you’re looking at the list.  Preseason Rank #21, Preseason Predictions:  75/20/75/.270/5, Final Numbers:  71/21/81/.274/3

19. Chone Figgins – A pretty terrible season for Figgy when you look at the numbers, but if you look at how many games he played (116), it turns out he had simply a medicore season. Preseason Rank #14, Preseason Predictions:  105/5/60/.290/45, Final Numbers:  72/1/22/.276/34

20. Ty Wigginton – Already covered him in top 20 2nd basemen for 2008. Preseason Rank #18, Preseason Predictions:  70/20/70/.270, Final Numbers:  50/23/58/.285

  1. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Reminds me of the INXS video from the 80s. Is that a commercial in New Zealand? I’ve never seen that one. I do have a DVR though so I don’t watch many commercials, only on live events.

  2. BaronVonVulturewins says:

    Nice rant on A-Rod. Here are my quick-response thoughts:

    Start with the championships. Imagine Jordan with no titles or Tiger with no trophies. Stats are one thing, but championships build legends. (Or, at least, help sportswriters build legends.) I agree that not everyone cheers for the Yankees, but A-Rod’s career-long title oh-fer is a big factor.

    Two: Endorsements. Again, you’re right about Jordan, his personality was basically Nike x Gatorade / Haines. Be Like Mike — you think he thought that shizz up? But remember that his early Nike ads were like a perfect storm of media marketing: Beautiful, ground-breaking ads unlike any seen before in sports (remember that slo-mo one?), and a career micro-managed by the most meteoric and dominant sports brand in modern memory. No one else will be like Mike because we’ve already seen Mike. It’s so much harder now to build LeBron or Kobe into a Mike-sized legend. So forget about flavorless A-Rod.

    Also: It’s arguable whether Jordan is the best ever or even the best of his era, but he definitely had a flair for the dramatic. The clutch shots. The shrug after those flu-riddled three pointers. He was a performer. What moments do you think of when you think of A-Rod? A bat flip? A dramatic smash? Nope — you think of The Slap. Or the “Got it!” moment. Granted, this isn’t all his fault — well, actually it is. But the media amplifies it, because it plays into the existing A-Rod storyline. Which is then solidified with each new event. Rinse. Repeat.

    It’s probably not too late for some ascendant brand to adopt A-Rod and remake his image as some sort of silent titan. But that brand has to appear out of nowhere. It would help if he won a World Series or two. Also, stop with the slapping already.

    Baseball, in a weird way, is the most stat-obsessed sport, but also the one in which gaudy stats can fade while great achievements endure. (George Foster hit 50 HRs once, but who ever talks about George Foster?) Kirk Gibson? League average player. Also: A legend, because of one limping fist-pump.

    As for Gretzky, he truly was a genius, the best ever, and someone who entirely reinvented his game. He didn’t need endorsements, sportswriters, or for anyone to give a shizz about hockey. Also he won like thirty Stanley Cups.

  3. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BaronVonVulturewins: re: Titles — So we’re saying that someone helps a team you don’t like helps the immortalization process? Fair, but what if he does nothing and the Yanks win despite him? He goes 0-for-35 and the Yanks win the World Series. He’s now a legend? Dave Winfield won a championship for your team. He was traded for a night out to Ruth’s Chris.

    Endorsements — Agreed. Everything came together for Mike. You weren’t like Mike. Mike was the zeitgeist.

    re: flair for dramatic – You can’t be the best if you can’t win the big game/moment. Transcend the moment, right? Maybe this is why Reggie wasn’t exceptional in any way yet he still gets the loudest applause when introduced; this connects to your Gibson example. Okay, so this goes back to the championships. But he needs to win the championships, but, wait a second, what about Bonds and Sosa? Before roids, these two could’ve done anything. At one point, Sosa upstaged Keanu. So maybe transcendence doesn’t have to do with championships.

  4. get figgy with it says:

    really with the hills reference? haha

  5. Grey

    Grey says:

    @get figgy with it: Good to see we have another viewer. I was going to write “She-Pratt and Doug,” but didn’t think anyone would get She-Pratt. As it is, you might be the only one to get the above.

  6. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Curious to see how the outfielders rank. On one condition. Consider not including anybody with infield eligibility. If Ryan Braun’s on my team he’s at 3b or CI all year, Cust Kayin.

    Also, I think we’re seeing the good BJ in the playoffs, but really, has there ever been a bad BJ?

    Note to self: “self, you just set yourself up for a bad Tijuana joke right there.” Ok, fire away.

  7. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: Some folks could’ve had Longoria at 3rd and Braun in the OF.

    If Braun is ranked in the top five at OF, why wouldn’t you want to know? This will give you an idea about ’09 and you’ll be able to impress friends and neighbors at the bar when the discussion of position eligibility comes up.

  8. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Point taken. He’ll lose eligibility next year.

    But, you’re going to give us your rankings for 09 so I’m not really basing my draft on this list.

    FBB, a year round game the whole family can play.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: Yeah, this is just looking at what he did. We’ll get to what he will do. What did you think about what BVV said above?

  10. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: I thought he nailed it from the bunker, knocked it out of the park, slick one-timer through the 5 hole.

    If I may add, guys who win championships don’t go down in history. Guys who win multiple championships do.

    Bill Russell comes to mind. As do John Wooden, Reggie Jackson, Bird, Magic, Johnny Unitas.

    Gretsky was one of a kind, Jordan was the only one who rose above all other NBA players, and Tiger, when it’s all said and done will trump Nicklaus. And that’s no easy feat.

    In baseball, we love our heroes of yesteryear. Nobody will replace the Babe, not Bonds, not Pujols, and definitely not A-Rod.

    That’s why baseball will always be the great American pasttime, and why Hollywood continues to glorify it. But I don’t have to tell you that, you’re living it.

  11. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: Russell might come to mind, but what about Wilt?

    Also, are we discounting charisma in all of this — their “Je ne sais quoi,” or is charisma a by-product of the championships? It would be appear so.

  12. BigFatHippo says:

    @Grey: Well there was the 10,000 women thing with Wilt. But Russell beat him every time.

    Wilt still wins by, well 10,000 women.

    Charisma? A-rod has none.

  13. Grey

    Grey says:

    @BigFatHippo: Arod – absolutely devoid of charisma.

  14. Steve says:

    @p0rk burn: Hehe.

    @Grey: The Maxell ad comes from the UK – I’m not sure it was one we got in NZ, just one of my favourites.

    How’s that Angels bullpen? It’s crap is how it is.

  15. Grey

    Grey says:

    @p0rk burn: You’re the one who lets the wife decide what you’re going to watch.

    @Steve: You realize everything you notice about every game is the bullpen. You got a lot of studying to do for next year.

  16. Steve says:

    Also – from one who is a long-time observer of US sports (without being immersed in it), it seems to me that what marks Tiger (not exactly overflowing with charisma IMHO, but what an athlete) and Jordan out from the rest is their ability to be at their absolute best when the stakes were at their absolute highest – in the big playoff games or in major tournaments.

    By contrast, A-Rod has never done it when it has REALLY counted. Sure, he’s a hit a few regular-season walkoffs, but as we all know has never really stood up at the business end of the season.

    That said, it’s obviously easier to be a dominant individual in a sport like golf – duh, Steve, it’s an individual sport. And a point guard is more able to be the dominant individual in a game of basketball.

    You could argue that, in baseball, only the pitcher really has that opportunity. A-Rod is a lot more dependent on his team-mates, in other words.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Yeah, I agree. I just find it interesting that someone’s greatest is dependent on his team winning, when most of us don’t even like his team. Forget the fact that Arod really can’t win every game on his own, but he has struggled when the stakes were at its highest.

  18. Steve says:

    @Grey: That’s the problem with checking in irregularly) via Gameday (or whatever the hell it is on You don’t exactly get the flavour of the game.

    I’m really not as relievers-obsessed as it looks ;-)

  19. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: You are, man. And now I’m seeing major symptoms of denial.

  20. Steve says:

    @Grey: Am not! Elsewhere, what’s the general feeling towards guys like Boggs and Mattingly compared to A-Rod?

    If I’m not mistaken, both great players whose teams didn’t win the big ones. Are people more kindly disposed towards them?

  21. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Boggs did win one. Mattingly is actually loved more than most ex-Yanks and he never sniffed a championship. I think it was his well-groomed mustache.

  22. Steve says:

    @Grey: And that’s A-Rod’s problem isn’t it? He just doesn’t seem like a ‘good guy’.
    Even Tiger looks like a guy who gets drunk with his buddies.
    A-Rod sneaks around with Madonna. And doesn’t hit in the postseason. Not a good combination.
    BTW, I know I’ve got plenty to learn about Roto in particular. And that is why I’ll be right here right through the winter/summer!

  23. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Yeah, Madonna and his ex-wife was manly. Maybe if he dated Scarlett Johansson or someone.

  24. Steve says:

    @Grey: Even Tiger got the Swedish model.

  25. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Steve: Tiger also has a cool ass name.


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