As you are getting ready for your upcoming fantasy baseball draft or auction, there are a few different ways that can help you determine where there is value or a drop off in talent at each position. One way is by grouping each position into tiers to separate different levels of projected performance. By setting up tiers, it will give you a good idea how many third basemen are at each level and what the chances are that someone in said level make it back to you for your next pick if you do not draft that position in the current round
Here is a look at the 2012 fantasy baseball tiers for third base.
Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria
With 97 home runs over his last two seasons, Bautista has answered the questions whether he is for real or not. If you are drafting him, he has much more value at third base than in the outfield. Longoria’s bad luck driven batting average in 2011 in going to present someone with a nice buying opportunity at the end of round one. Who would have thought two years ago that a team picking in the 13-15 range in a mixed league format could land Longoria and Hanley Ramirez in a draft.
David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Ryan Zimmerman
Wright is the one with downside in this group given his back problems in 2011 and his strikeout rate which has remained in the same percent range the last three seasons. Beltre has thrived while playing in good lineups the last two seasons in Boston and Texas while Zimmerman gets a mulligan for 2011 given his abdominal injury which impacted his power numbers.
Alex Rodriguez, Pablo Sandoval, Michael Young, Brett Lawrie, Kevin Youkilis, Aramis Ramirez
Rodriguez is getting long in the tooth, but I also would not bet against him to out perform his projections if he is healthy. Sandoval is right in line with Rodriguez from a projection standpoint as long as he comes to camp in shape. I like Young’s track record better than Lawrie who was a rookie last season and Young plays in a better lineup which gives him a slight edge. Youkilis and Ramirez have proven to be injury prone and as they head into their mid-30s, the likelihood that the trend will reverse is not good.
Really kind of silly to have a guy with his own fantasy baseball tier I know, but he is kind of stuck in limbo given his batting average and decline in stolen base totals. He does not produce enough to go with the players in Tier 3 and he will be drafted two to three rounds ahead of the guys that are in Tier 5.
Martin Prado, David Freese, Mike Moustakas, Edwin Encarnacion
Freese may go higher than his average draft position is showing by the time fantasy drafts start as people remember his playoff numbers and also realize what is left at the third base position. Moustakas still has some work to do against left-handed pitching and didn’t show the power that was expected from him in 2011.Encarnacion is the last third basemen outside of maybe Chris Davis that can get you 20 home runs at third base this late in the group.
Chase Headley, Chipper Jones, Danny Valencia, Lonnie Chisenhall
A good portion of Headley’s value is tied up in his stolen bases given his lack of power at a corner infield spot. Chipper is going to struggle to reach 400 at bats given his age and injury problems, but he can still produce as much counting stats as the other guys in this group who will have 100+ more at bats. Valencia and Chisenhall are relatively equal with Valencia the more proven player at this point. Chisenhall is going to need to improve his plate discipline in order to stay in the major leagues for the entire season.