If there was any question on why Alex Rodriguez is a top-three (at the very least top-five) fantasy player on draft day, all you would need to do is look at the composite rankings posts that have run so far at chinstrapninjas.com. This includes composite rankings at catcher, first base, shortstop, second base, designated hitter and closer..
Only three other players garnered first-place votes from all five sources in my composite rankings at other positions: Albert Pujols at first base, Hanley Ramirez at shortstop and Joe Maurer at catcher.
The full composite third base rankings (factoring in rankings from ESPN, Yahoo, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sportsline and FOX Sports) include:
1. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (5 composite points): Even with only playing in 124 games in 2009, A-Rod again was a force to be reckoned with, posting his 12th-consecutive season with at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI. An all-time great player hitting in baseball most potent lineup … what else is there to say?
2. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay (11): The 2008 rookie of the year couldn’t have asked for a better sophomore campaign, improving in every standard roto category and skyrocketing to the second-best fantasy option at third base in all fantasy formats.
3. David Wright, New York Mets (16): After posting solid numbers for quite some time, Wright took serious steps back in 2009 in home runs (10), runs scored (88) and RBI (72). Considering him a top-three option at the position is risky and only advised if you feel his numbers will rebound. He did post yet another .300-plus batting average and the team around him imploded … the Mets can’t be as bad again, can they?
4. Mark Reynolds. Arizona (21): The anti-David Wright in 2009, Reynolds greatly improved his numbers across the board, although he batted just .260 by season’s end. Will Reynolds be able to replicate the same numbers in 2010, or will he come back down to earth at least a little? Time will tell.
5. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington (30): With a steadily increasing batting average over the past three seasons, Zimmerman has shown that he is one player truly on the rise, despite the mediocrity around him in Washington. While he isn’t going to steal a ton of bases (just two in 2009), he has shown the ability to produce decent power, and will come much cheaper than the players above him on this list.
6. Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco (32): Another young player on the fast track to fantasy-stardom, Sandoval posted a .330 batting average, 25 homers and 90 RBI for an offensively flat Giants squad. I look at Sandoval as Longoria-lite … although both could be vying for the No. 2 spot on this list next year.
7. Kevin Youkilis, Boston (39): Injuries were a factor in 2009, but Youkilis is in the right place at the right time to be a decent fantasy option in 2010 … finding himself the newest cleanup hitter for the Red Sox.
8. Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs (41): Posting only about half the homers, RBI and runs scored in 2009 that he did in 2008 would be cause for concern for Ramirez, until you realize that he played in just 82 games (half the season) due to shoulder issues. On top of this, Ramirez posted a three-year high batting average (.317) in 2009.
9. Chone Figgins, Seattle (45): The switch to Seattle doesn’t change the fact that Figgins can rake in the stolen bases, runs scored and fare well in batting average … and he’ll do just that in a revitalized lineup with big expectations in 2010.
10. Michael Young, Texas (46): In 20 less games from 2008 to 2009, Young was able to hit 10 more home runs while raising his batting average an impressive 38 points. Some may balk at his age, but Young isn’t showing too many signs of slowing down at 33.
11. Gordon Beckham, Chicago White Sox (53): His rookie breakout of 14 home runs doesn’t exactly line up with the mere seven dingers in 259 minor league at-bats. Still, he is young enough to mature into a nice fantasy option at a somewhat shallow position if he can continue to hit decent power numbers and throw in a smattering (seven last year) of stolen bases.
12. Chipper Jones, Atlanta (59): Hard to pick against a guy named Chipper, but his numbers took a dip in all five major roto categories in 2009 despite 49 more at-bats than he had in 2008.
13. Adrian Beltre, Boston (65): A fantasy tease most of his career, there is no denying his talent and potential, but he never seems to put it all together for any length of time. Perhaps playing in Boston’s lineup will change things.
14. Ian Stewart, Colorado (68): Also eligible at second base, Stewart showed promise in power categories last year, but finished the season with a pathetic .228 batting average. If he can find more patience at the plate, imagine the boost he’d get in fantasy circles.
15. Mark DeRosa, San Francisco (75): When healthy, DeRosa can produce some decent numbers, but a torn tendon sheath in 2009 led to offseason surgery and the prognosis is hard to predict in his new San Francisco digs (recent news projects him as the Giants left fielder).
What are your opinions on this year’s third base crop? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.