Everybody’s saying third base is as weak as Stimpy’s willpower when it comes to the big, red button. The beautiful shiny button.
But, hey, look there. You kick Figgins down the rankings you’ve got 12 legit 3Bs. By no means are we ocean floor deep, but there are players that play all the way into the bonus round, too. Beware position scarcity hype.
Just so we’re clear: ADP guides us through the rankings, but the comments tell you whether the rank is legit or not. Projections are meant to reinforce the comments. Sometimes they contradict them. Which should you follow in such a case? Your gut brain works as well as mine does.
On to the top 20 third basemen in fantasy baseball for 2010:
1. Alex Rodriguez — If you’re being considered for the third overall pick you deserve your own tier. Projections in the Top 10 for 2010.
2. Evan Longoria — Longoria is in the Top 10, but he’s sharing a tier through Zimmerman. Check out the intro to the Top 10 for 2010. You’ll also find Longoria’s projections there.
3. David Wright — Find his projections in the Top 20 for 2010.
4. Mark Reynolds — Projections and discussion in the Top 20 for 2010.
5. Ryan Zimmerman — He’s not in the Top 20 but should be by all indications. I’d settle for Zimmerman before reaching on Longoria. Think Zim has fewer questions than Wright and Reynolds, too. Believe in the power spike. Projections: 95/30/100/5/.290
6. Pablo Sandoval — This is a new tier. It goes to Beltre, but one of these things is not like the other. Sandoval belongs here, but he’s got some questions — is the power legit? What if he doesn’t hit .330? Projections: 80/20/85/5/.325
7. Aramis Ramirez — If you took Ramirez over Zimmerman your nuts. It wouldn’t be terribly upsetting if you took him over Sandoval. Obviously, there’s less upside and more injury risk with Ramirez, but he produces and his shoulder is fully healthy … at the moment. Projections: 75/25/90/1/.290
8. Chone Figgins — This is that one. The one that doesn’t belong. Yes he’ll steal 40 bags for you. So could about a bazillion outfielders that you’ll have to pay far less for. Better stock up on power elsewhere if you go this route. Projections: 95/5/55/40/.290
9. Gordon Beckham — Everybody’s reaching a little here. He’s a good prospect but not much better than Young, Stewart, Chipper and Beltre. Projections: 85/20/80/10/.280
10. Michael Young — Who says 3B is weak? This is the 10th guy. Check those projections. Projections: 85/15/80/10/.300
11. Ian Stewart — His batting average was a horrible .228 last year. He improves that by at least 30 points and produces serious other numbers, too. The projections feel a bit pessimistic: 75/25/75/5/.255 … Could you add five to each number? Actually, never mind, I already did. Oh, look, now he belongs in the second tier. Projections: 80/30/80/10/.260
12. Chipper Jones — Old and already has a jammed thumb. Draft with caution or with a bottom of this list sleeper in mind. Projections: 80/20/80/5/.295
13. Adrian Beltre — Man, this tier goes on forever. Beltre’s in here because he moved from a pitcher’s park to a hitter’s park in Boston. In that lineup with the Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis show, he should produce in the other categories too. He’s only 31, so he’s still lingering near his prime, and could be a steal in 2010. I’d bet hard on the over for his homers and RBIs. Projections: 65/20/70/10/.270
14. Jhonny Peralta — This is a new tier it meanders down to McGehee. Peralta’s meandering too, from short to third. Let’s see how he reacts. Sometimes moves have an adverse affect on players offensive skills. His power has already been draining, so he can’t lose much more. Projections: 75/15/75/1/.270
15. Alex Gordon — News flash: Gordon’s hurt. Looks like the 26-year-old has another excuse why he didn’t break out in 20xx. The broken thumb won’t keep him out forever, but that kind of injury’s not going away by turning 90-mile-an-hour fastballs into line drives with a stick. Projections: 60/15/65/10/.270
16. Casey McGehee — Everyone’s all with the Gamel. Bet you a free subscription to Chinstrap Ninjas that McGehee outproduces Gamel and these conservative projections in 2010. Projections: 60/15/75/1/.280
17. Mark DeRosa — This is the last tier. You don’t really want to own anybody in this tier, but you’ll own a couple of them for a while as a CI or UTIL2 and drop them. You’ll do it to pick up another one of them and instantly feel ashamed. You should feel good that DeRosa has no pain in his surgically repaired wrist. You should also be alarmed that he’s 35. Projections: 75/20/70/1/.265
18. Garrett Atkins — There are few players I will flat out tell you not to pick even if you were drafting with a stolen team. Atkins is one of them. Last season he scored 37 runs, drove in 48 and hit nine homers all while hitting a balmy .226. He could fall far short of these numbers. Projections: 60/15/70/1/.270
19. Casey Blake — Blake is 37 years old and already strained his rib cage in 2010. At this rate he will finish the season with 361 injuries. Projections: 70/20/70/5/.260
20. Edwin Encarnacion — The only player in this last tier who isn’t 30. Sadly, he’s also the least likely to play 162 games. His surgically repaired wrist is still tender, so it’s starting already. Projections: 60/20/65/5/.260
That’s it for the top 20, but there are a lot of players getting picked later that are less brittle and more upsidy. Brandon Inge (60/20/70) and Mark Teahan (70/15/65/10) aren’t exactly upsidy, but they could replace an injured/ineffective Encarnacion for cheap … Kevin Kouzmanoff is an interesting pick this season. We’ll get to see which pitcher’s park is worse for hitters, PetCo or The Coliseum. he could go 60/20/80 … Brandon Wood‘s not going to boost your batting average, but in the minors he showed the promise of an 80-30-80 player … All Jake Fox needs is playing time and he’d get 60/20/70 easy … Jays want to move Brett Wallace to first. At 65/15/50/.290 in 2010, he has more value at 3B … He’s unexciting like Encarnacion, Blake and Atkins but David Freese is cheaper and with more upside: 50/15/50/.270. It’s not much upside, but take what you can get when you’re 400 picks deep … The Pirates top prospect, Pedro Alvarez hasn’t played above AA yet. Expect a mid-season arrival and some mediocre stats, something like 50/15/50/.250. However, Dynasty-Leaguers should snatch and stash or trade for him when he shows he’s still not quite ready for prime time. He’ll rock in 2011, if not the end of 2010.
To see all of our rankings, including sleepers and composite rankings, visit our 2010 Fantasy Baseball page.