When I was 15 years old, while camping with our local Boy Scout troop, I met the dumbest person on the planet.
It was 12-year-old who had just finished using a Coleman propane cook stove. Within seconds of turning it off, he decided to touch the burner, jumping back and screaming in pain a split second later.
A Scout leader ran over to console the crying kid, asking what happened.
The 12-year-old says, “I did this,” and put the same hand back on the hot burner.
Stupidity, some say, is defined by doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
So I wonder why I keep drafting Kansas City’s talented yet consistently underachieving Alex Gordon as a sleeper third baseman every year, it seems, since the dawn of time.
Alex Gordon has burned plenty of fantasy baseball managers, and will be bypassed by many in your respective drafts, for good reason. Ep is one who plans to avoid Gordon in 2010. However, based on talent alone, he may be falling far enough in most drafts to have value. Many projected him as a sleeper last season and he quickly disappointed with a .095 batting average through April before surgery to repair a tear in his right hip cartilage. He was back in July, but struggled and was demoted to the minors. At that point, Gordon totally fell off most people’s radar … and there’s a good chance that your leaguemates may have missed his .280 average with three homers and 11 RBI in the final month of the season. Not stats to get super-giddy about, but if Gordon follows through with excessive weight training this preseason like he promised at the end of the 2009 campaign, he may be able to tap into the vast potential that saw him drafted second overall in 2005. Not saying you should draft him as your starting third baseman, but somewhere in the last two rounds as a guy who could surprise with around 20 homers and double-digit steals if the planets align.
Jake Fox, now with the Oakland Athletics, is another player with lots of potential … enough so that ep had Fox on his radar five months ago. Fox destroyed Triple-A competition last year with the Cubs to the tune of .409 and 17 homers in just 45 games. He fared well in spot duty in the majors, but was buried beneath Aramis Ramirez on the depth chart. His trade to Oakland will provide the extra playing time he needs to excel, and as an extra bonus, Fox is eligible at OF as well as 3B in 2010 (although his value will be at third). He’s a player worth taking a risk on late in your draft.
Gordon Beckham will technically play second base this season for the White Sox, but will still be eligible at third. One of the most valuable mid-season pickups for fantasy owners in 2009, Beckham’s 14 home runs surprised even the most optimistic of projectionists. He does not have a track record of going deep and lacks a true power swing, but Beckham still easily could provide a 20/10 (HR/SB) campaign in 2010 … putting him in decent company among third basemen.
Ryan Zimmerman plays for the Nationals, but he doesn’t show it. One of just a few bright spots for Washington in 2009, Zimmerman showed plenty of power ability with 33 home runs (tied with Evan Longoria and behind just Mark Reynolds in terms of home runs by a third baseman). Some would consider Zimmerman a sell-high type player after jacking the ball more than twice what he accomplished in 2008 … however Zimmerman was scorching in the second half of 2009 (.297, 18 homers, 54 RBI) and improved his overall season batting average for the second consecutive season. These trends tell me that Zimmerman has plenty of potential left in the tank for 2010 and beyond. He may offer any speed potential, but Zimmerman is still a very solid value option for 2010.
One player you won’t see on any of my teams in 2010 is David Wright. Sure, he’s averaged a .311 batting average and 25 stolen bases over the past three seasons, but his major power outage (from 33 long balls in 2008 to 10 in 2009) is a very bad sign and the Mets continue to flounder to put talent around Wright. While I never signal out any player as a guy I’ll never own (for the right price, every player has value), but Wright will continue to be drafted as a top-three third baseman, and there is little to believe that players drafted ways, ways after him won’t produce similar numbers. ep agrees.
What is your opinion on third base in 2010? Who are your sleepers at third base? Do you see third base as surprisingly shallow as second base is surprisingly deep? We’d love to hear your comments below.