Third base actually appears relatively decent this year with a group of youngsters on the rise, or those we’re still waiting for to break out (Moose Tacos, I’m talking to you), as well as the standard top tier vets.
The third base edition of Pod’s Picks may help you find value or learn who to avoid at their current going rates. The bullish section will only include players from my top 20, while the bearish group will only include those whose RotoGraphs consensus is in the top 20.
My Rank: 8 | Consensus: 15
I feel like this is an annual tradition that I value Aramis higher than everyone else. He’ll be 36 this year (holy crap, that’s way older than I realized!) and age-related decline is likely one of the explanations for why the rest of the rankers are less optimistic than I am. Having been rather healthy previously, he battled knee issues last year and was limited to a little over half a season’s worth of plate appearances. I am not projecting a full rebound, but given less playing time and a deteriorating performance level, his projected line is worth a top 10 value at the position.
My Rank: 9 | Consensus: 14
Oddly, two of the other three rankers valued Gyorko one slot higher than me at second, but at third, I was the most bullish ranker. Weird. Some of his increased value will come from more plate appearances, since he recorded just 525 last year. A jump to the 600 plateau would boost all his counting stats. And given his solid line drive rate and better than average IFFB%, he should also see an uptick in BABIP and ultimately batting average. Furthermore, his minor league record indicates that he should make better contact as well.
My Rank: 16 | Consensus: 20
Frazier took a step back last year, but his underlying skills were relatively stable. He increased his walk rate and reduced his strikeout rate, but fewer fly balls combined with a downturn in HR/FB rate resulted in the same home run total in 109 more at-bats. His batting average also plunged as his BABIP dipped below .300. As you might expect, I’m figuring a rebound in all areas as he sets a new career high in home runs after breaching the 20 level.
My Rank: 18 | Consensus: 7
Hmmmmm. Sandoval’s power has jumped all over the place, making it tough to determine his true talent level. Excluding his inflated 2009 mark, he has been rather consistent with his BABIP, while his walk and strikeout rates have been remarkably stable. So really, it comes down to the power and the health. My ranking already reflects a slight rebound in power up to 17 home runs, so I honestly don’t know what the others are projecting to push him so high in the rankings. His low runs scored totals kill his value, as he hasn’t exceeded 60 since 2010, and even that year was just 61.
My Rank: 15 | Consensus: 8
Third time’s a charm? Oh how the tide has turned. Last year I drafted Lawrie in LABR and thought he was an undervalued post-hype type. But instead of taking a step forward, he is doing his best to suggest that his 2011 power, including the surge he experienced in the minors, was a total fluke. I still think he has 15/15 potential, and in fact I’m very nearly projecting that. But, he’ll likely be stuck near the bottom third of the Blue Jays order, which will cut into all his counting stats. I think he is certainly capable of earning top 10 value at the position, but it’s an aggressive rank that to me represents his upside, not his most likely scenario.
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