Punting Third Base?

In a response to my post on Jeff Keppinger on Wednesday, reader “binqasim” said, “I am considering playing without a 3B given my options.” While extreme, and perhaps not advisable, this just made me rather sad. This is, after all, supposed to be fun. This is fantasy baseball. When the third basemen of your universe have become so completely useless that you would rather just punt the position than see them drag your batting average down without contributing anything in the remaining counting stats, the fantasy gods weep for you. I weep for you. And so, if you’ve found yourself in a similar position of desperation, maybe one of the following players can pitch in.

If Mike Aviles can nail down one more start at third base, he should have eligibility in many leagues. He’s played in five games at third, and started four. Even if you have more stringent eligibility rules, considering the struggles of Lonnie Chisenhall, Aviles figures to get more than just occasional time at the hot corner — and it’s not like Cleveland has any major-league-ready third base talent kicking around in the minors. If you’re in a league so deep that Aviles is rostered as a shortstop, consider floating a trade offer out there. His playing time so far this season has been a little bit spotty, but a guy like Aviles always seems to find himself falling into 450 plate appearances — and if he does that again this year, he should be good for double digit home runs and steals, and a batting average north of a black hole.

A guy that’s owned in pretty much zero leagues right now is Ian Stewart, who recently came off the disabled list and is busy striking out constantly at AAA. It sounds like the Cubs aren’t particularly antsy about calling him up, but the Cubs also have Luis Valbuena as their most attractive option at third. Dale Sveum might like the fact that he’s been taking a lot of walks through 17 games, but…come on, this is Luis Valbuena with a career .225/.295/.348 line and a career 73 wRC+. If Stewart can start to hit at all at AAA, it seems to me he’ll be called up in short order. Even if he platoons, he could be a productive player should you be in daily transaction leagues and notably desperate.

The other angle you could take is to be speculative. If you’re not in a dynasty league, chances are Nolan Arenado is sitting on the waiver wire. Colorado is winning games, but it certainly isn’t because of the production they’re getting out of their third basemen. Arenado is currently hitting .414/.431/759 for AAA Colorado Springs with three home runs and 21 RBI in just 16 games. Just 23, Arenado really has little left to prove and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Colorado make the call fairly soon.

And then there’s trading. Hell, target a guy like Placido Polanco who will at least help you in Batting Average, and if Giancarlo Stanton starts seeing straight again, he should even score some runs. Maybe Will Middlebrooks, whose owners must be gnashing their teeth about a .167 batting average and .193 OBP. Same goes for Mike Moustakas, who just can’t be this bad, can he? Or maybe even “buy high” on guys like Josh Donaldson, Michael Young, or Juan Francisco whose owners must be waiting for the bubble to burst.

But do something. I implore you to no go without a third baseman, people. It’s bleak, but many a fantasy baseball league has been won on the backs of solid waiver wire work, so get creative, won’t you? This is supposed to be fun. YOU’RE HAVING FUN, DAMNIT.



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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.


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James
Guest
James

so I have Aramis Ramirez at 3b who I know will be back any day so I’m playing Anthony Rendon right now and thinking perhaps about what he’ll do in 2014. Donaldsob is available. So are Pedro Alvarez and Trevor Plouffe. Any suggestions while Aram is out?

3FingersBrown
Guest
3FingersBrown

Donaldson has been my Aramis replacement. I tried to get Plouffe in a trade and was rejected. After two solid weeks in my lineup, I’m happy to have Donaldson instead. The A’s are scoring runs and Donaldson has been doing a nice job filling up the stat sheet.

James N.
Guest
James N.

I’m buying on Donaldson as an age-27 breakout. He has the starting job locked down in Oakland, and it looks like he’s improving his approach at the plate. We’re getting close to the point where plate discipline statistics stabilize. Donaldson is being more selective and making contact more frequently without any change to his batted ball profile.

I’d put him down for .270-15-60-60-5 over the rest of the season with a decent chance to exceed those numbers.

Tak
Member
Tak

Donaldson has been a beast so far. He’s racked up 131 points so far for me in my standard Ottoneu points league. He even has C eligibility to boot!

Mike
Guest
Mike

Pedro Alvarez is 10/28 with 4 homeruns over the last 10 days. I’d go with him.

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