I don’t really like tiers, but it probably has something to do with the neatness of placing a player in a designated strata. I’ve never used tiers in fantasy baseball drafts because I think it tends to blind you to the nuances of each player and the specific needs your team might have. But now that the season has started, you should be all drafted up and it’s time to brand your cattle.
Third base quite obviously has a star, and if you’re counting by wins above replacement, maybe it’s got a few stars. But in fantasy baseball, this position gets pretty uninteresting pretty quickly, although I wouldn’t consider it to be lacking in depth. Just perhaps lacking in, say, pizazz. And due to my weariness of tiers, instead of a top five, I’m going to hit you with eight. Try and stop me.
For the heck of it, and since we’re just a couple days into the season, I’m going to include Steamer projections in the standard 5×5 categories. I think it tends to add to the discussion about subtleties between players (or lack thereof). Onward!
Tier Of His Own Tier
Blah, blah, MVP, blah blah, awesome. Yeah, Miguel Cabrera is super rad and if he doesn’t get hurt, he’ll be up here all year long.
Kind of Tier 1.5
There’s an argument to be made that E5 belongs in the #2 slot what with his Bautisa-like emergence as an elite power bat, but considering he doesn’t qualify at third base in all formats, I’m just going to leave it like this. We haven’t seen back-to-back healthy seasons from Longoria since 2009-10, so it’s kind of incumbent upon him to perform in order to hang around with this group — but when it comes to counting stats, he’s a cut above the next tier when he’s on the field.
In fantasy circles, I like all of these bats very much — but they all come with just a little concern. Wright has simply been inconsistent, even if it’s wrapped up in crummy luck or massive ballparks — his production has fluctuated fairly dramatically since the 2009 season. Zimmerman is a nice source of power, but can be counted on to miss about 20 games every year, which impacts his counting stat totals. Sandoval enters his walk year in great shape and a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but his injury woes have also been a real issue in the last three seasons. And on Donaldson, well frankly he could be the best of the bunch but kind of like when you’re playing pool in a bar and you sink two stripes on the break — you still need to prove it.
Matt Carpenter scored 126 runs last year. 126! The projection systems aren’t buying it though, and while Carpenter should be good for a solid batting average and a goodly number of runs, he really doesn’t provide a whole lot beyond that. In fact, if you believe the projections — he’s kind of a Martin Prado light, without the position flexibility. The player in here I’m probably most curious about is Jedd Gyorko who could see himself jump up a tier if he can pull of the kinds of figures Steamer is talking about. Seager, Lawrie, Arenado, Middlebrooks are all awfully similar and all come with their own set of warts, but they should be productive.
These five really aren’t much different than Tier 3, but I guess their warts are just a little more pronounced. Headley, as you know, has been among the most productive and the least productive third baseman in the span of two years. Who shows up this year is left to fate and your eight-ball. I fully expect Bogaerts to be up a tier in a month or two, but with any rookie, it’s just kind of nice to see the production first. Moustakas clunked in 2013 despite all the promise of looking like Chris Davis in AAA. Chris Johnson will probably never be better than 2013. Anthony Rendon is more valuable as a second baseman.
Need more home runs than the previous tier might promise you and can stomach a rotten batting average? Look no further.
I can’t put my finger on what separates Teir 4 from the previous two, but there’s just a little something less exciting about this group. It’s probably the projected runs and RBI. I’m curious to watch Castellanos though.
Digging deep, here. Although, Conor Gillaspie might have a good shot at more than 21 RBI if the White Sox keep trotting him out there in the cleanup slot. It might get Robin Ventura fired and Chris Cwik will probably lose a bet, but hey, he might sniff 50 RBI despite it all.
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