Keeper Conundrums: Third Base

All this week, I’ll be looking at potential keepers at each position that you may be on the fence about. Now, a look at some third basemen.

Adrian Beltre
When it comes to Beltre, it may all depend on where he signs this offseason. Will he stay in a venue that fits his strengths? My guess is that after playing in Safeco, he won’t play in a pitcher’s park if he can help it. Also, can he perform without his next contract on the line?
Crude 2011 Projection: .280/.330, 25 HR
Verdict: Keep. While it’s not star level production, I’ll take that from my starting third baseman.

Mark Reynolds
Believe it or not, you can swallow a .200 average if you’re getting 35 homers. But, is that worth keeping?
Crude 2011 Projection: .230/.340, 30 HR
Verdict: Keep. It’s hard to deal with him, but the power is hard to come by.

Pedro Alvarez
His rookie year has been right in line with my expectations, but a hot September has me dreaming of so much more. He’s still young, and very raw, but the potential is enormous. Can he learn to control the stick with more precision during the offseason? My gut says yes.
Crude 2011 Projection: .265/.345, 24 HR
Verdict: Keep. An above-average 2011 goes down smooth with a great 2012.

Ian Stewart
2009 showed us Stewart’s power potential, while 2010 showed us his improved ability to hit for a decent batting average. If he can put it all together and continue to get a majority of the playing time against righties, he’ll have value.
Crude 2011 Projection: .260/.340, 20 HR, 5 SB
Verdict: Keep. See a pattern yet?

Chase Headley
Headley’s move back to third base proved to be a prudent move by the Padres, as he’s been close to a 5 win player this year. His stolen base numbers have been a big surprise, but his ability on the basepaths will be a key part of his value since he doesn’t hit for much power. He should be entering his peak shortly, so there is no better time than the present for Headley to improve.
Crude 2011 Projection: .275/.340, 15 HR, 13 SB
Verdict: Keep. Those numbers are pretty good for a guy who’ll slip in a lot of drafts.

Aramis Ramirez
Even after a horrendous start, Aramis somehow managed to end the season with a decent fantasy line. He still has a lot of problems to work out during this offseason, but he could be a nice option next year.
Crude 2011 Projection: .270/.330, 25 HR
Verdict: Cut. He won’t be worth what you have to pay to keep him, but don’t be afraid to snatch him back up in the draft.

If you have a third basemen you’re on the fence about, leave it in the comments. If I see a player showing up in the comments multiple times, I may do a writeup on them for next week.

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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.

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Jose Bautista?