Looking at the recent ridiculously early mock draft from a stony selection of the Rotographs raconteurs, I was A) quite pleased that I didn’t participate and subject myself to the scrutiny of the learned readers here and B) struck by the fact that third base continues to give me the heebee jeebees.
Third base has generally been my beat over the last twelve months for Rotographs and the implications of the 2012 season haven’t helped me rest well when thinking about the hot corner. While this year might welcome Chase Headley to the fantasy super-duper we also saw the departure of Jose Bautista due to eligibility, Kevin Youkilis due to Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez to the girl in the fourth row, and Michael Young to relevance.
And this gives me pause.
My editorializing aside, what struck me about this mock was the voracity with which decent third base contributors were snatched up. Reading over the names quite literally left my teeth grinding.
For a recap, the mock saw the following third basemen selected in the corresponding draft slots:
There wasn’t another third baseman selected for another 40 picks. Feast or famine. Or was it?
Longoria at 16 actually sees his stock drop a tiny bit from last season while Cabrera pretty much moves not an inch (there’s a joke about his defense in there). Wright and Beltre both jump up almost a full round and Ramirez and Zimmerman slipped a few, but not appreciably.
Then we have the movers. Headley moved up about 150 picks over 2012 while Sandoval and Lawrie moved down about 10-15 picks. Whether this presents itself as an opportunity on the latter or an overbid on the former obviously rests in your individual projections. But if you’re buying Headley’s 2012, then 48 represents a bargain. But I’m guessing few of you expect a repeat, so he’s still a little risky.
But, this mock lends itself well to the thing I like to do at just about any position, should it apply. I don’t know that it has a particular name or principle, but it’s essentially a cut-off point. A point in which you say, “self, you’re apparently not getting Miguel Cabrera and you just lost out on David Wright, and knowing yourself you’re not going to pull any of these other third basemen in the next four rounds because you just don’t like them enough. So punt until the 9th and don’t panic.” I’m not saying I’d actually do that but that’s what the voice in my head might reason with me to do.
I say the 9th rather generally, but the list above doesn’t include Aramis Ramirez, Mike Moustakas, Pedro Alvarez, David Freese, Will Middlebrooks, or Mark Trumbo (among others you might be interested in). All of them of course come with a degree of risk, and in the case of Trumbo, he might not even qualify at third base in your league (although he should in Yahoo and Ottoneu). But (and I hear the groans already on the comparison) take for instance the venerable Bill James projection for Ryan Zimmerman and Aramis Ramirez, for example:
I have no earthly idea where Ramirez might get drafted, but my guess is it’ll be somewhere in the 8th or 9th rounds, and say what you want about Bill James, but I tend to think those are pretty fair projections. My gut tells me Ramirez might slide a tad in the power department, but even so, those are awfully similar players separated by at least 3-4 rounds.
Since I’ve opened up that door, let’s look at BJ’s projections on Trumbo, Moustakas, Middlebrooks, Freese, and Alvarez while we’re at it:
If you’re taking these to the bank, then you best be targeting Will Middlebrooks and Pedro Alvarez who might not go until late teen rounds and could provide as good or better production than some of the names at the top of this post. You know what risks they come with, and I’ve seen before in the threads the mention of the “floor” of players and I think that principle applies here to be sure.
I’m just not so sold that I need a quick trigger at third base if you take a birds eye view of things. Sure, have your pets at the top that you desperately want if the world farted rainbows but get yourself out of that “I need a third baseman” mindset when you’re looking at the gaping hole on your spreadsheet reading “3B: _____”.
Find projections you trust and have a plan at each position. It’ll help prevent you taking someone in the 6th that you could have had in the 16th.