RotoGraphs Mock Draft – Third Basemen

You’ve probably noticed by now that some of the gentlemen of Rotographs got together in their virtual forum to pull off a 12-team keeper draft over the weekend. Due to other obligations, the lists of participating managers didn’t include yours truly, so hopefully that will give me a bit more objectivity as I make a few observations.

I’ve been the resident third base scribe for the past year, so I’ll dedicate this short post to some of the more interesting picks involving the hot corner.

It didn’t take long for the debate to get brewing as Evan Longoria was selected as the overall #4 pick followed by Jose Bautista, overall #6. Longoria, coming off an injury-shortened season had an usually low batting average at .244, no doubt dragged down by miserable fortune (.239 BABIP). He has been a pretty remarkably consistent player, demonstrating the ability to hit for good average with a take-it-to-the-bank 30 HR’s and 100 RBI profile, assuming you toss out his career low 11% HR/FB from 2010. Bill James currently projects a .275/.370/.535, 35 HR, 116 RBI, 101 run season for Longoria, which probably earns him a #4 overall slot.

But then there’s Bautista (I’m assuming Chris Cwik drafted him to be his third baseman). Over the last two seasons, Bautista has hit 97 home runs. The next closest is Albert Pujols at 79. He’s coming off an absolute monster .302/.447/.608 season which saw him hit 43 HR’s, drive in and score over 100 runs, and even steal 9 bags. Is he more valuable than Evan Longoria?

Perhaps since it’s a keeper league, it’s entirely about age as Bautista is 31 and Longoria is 26 and buying five years of cushion from the eventual slow decline is probably worth any variation in their expected 2012 performance — especially considering their position. Early results from Mock Draft Central suggest that Bautista is being selected right around #4 overall and Longoria is going 10th, but it will be interesting to see how their average draft positions play over the course of the winter.

Eno Sarris with pick #1 of round four, grabbed Brett Lawrie. His early ADP is at about 95, but I’d be really surprised if that didn’t start inching up into the 70’s in the coming weeks. Lawrie will be just 22 for the 2012 season and I’m not at all surprised to see him go here for a couple reasons. One is his unique skill set – the combination of power and speed that will likely see him hitting 20+ home runs and flirting with 30 steals for seasons to come (read Mike Podhorzer arguing with himself over Lawrie). Two, Eno was drafting out of the 12 hole, and therefore would have to wait another 22 selections before he was able to pick again. If he wanted Lawrie, he had to take him here.

A couple more interesting picks include Chase Headley in round 11, pick 8 — taken two picks ahead of Aramis Ramirez. Early ADP of 180 suggests you could probably wait a while longer on Headley while the Ramirez pick was probably the steal of the draft as far as third basemen go. Unless Headley is dealt somewhere that gets him out of Petco, he’ll deliver a decent batting average and if given 600+ plate appearances, might scrape together 12 home runs and 15 steals. But perhaps it was a dice-roll, assuming that he will ultimately leave Petco, and if he did, his value would shoot up significantly. Ramirez, while significantly older, is likely to deliver a .280 batting average or better, with his usual 25 home runs and 90+ RBI, making this a pretty nice pick in the short-term.

Third base has its superstars, but it gets ugly quickly. We’ll continue to monitor the draft position trends with an eye on sniffing out the bargains in the coming weeks.

 




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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.


14 Responses to “RotoGraphs Mock Draft – Third Basemen”

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  1. Oliver says:

    Panda in the 7th round looks like a steal to me. Thoughts on Sandoval? His team and stadium don’t help any, that’s for sure.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      Agreed. I was actually going to save Sandoval, Freese, and Encarnacion for another post – each for different reasons, of course. His ADP over at MDC is 73, so that’s right in line with where he went, but in a keeper, he should be a little more valuable.

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  2. OaktownSteve says:

    Kind of an off the topic comment here, but am I right in seeing Javier Vazquez went undrafted in this league?

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    • Luke says:

      They only went 324 picks deep, but I would have picked him up in the 200’s.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      no contract, hinting at retirement?

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      • OaktownSteve says:

        After the second half he had last year, hard to see him and the Marlins not working something out. Worth a late rounder along with the other rookies and guys coming of injury speculative plays. Of course really a moot point. Situation will clarify itself by openning day.

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  3. JJ says:

    Quick question regarding 3B keepers. We have league where we keep our 3 best players (no “keep @ what you paid” adjustments and no limit on how long you can hold a guy). I would really like to shore up 3B and am torn with choosing between David Wright and Brett Lawrie. Their skills sets (20+ HR, 20ish SBs) and risk (Lawrie may experience growing pains while Wright may not return to form) seem similar. Though Wright will be ranked universally higher, I see Lawrie’s upside as too good to pass up. Thoughts?

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    • Michael Barr says:

      I’d have to say it depends on how close your team is to winning a championship and it depends on the cost of the two players. I’d bet on Wright outperforming Lawrie this season, but in exactly one week, Wright turns 30 whereas Lawrie is just 21 (22 next month), so I’d have to agree that his potential and his age are hard to pass up in a keeper. But Wright’s price could be pretty low this season, so I guess you just have to weight opportunity and cost. I’d probably go Lawrie though if things play out normally (relative to cost/round).

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  4. cygar13 says:

    I think we should expect a little more out of Aramis. I know he is getting older but he is one of the few consistent power threats at 3B year in year out and he doesn’t kill you in average like a Mark Reynolds. Please also check out the first 2 months (APR & MAY) the last 3 years. He has hit 4, 4, and 2 homers each year in the first 2 months. I like to credit that to Wrigley’s chilly temperatures each year. Not that he will be playing his home games under a roof with a much shorter left field line (he’s an extreme pull hitter) then I don’t see why a 30 HR season is out of the question. I know he is older and seems like he has been around forever but he will be 33 until June and is much more reliable than a Brett Lawrie and even Adrian Beltre who is due for his random injury.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      check his home/road splits, look at the park effects, and note the fact that he’s not sniffed 30 HR’s in five seasons. I like Aramis a lot, in fact I spent a great deal of time trying to advocate for buying him when he was down in June, but I don’t see anything that suggests that he will suddenly, at age 33, start hitting more home runs. He will be productive next year, but I would expect a workman-like-Aramis season, complete with bumps, bruises, and streaky hitting.

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    • bballer319 says:

      Over the last 5 years for Aramis Ramirez: Home wOBA .419 vs Away wOBA .323….Home wRC+ 155 vs Away wRC+ 91

      Granted MIL is favorable for batters, but that’s still highly concerning.

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  5. dannyrangers32 says:

    wheres adrian?

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  6. bebaron21 says:

    Maybe I missed this but what were the keeper rules?

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