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Early Ruminations on Third Base

I’ll be the third base guy throughout the season, and today I want to highlight a few situations worth monitoring at the hot corner.

Pablo Sandoval

It’s probably a good thing that Sandoval is off to a solid start, because there were some people mumbling “platoon” in the Bay Area, evidenced by his hitting 8th in the order versus one lefty and sitting against another.  Against righties this year, he has hit 4th, 5th, and 6th, so Bruce Bochy is still trying to iron out exactly what he wants to do with him. That Bochy would put him down in front of the pitchers spot in the order when lefties are on the mound is a little bit odd as his career splits aren’t eye-popping in terms of production:

Yes, he hits better versus righties, but his numbers versus lefties doesn’t really profile as a #8 hitter. As long as he continues to hit, he should dodge the pine, but where he hits in the order is something certainly to monitor as the season wears on. Of course, as of Friday afternoon, Sandoval has 9 hits and 8 of them are singles, so he’s not blistering the ball just yet but for the newly svelte Panda, perhaps there’s just less weight to get behind that swing.

Danny Valencia

There were some vultures overhead as Valencia was looking pretty lost at the plate early on. With Ron Gardenhire trying to find space for Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young, and Jason Kubel, some Minnesota faithful were thinking Cuddyer at third base wasn’t a terrible idea. But with Tsuyoshi Nikshioka breaking his leg, it appears Valencia’s leash just got a lot longer, so if you’re an owner, you can try and ride out his current struggles. Valencia is too talented a hitter to go like this for long.

Felipe Lopez

Yes, Felipe Lopez. With Manny Ramirez‘s unceremonious exit, Evan Longoria‘s fill-in might be auditioning for an expanded role with the club. It wasn’t too long ago that Lopez was a pretty useful player in fantasy baseball and if given regular playing time, he could be good for low teens HR and SB to go with a middling batting average. His versatility might be the best part about him as he may qualify at 2b, SS, and 3b in your league.