Third Base Rankings: May

Third base continues to be a source of frustration for many owners featuring injury (Ryan Zimmerman), ineffectiveness (Pablo Sandoval, Mike Moustakas) and sometimes injury and ineffectiveness (Chase Headley, David Freese), among others. Third base has also featured a bit of a coming out party from a few players which has been a magical salve for those of us hurting at the hot corner. But then again, it is just May, so I’m not particularly motivated to move the needle too quickly on shaking up the regular royalty when it comes to the tiers.

I’m going to do a little something different, which I think will provide some adequate context to the discussion and perhaps take a little of the April emotional manager out of the equation — I’m going to post Steamer rest-of-the-season projections with my tiers in lieu of posting what they’ve done so far. Because what they’ve done so far is super nice and all, but what really matters is what they’re going to do. Right?

So let’s get this out of the way:

Tier one:

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Miguel Cabrera 29 84 92 2 0.322 0.407 0.573

Yeah, Miguel Cabrera has had a pretty lukewarm start, and by his standards, it’s one of the worst starts in his career. It’s led me to talk like a gold rush hillbilly in fact. But I’m not ready to write his obituary nor give him any company in a tier of his own. If we end May and Miguel Cabrera still resembles Trevor Plouffe, well, then I’ll have some hat eating to do.

Here’s where we have a little movement from April.

Tier two

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Evan Longoria 23 67 74 1 0.264 0.347 0.483
Edwin Encarnacion 25 71 76 5 0.263 0.355 0.488
Josh Donaldson 18 61 63 4 0.266 0.341 0.451
Adrian Beltre 21 64 76 1 0.293 0.344 0.489

I’m willing to bump Donaldson up here finally, and maybe I should have had the fortitude to do so back in March, but Donaldson has pretty much been as advertised. He might not ever hit .300 again, but he’s pumping out the home runs and concomitant counting stats once again, and he’s pretty much been the most valuable third baseman since the start of the season. Beltre’s had kind of a slow start and hasn’t hit for much power at all and I do worry about his health while Encarnacion just feels like the kind of player who is about to break out.

Tier three

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
David Wright 16 62 63 11 0.282 0.362 0.455
Nolan Arenado 13 53 60 3 0.284 0.324 0.448
Aramis Ramirez 16 49 56 2 0.268 0.333 0.455
Pablo Sandoval 15 57 62 1 0.274 0.338 0.447
Todd Frazier 15 46 51 6 0.244 0.314 0.425
Ryan Zimmerman 11 37 37 2 0.278 0.349 0.468

I kind of hate this tier, but it just feels necessary. On the one hand, we’ve got to give some credit to the nutty run that Arenado has had, and with these projections, he’s top ten material at third base, if not a little on the underwhelming side. And we like to be whelmed. But David Wright has been all sorts of absent, trumped perhaps only by Pablo Sandoval who looks lost and then Ryan Zimmerman who actually has been literally absent. And then there’s Todd Frazier, who has been my April BFF when trying to shove gum in the dam holes. Not only has Frazier hit .265/.349/.478, but he’s checked the box in all four other roto categories with five home runs, 18 runs, 19 RBI, and even three steals. What a guy! Steamer isn’t so excited about his ROS, but color me a little bullish on Frazier from here on out. Aramis Ramirez will either be up a tier or down a tier by June, we can bank on that.

Tier Four

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Pedro Alvarez 22 53 63 3 0.243 0.319 0.463
Kyle Seager 15 61 61 7 0.266 0.335 0.425
Anthony Rendon 12 54 53 3 0.272 0.339 0.431
Brett Lawrie 16 61 60 9 0.268 0.326 0.441
Manny Machado 12 62 54 7 0.269 0.315 0.422
Matt Carpenter 7 55 38 3 0.28 0.366 0.411
Martin Prado 10 58 52 5 0.28 0.334 0.418
Will Middlebrooks 16 44 50 3 0.256 0.304 0.45

Hmm, well, isn’t this a mess. Carpenter hasn’t necessarily turned into a pumpkin and ought to score another pile of runs, but it’s looking increasingly likely that he’s a one trick pony. Pedro Alvarez is doing exactly what you would expect Pedro Alvarez to do. Kyle Seager is back from the dead, and if you are okay with Kyle Seager’s ROS projections, then you kind of have to be okay with Rendon, Lawrie, Machado, and Middlebrooks too. Martin Prado is striking out at a ridiculous pace for his standards with 24 strikeouts already where he fanned just 53 times all season last year. This wouldn’t be much of a problem if he were doing anything else at all, which he isn’t.

Tier Five

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Trevor Plouffe 13 47 49 2 0.241 0.307 0.403
Matt Dominguez 14 47 52 1 0.244 0.298 0.403
Chase Headley 12 50 49 7 0.252 0.339 0.401
David Freese 10 44 44 2 0.264 0.335 0.4
Nick Castellanos 10 48 48 3 0.267 0.312 0.402
Juan Uribe 12 45 50 3 0.246 0.301 0.39
Chris Johnson 9 42 47 1 0.272 0.316 0.408

Honestly, any of these guys could be up a tier. I really like what I’ve seen from Plouffe thus far, and I’ve probably written too much about him already on this site. He’s been highly productive on the run scoring and RBI front, and holding his own in batting average rather surprisingly. He’s more known for his power, which should show up any day now. What’s not known if the batting average does what they suggest above, which then becomes problematic. And problematic is probably a good way to describe this whole group because they all have their warts, although I know there are many of you who are big Dominguez, Castellanos, and CJ fans, and if so, well, bully for you. And Juan Uribe. 135 wRC+. Seriously.

The rest

Name HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Mark Reynolds 16 36 41 2 0.221 0.321 0.445
Mike Moustakas 12 43 47 3 0.249 0.305 0.416
Yangervis Solarte 7 48 45 3 0.261 0.311 0.367
Lonnie Chisenhall 9 32 34 2 0.257 0.309 0.423
Casey McGehee 9 44 47 2 0.249 0.312 0.378
Juan Francisco 13 36 40 2 0.238 0.298 0.434
Marcus Semien 9 39 37 8 0.232 0.305 0.374
Conor Gillaspie 8 37 37 2 0.251 0.315 0.384
Luis Valbuena 9 38 35 3 0.234 0.328 0.374
Alberto Callaspo 7 41 39 2 0.256 0.333 0.368
Cody Asche 7 26 29 3 0.255 0.307 0.403
Jordan Pacheco 2 16 16 1 0.274 0.318 0.379
Mike Olt 9 27 28 2 0.215 0.297 0.379
Jonathan Schoop 9 38 38 4 0.24 0.287 0.364
Andrew Romine 2 31 27 10 0.252 0.312 0.327

Viva baseball.

 

 



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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.


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jbuffn
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jbuffn

For those of us playing in leagues where Carlos Santana has 3B eligibility, which is at least ESPN, where would he fall tier-wise?

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