- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

Third Base Trends: Moustakas, Ramirez, Seager

With the second half looming, many of you are going to be looking for players to help you in the stretch run for a title (let’s hope, dedicated readers, that you’re among those in the top half of the standings). If you’re hurting at third base, there are a few opportunities that you might want to inquire about given recent trends.

Mike Moustakas

On the season, Moustakas has hit a very respectable .268/.327/.490 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI and is probably a fringey-tier-two but easily top tier three kind of third base talent. But it’s possible Moustakas owners are fearing an extended slump after he put up a .212/.232/.481 line in his last 56 plate appearances. During that time, he’s walked less than 4% and fell into a funk that started to resemble some of the struggles that he had in 2011. In fact, if you toss out July 2 where he hit his grand slam, there really hasn’t been much in the way of production at all from him.

Should you go knocking on his owner’s door, point out the recent slump, the miserable platoon splits versus lefties (.221/.264/.337) and see if you can get them to overlook how brutal his batted ball luck has been recently (.200 BABIP last 56 PA). He’s not going to be much help in OBP leagues, but in standard roto, you’re probably going to be pretty happy with him.

Hanley Ramirez

Remember that down year that Hanley Ramirez had in 2011?

.243/.333/.379
.248/.323/.424

That’s 2011 above with 2012 below. I was pretty surprised to see that since I had it in my head that Ramirez was having a fine little season. It turns out, he was having a fine little season – in his first 54 games, Ramirez was hitting .276/.340/.505 with 11 HR, 37 RBI, and ten stolen bases. I guess we’ll have to see if it’s featured in “The Franchise” over at Showtime, but over his last 30 games, Ramirez has hit .193/.290/.266 with one HR and two SB, recently capping off his first half by introducing his fist to the dugout cooler. The cooler won.

Ramirez might be happy to know that over those miserable 30 games, his BABIP was just .220 and you’d have to expect him to return to somewhere around league average, even if he doesn’t sniff his career rate of .333. His batted ball rates are very much in line with his career, as is his plate discipline with one exception. He’s swinging at a lot more balls outside the strike zone, although he’s making contact with them at a career high rate of over 74%.

At the absolute least, I can’t see Ramirez being quite this bad for the remainder of the season and there wasn’t a whole lot to point to in the way of luck to suggest that his great start wasn’t sustainable. If you can find an owner with an itchy finger, grabbing him with the hope that the first 50 game version shows up isn’t a bad idea at all.

Kyle Seager

In perhaps deeper leagues and/or keeper leagues, you might want to consider Kyle Seager. In standard 10 team leagues, it’s possible he’s already found himself on many waiver wires as the solid start has run smack dab into a ripe pumkin. Over his first 48 games Seager hit .283/.323/.483 with six home runs, 31 RBI, and five stolen bases, and once he established with the Seattle Mariners that he was indeed a better option than Chone Figgins, owners starting snapping him off the wire.

But over his last 32 games, Seager has seemed lost, producing a .183/.283/.325 line, still with decent pop at four home runs. It might have been asking a little too much for him to maintain that hot start, but with just a .207 BABIP over these last 32 games, he’s likely going to have better days in front of him. He’s never really had the profile of a big power guy, but he could achieve something that resembles .270/.330/.400 from here on out, adding a half dozen home runs and steals along the way. He’s not a guy that will save your season, but a decent thumb in the hole of the dam should you have one — not to mention a nice speculative play for the future in keeper leagues.