The trading deadline is behind us and we’re knocking on the door of the stretch run. Somehow, it’s already August. And it was just a few short months ago that Evan Longoria was the consensus #1 third baseman and just a couple months ago that Aramis Ramirez appeared to have lost his eyesight. It’s been said more than once on this platform that the one constant is change, so with that in mind, I give you the updated third base rankings for August.
There has been one month this season where Jose Bautista appeared at all human:
To fall below the king of third basemen, he either needs Albert Pujols to gain eligibility (which would only give Bautista company in the first tier) or he needs to be more seriously hurt than he has been recently.
Beltre was a little dinged up last month, but he still managed to put up .358/.392/.776 so he jumps up to the guy shaking a threatening fist at Bautista. Sandoval and Ramirez both had fantastic production in July and Youkilis continued to do what you would expect from him. You’re likely either in the camp that Alex Rodriguez’s overall numbers still support his being in the top of the second tier or that he’s been injured for so long that he should be down in the third or fourth. So to the bottom of the second tier he goes in an effort to compromise. Longoria hasn’t been hitting for average, but it has been largely affected by rotten luck, and he’s still hitting for decent power and driving in runs. David Wright had all of 46 at bats in July, but he certainly made the most of them, going .455/.457/.659, so he returns to his rightful place in the second tier, and will quickly ascend if he produces like his owners expect.
Michael Young went on an absolute tear in July, hitting .390/.434/.571, driving in twenty runs and scoring twenty, really making a case that he belongs up in the second tier. Reynolds continued to hit home runs with eight in July, but he’s right back to flirting with a sub-.200 batting average and his on base percentage tanked along with his walk rates.
Believe it or not, Bonifacio had the highest wOBA of any (qualified) third baseman in July and scored all of 27 runs, eight more than any other third baseman and tied with Dustin Pedroia for the most runs in July for any position player. He also stole 16 bases in July, which is not only more stolen bases than Jacoby Ellsbury and Michael Bourn combined, but more than any other player in the month. Bonifacio had just a fantastic run during his 26 game hitting streak, and no doubt provided a huge boost for owners during July. Murphy also jumps a tier with a great July, seeing him go .360/.398/.514 adding 15 RBI and 13 runs.
Two big movers in this tier are Encarnacion and Valencia. Encarnacion really had himself a July. “E5” went .313/.377/.531 with four HR’s, 19 runs and 14 RBI. He was aided in part by an inflated BABIP, but his HR/FB rate was in line with career averages. He produced at a rate that would have him up in the 3rd tier, but I’d like to see this carry over into September before I can really recommend him. Regardless, he jumps up about 20 spots from last month.
Valencia followed up a pretty miserable June with a torrid July, hitting four home runs, driving in 20 and scoring 15 runs while posting a triple slash of .303/.336/.468. David Freese also returns to the fourth tier after having a strong month after returning from the disabled list, hitting five home runs and driving in 14 while hitting .275.
Practically speaking, Jones should probably be down among the 5th tier given all of his usual nicks and bruises. He’s almost impossible to own in a fantasy format because of all the question marks about his availability, but when he’s in the lineup, he’s generally productive, so there he sits in the 4th.
Some new names in this tier, but overall, McGehee, Alvarez, Chisenhall, and Moustakas continue to struggle while Turner and Dobbs continue to plug away, producing pretty nicely. I still believe in Alvarez, but jeez… he’s making it hard. Rolen has been downright awful, even worse since I wondered if the end was near for him.
Callaspo at least is providing a plus batting average even if he doesn’t contribute in the power department whatsoever. His July of .329/.404/.405 certainly helped those of you in OBP leagues and that he managed to score 10 runs and grab 2 bags, he probably even helped in standard league formats.
Yes, Willie Bloomquist leads off the rest largely because he gets regular playing time and he hasn’t completely sucked, which can’t be said for the remainder of this crew.