2011 Third Base Rankings: June

There has been a lot of shared pain at third base this season. We’re to a point where manning third base is like trying to find a reliable bat for the extra middle infielder slot: there are only a handful available and those who have, hold tight. There were several players many owners were relying on to emerge as useful fantasy regulars, and while the majority of those names haven’t lived up to expectations, there have been a couple guys contributing in surprising ways to help fill injury or ineptitude gaps.

When updating rankings back in May, my general feeling was that we ought not be too quick to throw players under the proverbial bus or to crown new kings after 100 at bats. But today, the gloves come off so to speak as there are some major moves up and down the third base tiers a third of the way through the season.

Tier 1
Jose Bautista

Yup, that’s it. Just Bautista. Now, he might find some company in the top tier if Albert Pujols gets a few more games in at his old position, but it’s going to take the “old” Albert to challenge him for the throne at third. Until that happens, it’s just plain to see that Bautista is a cut above the rest. Even several cuts.

Tier 2
Alex Rodriguez
Kevin Youkilis
Evan Longoria
Adrian Beltre
Aramis Ramirez

Ramirez hangs around in here merely because I’m expecting the June/July surge to start soon and I don’t want to have to be forced to stick the green arrow next to him later. If he doesn’t find his power stroke in the next few weeks, he’ll find himself in the thick of a third tier pretty fast. Longoria still remains the young gun of the bunch, but owners are no doubt waiting for their investment to start paying off, so he’s dropped out of the first tier (give him a mental red arrow if necessary).

Tier 3
Michael Young
Martin Prado
Placido Polanco
Pablo Sandoval
Ryan Roberts
Alex Gordon
Jhonny Peralta

Here’s where things get kind of interesting. In the oh-my-God-this-is-the-third-tier kind of interesting. Young has had a pretty nice couple of months when nobody was terribly sure what his role was going to be just a couple of months ago. Prado is on pace to hit 23 home runs and score 100 runs and drive in 93, so his presence here is probably a bit of a slap in the face to Mother Prado, but I’m just not buying the power numbers — but yeah, he’s been more than as-advertised. Ryan Roberts, Alex Gordon, and Jhonny Peralta all get a boost for their unexpected, sustained, production, but these are the guys that have saved several of us as our blue chips turned into the Buffalo variety. Placido Polanco rises in the 3b rankings simply by virtue of being Placido Polanco and not flat-out stinking it up.

Tier 4
Chipper Jones
Casey McGehee
David Wright
Ryan Zimmerman
Scott Rolen
Casey Blake
Mark Reynolds
Wilson Betemit

No, in a re-draft situation, I’m not saying this is where Wright and Zimmerman belong, but their current contributions and current conditions leave them in a pretty sorry tier given their pedigree. Jones, McGehee and Rolen’s production haven’t been particularly noteworthy, and any of these three could be featured in Tier 5, but just about all of these guys save for Wilson Betemit could expect to produce at a higher level, so I guess this is the softer side of the rankings where I’m giving some of these gentlemen the benefit of the doubt as they recover from injury or try to pull themselves together.

Tier 5
Justin Turner
Ty Wigginton
Greg Dobbs
Alberto Callaspo
Michael Cuddyer
Chase Headley
David Freese
Juan Uribe
Danny Valencia
Pedro Alvarez

Some new names here as Dobbs has apparently finally inked that deal with Mephistopheles, and Turner and Callaspo are actually making positive contributions to fantasy baseball teams not necessarily against all odds, but against odds significant enough that Phil Collins at least considered it. Lastly, why I left Pedro Alvarez in a “real” tier can only be attributed to an unhealthy off-season man-crush, and I sadly expect him to fall into the abyss of the rest come July.

The Rest
Mike Aviles
Chris Johnson
Jonathan Herrera
Sean Rodriguez
Edwin Encarnacion
Kevin Kouzmanoff
Maicer Izturis
Miguel Tejada
Emilio Bonifacio
Omar Infante
Blake DeWitt
Brent Morel
Steve Pearce
Jack Hannahan
Andy LaRoche
Eric Chavez
Matt Downs
Willie Bloomquist
Brandon Inge
Jayson Nix
Ian Stewart
Chone Figgins

There are some names in “the rest” that could help some deep leaguers but on the whole, this has been an awfully disappointing group of individuals. And yeah, Chone, you earned that extra arrow.

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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.

21 Responses to “2011 Third Base Rankings: June”

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  1. Elias says:

    why is cuddyer ranked so low? he and rolen are pretty much the same (offensive) player, and cuddyer has been much better thus far. their RoS ZIPS are practically identical.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      a fair point. I just am rather disgusted with the runs and RBI for Cuddyer. I believe Rolen has bested him in these categories in about 30% fewer AB’s. But Cuddyer has far more home runs to be sure. As I said in the writeup, there’s not a whole lot that separates Tier 4 and 5.

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  2. V says:

    I drafted Longoria in the first and Youkilis in the second. Was terribly lucky I did when Longoria went down (and had a guy by the name of Lance Berkman for 1B, wow).

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  3. V says:

    (sorry, this was a 3 keeper league and I was the newbie to the league, so got 3 picks (anyone except the keepers); not saying that Youkilis was a 2nd rounder ;-))

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  4. jw says:

    If Lawrie were given a call up tomorrow, what tier do you think he could attain by the end of the season? I picked him up recently due to my concern over McGehee’s “production.” Potential multi-stat production (HR, AVG, SB, R or RBI depending where he bats in relation to Bautista), but very young for the league.

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  5. Frankie says:

    Headley in Tier 5 is an insult. He’s only batted .300 over the last month, w/ 7 2Bs and 15 BBs. Turner also has been playing better than Longoria, Beltre and others listed above Tier 5 over the past month. Come on now. And Zimm below Chipper? That’ll change very soon.

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    • V says:

      Do you honestly believe that Turner is better than Longoria and Beltre?

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      • Frankie says:

        He has been playing better than both of them yes. And now Longo is hurt again, so definitely. Numbers don’t lie once June rolls around. You can keep starting Uggla for example but I would rather have Turner at 2nd at this point. And if I had Longoria, I would also rather have Turner plugged in for the next few months.

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      • V says:

        I’ll trade ya Turner for Longoria straight up 1000 times in a row.

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  6. Ben says:

    How are Wright and Zimmerman so low? I know they’ve been injured, but they are still extremely good and will be once they come back from their injuries.

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    • Michael Barr says:

      Once they’re back, they’ll be back up. It was just time to have the guys actually on the field occupy the upper tiers.

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      • Drew says:

        I just don’t see the point of putting them that low, especially since Zimm is due back in about a week. If someone offered you him for anyone in Tier 2 (besides Longo) you’re saying yes. So why “rank” them all higher?

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  7. Chutley says:

    Ramirez with his 2 HR’s is in a tier with Longoria, ARod and Youk? Zimmerman and Wright that low because they are injured? These types of rankings should be from here on out (which is why you have Ramirez so high), and Zimmerman is back in 2 weeks…Wright is back later than that, but there shouldn’t be any doubt that these guys will produce, and will outproduce a majority of the guys ahead of them.

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  8. James says:

    I like how Wright and Zimmerman fall off the face of the earth because they are hurt yet Panda is still sitting comfortably in tier 3. I acknowledge it’s a tough gig, really?

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  9. Poeticjustice22 says:

    Prado has hit 3 balls off the wall in the last couple of games and at least 6 on the season…He has power and anything less than 20 HR this year would be surprising

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  10. BStu185 says:

    After all my eggs in the Chris Johnson basket went rotten, Ryan Roberts has been a savior off the WW for me. Solid counting stats in 4 categories.

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  11. GoJetzoff says:

    Since when is Alex Gordon a 3B? He hasn’t played one game there all year.

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  12. Chad says:

    Agree with the talk over Zimmerman’s and Wright’s stats. Ridiculous to drop them this far as from here on out they will have a ton of value. Wouldn’t trade either of those guys unless I got someone from the 2nd tier in return. Really looking forward to having Zimmerman back so I can bench Betemit, who’s been more of a “doesn’t help you all that much but hasn’t killed my OBP” type of a replacement (which isn’t all that bad to have this year with the plethora of 3rd base injuries).

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