It’s hard to believe we’re coming up on the first month of the season, and even a little harder to believe some of the surprises in the performances of the boys at the hot corner. In general, this whole group has been pretty disappointing, but much of that has to do with injury and rotten luck. Some have been great, some have been train-wreck-awful, and we have several new names to add via eligibility updates. And where a rising tide may float all boats, a collapsing building can produce new views – and thus, the tiers have been shaken up quite a bit from the original ranking.
There are so many changes to the original rankings, including the size and number of tiers, that I’m not going to note an up or down for every player that has moved. Rather, I’ll indicate any notable ascent or descent and give a little rationale thereafter.
There’s really no change in the first tier in terms of order, but Rodriguez moves up to the top tier as he’s really just crushing the ball right now, and although he was a tad nicked up this past week, owners have to feel pretty good about getting another great year from him. If this list were based on performance, of course, ARod would be #1, but I’m doing my best to try and stay objective and not too reactionary. Yet. Next month might be something different (we’re looking at you, David).
Kevin Youkilis is going to produce, and he’s going to do it soon (provided he didn’t break his foot). If the draft happens again today, I’m still taking Youkilis to produce like a top-five third baseman. If Bautista or Beltre were off to insane starts, maybe we bump him down a notch, but I don’t think there’s enough reason to shuffle this group much. The big move is the meerkat, Pablo Sandoval. Despite some initial misgivings about batting versus lefties, it seems Bruce Bochy has realized there’s not much of a difference in his splits to warrant a platoon and he’s been in the lineup routinely, and in there producing at a pretty fantastic clip. He’s looking a whole lot like the 2009 Sandoval right now, although his HR/FB rate will come down soon, only meaning that he’s not going to hit 48 home runs. Sorry.
The usage of Michael Young was somewhat of a concern headed into the season, but the first few weeks have demonstrated that he’s pretty much a fixture in the Texas lineup (at some position). Mark Reynolds could right the ship with a big weekend, but his production thus far has been so atrocious that he gets dropped down a tick. I had expected Alvarez to overtake McGehee in the rankings by now, but no such luck, so they remain static and we’ll see what another month does for their stock.
At this point in our rankings, we were already on to “the rest” as the dearth of talent at 3b was lamented by me, and several other contributors. But we’ve had some nice surprises, so welcome back Alex Gordon to fantasy baseball relevancy. Will he keep it up, who knows, but his performance and pedigree warrant the green arrow. Jones isn’t wearing a cast anywhere yet, Freese is hitting a third of his batted balls as frozen ropes, and Polanco clearly wants us to stop calling him little. And even though he wasn’t eligible at third at the time of the original rankings and therefore can’t really be moving down the rankings because he was un-ranked, Figgins gets the ugly arrow simply because he’s earned it.
Not much to say about Tier 5 other than they are “The Rest +”. Uribe and Blake have shown recent signs of life and Ty Wigginton is suddenly very rosterable, even in 10 team leagues.
Valencia, Tejada, and Roberts probably could round out Tier 5, but it was getting a little long, and you’ve just gotta draw the line somewhere. And Ian Stewart is disgraced. But I think he’ll be back.