There’s a new development at third base as we head into the All-Star Break: optimism. Third base surely isn’t considered a deep position but there have been some recent performances that make third base not such a hold-your-nose proposition as it used to be. We have had several third basemen come off the disabled list recently as well as a number of guys sustaining performance that smelled a little fishy just a month ago. On to the rankings!
Remember that 22 game stretch with only one home run? Eight HR’s over his last 15 games made us forget pretty quickly. Jose Bautista is so much better than the rest, there probably should be an omnipotent supreme being tier and then Tier 2. But that feels a little dramatic.
On cue, Aramis Ramirez arrived in early June and rewarded patient owners with eight longballs and 21 RBI. His trend appears to be right in line with his last two seasons as his wOBA in July in 2009 and 2010 was well over .400 and he’s off to a blistering start this month already. Longoria hasn’t been hitting much for average, largely due to rotten luck, but he did have a pretty nice June where he hit six home runs and drove in 24 runs. In fact, no other third baseman drove in more runs than Longoria in June. You really could make a case for Ramirez to slot in behind ARod, all of these guys have been hitting well enough to keep their spot for now.
The main movers here are Mark Reynolds, back from the dead, and a couple big All Star snubs, Alex Gordon and Jhonny Peralta. Gordon continued to produce in June, hitting .306/.395/.449 with a pair of HR’s and 14 RBI. He just refuses to regress into old Alex Gordon and let’s hope that he’s here to stay. He would have moved up more, but Peralta one-upped him with a .320/.347/.536 June with five HR’s and 16 RBI. Quite honestly, both guys are playing at a level that could have them up with the second tier players and if this continues through July, you’ll probably see it happen. Lastly, there’s Mark Reynolds who apparently found a pair of defibrillators kicking around the Oriole clubhouse. It might be a stretch to vault him all the way up into the third tier, but you just can’t deny what he’s done recently. In June, Reynolds hit .299/.450/.662 with eight HR 16 RBI and 16 runs scored. In July, he’s already hit five HR’s in 25 at-bats and is currently slugging .880 for the month. Yowsa. Nice to have him back.
Yes, Placido Polanco is an All Star, and I think that’s just dandy. But he has been really, really unproductive since the first month of the season, so he drops down a tier, but I’ll at least let him lead off. Chase Headley might not be hitting for any power to speak of, but he’s hitting for high average, and contributing well in RBI, runs, and even snags you a few bags every month. Roberts didn’t quite turn into a pumpkin, but he cooled considerably in June, batting just .218/.266/.386. Wigginton mashed in June with eight home runs, 15 RBI, and 15 runs scored all while carrying just a .235 BABIP in June, so it wasn’t all grace.
Things start to get ugly in Tier 5. Both Blake and McGehee just collapsed in June and aren’t showing signs of stopping the slide thus far in July. Danny Valencia moves up as he’s hitting for power and driving in runs despite not helping much in the batting average category. Turner went .209/.305/.275 in June and might be trying to play through injury.
Welcome to the rankings, Kyle Seager. May you move up amongst warmer bodies.