Third-base is an intriguing position since different teams take different approaches to the “hot corner.” Some prioritize defense and have a weak hitter at third while other have sluggers in that spot. Here’s our staff’s take on who could be a sleeper, who is underrated, and who is overrated at 3B. Again these were prepared independently, so any overlap isn’t intentional.
For our composite 3B rankings click here.
Most Overrated 3B:
Aramis Ramirez-Mil: While Ramirez is definite a top 10 3B, his move from the “friendly confines” of Wrigley to Miller Park may hurt his numbers a bit. His home/road splits were decidedly one-way so there’s some risk to taking him as a top 5 option. I don’t see a huge regression here but I’d definitely take Zimmerman, A-Rod, Youk, and Sandoval ahead of him. (Zach)
(I don’t consider Trumbo or Cabrera as 3rd basemen, I think those experiments are already proving to be disasters) Pablo Sandoval usually gets heat for his weight, but offensively Sandoval is a really overrated player, especially because of his bad base-running (he is probably underrated defensively, he is pretty good out there). (Clint)
Brett Lawrie: ADP so high for a player that barely has any experience at 3B when others have been doing this for years and still available seems too risky to me and I would advise not reaching for Lawrie although they will have some fire-power on that team and plenty of chances to get run production. (Brandon)
David Wright – I’m a huge Wright fan. I absolutely love the way he plays the game with his tenacious attitude, but sometimes that gets the best of him. After only playing 102 games last season, I’m not sold on him being completely healthy this year. He hasn’t hit above .300 since 2009, and I don’t think it’ll happen this year. (Sky)
Most Underrated 3B:
I like Youk, but since I’m a big Sox fan I’ll recuse myself from highlighting him here (plus, Sky covered him below). Instead I’ll go with David Freese, the reigning champions 3B coming off World Series and NLCS MVP’s. He hit just under .400 for the playoffs, but before you discard him as a postseason hero like the Scott Brosiuses, David Ecksteins, and Edgar Renterias of the world check his past history. He’s always been a solid hitter who contributes fantasy-worthy numbers when healthy. The key flaw though is that he hasn’t been healthy for long enough to sustain his production for a full season. If you can handle the risk, you can get a top-10-potential 3B much later with Freese.
I really like Chase Headley, he isn’t going to hit for much power, but he gets on base and plays decent defense (he had a great defensive year in 2010, but came back to earth in 2011). He sees over 4 pitches a plate appearance, and walks over average and does a good job creating runs. (Clint)
Kevin Youkilis – I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten quite contradictory with my views on injuries. Youk has been banged up the last couple of seasons, but I think he will be good to go this year. He has produced his entire career pretty much with Boston, and I see him returning to those ways. I could very well see him sneaking into the 100 RBI range again. (Sky)
Potential Fantasy Sleeper
Sean Rodriguez-TB: Rodriguez is eligible at 2B, 3B, and SS in most leagues thanks to his utility role last season. This year he looks to be Tampa’s starting SS and could end up with 12-18 steals, about the same number of HR, and decent runs and RBI’s. He’s a deep sleeper I know, but I think he’ll be useful as a fill-in at least throughout the season.
Watch out for Wilson Betemit, I am really going out here on a limb again, and I am not sure what position he will play, but I think Betemit could be a guy to have an impact for the Orioles this year. He is a dreadful fielder (but so is Mark Reynolds), but he has always hit, and he always get on base. I certainly would rather have him than Chris Davis. (Clint)
Emilio Bonifacio – MIA: With a new look everything in Miami, he is getting pushed under the carpet. He will now bat 2 and start in CF for these guys, but still has 2B eligibility. Sandwiched between Reyes and Ramirez, he will see plenty of RBI and run opportunities. I definitely see Bonifacio with an outside chance to get into the top 10. (Sky)