Fantasy Baseball Rankings 2011: Review of Preseason Third Base Rankings

TORONTO, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a double during MLB game action against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim September 22, 2011 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Brad White/Getty Images)

Here is the fifth in the series where I review my 2011 preseason position rankings. Today we cover my preseason Third Base rankings.

1. David Wright, NYM-Wright's back injury slowed him in 2011 and Wright finished the season hitting .254-.345-.427 with 14 HRs, 61 RBI, 60 runs and 13 SBs in 389 at bats. Will Wright bounce back in 2012 like he did in 2010 after his 10 homer 2009 season? Is the the third base equivalent of Prince Fielder? His .427 slugging percentage was the worst of his 8 year career.

2. Evan Longoria, TB-Longoria had a very good year despite the low BA, but his batting average of balls in play of .239 tells us that he was unlucky and the BA will return in 2012. Longoria hit .244-.355-.495 with 31 HRs, 99 RBI and 78 runs scored in just 483 at bats this season. Not only was Longoria unlucky with his BABIP, he lowered his strikeout rate and increased his BB rate for the third straight season:

year- K%/BB%

2008- 24%/9.1%

2009- 20.9%/10.7%

2010- 18.8%/10.9%

2011- 16.2%/13.9%

Longoria could have a huge season in  2012.

More third base rankings review after the jump:

3. Alex Rodriguez, NYY-ARod had his worst season of his career in 2011, hitting .276-.362-.461 with 16 HRs, 62 RBI and 67 runs in 373 at bats. His HR, ISO and SLG rates have dropped every year since 2007:

year- ISO/SLG/HR

2007- .331/.645/54

2008- .271/.573/35

2009- .245/.532/30

2010- .236/.536/30

2011- .185/.461/16

Is ARod on the downside of his career, or does he have another 30+ HR season in him?

4. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS-another third baseman who had a down year at the plate due to injuries. Zimmerman hit .289-.355-.443 with 12 HRs, 49 RBI and 52 runs scored in 395 at bats. One disturbing stat was his huge drop in FB% and huge increase in GB rate this year. His fly ball rate dropped from 41.2% in 2010 to 33.8% this season, and his ground ball rate increased from 41.2% to 50.5% in 2011. He also posted his worst HR/FB rate-10.9%-of his career. Fantasy owners hope his abdominal injury was the reason for the drop in batted ball rates and he can turn things around in 2012.

5. Kevin Youkilis, BOS-Youkilis was limited to 431 at bats this season due to a back injury but he produced when he was on the field, as he hit .258-.373-.459 with 17 HRs, 80 RBI and 68 runs scored. Youkilis posted his worst power stats-.202 ISO, .459 SLG% and HR-17 since 2007.

6. Adrian Beltre, TEX-my favorite third baseman in baseball had a terrific season and it wasn't a contract year. How many times did you read that Beltre only performs in contract years last offseason? Guess you can throw that theory out the window as Beltre hit .296-.331-.561 with 32 HRs, 105 RBI and 82 runs scored in 487 at bats. He had his second best power season at the age of 32, aided by a 12-29-.374 September. He is a top 2-3 third baseman in 2012.

7. Aramis Ramirez, CHC-ARam bounced back after a down year at the plate in 2010, where his .245 BABIP resulted in a .241-.294-.452 triple slash line. ARam proved his 2010 season was a fluke as he hit .306-.361-.510 with 26 HRs, 93 RBI and 80 runs scored. Ramirez will probably be a free agent this offseason, and several teams that could have interest include the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Reds, Dodgers and Phillies. 

8. Jose Bautista, TOR-what was I thinking ranking him so low? Terrible ranking for sure. I obviously thought his 2010 season was a fluke, and thought he could hit around 35 HRs this season, but he outperformed my expectations, hitting .302-.447-.608 with 43 HRs, 103 RBI, 105 runs and he chipped in with 9 stolen bases for the second straight season. I am not sure if he can hit .300 again, but I can see him approach 40 HRs again in 2012. His walk rate has increased in every year since 2007, rising from 11.1% back in 2007 to 20.2% this season.

9. Pedro Alvarez, PIT-Alvarez was a big bust this season, as he reported to camp out of shape and never regained the stroke that he displayed in 2010. Alvarez hit just .191-.272-.289 with 4 HRs, 19 RBI and 18 runs scored in 235 at bats. He struck out in over 30% of his at bats in 2011, and will have to improve his eye at the plate to keep his starting job in 2012.

10. Casey McGehee, MILW-I ranked McGehee low going into the 2010 season, and he had the best season of his career. I ranked him higher in my 2011 preseason rankings and he was a bust. Some guys are more difficult to predict than others. McGehee hit just .223-.280-.346 with 13 HRs, 67 RBI and 46 runs scored in 2011. Looking at his batted ball data tell us he was a bit unlucky at the plate, hit a few more ground balls than fly balls as compared to 2010, and a few less fly balls landed over the wall. I am curious what manager Ron Roenicke's plans are for McGehee in 2012, as I think he could have a bounce back season.

11. Mark Reynolds, BAL-Reynolds did what he usually does....he hit home runs and struck out a lot. He gives you power with a low BA, but doesn't steal as much as he did in the past. Reynolds hit .221-.323-.483 with 37 HRs, 86 RBI, 84 runs and 6 SBs in 2011. His power gives him value in fantasy drafts, especially with power done across MLB.

12 Michael Young, TEX-Young had an excellent year at the plate, but his power dropped a bit. Young hit .338-.380-.474 with 11 HRs, 106 RBI, 88 runs and he chipped in with 6 SBs as well Young benefitted from a .367 BABIP and a big jump in line drive rate-26.2% vs 18.5% in 2010.  He may not hit .330 again in 2012, but will provide solid production with the exception of HRs.

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