Fake Teams 2013 Consensus Third Base Rankings: Part 2

Jason Miller

How the mighty have fallen. Gone are the days of Alex Rodriguez leading the third base rankings every year. He fell to #16 in our 2013 Consensus Third Base Rankings, and that was before the news of the hip surgery.

On Monday, I posted Part 1 of our 2013 Consensus Third Base Rankings, complete with player profiles for players ranked 1 - 13. Today, I provide you with Part 2 of our rankings with player profiles for players ranked 14 - 25.

The bottom half of our 2013 Third Base Rankings include two players who could leap into the Top 12 at the position in 2013-Pedro Alvarez and Mike Moustakas. Both have big power bats, but need to improve their plate discipline and contact rates at the dish to make that big step forward. Alvarez, for me, could eventually lead the NL in home runs, as he has that much power.

Let's take another look at our 2013 Consensus Third Base Rankings:

Rank

Player

Team

Ray

Bret

Jason

Craig

Score

1

Miguel Cabrera

DET

1

1

1

1

108

2

Adrian Beltre

TEX

2

2

2

2

104

3

Evan Longoria

TB

3

3

5

5

96

4

David Wright

NYM

6

4

3

4

95

5

Hanley Ramirez

LAD

7

5

4

3

93

6

Ryan Zimmerman

WSH

5

9

8

6

84

7

Aramis Ramirez

MLW

4

7

7

11

83

8

Chase Headley

SD

8

10

6

7

81

9

Pablo Sandoval

SF

9

6

10

10

77

10

Brett Lawrie

TOR

10

8

9

9

76

11

David Freese

STL

11

11

11

8

71

12

Will Middlebrooks

BOS

12

13

13

12

62

13

Manny Machado

BAL

13

12

15

14

58

14

Martin Prado

ATL

15

15

14

15

53

15

Pedro Alvarez

PIT

14

16

12

18

52

16

Alex Rodriguez

NYY

17

14

17

13

51

17

Mike Moustakas

KC

16

17

18

16

45

18

Kyle Seager

SEA

18

19

16

17

42

19

Todd Frazier

CIN

19

18

19

20

36

20

Chris Johnson

ARZ

20

22

23

19

28

21

Kevin Youkilis

CHW

23

23

21

21

24

22

Trevor Plouffe

MIN

22

24

20

NR

18

23

Lonnie Chisenhall

CLE

21

20

NR

NR

15

24

Chris Nelson

COL

24

25

24

NR

11

25

Luis Cruz

LAD

NR

NR

22

23

11

Player profles for third baseman ranked 14 - 25:

14. Martin Prado, ATL

Prado played 25 games at third base last season, and he will be playing a lot more games there in 2013 now that Chipper Jones has retired. Prado does one thing really good, and that is hit for average, but he doesn't hit for power or drive in a lot of runs. He bats second in the Braves lineup so we could see his runs scored increase next season as he is two years removed from scoring 100 runs.. I don't see him stealing 17 bases again, but he picked his spots well, as he stole 17 bases in 21 attempts, so he could get the green light again next season.

2013 Projection: I see Prado hitting .305 with low double digit home runs, 90 runs scored, 70 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 2013. He should be drafted in the 14th-15th rounds in mixed leagues and the 7th round in NL only leagues.

15. Pedro Alvarez, PIT

Alvarez is the type of player who fantasy owners either love for his power potential or hate because of his inconsistency and propensity to strike out. Alvarez did hit for power last year as he hit 30 home runs, good for third amongst all fantasy third baseman in 2012, but also struck out over 30% of his at bats. Alvarez hit .244-.317-.467 with 30 HRs, 64 runs, 85 RBI and a 180-57 strikeout to walk rate last season, leaving fantasy owners to wonder whether he has finally arrived or whether he is teasing us yet again. Of his 128 hits last season, 56 went for extra bases, so there is still some untapped power in the bat, i think. I am optimistic on Alvarez and see him improving on his 2012 performance in 2013.

2013 Projection: I see Alvarez hitting .255 with 34 HRs, 75 runs, and 95 RBI in 2013, and see him outperforming his draft round. He should be drafted in the 10th-11th rounds in mixed leagues, and the 4th-6th rounds in NL only leagues.

16. Alex Rodriguez, NYY

We ranked our third baseman before the news came out of ARod needing surgery on his hip. He was ranked pretty low before the surgery news, so he should probably be ranked much lower after the news. ARod struggled in the playoffs so much that he was benched for several games, but was the hip injury the reason, or has his bat slowed that much at the plate? He hit .272-.353-.430 with 18 HRs, 74 runs, 57 RBI and 13 stolen bases last season, a year where we saw career lows in ISO (.158) and SLG (.430), both of which are in a 5 year downtrend. He will have hip surgery in January, and will miss 3-6 months, so he is guaranteed to miss the start of the season. I am pessimistic that he will return in the 3-6 month timeframe. i think he will be back after the All Star break and some think he COULD miss the whole season.

2013 Projection: I see Rodriguez missing at least half of the 2013 season, with him hitting .260 with less than 10 home runs, around 30 runs and RBI and don't see him stealing more than a few bases, if that. Pessimistic? Very. He is nothing more than a very late round pick in mixed and AL only leagues at this point, and a cheap target for those of you in AL only auction keeper leagues.

17. Mike Moustakas, KC

Moustakas had a solid first full season in 2012, hitting .242-.296-.412 with 20 HRs, 69 runs and 73 RBI in 149 games in 2012. His strikeout rate is not unlike many other young power hitters, but he could learn to take the free pass a bit more. He walks in just over 6% of his plate appearances, and will have to learn to swing at less balls out of the zone ( he swings at 37.6% of balls out of the zone) to improve his production across the board. And that improvement remains to be seen for the 24 year old third baseman. He is two years removed from hitting 36 home runs at two levels in the minors, so the power potential is there as long as he can improve his plate discipline.

2013 Projection: I see Moustakas making modest improvements in 2013, and see him hitting .255 with 24 HRs, 75 runs, and 80 RBI. He should be drafted in the 12-14th rounds of mixed leagues, and around the 6th round in AL only leagues.

18. Kyle Seager, SEA

Seager had a breakout season in 2012, hitting .259-.316-.423 with 20 HRs, 62 runs, 86 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 155 games. He's never produced like this in the minors, so owners have to question whether the breakout is real or just a one year fluke. The Mariners are changing the dimensions of their ball park in 2013, so Seager has a chance to repeat his power breakout in 2013. In addition, Seager 42.3% fly ball rate shows he hit hits plenty of fly balls, so some of his just missed fly balls could turn into home runs next season.

2013 Projection: I see Seager hitting .270 with 23 HRs, 75 runs, 90 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2013. He should be drafted in the 15th-16th rounds in mixed leagues and around the 8th-9th rounds in AL only leagues.

19. Todd Frazier, CIN

Frazier stepped up when needed this season, as he produced when first baseman Joey Votto went down with a knee injury. With Votto out, he hit .306 in July with 5 HRs, 15 runs and 15 RBI, and hit .330 in August, with 6 HRs, 19 runs and 25 RBI. He will be the Reds starting third baseman to start the 2013 season, with a chance to build on his strong rookie season. He is a fly ball hitter (44.7% fly ball rate), and Great American Ball Park is built for fly ball hitters, so Frazier could bump his power totals with regular playing time in 2013.

2013 Projection: I see Frazier hitting .265 with 24 HRs, 70 runs, 85 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 2013, and should be drafted in the later rounds of mixed leagues and around the 10th-12th rounds in NL only leagues.

20. Chris Johnson, ARI

We ranked Chris Johnson here before the Diamondbacks signed Eric Chavez, but I think Johnson will get the majority of playing time in Arizona in 2013. Johnson hit .281-.326-.451 with 15 HRs, 48 runs, 76 RBI and 5 stolen bases in 488 at bats last season. He hit for a bit more power (.503) in Arizona than he did in Houston (.428), so he could be a sneaky source of power on draft day.

2013 Projection: I see Johnson hitting .280 with 18 HRs, 55 runs, and 70 RBI in 2013, and he is a very late round pick in mixed leagues, if at all, and a 12th-14th round pick in NL only leagues.

21. Kevin Youkilis, FA

After Mark Reynolds signed with the Indians on Sunday evening (when I was writing this), many speculated that Youkilis will sign with the Yankees, but the Dodgers and Mariners apparently have some interest as well. Youk hit just .235-.336-.409 with 19 HRs, 72 runs and 60 RBI last season, and has now seen his BABIP drop for the third straight season:

2009: .359

2010: .327

2011: .296

2012: .268

In addition to the drop in BABIP and batting average, we have seen a drop in his walk rate and power, as measured by ISO and SLG, over the last few seasons as well. With a move out of Fenway Park, we may have seen the best from Youkilis going forward.

2013 Projection: I see Youkilis hitting .240 with 17 HRs, 60 runs, and 75 RBI in 2013, and he should be a very late round pick in mixed leagues, and a15th round pick in AL only leagues.

22. Trevor Plouffe, MIN

Plouffe had a breakout season in 2012, hitting .235-.301-.455 with 24 HRs, 56 runs and 55 RBI in 119 games. He hit 15 home runs in each of his last two seasons in AAA, so the power breakout was still a bit of a surprise, especially after hitting 11 of them in June. His fly ball rate was partly the reason, as it increased from 40.0% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2012. I don't see a repeat in the power as his HR/FB rate also jumped from 9.5% to 16.7% last season. His .244 BABIP should improve, so the batting average should see a bump in 2013.

2013 Projection: I see Plouffe hitting .255 with 18 HRs, 65 runs, and 65 RBI, as he should see more playing time in 2013. He should be drafted in the very late rounds in both mixed and AL only leagues.

23. Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE

Chisenhall will be the Indians starting third baseman on Opening Day, so he has the opportunity to show off his hit tool for fantasy owners in 2013. Chisenhall looked better at the plate in his second look at major league pitching last season, hitting .268-.311-.430 with 5 HRs, 16 runs and 16 RBI in 43 games. Scouting reports say he should hit for a solid average with decent power, so I will be conservative with my projection.

2013 Projection: I see Chisenhall hitting .260 with 14 HRs, 60 runs and 65 RBI in 2013, assuming he plays everyday. He is probably a very late round pick in mixed leagues and a 13th-15th round pick in AL only leagues.

24. Chris Nelson, COL

Here is what I wrote about Nelson in our 2013 Second Base Rankings:

Nelson is eligible at second and third base in 2013, and could be the Rockies opening day third baseman due to the presence of Josh Rutledge, who more than likely will man second base next season. Nelson hit very well filling in at third base last season, hitting .301-.352-.458 with 9 HRs, 45 runs, 53 RBI and a 84-27 strikeout to walk ratio. His triple slash line benefitted from an extremely high .374 BABIP, so we should see some regression in 2013. Out of the second baseman ranked 14-25 here, I think Nelson, along with Ackley and Profar, has the best chance for a breakout in 2013, and I am not sure why I did not rank him.

2013 Projection: Assuming he gets regular playing time, I see Nelson hitting .270 with 15 HRs, 75 runs, and 50 RBI in 2013. There is a good chance he goes undrafted in mixed leagues, but is a late round pick in NL only leagues.

25. Luis Cruz, LAD

Cruz landed on our Top 25 Third Base Rankings because as of today, and that may change, he is the Dodgers starting third baseman come Opening Day. With the trade of Michael Young to the Phillies, I imagine he would land in our updated Third Base Rankings sometime in 2013. Cruz turns 29 in February, so I have a feeling he is not long for the starting job in Los Angeles, but until he loses it, he should provide fantasy owners with a decent batting average and a bit of pop, but not much else.

2013 Projection: I see Cruz hitting .280 with 10 HRs, 40 runs, and 45 RBI in 2013, and probably will only be drafted in the very late rounds in NL only leagues.

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