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Top 10 AL Third Basemen

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You may as well open up the First Base preview from a week ago to read it alongside this one. 4 of the top 6 guys on this list also qualify at 1st Base. I feel like I'm cheating by including so many of them here so I threw in a fun little comparison of numbers #10-14 at the end.

Tier 1

1. A-Rod - Let's shelf the steroid news/noise for a moment and try to just look at his numbers. Nothing else matters in fantasy unless you're in a hybrid baseball/celebrity league that has both homeruns and tabloid covers as categories. He's going to be in the ballpark of .295-105-40-125-12 and he'll go in the top 3 of your draft. Don't beat yourself up about owning him unless you start finding yourself digging the she-male bodybuilding types. At that point, trade him for 80 cents on the dollar.

2. Miguel Cabrera - Yup, he's still 3rd base eligible in many leagues. See first base preview.

Tier 2

3. Evan Longoria - The middle of his '08 (June, July, August) provided us with a look at the Rays future for the next 10 years. Because of his year ending .272 average it's easy to forget that the scouts and analysts always considered him a .300 hitter. At 22 years old in '08 he put up an almost .900 OPS and played better than advertised defense. In terms of fantasy all you need to know is that he's got 3-4 more years till his peak and he's already the #2 3rd baseman in the AL. He and David Wright will be play king of the 3rd Base mountain in the early 1st round of fantasy drafts for years to come.

Tier 3

4. Chris Davis - If I'm not driving the bandwagon, I'm at least sitting shotgun. See first base preview.

5. Kevin Youkilis - See First Base preview to know why I'm not buying into him going in the 3rd-4th round.

6. Aubrey Huff - The last of the 1B-3B eligible players set to go in the first 7 rounds of your draft. If you haven't already, SEE THE FIRST BASE preview! Sorry, it's out of my system now.

Tier 4

7. Adrian Beltre - Everyone remembers the 48 HR '04 campaign but, we all know he's not that guy. What he is though, is a consistent run producer with a handful of steals. As far as we know he's still only 30 and should continue on this .270-85-25-90-10 path for another few years. He's going around 140 in early mock drafts (11th-13th round)

8. Chone Figgins - Let's start with the bad:

- He's not a .300 hitter

- Last year he slugged 50 points less than his OBP

- He will destroy you in 2 categories, guaranteed

- Despite what you might think, he's only scored 100 runs one time in his career

And the Good:

- He's averaged 45 steals a year for the last 5 years

- He still qualifies at 2nd in leagues where just 5 games started does the trick

Basically, Figgins is a one category player. He's sufficient in average and runs but, will kill you in homeruns and rbi's. The problem is he didn't make enough of an impact in the steals category when he finished 14th in the majors with 34. Numbers-wise was he all that different from Juan Pierre last year? Look it up.

9. Melvin Mora - He and Huff must have used the same Cerrano-like bat rituals last year in Baltimore. They both found the fountain of youth and put up their best years since 2004. Mora's season seems less likely to be repeated given the fact that he's 37 to Huff's 32. With all this said, you're still looking at the guy who put up a 1.073 OPS post all-star break so he might have a little left in the tank. Given where he's being taken in mock drafts Mora could be one of the better value plays at 3B.

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The final five 3B I'll preview might as well be ordered by picking out of a hat. So here are their 2009 Composite Projections put together by a Mr. Cory "Stats" Schwartz of MLB.com's ever fantastic Fantasy 411. These projections come from the the combination of projections from the industry's top experts. Generally, the projections lean conservative. In the parenthesis you'll see their ADP from Mock Draft Central.

Mark DeRosa - .279-78-14-73-4 (151)

Alex Gordon - .264-72-19-71-12 (154)

Carlos Guillen - .288-75-14-69-10 (210)

Hank Blalock - .274-55-16-60-2 (247)

Mike Lowell - .280-60-16-75-2 (286)

Much of these ADP's depend on injury history, multiple position eligibility and age but, this exercise becomes worthwhile when you realize the 11 round difference between Gordon and Lowell. Blalock is the low man on the totem pole here given his penchant for injuries. I have more faith in him than most. Admittedly, it stems from the "friendship/wannabe relationship" I had with his sister back in 8th grade. Ah, memories.