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Third Base Breakout Candidates

The back end of third base's top 10 is wide open and 2011 should see a few new faces emerge as high end talent. Here are a few players who could become usable #1 or 1A third basemen

Pedro Alvarez - Already a top 10 player in some formats, Alvarez looks ready to take another step to a higher tier. He ended the year on a tear and has the pedigree of a star slugger.  The Pirates clean up hitter should get plenty of RBI opportunities with McCutchen, Tabata and Walker hitting ahead of him but will get little protection with a can on a stick and some wind chimes hitting behind him.

Ian Stewart - Ian Stewart is baseball's Chinese Democracy. Lots of hype and promise but we're left waiting for so long that everyone stops caring and now it can be found in the nearest discount bin. Owners expecting Stewart to bust out last year will be down on him this year meaning his value should be fairly low. He still has excellent power but needs to strike out less in order to see full time at bats. With a Michael Young deal looming his playing time is in question but if playing everyday he may only be a bit below Alvarez in terms of upside for 2011.

Mike Moustakas - Wilson Betemit is keeping third base warm until Moustakas arrives at which point we could see the next big name at the position. Annihilating the Texas League last year he moved up to the Pacific Coast League and continued to hit balls into parking lots so often you'd swear he had an endorsement with Speedy Glass. Both leagues are hitters leagues so his numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt, however, he dominated so much that you have to think he can continue hitting at the major league level. Initially he might struggle with getting his AVG up but he should have no problem putting the ball over the fence.

Brent Morel - Looking to have the White Sox starting third base job locked up, Morel could be a nice find for owners looking for a cheap 3B. He has some AVG upside and modest power but top 12 numbers seem like a long shot. Be warned that his minor league numbers were propped up by luck last year so he may be a letdown for those waiting on a .300 AVG. Age is on his side and a starting role keep the door open for a surprise breakout here but I'm not buying in. He has been compared to Mark Teahen and I'd be willing to bet that even Mark Teahen doesn't have Mark Teahen on his fantasy team.

David Freese - Freese hit for a nice AVG, albeit BABIP driven, before getting hurt last year. He has shown the ability to hit for AVG in the minors as well as a high BABIP and he has demonstrated more power than he showed last year. His BB/K leaves much to be desired but a return of his power could make Freese a valuable commodity in 2011 for owners looking for a late round third baseman.