Coming into the 2011 season, third base appeared to be pretty deep with David Wright bouncing back after his down 2009 season and Jose Bautista's huge breakout 2010 season. I ranked Wright as my #1 third baseman coming into the season in my preseason rankings, but injuries have limited his playing time thus far in 2011, and the same can be said for Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
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Looking at the Mid-Season Third Base Rankings, the AL East dominates the rankings:
1. Jose Bautista, TOR-Bautista has proven that his 2010 breakout season was no fluke, as he is hitting .329-.473-.667 with 24 HRs, 52 RBIs, 61 runs and 5 SBs. His K rate has dropped from 20% to 18% and his walk rate has increased from 14.6% to 20.7%. His HR/FB% has increased from 12.3% in 2009 to 21.7% in 2010 to 24.7% this year.
2. Alex Rodriguez, NYY-ARod is still one of the top fantasy third baseman this year, as he is hitting .299-.377-.507 with 13 HRs, 51 RBIs, 50 runs and 4 SBs, but there is a noticeable trend in his ISO since 2007: .331 > .271 > .245 > .236 > .208, and HRs over the same period: 54 > 35 > 30 > 30 > 27 (on pace).
3. Kevin Youkilis, BOS-Youkilis is putting up solid numbers thus far in 2011, but his numbers are down a bit vs 2010. He is hitting .269-.392-.485 with 11 HRs, 55 RBIs and 46 runs scored. Youkilis' numbers could improve across the board hitting in the Red Sox lineup, but he is a better first half hitter over the course of his career.
More Third Base Rankings after the jump:
4. Adrian Beltre, TEX-Beltre is still putting up solid stats for fantasy owners, but his triple slash line has dropped a bit vs 2010. This season, he is hitting .262-.306-.454 with 14 HRs, 57 RBIs and 45 runs scored. He has been a bit unlucky thus far this season, as his BABIP is just .248 vs a career BABIP of .292 so his triple slash line should improve going forward. One other stat he has going for him is his K rate has dropped dramatically from 16.5% in 2009 to 13.9% in 2010 to just 9.1% this year.
5. Aramis Ramirez, CHC-Ramirez was said to be not interested by one writer earlier this season, but he has performed well at the plate thus far this season. He is hitting .293-.339-.455 with 9 HRs, 39 RBIs and 32 runs scored. ARam had a tremendous second half last year, so a repeat could move him up these rankings.
6. Evan Longoria, TB-Longoria missed some time due to injury this season, and is starting to hit after a slow start. He is hitting .249-.339-.481 with 10 HRs, 36 RBIs, 32 runs and a SB. His BABIP is just .250 vs a career BABIP of .313, so Longoria should end the season with a much better triple slash line this season.
7. Michael Young, TEX-Young is still hitting for a solid BA this season, and is hitting .318-.353-.472 with 7 HRs, 53 RBIs and 34 runs scored. His HR output is down a bit, but he is providing solid production in 4 categories.
8. Ryan Roberts, ARI-Roberts has come out of nowhere this year at the age of 30 to hit .251-.339-.433 this season. The triple slash line is not very impressive, but he has hit 10 HRs, knocked in 33, scored 43 and stolen 12 bases this season. In a year where third base is down, Roberts is putting together solid performance in 4 categories.
9. Martin Prado, ATL-Prado is currently injured, but prior to hitting the DL, he was hitting .277-.324-.438 with 8 HRs, 33 RBIs and 36 runs scored. His BABIP of .285 is a bit lower than his career BABIP of .328, so Prado's triple slash line could look better once he comes off the DL. And the Braves certainly miss his bat in their lineup.
10. Ty Wigginton, COL-Wiggy plays almost anywhere on the field, and due to his recent hot streak, is now hitting .268-.320-.521 with 13 HRs, 34 RBIs and 30 runs scored. His HR/FB% sits at 19.4% this year, and his 3 year trend looks like this: 7.9% > 12.5% > 19.4%. I don't know if Coors Field is the reason for the huge jump in his HR/FB rate, but his ISO has show a similar uptrend as well: .127 in 2009, .167 in 2010 and .254 this season.
11. Mark Reynolds, BAL-everyone knows what type of hitter Reynolds is, year in and year out. Plenty of power and even more strikeouts. A lot more. This season, Reynolds is hitting just .221-.350-.450 with 14 HRs, 38 RBIs, 38 runs and 5 SBs. What is interesting and surprising at the same time, is that Reynolds has reduced his K rate from 42.3% to 32. 5% and increased his BB rate from 13.9% to 15.8%.
12. Placido Polanco, PHI-who would have thought Polanco would be in the top 12 Third Baseman at mid-season? Not me for sure. He doesn't hit for power, but does hit for a solid BA and scores some runs. He is hitting .288-.34 0-.364 with 4 HRs, 39 RBIs and 32 runs.
The list of third baseman who can/will easily jump into the top 10-12 third baseman this season are David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and Pablo Sandoval who have all missed time due to injury this season. In addition, we could see guys like Casey McGehee and Pedro Alvarez perform better than they have shown this year, as McGehee has not followed up on his solid 2010 season. Alvarez has been hurt for a good part of the first half, but has the power to help teams in the second half.
A couple rookies could also make some noise in the second half. Royals Mike Moustakas and highly sought Brett Lawrie could put themselves in the Top 12 Third Baseman for 2012 with solid performances in the second half. Lawrie isn't expected back till August, but he has the power-speed combo to move up these rankings quickly next season.