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2012 Fantasy Baseball Position Rankings: Third Base

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Feb 21, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera during spring training at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 21, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera during spring training at Joker Merchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

It's amazing how the addition of two top-tier players to a position can change its entire outlook. Back in November, I made the case that the hot corner was probably the second-weakest position on the diamond, but now it's looking pretty strong. In a 12-team league, each owner can grab a third baseman they could reasonably be happy with. The position thins out toward the bottom of this list, but there are still plenty of high-upside guys that you can grab to stash on your bench if you so desire.

Before we dive in, why not check out the rest of our final positional rankings? Make sure you take the time to check out our Google Docs spreadsheet which contains all of our ranks since October, as well as numerous links to articles on individual players:

Fake Teams 2012 Fantasy Baseball Ranks

Links to previous iterations of third base ranks, including head-to-head ranks from Kevin Boger and tiered ranks from Marc Normandin, may be found within the spreadsheet.

The following third base ranks are for a standard 5x5 mixed redraft league. I've included 30 players plus a few explanations.

1. Miguel Cabrera*, DET

2. Jose Bautista, TOR

3. Evan Longoria, TB

4. Hanley Ramirez*, MIA

5. Adrian Beltre, TEX

6. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS

7. David Wright, NYM

8. Alex Rodriguez, NYY

9. Aramis Ramirez, MIL

10. Brett Lawrie, TOR

11. Kevin Youkilis, BOS

12. Pablo Sandoval, SF

13. Michael Young, TEX

14. Mark Reynolds, BAL

15. Ryan Roberts, ARI

16. Martin Prado, ATL

17. Mike Moustakas, KC

18. Chipper Jones, ATL

19. David Freese, STL

20. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR

21. Chase Headley, SD

22. Emilio Bonifacio, MIA

23. Daniel Murphy, NYM

24. Mat Gamel, MIL

25. Brent Morel, CWS

26. Danny Valencia, MIN

27. Lonnie Chisenhall, CLE

28. Pedro Alvarez, PIT

29. Scott Sizemore, OAK

30. Alberto Callaspo, LAA

*Neither Miguel Cabrera nor Hanley Ramirez will have third base eligibility to start the season on most sites, but they should gain eligibility fairly quickly, depending on your format.

  • If you're drafting Hanley Ramirez, you're probably placing him at shortstop, which is a much, much weaker position, but it's helpful to compare him with his peers. His struggles last season were well-documented, but given full health I like him for a full bounceback.
  • I remain skeptical about Brett Lawrie's value in 1-season leagues. It's one thing to bet that 171 plate appearances will translate into success over a full season when he's being overlooked in drafts, but everybody seems to be all in on this kid. There's almost no upside to taking him in the 5th round, which is where he's going on average.
  • The more I think about Kevin Youkilis' struggles (A) on the road and (B) against RHP, the more I dislike the thought of making him my #1 3B.
  • Chase Headley didn't switch teams after all, which is sort of a bummer for his power potential.
  • I moved Mat Gamel up in my ranks after taking a closer look at him in my Milwaukee Brewers preview. I'd much rather take a chance on him than, say, Pedro Alvarez.

I'm happy to talk about any player, discuss any ranking, or defend any snub, so comment away.