The Hot Corner isn't looking so hot anymore in NL only leagues in my opinion. These Third Base 3B rankings offer a lot of question marks in terms of veterans and potential/risk of the young players. Also, here are The Fantasy Man's Mixed League 3B Rankings. Let's break it down.
David Wright - NYM - Have to love the power and speed combo. Good for high 20's in HR's and give or take 20 steals. Last years average of . 283 was the first full season Wright didn't hit .300 so one would think he can bounce back and break .300 this year.
Ryan Zimmerman - WSH - Missed 20 games last season but still went 25HR with 85 Runs and RBI's while batting .307. He doesn't steal any bags but Zimmerman is a strong bat and he is only 26 so he is entering his prime years.
Veterans with Questions - In alphabetical order
Casey Blake - LAD - Now 37, plays in a pitchers park in Dodger Stadium and at this point, Blake is a guy who gives you around 15HR's and 60 Runs and RBI's and hitting around .250. So figure last years numbers but a few drops less.
Chipper Jones - ATL - One of my favorite players of all time but the fact is Chipper is now 38 and it's unlikely Chipper can hold up even for one last season. To best illustrate this, I heard Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated and the MLB Network tell a story that in the summer of 2009 Heyman was interviewing Chipper after the game at his locker. While putting his shirt on during the interview Chipper hurt himself. I will be rooting for one last special season from Chipper and if his body could hold up he is more than capable but hard to see that happening.
Jose Lopez - COL - Had a bad 2010 but remember was a good player between 2006 through 2009 so he can easily bounce back. However, Lopez is competeing for a job with Ian Stewart, Eric Young Jr, Ty Wigginton, Todd Helton , etc. It helps that Lopez is a multi positional type player so he should see plenty of action even if its in a platoon/utility role.
Casey McGehee - MIL - Since coming to the Brewers McGehee has been given a chance to play and after a nice 2009 season McGehee broke through last year with 23HR, 104RBI's, 70R's with a .285 Avg. In that lineup no reason why McGehee can't be a real solid power bat for you this year. Only negative on McGehee is before we can call him a given, we have to see him do it again.
Melvin Mora - ARZ - Had a solid year as a super utility player for the Rockies last year. But he does turn 39 in spring and the D-Backs are going to ask Mora to play more so can his body hold up? He would be a great guy to get towards the end of the draft for a few dollars and slot him as your 3rd corner, as he qualifies for both 1B and 3B.
Martin Prado - ATL - Mentioned in my 2B NL rankings, I should have mentioned that he is the starting Left Fielder for the Braves. So in most leagues after the first week of the season Prado will qualify for 2B, 3B and OF. Real solid player to have on your squad who gives you great flexibility.
Placido Polanco - PHI - Loved him last year when he qualified as a 2B but now only qualifies at 3B only. That coupled with the fact that Polanco is now 35 (missed 30 games last season due to injury) so unless you get Polanco on the cheap pass on him on draft day.
Aramis Ramirez - CHC - Finished with great numbers considering how awful he was in the first half last year. Turns 33 in late June and on a last year of a contract. Ramirez only played in 124 games last year which is major theme for Aramis through his career. In his ten full seasons Ramirez has played 150 or more games just three times.
Scott Rolen - CIN - If Rolen can stay healthy enough he can be a real solid power bat for you at 3B. However, Rolen turns 36 the first week of April and has had injury issues in his career including an achy back. So buyer beware.
Pablo Sandoval - SF - One of the biggest disappointments in the 2010 season. However Sandoval is only 24 and supposedly has made a commitment this off-season to getting in shape as he has lost around 20lbs per the last update. Sandoval had a sophomore slump (hmmm didn't I mention that happens to young players) so now the question is can he rebound? A bit of a gamble of draft day but for the right price could be a steal. Watch his spring training closely.
Miguel Tejada - SF - Mentioned in my SS NL Rankings and obviously like him better in that slot than 3B. Again age is a factor but if he can stay healthy Tejada can be a solid bat for you this year with roster flexibility.
Juan Uribe - LAD - In the 2B and SS NL rankings but multipositional with 20+HR power and a lower BA.
Ready to Emerge - In alphabetical order
Pedro Alvarez - PIT - The top prospect showed a lot of good things last year hitting 16 bombs with 64 RBI's in just 95 games. But 119K's in 347 AB's is scary high. Good bet for 25HR's with over 80RBI's, his K rate with determine his average which was .256 last season.
David Freese - STL - Going into the season from what I read people were saying he is going to hit HR's but not sure of his overall game. Instead Freese was solid through late June before an ankle injury ended his season hitting .295 but only had 4HR's in 240 AB's. Freese had surgery on both ankles so see how his health is in the spring. Probably going to hit towards the bottom of the lineup.
Chase Headley - SD - Turns 27 early in the season so entering peak years but given his power and the ballpark looks like a low double digit HR guy. Had 17 steals last year so can give you some good speed with a little bit of pop and help compile numbers in R's and RBI's with a push average. Might go more than he should in a lot of drafts due to the scarcity of stolen bases though.
Chris Johnson - HOU - Came out of nowhere to have one of the best 2nd half's of any NL hitter last year. Was that a fluke? Well, we are going to find out because with a thin farm system 3B is Chris Johnson's job for the Astros in 2011. Johnson is only 26.
Ian Stewart - COL - Love the power potential and like the improvement in the batting average from 09 to 10 (went from .228 to .256) BUT if Stewart is going to break through those K's have to come down. Was slightly better last year with 110K's in 386 AB's vs 138K's in 425AB's in 09. Still has a ways to go in that regard. Only turns 26 the first week of the season, however.
Minor Leagues and Prospects:
Matt Dominguez - FLA - The 21 year old enters spring training with a good chance to be the opening day 3B for the Marlins. Has an awesome glove which helps very few owners in fantasy baseball. Dominguez showed significant improvement last summer and finished with 14HR's, 81RBI's with a .252 average at AA. Dominguez is compared to Mike Lowell a lot with a bit less power (only projects to have average power, thin 15HR's). A must to watch during Spring Training.
Keep an eye out on Juan Francisco (age 23) and Todd Frazier (age 25), both in the Reds system this Spring Training. Both were at AAA last year with Francisco getting a cup of coffee with the Reds last year (55 AB's). In AAA Francisco had 18HR's, 59RBI's while batting .286 in 308 AB's. Frazier who plays OF, 1B and 3B had 17HR's and 14 SB's in a full season in AAA but also had 127K's. Some people compare Frazier to a Ben Zobrist. Frazier can wind up being a super utility player for the Reds. With Rolen being a health risk and the Reds never to be in love with Johnny Gomes both Francisco and Frazier could get a chance this season to show their stuff.
NL King - C.Lizza