You can consider the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings as Miguel Cabrera and everyone else. Miggy is considered a top-three pick in all Fantasy formats, coming off the first Triple Crown season in over 40 years. The former third baseman-turned-first baseman moved back across the diamond to make room for Prince Fielder, and he brought his big, bad, first-baseman’s bat with him.
The rest of the third basemen out there aren’t exactly throwaways, but there’s considerable difference between him and the next best at the position. For instance, in a recent 15-team mixed league mock draft, Cabrera was the third overall pick, and the next third baseman selected was Evan Longoria, with the 14th overall pick. Adrian Beltre went with the 24th pick, and David Wright went with 33rd overall.
Part of the problem with the third base position is that some of the top dogs in this kennel are always dealing with injuries.
- Longoria played a partial season for the second straight year, due to a hamstring injury that kept him out for more than half of the season. (Interesting note: The guy had three homers in his final game, only to tease those that drafted him with what could have been.
- Beltre has played more than 125 games in a season just twice in the past four years. He also loses Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli in the lineup, as he enters his 16th season in the majors.
- Wright had a great 2012, coming off a 2011 season in which he played just 102 games. However, the fences are moving in a bit at Citi Field, which should help his overall numbers.
- Ryan Zimmerman has missed 98 games over the past three seasons and 159 games over his past five seasons. He underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, which many expect to help him stay healthy.
- Hanley Ramirez has missed 75 games over the past two seasons, although he missed just five games with the Marlins and Dodgers last year.
The moral of the Fantasy Third Basemen story is: There’s a ton of talent at this position, but be prepared to back it up with an earlier pick than other positions.
Changes you’ll want to track:
- Kevin Youkilis returns to the AL East – but he comes back in the Yankee pinstripes and turns his back on the Fenway faithful. Granted, he’s past his prime anyway, but still, there will be no mistaking his “Yuuuuuke” cheers for “Booooos” in Boston this year. (Have you ever noticed that great Red Sox players usually end up in the Bronx at some point, but you RARELY see a great Yankees player end up in Boston? Johnny Damon, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs – it’s just weird! Will Middlebrooks remains the future at the hot corner in Boston … until he moves to Broadway.
- Mark Reynolds moves to Cleveland – and he moves to first-base-only eligible in Fantasy play for those leagues needing 20 or more games played at the position in the previous year.
- Former shortstop prospect Manny Machado will be the starting third baseman in Baltimore. That position switch crushes the 21-year-old’s Fantasy value. Luckily, J.J. Hardy has played more than 140 games in a season just once (last year) in the past four seasons. That could mean Machado picks up five games there this season, making him worth a late-round gamble.
- Speaking of late-round gambles – Alex Rodriguez is expected to be out until June after hip surgery. If you have IR spots on your team, gambling on him a little earlier is an interesting idea. But he’ll be 38 this July, so it’s not THAT great of an idea.
- Michael Young leaves a hitter’s park in Texas for a hitter’s park in Philadelphia. While he doesn’t have middle-infield eligibility entering your draft, he could pick it up midseason like he does most years.
- Padres 3B Chase Headley broke the tip of his thumb on March 18 and he’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks. Logan Forsyth and Jedd Gyorko should see some games at third base in his absence.
2013 Fantasy Baseball Third Base Rankings
These 2013 Fantasy Baseball Third BaseRankings should help you to a successful draft. Just try to find some versatility at this position later in your draft, just in case your starter goes down with injury.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.