2009 Fantasy Projections: Third Base

Third base is the first position in the infield where the Mets clearly have the best player in the National League (for fantasy baseball purposes). I have nothing remotely witty to add to that, so let’s get to the rankings…

Third Base Rankings – National League

  1. David Wright (.315-35-140) – With Reyes stealing more bases this season, Wright will put up a career high in RBI. And if not, he’s still going to be the top producing 3B in the NL.
  2. Chipper Jones (.320-25-100) – If he is healthy all season, Jones will challenge Wright’s numbers, but I expect him to miss 20-40 games. Get him at a good value if you can – I’ve seen him drop in alot of drafts. If you get him, be sure to get a solid backup who can fill in when Jones punches out.
  3. Aramis Ramirez (.290-30-100) – This guy is nothing if not consistent. He is also severely overvalued and undervalued depending on the league and the draft. Target him at $20 and grab him lower if you can.
  4. Garrett Atkins (.280-20-100) – Declining numbers over the past three years are a red flag. A .260 road average last season is another red flag. A possible trade to free up the 3B position for Ian Stewart is another possible red flag… Let Atkins pass.
  5. Ryan Zimmerman (.290-20-90) – It’s hard to predict where Zimmerman’s numbers will go. He’s been hurt and hitting in the black hole that is the Nationals lineup. I expect the Nats to be slightly better offensively and if Zimmerman is healthy, he should get back on track. I rate him only slightly lower than Atkins because there he has less of a track record. But he is also only 24 years old, so keep that in mind if you’re in a keeper league.

Sleeper – Edwin Encarnacion (.260-30-100) – I like the Cincinnati lineup and Encarnacion has a ton of potential. He may never realize his full potential, but he should approach 30 HR and have a modest gain in BA. Grab him under $12 if you can.

Third Base Rankings – National League NL EAST

  1. David Wright – see above
  2. Chipper Jones – see above
  3. Ryan Zimmerman – see above
  4. Jorge Cantu – (.275-25-90) The Marlins have already sent down 1B Gaby Sanchez, which frees up 1B for Cantu (like I predicted here). Although he’s going to be playing 1B, Cantu also ranks as one of the top 3B candidates in the NL East, for fantasy purposes. Don’t expect an improvement on last year’s fantasy numbers, but grab him cheap and use his multi-position eligibility to your advantage.
  5. Pedro Feliz (.250-17-65) Feliz was a disappointment last season and it looks like he will remain in a quasi-platoon with Greg Dobbs this season. The one thing Feliz has going for him – besides his power – is his glove. If he gets enough ABs, he could reach 20 HR, but Feliz is a crapshoot unless he gets catcher eligibility. I don’t believe that has happened for a couple of years…

Sleeper Emilio Bonafacio (.230-0-35) – For reasons I don’t quite understand, Bonafacio is slated to be the Marlins third baseman on Opening Day. He probably won’t hit and he may not start for long, but Bonafacio can run. I’ve seen him nearly beat out routine grounders to shortstop… I have to assume he has the green light whenever he’s on base and I also have to assume that he’s going to run whenever he can just to stay in the lineup. I’ll go out on a limb and say Bonafacio steals 40-50 bases this season, regardless of playing time. The important thing is that he stays on the big league roster – and that’s not guaranteed.

John Fitzgerald is an independent film/TV producer. In 2007, he followed former Mets 2B Wally Backman and his minor league team for the TV show, "Playing for Peanuts." Click here for DVD ordering information NOTE: $5 from each sale goes to maintenance costs of MetsToday.com