Third base is a very top heavy position this year.  All the great ones go in the first couple of rounds. It’s a transitional position with many new faces. The trend this offseason was to sign free agents and move excess players to 3B. Hence the top two on my list. Don’t wait very long on this position or you’ll get burned quickly.

2012 Fantasy Third Base Rankings:
1. Miguel Cabrera (DET)
2. Hanley Ramirez (MIA)
3. Jose Bautista (TOR)
4. Evan Longoria (TB)
5. Pablo Sandoval (SF)
6. David Wright (NYM)
7. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
8. Adrian Beltre (TEX)
9. Alex Rodriguez (NYY)
10. Brett Lawrie (TOR)
11. Kevin Youkilis (BOS)
12. Michael Young (TEX)
13. Aramis Ramirez (MIL)
14. Mark Reynolds (BAL)
15. Emilio Bonifacio (MIA)
16. David Freese (STL)
17. Mike Moustakas (KC)
18. Pedro Alvarez (PIT)
19. Lonnie Chisenhall (CLE)
20. Daniel Murphy (NYM)
21. Chris Davis (BAL)
22. Ryan Roberts (ARI)
23. Martin Prado (ATL)
24. Danny Valencia (LAA)
25. Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)
26. Chipper Jones (ATL)
27. Ian Stewart (CHC)
28. Chase Headley (SD)
29. Placido Polanco (PHI)
30. Mike Aviles (BOS)

Obviously you have to wait until Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez qualify at the their new positions.  If your going by Yahoo rules, you only have to wait 5 games.  If the wait is longer than that, and your planning on using these guys at 3B, you’ll obviously need a good fill in.  I like Jose Bautista, don’t get me wrong, I do.  Here is the problem with Jose Bautista.  His price is based on .302 average last season.  He’s not going to hit .300 again.  He is a .254 career hitter and hit .257 in the second half last year.  This should be a red flag for anyone who thinks he’s a high average hitter.  Jose Bautista is better than a .257 though.  Let’s say he hits between .270 and .280.  In that case he’s still a first round pick, but he’s a late first round pick.  Miguel Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez are both high first round picks in my eyes.  Miguel Cabrera is the second best player in the game, and Hanley Ramirez will have a full bounce back to his elite form.  Bautista falls in line at 3rd overall.  His power is unarguable.  It’s legit.  Evan Longoria will also have a pretty good season.  Much much better than last year.  All 4 of those guys should be first round picks.

Sandoval, Wright, Zimmerman, and Beltre are all 3rd round picks.  Beltre is typically ranked higher than these guys on most sites, but his risk for injury worries me.  He was healthy last year, so I really think he’s overdue to be injured agian.  Especially in that Texas heat.  Sandoval is typically ranked under the rest of the guys, but I like him better.  Sandoval is only 26 years old, hits for an elite average, and has nice power.  He is a cheaper Miguel Cabrera in my mind.  His ceiling is to one day be Miguel Cabrera.  I think he hits .310+ again and reaches 25-30 HR.  I really like Wright because of his potential to be traded in the second half.  Once he is away from Citi Field his production will skyrocket.  Especially if he’s dealt to a contender.  I’ve always liked Zimmerman’s upside, but I don’t trust him.  If he breaks a finger nail he could miss two weeks.  I’m pretty positive the guy will never make it to 155 games.

A-Rod and Lawire are 4th-5th rounders.  A-Rod always has the chance to bounce back for a nice season, while Lawrie has a great chance to break out.  It’s hard to chose between the two, but I give A-Rod the slight edge.  Mainly because he’s proven.  Youkilis, Young, and Ramirez are fine.  Youkilis is a huge injury risk, but if he stays healthy he’s a steal.  I’m not sold on him staying healthy, but if you listen to me, and if you don’t have a 3B at this point, I’d take him here.  Michael Young will give you aveage.  Aramis Ramirez will put up the same consistent numbers he does every year.  He numbers could actually jump from being able to hit behind MVP Ryan Braun.

If you want a ton of late power with an awful average then look no further than Mark Reynolds.  If you want no power, a ton of speed, and a guy that will hit between Reyes and Hanley, choose Bonifacio.  I love Bonifacio this season.  He will produce in every category except for HR.  His value as a SS is through the roof, and he’s a mediocre 3B option.

Freese, Moustakas, Alvarez, and Chisenhall are this year’s 3B young guns.  Freese got himself some amazing experience in the World Series.  He’s a little more seasoned than the rest.  He’s been injury prone his first few seasons though.  Moustakas has a high ceiling, but he’s still unproven.  He is more likely to produce than Alvarez and Chisenhall.  Alvarez has been a bust thus far, and he’s typically ranked lower by most sites.  I still think he has the chance to be a good major leaguer, so he’s higher on my board.  I would rather take the chance on him than Chisenhall.  Chisenhall is also higher on my list than most sites however.  So I still think he has a shot to be decent this year.

None of the other guys should really be used at 3B.  If they are your starter your in a very deep league.  Murphy should give you a good average.  Chris Davis has the potential to hit HR’s and hurt your average.  Ryan Roberts could reach 20 HR.  Prado has the chance to hit .300.  Valencia has the chance to improve, hit for a decent average, and put up 15-20 HR.  Edwin Encarnacion also has 20 HR potential, but he fights for playing time.  The Blue Jays do have 3 guys on this positional list all at 3B.  If you have to take Chipper Jones or Ian Stewart please make sure you pay your league champion in a timely fashion.

You can get my thoughts on every player in the league immediately with my fantasy cheat sheet.  It uses a unique color coded system that tells you exactly who to draft.  If you want to dominate your draft, it’s a must have.  If your interested in that you can click here.

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