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2010 Fantasy Projections - NL Third Basemen | March
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Top NL Third Basemen Time for a look at the top third basemen in the National League. Dollar values are based on a 5x5 12 Team NL-Only league. Previous rankings for other positions can be found here: SS, 2B, 1B, C. Players marked with a * are eligible at multiple positions, and may have already been discussed at previous positions.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Wright, D - NYM 581 102 26 104 21 .308 .394 .520 31
Zimmerman, R -WAS 595 107 35 108 3 .287 .361 .541 29
Ramirez, A - CHC 504 78 25 101 1 .294 .367 .508 23
Reynolds, M - ARI 558 93 35 98 14 .258 .338 .509 23
Sandoval, P - SF* 575 80 23 88 2 .289 .341 .489 20
David Wright tops the list for third basemen. After four years of .300-30HR-100RBI performance, Wright slumped to only 10 HR and 72 RBI despite maintaining a .307 AVG and .390 OBP. Much of Wright's power outage was attributed to Citi Field, but Wright actually only hit 5 HR on the road. Overall, Citi Field was almost neutral as a hitters park, as the Mets actually hit more HR at home (49-46) and Mets' pitchers allowed more HR at home than on the road (81-77).  Will Wright bounce back? I think so. Wright's fly ball rate in 2010 (36%) was approximately the same as the two previous years (38%), but only 7% of his fly balls left the yard instead of 16% from 2008-09.  I expect Wright to bounce back to at least 20 HR.  That, along with his usual .300 AVG, 100 R, 100 RBI, and 20+ SB, is enough to put him atop the 3B rankings. Right behind Wright is Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman won't provide the SB that Wright does, but should hit for more power.  The next two hitters are Aramis Ramirez and Mark Reynolds. Ramirez missed half of the 2009 season with an injury, but has established himself as a consistent .300-30 HR-100 RBI performer. At age 32, I predict a slight dropoff, but he will still be a very valuable hitter. Reynolds will provide lots of HR and good SB, at the expense of a mediocre batting average. As discussed in the 1B article, I'm a little worried about Sandoval's plate discipline, weight, and teammates, and am predicting a small dropoff from his excellent 2009 season.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Jones, C - ATL 476 81 21 78 3 .292 .391 .479 18
Stewart, I - COL* 478 81 24 77 5 .257 .331 .469 16
Prado, M - ATL* 588 77 14 65 4 .301 .353 .435 15
Headley, C - SD* 581 73 16 77 8 .270 .347 .429 14
Blake, C - LA 502 71 17 75 3 .267 .337 .436 14
LaRoche, A - PIT 473 67 17 74 3 .271 .342 .459 14
Rolen, S - CIN 491 67 14 71 5 .283 .354 .444 14
Glaus, T - ATL 466 63 22 71 2 .258 .350 .464 14
This group of batters are fairly closely bunched. At the top is Chipper Jones, one of only 4 active players with  career AVG/OBP/SLG rates over .300/.400/.500 (with Pujols, MRamirez, and Helton). Jones had a down year in 2009, but should have one more good season in him.  All of the group has decent power, with the two best HR hitters, Ian Stewart and Troy Glaus, probably providing the lowest batting average. Chase Headley has been a little bit of a disappointment for the Padres. Like many on that team, his offensive stats are hurt by his tough home park - Headley had a solid .803 OPS on the road, but only .651 at home. The Padres as a team hit only .219/.313/.342 at home in 2009. Unfortunately, Headley has another season in Petco, but I think moving back to his natural position of 3B as well as another season of development will bump his numbers up a notch. Andy LaRoche is another player who I think will improve in 2010.  LaRoche played excellent defense in 2009, but was one of the streakiest offensive players in the NL. His OPS by month went like this - .675, .869, .684, .544, .659, .911.  Two great months along with 4 mediocre to bad ones.  Plus now LaRoche has to worry about Pedro Alvarez coming up to take his job.  His strong hitting last September showed a glimpse of what he can do, and I think he'll manage to keep the 3B position all season. Casey Blake has been very consistent over the last few years at the .275-20 HR- 80 HR level. At the age of 36, I predict a slight drop-off this year. Scott Rolen is no longer an all-star level 3B, but can still be a productive player when healthy. Troy Glaus only played 14 games in 2009 due to shoulder and back injuries, but looks to be healthy this year. Switching to 1B should help keep him off the DL. Martin Prado and Ian Stewart were discussed in more detail in the 2B article.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
DeRosa, M - SF* 501 74 16 72 2 .255 .330 .411 13
McGehee, C - MIL* 471 61 14 66 0 .280 .338 .427 11
Feliz, P - HOU 488 53 12 61 0 .254 .296 .383 11
Kennedy, A - WAS* 465 62 8 51 12 .273 .329 .383 11
Fontenot, M - CHC* 341 41 8 40 3 .273 .333 .422 6
This group of players should have starting jobs at the start of the season. Mark DeRosa really struggled after returning to the NL last summer, going .228/.291/.405 after being to traded to the Cardinals. At age 35, and moving to tough offensive environment, DeRosa might struggle with the AVG and OBP.  Pedro Feliz has moved to Houston, and should continue his low OBP, double-digit HR ways.  Mike Fontenot appears to have won the 2B job away from Jeff Baker.
Player AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG $$
Keppinger, J - HOU 330 38 8 32 0 .276 .338 .418 5
Alvarez, P - PIT 101 18 4 21 1 .267 .339 .455 5
Freese, D - STL 278 41 9 44 1 .255 .310 .424 4
Uribe, J - SF* 295 35 10 36 2 .261 .308 .424 4
Mora, M - COL 214 31 5 34 3 .252 .319 .397 3
Hairston, J - SD* 300 45 4 33 7 .257 .320 .373 3
Baker, J - CHC* 243 32 6 31 1 .255 .325 .407 3
DeWitt, B - LA* 220 31 4 28 1 .255 .328 .373 3
Tatis, F - NYM 159 29 6 27 1 .277 .335 .459 2
Dobbs, G - PHI 181 17 4 22 2 .260 .309 .381 2
Gamel, M - MIL 151 18 4 21 1 .272 .317 .417 2
Bonifacio, E - FLA* 153 23 0 13 9 .248 .303 .340 2
Carroll, J - LA* 195 31 1 22 3 .267 .347 .359 1
Counsell, C - MIL* 211 26 1 19 2 .270 .353 .355 1
Abreu, T - ARI* 112 17 2 18 2 .295 .325 .464 1
Francisco, J - CIN 122 14 3 18 1 .262 .286 .377 1
Craig, A - STL 89 11 3 10 0 .270 .309 .427 1
Blum, G - HOU 255 25 5 32 0 .247 .309 .357 0
This group of players has several who are battling for starting positions. In St. Louis, David Freese is battling with several others for the 3B job, including Felipe Lopez, Allen Craig, and Joe Mather. Freese's bat should be OK, but his glove is still a question mark. In LA, Blake DeWitt may be moving ahead of Ronnie Belliard for the 2B position, as Belliard is still struggling with his weight. In Houston, Tommy Manzella is the current starter at SS, but his lack of offense may give Jeff Keppinger or the veteran Geoff Blum a chance for more playing time. In Milwaukee, Mat Gamel has been diagnosed with a shoulder injury and will be out for 6 weeks. When he returns, he will probably start in AAA.