One strategy many fantasy baseball owners use when assembling their roster is to quickly ‘shore up' a player at a shallow position. If you are a fantasy owner who likes to use this approach, you will want to consider grabbing (or keeping) a third baseman in 2012. Going into the 2011 season, there were approximately 5 or 6 fantasy third basemen who seemed to stand above their peers at the position. Those top players all disappointed last season, thus making a shallow position even scarcer. When it comes to top-notch, reliable fantasy baseball third basemen, you may want to act fast in 2012.
1) Jose Bautista (TOR) –
This is one example of a player being head and shoulders above the rest of the position. When it comes to fantasy baseball third basemen for the 2012 season, there is Bautista and then a drop off to the second tier. And it's not close.
2) Evan Longoria (TB) –
After a tumultuous first month in 2011, Longoria took flight in the second half with an eye-popping 57 RBI after the All-Star break. He also proved down the stretch that he is the engine that drives the Rays offense. His average and stolen bases dropped off in 2011. If they return, he's an elite third base choice.
3) Adrian Beltre (TEX) –
He missed significant time due to injury and still hit 32 HR and 105 RBI. Hitting in the Seattle line up didn't do his statistics any favors but with a strong offense like Boston or Texas around him, he's proved that he can rake.
4) David Wright (NYM) –
Wright contributes in all 5 categories and that has always made him a fantasy stud. His struggles at his home ball park are well documented, but with the Met's plan to move in the fences at Citi Field, Wright should continue contributing across the board.
5) Alex Rodriguez (NYY) –
The days of A-Rod being the best fantasy baseball third basemen (and top 10 overall pick) are coming to an end. However, if there is a player in the game who is capable of one more monster season, it's him. Don't write him off just yet. He may surprise a few people in 2012.
6) Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) –
After an amazing 2009 campaign, Zimmerman seemed to be on the path to super stardom. Injuries and inconsistency have blocked his path, however. Another down year in 2012 and 2009 will look to be more of a career year rather than a harbinger of things to come.
7) Aramis Ramirez (CHC) –
Likely done in Chicago, Ramirez will find himself in the middle of a batting order somewhere in 2012. After battling injuries in 2009-2010 and with his role uncertain in 2012, he is a bit of a risky play.
8) Michael Young (TEX) –
With Beltre firmly established at third base, Young will continue to get his at bats around the diamond. It didn't matter where he played in 2011 as Young delivered an AL-leading 213 hits. The only concern is that he hit 30 points higher at Arlington than on the road (not mention 10 of his 11 HR coming at home). He's worth the boost to your team batting average alone.
9) Pablo Sandoval (SF) –
Talk about a turn around. After a 2010 season that saw the ‘Kung Fu Panda' relegated to the bench in the post-season, Sandoval showed up 30 pounds lighter and ready to go in 2011. The result was a resurgent offensive season which culminated with him hitting for the cycle on September 15th. Only a broken hamate bone in late April (which cost him over a month of the season) prevented him from putting up even better numbers last year.
10) Kevin Youkilis (BOS) –
After a monster season in 2008, many considered Youkilis as an elite fantasy third baseman. However, injuries have made him way too risky for an early pick. Last year it was a sports hernia that kept him out of the line up. Proceed with caution.
When considering fantasy baseball third basemen for 2012, if you can't get Bautista, consider the next 4 to be a ‘second tier' of talent. While there are still players just outside of the top ten which can be of value (i.e. Mark Reynolds and Brett Lawrie), third base remains a relatively shallow position in 2011. If you are in a deep league, this is even more prevalent. Good luck in 2012!
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