Fantasy Baseball 2012 Strategy and Advice: Breaking Down in Tiers – Third Base

Other positions already covered in the series: C | 1B | 2B | SS

When organizing each position into tiers, it enables owners to see which players should produce relatively the same statistics, and easily spot under/overvalued players in each tier.

To refresh, let’s define the tiers that we will classify each position by:

  • Elite: These players can be the foundation for your fantasy team and are the best players at their positions.
  • Valuable: Cannot go wrong with this group. These solid players, who will produce for your team, are dependable and can help win a fantasy title for you.
  • Solid: These players will put up numbers and can even lead in certain categories. However, inconsistency and poor performance in other categories will hurt your fantasy team at times.
  • At Your Own Risk: Limited production at this level, this group either struggles to get at bats on a regular basis or are the least producing players at their position. Proceed with caution and do your research. This group also includes younger players with potential.

Here is a breakdown of the 3B position for both AL and NL Leagues.

evan longoria fantasy baseball 2012 strategy and advice
Third baseman Evan Longoria is sure to help out any fantasy baseball team. (Photo by Keith Allison)

Elite Third Basemen

  • Jose Bautista
  • Evan Longoria

A quick drop off at the 3B position places added importance to drafting a top-notch player for your team at the hot corner. Bautista (43 HR, 103 RBI, .302 average, and 9 SB) and Longoria (31 HR, 99 RBI in 483 AB) are clearly the elite class of the 3B position. Both are top 15 picks and will provide your team with the anchor needed in a scarce position.

Best Bet: Evan Longoria

Valuable Third Basemen

  • David Wright
  • Adrian Beltre
  • Ryan Zimmerman
  • Pablo Sandoval
  • Aramis Ramirez
  • Michael Young
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Brett Lawrie
  • Kevin Youkilis
  • Mark Reynolds

This group will net you very productive numbers and some may return to elite level.

Wright needs to avoid injuries this season, and if he can, he will produce a line close to 25 HR, 90+ RBI, and close to 20 SB. Beltre, in the Rangers stacked lineup, will continue to pound the ball and finish in his customary 30 HR, 100 RBI, 290+ average line.

Zimmerman battled a torn abdominal muscle in 2011 but is healthy this year, as evidenced by his quick spring start of 7-11 with 2 HR and three doubles. At 27 and with his new six-year, $100 million extension completed in February, look for Zimmerman to focus on baseball with an improving Nationals team.

Sandoval is entering his prime at age 25 and may be primed for a big year. Ramirez should continue to put up his consistent numbers with the Brewers along the lines of 25 HR, 100 RBI, and a .300 batting average.

Thirty-six-year-old A-Rod has missed at least 20 games in the past four seasons. Still, he can produce and get close to 25 HR and 90 RBI in a powerful Yankee lineup.

Young is an RBI machine with Texas and hit .338 last year. Look for more of the same with the Rangers. Youkilis is a .300 hitter with pop when healthy and should be productive again in 2012.

Lawrie is the up-and-comer of this group and has the potential to be a special player, with .275, 20+ HR, 75-80 RBI, and 20+ SB. With Reynolds you get 35-40 HR power but must sacrifice batting average (.211 in 2011) to get it.

Best Bet: Pablo Sandoval

Solid Third Basemen

  • Martin Prado
  • Ryan Roberts
  • David Freese
  • Emilio Bonifacio
  • Edwin Encarnacion
  • Mike Moustakas
  • Chase Headley

There is potential with this group to achieve bigger numbers, but there is also the potential risk to end up on your bench all season long.

Prado missed 31 games last year with a staph infection and looks to rebound with the Braves in 2012. Posting 15 HR, 75+ RBI, and hitting in the .280-.290 range is possible. Freese looks to continue his World Series success with a consistent regular season. With Pujols now out of the Cardinals lineup, expect Freese to become a key contributor for the Redbirds.

At 23, Moustakas should see increased numbers as the Royals starting 3B. He has to improve his plate discipline and if he can, expect close to 20 HR and 80+ RBI. Roberts, Encarnacion and Headley should hit in the range of 15 HR, 75 RBI, along with 10-15 SB. Bonifacio offers top speed and SB but not much else.

Best Bet: Mike Moustakas

At Your Own Risk Third Basemen

  • Chipper Jones
  • Chris Davis
  • Daniel Murphy
  • Mat Gamel
  • Chone Figgins
  • Lonnie Chisenhall
  • Alberto Callaspo
  • Ty Wigginton
  • Placido Polanco
  • Ian Stewart
  • Wilson Betemit
  • Casey McGehee
  • Scott Rolen
  • Danny Valencia
  • Pedro Alvarez
  • Sean Rodriguez
  • Scott Sizemore
  • Juan Uribe
  • Juan Francisco
  • Casey Blake
  • Jed Lowrie
  • Mike Aviles
  • Brent Morel
  • Matt Dominguez
  • Kyle Seager
  • Alex Liddi
  • James Darnell
  • Greg Dobbs
  • Jayson Nix
  • Chris Johnson
  • Robert Andino
  • Kevin Kouzmanoff
  • Brandon Inge
  • Jack Hanahan
  • Daniel Descalso
  • Eric Chavez
  • Zack Cox

If only Chipper could be good for one more year. He leads this group that may or may not contribute in 2012. Jones, 40 in April, still has 15 HR and 70 RBI potential with the Braves, but his knees and nagging injuries may him a risky pick up.

Davis strikes out too much, but with 400+ AB, he could hit 25 HRs. Murphy is eligible at 2B, 3B, and 1B, and hit .320 last season in 391 AB. Gamel will replace Aramis Ramirez as the Brewers starting 3B and has the potential to hit 20 HR.

Valencia keeps hitting in Minnesota, and Ian Stewart gets a new start with the Cubs, although his sore wrist continues to bother him. Morel starts at 3B with the White Sox and could be in the 12-14 HR and 50-60 RBI range. Rodriguez and his position eligibility and new starting position could be a valuable late pick up too. Look for Wigginton, now with the Phillies, to get the lions share of the at bats in the absence of injured 1B Ryan Howard.

Best Bet: Matt Gamel

About the Author

Jim McGrew

A lifelong Chicago sports fan, Jim enjoys playing, writing about and watching sports. He can be reached at or on twitter at @MySports1. Jim lives in the Chicago area and is married with 2 children.