2011 Rankings and Projections: Third Base

Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria warms up before the game against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on July 23, 2009. White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle pitched a perfect game in his team's 5-0 win. (UPI Photo/Brian Kersey) Photo via Newscom

Third base is a thin position heading into 2011. Outside of the top four, there is a lot of risk on the board. Some young players will need to step up and former top prospects like Alex Gordon and Chase Headley will need to take a big step forward.

Note: The “Value Index is based on the projections and the average production per category. Each position is done separately.

  • After Ryan Zimmerman, there is a noticeable drop in Value Index to Alex Rodriguez.
  • 50 home run bat Jose Bautista may seem low, but given his history and incredible spike in wOBA, his 2011 forecast is very risky. Check out my Behind the Projections article on him.
  • Michael Cuddyer played 14 games at 3B last season. His value greatly increases as a 3B due to very consistent R and RBI production since 2006 (2008 not included due to injury).
  • Pedro Alvarez is going to hit for power, I am convinced of that. However, I have some concerns about his ability to bust out in the AVG department due to high strikeout rates and problems against left-handed pitching.
  • Alex Gordon‘s projection may seem optimistic and it is, but he has shown small signs of progression the past two years. The Royals just need to leave him alone for a full season. I did some analysis on him in this Fire Brand of the American League article.
  • I still like Pablo Sandoval a little, especially if he comes into spring training in shape. However, given his free swinging ways, his projections are always going to be volatile. If he lasts until the later rounds, he’ll be a nice flier pick.
  • Part of me still wants to believe that Edwin Encarnacion could have a breakout year if he gets enough at-bats. The Blue Jays just re-signed him and he could split full-time 1B/DH duties with Adam Lind.
  • Royals prospect Mike Moustakas probably wont break camp with the big club, but he should be up at some point in 2011 and will be an immediate add once he does.