While there is some young and big-time talent at the top, third base will once again be a position filled with question marks and potential fluctuation in 2011.
1. Evan Longoria – Longo’s loss in power this season shouldn’t make owners panic too much. His HR/FB rate was the lowest of his career and has a very solid chance to bounce back up next season. The potential for a huge season of .300/35/100/10 is well within reach.
2. David Wright – Consider Wright 1A as his bounce back in power shows that Citi Field can’t hold back the elite hitters for long. A good bet for a 20/20 season, Wright has shown us in 2010 that 30/20 is not out of the question.
3. Ryan Zimmerman – Only injuries held ZImmerman back in 2010. He’s heading into his prime years and should be a .300/30/100 threat once again in 2011.
4. Alex Rodriguez – Injuries have hampered A-Rod over the past two seasons. When healthy he can still rake, but the stolen base potential has been diminished a bit. With younger upside players ahead of him, A-Rod’s days as the top fantasy 3B seem to be over.
5. Aramis Ramirez – Forget his first half numbers. A thumb injury messed with his swing and plate approach. Ramirez hit .279/.322/.523 with 14 home runs in 222 post all-star break at-bats and is a solid bet for .280/25 HR in 2011.
6. Michael Young – His age is the only concern as he’ll be 34 in October.
7. Adrian Beltre – I’m holding Beltre back despite his big 2010 season for two reasons. First, it doesn’t seem likely that Boston will want to pay the lofty price for his services this offseason. Second, I’ll start to believe in him when he does something outside of a contract year.
8. Jose Bautista – No one saw Bautista’s home run surge coming, but he managed to maintain a great pace all season long. Bautista has turned himself into a pure slugger, but to expect another 50 home run season may be asking too much. Because he has not shown this potential in the past, taking him high in the 2011 draft would be a risky move.
9. Pablo Sandoval – In the end, Sandoval had similar peripherals to his 2009 season, but saw a big dip in BABIP. That could easily bounce back up in 2011 if he can avoid the prolonged slumps that haunted him this season.
10. Casey McGehee – McGhee had an up-and-down season, but the numbers were there in the end. His solid contact skills and building track record make him a solid .275-.285/20 HR bet for 2011.
Note: I didn’t add Martin Prado to this list as I believe he is much more valuable as a second baseman.