The consensus number one third baseman going into this season (A-Rod) is just barely holding a top 100 overall ranking while Aramis Ramirez is being out hit by Kevin Kouzmanoff. The rankings have been shaken up quite a bit. Let’s see how they stand now…
*Updated with the new and improved Scott Rolen!
1. Evan Longoria – The stolen base pace has just been icing on the cake. Longoria is doing it all right now.
2. David Wright – Basically Evan Longoria light at the moment. Could end up with more steals, but not betting on him out-homering Longo.
3. Kevin Youkilis – Should end up with similar number to last season.
4. Ryan Zimmerman – Young star looking to match 2009’s production.
5. Alex Rodriguez – Insanely low HR/FB rate for A-Rod standards, but has he become more contact oriented as skills begin to decline? He’ll be 35 next month.
6. Michael Young – Won’t approach last year’s numbers, but look for .300 with 15-plus HR and 90-plus RBI and runs when all is said and done.
7. Pablo Sandoval – Line drive rate way down. Had a big second half in 2009, so there is still plenty of upside here.
8. Adrian Beltre – Beltre already has 22 doubles this season. He had 27 and 29 in the past two seasons. There is a good chance he ends up with 20 HR and 100 RBI by the end of 2010.
*9a. Scott Rolen – After years of trying to just trying to stay healthy, Rolen seems to be more like his old self than ever. While the home run pace still seems a little fluky, there is a good chance he stays quite productive…as long as he can stay healthy that is.
9. Mark Reynolds – Stolen base threat all but gone and amazingly high 40% strikeout rate holding AVG way down. 30-plus home run power keeping him afloat.
10. Martin Prado – He’s basically the player we want Howie Kendrick to be. Solid plate discipline and great contact/line drive skills should keep his AVG high.
11. Aramis Ramirez – A thumb injury can be partly to blame for A-Ram’s miserable start, but everything about his approach at the plate was off. Hopefully, when he’s healed, he can start off fresh and put up some decent numbers the rest of the way.
12. Ty Wigginton – Has slowed since 13 HR April/May. Expect .270-.280 AVG with 15 or so HR rest of season (as long as he doesn’t get traded and become a part time player).
13. Chone Figgins – Slowly, Figgins is turning things around. He has lowered his strikeout rate in May and so far in June while increasing his line drive rate. Hitters of his mold live and die by the line drive. Figgy was just not making good contact to begin the season. He still has 20-plus stolen base potential the rest of the way with an improving AVG.
14. Juan Uribe – Has shown 20 home run power in the past and could approach that this season, but too much of a low contact/free swinger to maintain a high AVG.
15. Jorge Cantu – 20 HR power has returned along with health. Prime lineup spot should keep RBI up.
16. Placido Polanco – The pop he showed in April has faded, but he has continued to be a line drive machine capable of hitting .300-plus with a good amount of runs scored.
17. Jose Bautista
– In the midst of a home run drought. Without the long ball, his value falls big time. I suggested a sell high
a couple of weeks ago.
18. Casey McGehee – After an insanely hot start to the season, McGehee has fallen back into the type of player most thought he would be. His line drive rate currently sits at a low 13 percent and over 50 percent of his balls in play are ground balls. If the trend of low line drives/high ground balls continues, there will be issues in both the AVG and power departments going forward.
19. Troy Glaus
– Decent power option
if he can stay healthy.
20. Pedro Alvarez – I wouldn’t be surprised if Alvarez cracks 10-15 home runs this season, but I don’t expect a very good AVG due to issues against left-handed pitching and being prone to long slumps in the minors.
21. Gordon Beckham – The numbers are all over the place and it seems like there is an extremely long way for Beckham to go before he gets things straightened out.
22. Jose Lopez – Lopez has always been a free swinging/high contact hitter that lives and dies on the results of his BABIP. Without the power stroke he had last season, his value will remains very low.
23. Alberto Callaspo – Power surge seems to have affected his swing (13.5 percent line drive rate). He’ll need to correct that before finding big mixed league value again.
24. Kevin Kouzmanoff – Kouz has been hot lately and some of that has been BABIP aided (.511 BABIP this month with an 18 percent line drive rate). His current .327 BABIP is not likely to stick based on a below average line drive rate and high chase rate. Without 25 home run potential, Kouz is only usable long term in deep leagues.
25. Chipper Jones – The end seems near as annual injuries have met up with declining skills. There is a chance he contributes in spurts, but that’s about it.
Casey Blake – Nothing more than a deep league option at this point with 10 or so home runs the rest of the way.
David Freese – His AVG has started to fall from an astronomically high BABIP and there is more to come. His current BABIP is still extremely high (.382) and if the AVG falls much more there won’t be much value to be had in other categories.
Eric Hinske – He was hot for a while, but it is very unlikely he’ll keep up this pace or get enough playing-time overall to be anything more than a mixed league filler.
Jhonny Peralta – It seems like the 20-plus home run threat is gone now. Without that, he’ll have to drive in more runs to hold any value outside of AL-only leagues.
Brandon Wood – Maicer Izturis just hit the DL with a strained forearm today, so Brandon Wood has one more shot to prove himself. I’ve pretty much given up hope that he will contribute much at all as his plate discipline is about as bad as it gets.
Edwin Encarnacion – Power, yes. AVG, no. Injury prone and streaky.
Alex Gordon – He’s raking at triple-A and the Royals seem content to let him keep on like he is. Does that mean he’ll stay hot when recalled? He hasn’t shown the ability to transfer his minor league success yet, but I’d be willing to take a gamble when the time comes.
Jeff Keppinger – Nothing more than a source of decent AVG in deeper leagues.
– Some kind of slump bug has hit the Orioles lineup this year. Tejada may have some AVG left in him yet, but hi
s skills are in a noticeable decline.