Thinking 3rd Base was Shallow Entering 2011? It’s Gotten Worse
- Updated: April 29, 2011
Coming into the 2011 season, the general consensus was that third base was one of the weaker positions from a depth standpoint. It consisted of a few elite players, a few stars and then a huge drop off in the talent pool. After a top tier consisting of David Wright (NYM), Evan Longoria (TB) and Alex Rodriguez (NYY), there was a drop to a second tier of Kevin Youkilis (BOS), Ryan Zimmerman (WAS), Jose Bautista (TOR) and Adrian Beltre (TEX). The drop after that was precipitous. The feeling among most fantasy owners prior to draft day was that if you failed to snag a top talent at third base early, you were sunk at the position.
Fast forward to late April and a lot has changed at the hot corner. Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman remain out with injuries. Wright and A-Rod have performed well (okay, with the exception of Wright’s batting average). Youkilis has been a disappointment (.212 BA) with Beltre performing as expected (7 HR, 20 RBI). Depending on your league rules, Bautista doesn’t even qualify at 3B (0 games played at 3B in 2011 so far). That makes for a pretty ugly return on some early round draft picks to say the least.
Luckily, help is on the way. Baseball is a funny game and always has a way of evening things out. This is usually true of individual performances, but also applies to general statistics as well. For example, even though some players at third base are performing poorly (or not at all), others have stepped into the void. Pablo Sandoval (SF) and Placido Polanco (PHI) have delivered good offensive stats but both are not available in most leagues. Therefore, we must look to the waiver wire:
Ryan Roberts (ARI) – (Available in ~30% of leagues)
He has played his way into a full-time gig with Melvin Mora out due to injury. He should hold onto the job all season.
Wilson Betemit (KC) – (Available in ~75% of leagues)
Currently hitting .364. Sure, it’s an empty .364 but I’ll take it. If you’re desperate, so will you.
Alberto Callaspo (LAA) – (Available in ~60% of leagues)
Has taken advantage of injuries (first to Aybar, then Izturis) and made the most of his playing time.
Jack Hannahan (CLE) – (Available in ~98% of leagues)
He has hit 4 HR in 63 AB to go with a .286 AVG all out of the 9th spot in the order. If he moves up, so do his stats.
Depending on your league rules, you may have additional options. Some leagues allow you to slot a player into your roster once he has played at least 5 games at that position. Two options for you to consider are:
Martin Prado (ATL) – 5 GP
Juan Uribe (LAD) – 11 GP
Keep a close eye on Jed Lowrie (BOS), as he has played 4 games at third so far in 2011. One more and he’s in the club.