3B is always one of the tougher positions to lock down, especially when you wait around on draft day. If your league has a CI position, it’s always good to lock up 3B early and do yourself a favor by taking a second 3B as well-- it’s a solid backup plan, and it can work for you with trade bait for a rival manager who gets stuck with a question mark at the position.
1. Miguel Cabrera – The #1 fantasy player. “What about Mike Trout” you ask? He hit 30 bombs, swiped 49 bags and scored 129 runs to go along with a .326 BA. When my OF ranks come out, get my take on Trout, but for now we are talking about “Miggy.” He is the epitome of consistency, something that is VERY important in fantasy baseball. He played 161 games last season and has flourished with the addition of Prince Fielder in the lineup. Expect similar stats to last season, top the tune of: 40 HR, 100+ R, 125+ RBI, and a .330 BA.
2. Adrian Beltre – Beltre has continued to improve as a top fantasy 3B option. The loss of Josh Hamilton is going to hurt a bit, but Texas is still a very productive lineup top to bottom. Hopefully the pressure doesn’t get to Beltre as he is the ultimate run producer for this team.
3. David Wright – He bounced back from his injury-riddled 2011 season with a very productive 2012, during which he was an all-around fantasy guy. His days of stealing 20+ bases are long gone but he still puts up consistent fantasy numbers.
4. Evan Longoria – Can he get through a full season? In less than half a season he put up gaudy fantasy numbers including 17 HR. In 133 games in 2011 he hit 33 homers, including 17 HR in August and September (during your fantasy baseball playoffs). Bottom line is: when he plays, he produces. Let’s hope he stays healthy in 2013.
5. Hanley Ramirez – He has 3B and SS eligibility which is a plus for deeper leagues. More importantly, though, is the Dodgers’ projected lineup, which includes Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Eithier-- so, so, so much potential for R and RBI. Keep in mind for keeper leagues, Ramirez will NOT have 3B eligibility in 2014 as the Dodgers have stated that Hanley will be the everyday SS in 2013. All that said, you'll probably want Hanley as a SS, so don't draft him as a 3B.
6. Ryan Zimmerman – It will be interesting to see how Denard Span helps this team and how Bryce Harper develops in his second season. Regardless, Zimmerman is good for over 20 HR and should knock in close to 100 RBI. When he stays healthy, he produces at an elite level.
7. Aramis Ramirez – After Aramis, the talent drop-off is clear. He fit in nicely with Milwaukee after nine seasons in Chicago. His numbers were better than expected; while I do not see him having the same success, and would expect his numbers to drop slightly, he consistently surprises everyone and puts up solid season after solid season. Better to draft someone else and trade for him after his cold first half. In all my leagues I will end up with one of these top 7 guys.
8. Chase Headley – Talk about career year and fantasy playoff MVP. 19 of his 31 HR and more than half of his RBI came in the dog days of August and September. Zero chance he maintains those numbers, but a midseason trade will improve his value. Indulge a little prognostication: I can envision Hafner and Youkilis splitting time at DH while Headley takes over at 3B.
9. Pablo Sandoval – He is going later in drafts than he probably should. He would make a fantasy manager very happy as a candidate for CI or UTIL. He hasn’t played a full season for a couple of years, but like many, when he is on the field he is productive. Pence, Posey, Pablo make a nice productive middle of the order for the defending World Series Champs.
10. David Freese – It’s too early in his career to project what Freese will do but I think his 20 HR from 2012 probably represents his ceiling. If he maintains his BA I would consider him a possible fantasy starter; nevertheless, he is a guy who won’t hurt you, but he won’t win any MVP awards either.
11. Pedro Alvarez – If you’ve been reading my rankings you can tell by now, I hate guys who hurt you. I am not a fantasy guy that will ever lose BA or OBP. David Freese is the opposite of Pedro Alvarez. What would you rather have: 30 HR and a .240 BA, or 16 HR and a .290 BA? If you’ve drafted high BA guys, you can afford Alvarez; if you’ve drafted high HR guys, go for Freese instead.
12. Brett Lawrie – The only way he moves up this list is if he were to start stealing more bases. With where he is hitting in the lineup, 70 HR hitting in front of him in Bautista and Encarnacion, it might be unlikely that he does that. He will have a shot at producing some RBI, but he’s still fairly young and he needs some more time to develop. Great hitter for keeper formats, though, but he is going way too high in drafts.
Be sure to also check out RotoBaller's full fantasy baseball Third Base rankings for 2013.