Third Baseman Keeper RankingsThursday, August 18, 2011
This year's final set of Strike Zone player rankings focuses strictly on 2012 and beyond. I'm looking mostly at the next two years in these keeper rankings, though I am providing a little credit for 2014 and '15. As always, there are position rankings with notes and an overall top 250 list.
Click to see other Keeper rankings: Top 250 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH
Deciding exactly where to slide in A-Rod was the only tough call with the top 10. Not counting Bautista (who is back in the outfield now anyway), Rodriguez has been just as good offensively as any third baseman in the league this year. However, he's 36 now and it looks like declining health will be more and more of a problem. I originally had him fourth and then decided to slide him behind Zimmerman as well. I'm pretty sure I'll have Rodriguez ranked higher than Zimmerman next year, but he's a worse bet for 2013 and beyond.I have Alvarez 14th, which is two spots lower than I ranked him going into this year. I imagine the 30-homer power will make a reappearance in 2012, but even a .250 average might be pushing it. It also might be his last season qualifying at third base, since the Pirates pretty obviously need to move him to first.Encarnacion is the third Blue Jay in the top 20. He's already gotten enough time at third base this season to qualify at the position next year, and with the way he's playing now, it seems likely that the Jays will bring him back, even if it's to serve primarily as a designated hitter. I've always been high on his bat.Freese's lack of durability got him dropped a few spots in the rankings. Cox, a 2010 first-round pick, could be the choice to step in at third base for the Cardinals next year when Freese lands on the DL.I'm still a believer in Gamel, who could either replace Prince Fielder at first in Milwaukee or challenge Casey McGehee for the third-base job next year. It looked like the Brewers had given up on him at the hot corner, but they've been toying with him there again as of late. Third base was deep enough that Chris Johnson, Daniel Descalso and Josh Bell got left off the list. I've never been very fond of Johnson, and while the Astros will give him another look at third base next year, I think he'll again be found wanting. Descalso has been impressive all over the infield for the Cardinals, but he doesn't have the power or speed to become a big-time fantasy threat. He's probably going to end up as a utilityman anyway. Bell could get another look at third for the Orioles if Reynolds gets traded or if Chris Davis proves to be a bust, but his Triple-A performance this year wasn't very encouraging.