Drafting Ramirez & Cabrera Means Third Base Eligibility
The biggest news for sleepers at the third base position for the 2012 fantasy baseball season is actually two very well known players who didn’t play a single game at the hot corner last year and are therefore not eligible for your draft at third. They are Hanley Ramirez of the Miami Marlins and Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers. Don’t forget about them in your draft. While you likely can’t draft them at third, they will have qualified for third base after the first two weeks of the season. Like you needed any extra incentive to draft HanRam or Miggy?
So, leaving Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera out of the mix, here are our top fantasy baseball third basemen sleepers for 2012.
Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: Third Base
1. Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays — Brett Lawrie’s 2011 rookie debut was delayed by a broken hand and then ended early by a broken finger. That didn’t disappoint the Blue Jays faithful, however, who saw Brett Lawrie crack 9 homeruns in just 150 at bats and hit .293. His limited at bats last year may have fantasy baseball managers overlooking him in 2012.
2. Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals — Mike Moustakas hit a blistering .411 over the past 14 games with four homers, nine runs, and eight RBIs. In just 89 games last year, he ended at .263 with 5 home runs.
3. Brent Morel, Chicago White Sox — After going deep just 2 times for the entire season, rookie Brent Morel hit 8 home runs in September last year so if you believe in momentum, he just might be your guy for 2012.
4. Casey Blake, Colorado Rockies — Any time a hitter moves from the Dodgers to the Rockies, you have to like his chances for improving his stats. Casey Blake was limited to 63 games and 202 at bats last year and suffered through the worst season of his career with just 4 home runs. But, this is a guy who hit 17, 18, and 21 over the previous seasons so he may be flying under the radar in your draft.
5. Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians — Lonnie Chisenhall is the number one ranked sleeper by many fantasy baseball sites, but we have him a bit lower due to competition he’ll face for the job by Jack Hannahan. Chisenhall does seem to be the favorite for the regular third base job, but it will be a competition in Spring. Look for Chisenhall, 23, to improve on his .255/7/22/1 mark he posted last year in 66 games.
6. Ian Stewart, Chicago Cubs — Ian Stewart played in Colorado last year and had a poor season. Stewart didn’t hit a single home run in his 48 games played. So, why do we like him? Check out his 18 and 25 home runs the previous two years and the fact that he’ll play every day in Wrigley with Aramis Ramirez gone.
7. Jimmy Paredes, Houston Astros — Houston looks to be the worst team in MLB this year, but one thing it will have is speed, especially if Jimmy Paredes wins the regular third base job. Paredes stole 40 bases in his minor league career. In 168 AB’s last year for the Astros, he hit .286/2/18/5. He may get pushed for the job by Brett Wallace who is a better hitter, but Paredes glove will ultimately win him the job as Houston’s third baseman.
8. Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners — Seager was on our fantasy baseball sleepers shortstop list last week, but he qualifies at third base and he’ll play third for the Mariners this year.
9. Juan Uribe, Los Angeles Dodgers — The Dodgers will go with a veteran platoon of Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston at third this year. Uribe should get the majority of the playing time and he hit 24 home runs in 2010.
10. Eduardo Nunez, New York Yankees — Eduardo Nunez seems to qualify at every infield position as a sleeper this year. We like his 22 stolen bases and he should get a lot more chances to play this year with A-Rod taking more time off to play the DH role with Jorge Posada and Jesus Montero gone.
11. Scott Sizemore, Oakland Athletics — Detroit traded Sizemore last year in part because he can’t seem to hit right-handers (.221). Teh 26-year-old, however, is still not yet at his prime and he’ll get a chance to play every day in Oakland.
12. Scott Rolen, Cincinnati Reds — I know, Scott Rolen is 36-years-old and has been a productive player for many years so how can he be on our sleepers list? Here’s why, he played in just 65 games last year with 252 at bats. If you think he’ll be healthy, he could return to his 20 home runs season that he enjoyed in 2010.
13. Ty Wigginton, Philadelphia Phillies — This one is a long shot, but stay with me here for a second. We all know that Ryan Howard is out for at least the first two months of the season. John Mayberry Jr. can play first, but Mayberry is a better choice in left field for the Phillies than Laynce Nix and Domonic Brown. Wigginton plays third base, Placido Polanco moves to second base where he is most comfortable, and Chase Utley moves to first base. Making sense? Ty Wigginton hit 15 home runs last year for the Rockies and 22 the year before.