The MLB season is upon us which means it is time for the Fantasy Baseball season. We here at the Sports Script want to do everything possible in setting you up for draft day and helping you throughout the season to win a Fantasy Baseball Championship. We are gathering a team of Sports Script writers as well as some special guest to answer 5 key questions about each position for the upcoming 2014 Fantasy Baseball Season. Today we have gathered me (Ricky Valero), Matt Bell, Matt Wincherauk and special guest Timothy King (@Tking978). Timothy writes over at Rotoanalysis.com (@RotoAnalysis) as well as Fantasysquads.com (@FantasySquads). Make sure to hop on over to twitter and give him a fellow and take a trip on over to the other sites that he writes at. Today we have lined up to take a look at the 3rd Base position.
5 Questions surrounding Fantasy 3rd baseman
1 – Which player or players are you targeting?
Timothy – Outside of the usual suspects being selected in the first couple of rounds (Beltre, Longoria, Wright), I’m intrigued by Pablo Sandoval’s weight loss and think he bounces back in a big way this season. The underlying data suggests that he made gains in skill in ’13. Recent performance can be attributed to weight issue and nagging injuries. Top 10 3B for me heading into ’14.
Ricky – Adrian Beltre is high on my list and would draft him if I was picking in the middle of the 1st or end of the 1st. Beltre has been one of the most consistent Fantasy baseball hitters over the last few seasons. Ryan Zimmerman is another guy I have an eye on as well after hitting 11 HRs in September giving his 5 season with 25 + homers in his career.
Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to be looking Manny Machado’s way when it comes time to draft. He’s only gotten better every single year, and should continue to be a top flight option at third base. As for his injury, he seems to be way ahead of schedule, potentially even could be ready for opening day and that’s good enough for me to take him as a top 10 third baseman.
Matt Bell – I think without a doubt you have to consider Miguel Cabrera the top pick in any fantasy baseball draft, so he’s a guy I’m targeting. I’ll look past that and look at one of the not so obvious guys at 3rd base that I want. Manny Machado is a guy I’ll do everything I can to get on my fantasy team and with him being so young I’m not worried about him coming off a major injury. Machado is an extra base hit machine and should only get better as he gets older.
2 – Which player are you staying away from?
Timothy – I don’t know if there is necessarily anyone I am staying away from, but Pedro Alvarez seems to be creeping up a lot of people’s draft boards. Sure, the power is nice (he hit 36 home runs in ’13) but he also posted an average just north of .230 and a sub-.300 OBP. I’d rather fill the position early and grab a guy like Adam Dunn in round 22 for empty power.
Ricky – Pedro Alvarez – The power is a wonderful thing to have but his average and his OBP is just brutal. I am not sure it goes up any if at all in 2014. Where he is going to be drafted and where I would draft him are two totally different places this year.
Matt Wincherauk – I’m going to be avoiding Matt Carpenter, because I just don’t trust him to duplicate what he did last season. His 126 runs scored, and .318 average are probably not sustainable, so it’s not that he’s a bad option, it’s just that he’s bad value with how high he’s going to go.
Matt Bell – The player I’m staying away from this year at 3rd base is Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez is 35 years old this year and after an injury prone 2013 he’s not a good I’m going to target at all this year. Ramirez had his worst season batting average wise and in slugging percentage of the last 3 years. I see this as the decline of a once all-star 3rd baseman.
3 – Who is the biggest sleeper heading into 2014?
Timothy – Outside of the aforementioned Sandoval, I think both Headley and Seager could prove to be value picks. Seager is one of the few Mariners prospects to have panned out in recent seasons and I think he can build upon his 22 homer, 9 steal 2013. Headley busted out in 2012 only to be a massive failure last season, but if we average the two seasons together (which judging by his metrics seems reasonable) he’ll be a top 10 option as well. I like Headley to hit 17 homers and swipe 12 or so bags.
Ricky – Chase Headley – I really liked him to have a monster season last year and he just was a complete dud. But I believe 2014 should be much nicer to him as he looked better down the stretch last year hitting .280 with 6 HRS and 19 RBIs. Look for him to continue where he left off last season.
Matt Wincherauk – I feel like Brett Lawrie is going to be a solid sleeper pick for 2014. He’s slipped a bit with some inconsistent play, and injuries, but he’s such a phenomenal talent, and if he continues to drop down boards, then I’d be happy to snatch him up. This could be a break out year for Lawrie, as long as he’s grown up a bit.
Matt Bell – Pablo Sandoval is a guy that I’m targeting as a sleeper for 2014 as he’s been reported as losing as much as 42 pounds this year. I’m not worried about that being muscle because if you’ve seen Pablo you know he had some pounds to lose. If anything I think the loss will help him at the plate and speed everything about his game up. I can see Pablo getting his average back up above .300 like the 2011 season.
4 – Which player will be a bust for Fantasy owners?
Timothy – Will Middlebrooks. He doesn’t walk (5.3% BB rate in ’13) and strikes out far too much (over 26% last season) to be a reliable fantasy contributor. Power upside remains, but until he gets his ratios in check he’s going to struggle to hit big league pitching.
Ricky – Evan Longoria – Playing in his 1st full season since 2010, Longoria hit some high and some lows. He hit 32 HRs (2nd best of his career) but struck out a career high 162 times. He had the 4th highest K% (23.4%) of all 3rd baseman and saw his HR/FB% (15.7%) drop to a 4 year low. He is going higher than I would want for someone who may be on the downside.
Matt Wincherauk – I have Aramis Ramirez as my bust. He’s now 36 years old, coming off an injury plagued season, so I just can’t feel like I can trust him. There’s no chance to me that he gets back to that 25 homerun plateau.
Matt Bell – Pedro Alvarez will be targeted by many fantasy players because of the 36 home runs he hit last year. There is more to a fantasy player than just home runs though for the yearly teams. He only hits for an average around .240 and more than likely is going to hit closer to 25-30 home runs then above 35.
5 – Give a bold prediction for one player.
Timothy – Josh Donaldson sees his batting average fall 40 points and hits .261 in ’14. Donaldson isn’t a top 10 option for fantasy owners this season.
Ricky – Timothy has a very upsetting Bold Prediction as I love Donaldson this year but I like Aramis Ramirez to bounce back and hit over .300 and hit 30+ homers.
Matt Wincherauk – I’ll go with Pablo Sandoval getting 25 homeruns, 90+ RBI all while maintaining a solid .280 batting average. He’s finally in shape and should mean that he’ll get more games than he has in any of his previous years.
Matt Bell – The Bold predictions for my 3rd baseman this year is that Miguel Cabrera will fall off a little this year and not come close to competing for a triple crown this year. I can’t pin point one name that I think will overtake him, but I just think we will see a small decline in his production
If you have any questions about the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season make sure to hope on over to twitter and ask. You can follow me @rickygangster @mattbell211 & @TheMattyWin and we will answer any and all questions.
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