Friday, February 15, 2008

Matt's Stats: Baseball Preview Edition

The steroid hearings are over and spring training has officially begun down in Florida and Arizona. With pitchers and catchers starting to play, fantasy league signups are in full force and with that in mind here is the fantasy preview for Third Base:

1) Alex Rodriguez (3B - New York Yankees) - This first ranking is the easiest one yet, Arod is clearly the best third basemen in the league, and an argument could even be made that he is the best player in the majors. Arod is finally comfortable in NY as proven by his .314 avg., 54 HR, 156 RBI, and 24 SB. Rodriguez may have fallen a bit in drafts last year, but that won't happen again. If you are lucky enough to be drafting when Arod is still around make sure you take him, otherwise you probably will regret it for the rest of the season.

2) David Wright (3B - New York Mets) - Wright has improved in every year of his career and there is no reason to think that 2008 will be any different. Last year Wright hit .325 with 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 Runs, and 34 SB making him one of the top third basemen in every offensive category used in Fantasy. Wright projects as a late first round pick.

3) Miguel Cabrera (3B - Detroit Tigers) - Cabrera has also continued to improve every season with a .320 avg. last year combined with 34 HR, 119 RBI, and 91 Runs scored. The only thing keeping Cabrera behind Wright on this list is the lack of stolen bases, but when you consider the fact that his stats should go up playing in the much better Tigers lineup for the first time, it makes Cabrera an excellent early pick as well. 40 HR and 130 RBI should be possible.

4) Ryan Braun (3B - Milwaukee Brewers) - In his Rookie season Braun exploded onto the scene hitting .324 with 34 HR, 97 RBI, and 91 Runs scored. These stats would have been great for a rookie over a full season, but Braun only played 113 games, having not debuted until May 25th at San Diego. Projected over a full 162 game season, there is no reason to believe that this Rookie of the Year award winner wouldn't be capable of at least 40 HR and 120 RBI, making him another top pick on draft day.

5) Chipper Jones (3B - Atlanta Braves) - Chipper may not hit as many HRs or RBIs as the other 4 players on this list, but don't forget about Chipper. He is still a very consistent player hitting .337 with 29 HR, 102 RBI, and 108 Runs scored. This is also Chipper's last chance to hit at Shea, the stadium for which his son is named, and for those 10 games at least you can expect big numbers. Look for Jones as an excellent choice at 3B after the big 4 have been taken.

Stay away from Scott Rolen (3B - Toronto Blue Jays) - Rolen used to be a great player but he has only 35 HRs over the last three seasons and hit only .265 in 2006 thanks to his chronic shoulder problem. Rolen could bounce back for a good Toronto team, but it is way too risky a proposition to take a chance on come draft day. Let someone else take that chance on draft day.

That's all for now, stay tuned for the Shortstop Preview next week. As always, if anyone has any questions specific to their teams, post them in the comments section and they will be answered in next week's column. Have a Great Weekend!!

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Dave said...

Chipper ahead of G. Atkins? Come on now. Chipper is getting older and older (about to be 36) and will always be an injury risk. Atkins had an atrocious first half batting .240 and finished at .301. He is a stud, and is very undervalued in all "experts" eyes.

Matt Cohen said...

I decided to go for consistency over high risk/high reward for the final spot on the rankings. The Rockies as a team got hot at the right time when everything went right, but I still view Atkins as a big question mark. He obviously started out very slow in 2007 and until he plays an entire season like he played the second half under his new contract I view him as a risk. Chipper you know what you get, but with Atkins, I view his as a very high risk/high reward type of player who will be drafted pretty early this year and who has the clear ability to enter long slumps that can hurt one's team for a large part of the season.