Fantasy Baseball

Third Base Bottom of the Barrel

Picking a third baseman late in an AL/NL or deep league is like shopping for clothes at a second-hand store. There is plenty of cheap worn merchandise donated by people who no longer wanted their dated apparel. Some of it is old and outdated, others look new but you wouldn’t be caught dead in it, and there are some things there that probably should have been thrown out but they are hoping someone will give them a dollar for it. If you are lucky and go on the right day, you might find something halfway decent to wear, but the odds are as slim as the pickins.

Welcome to the bottom of the barrel for third base. It isn’t pretty, there is nobody here you’ll want to take home to meet the parents, but maybe…just maybe, you’ll find someone who you won’t be embarrassed to have others see on your roster.  The following are players that did not make our top 25 third basemen list for 2015.

Trevor Plouffe: Here’s one of those nice shirts you could find on a good day. While Plouffe didn’t improve upon his average and power from 2013, he did lower his strikeout percentage, raised his walk total, scored 25 more runs and added 28 RBIs. The 80 RBIs and 69 runs ranked him 7th and 11th respectively among third basemen. This is why he made it on to three of the 6 lists for the top 25; unfortunately he wasn’t ranked high enough on those 3 to make the final cut.

Plouffe isn’t a bad option and is one of the better options on this list if you’re stuck looking for someone to man the hot corner. His average is much better against lefties than righties suggesting he could be a platoon player down the road, but he has three times the power against righties so the Twins will have to take the good with the bad. Plouffe gets one more year to prove himself with Miguel Sano working his way back from surgery so don’t worry about the prospect cutting into his playing time in 2015, or at least until September.

Lonnie Chisenhall: You thought this was a nice jacket and great bargain when you picked it out. People complemented your purchase and you wore it with pride for the first three months. Then you washed it instead of taking it to the dry cleaner; the thread started to unwind, the color ran and you cursed the store for selling you this crap. The former first rounder looked good to start the season and his final line was acceptable for a waiver wire purchase. The question is, can the tailor repair your once prized purchase or is it something you just wear around the house when nobody is around?

Chisenhall’s walk rate increased from 2013, going from 5.2% to 7.3%. While it looks like his strikeout percentage only went up slightly, it was actually over 20% for the final three months. He appears to have improved against lefties hitting .294 covering 109 at bats, but that average was a result of a .369 BABIP. Of his 13 home runs, only one was against a southpaw. Chisenhall received full-time at bats thanks to his hot start and appeared in 142 games; almost 50 more than 2013. Pitchers starting pitching him differently in the second half and he just couldn’t adjust.

Age is on his side; Chisenhall is only 26. The Indians have faith in him so he will need a complete collapse to start the season to lose his job. Those are the positives. The negatives are the runs, home runs and RBIs from last year rank him near the bottom of the top 25 for third basemen. That’s three categories he will not help you much in and if the average comes down against lefties, there isn’t much to like here. For mixed leagues he would be a last resort. For AL only leagues, his numbers aren’t horrible if he comes close to the same batting average.

Mike Moustakas: Do you remember bell bottom jeans? Today you’ll find a few people who wear them and love them, but those of us in the real world wouldn’t be caught dead in them. This is the world of Mike Moustakas, a man who showed some promise when promoted in 2011 and we’ve watched his average tumble like a house of card each year since. He did put up his highest walk and lowest strikeout rate in three years and…. Ok, I got nothing after that. Just like Chisenhall above, Mouse is another former first round draft pick that has failed to live up to the hype.

I know he is at a good age and there is the chance he will turn things around, just like the chance that bell bottom pants will be back in style one day. Oops, they already attempted a comeback and flopped. Guess you know where this is going. With a declining average, BABIP and fly ball percentage, a fly ball distance between 267 and 282 feet and a pull heavy approach at the plate, there is not much I can endorse here. I would explore every other possible option I could find before pulling the trigger on this one, even in an AL only league.

Casey McGehee: Just a plain white t-shirt here. It has a few stains that nobody will really notice at first; something you can wear while hanging out with your friends without being made fun of. You can get this anywhere; they’re generic, they serve a purpose, and they are replaceable. If you look at the numbers McGehee put up, there are two things that sort of stand out. First is his RBI total and 76 by a third baseman would rank him 10th among his peers. Next is the .287 batting average; only 5 third basemen with over 350 at bats had a higher average than McGehee. Those two categories along with an average run total made him a top 20 third baseman in 2014.

This year McGehee moves to a more hitter friendly environment – well, friendlier than Miami. He could be headed for a platoon if he doesn’t improve upon that .219 average against lefties, and at 32 years old I wouldn’t bank on improvements here. You’ll get zero power so if you’re looking at McGehee for third you better have a power guy at short or second to pick up the slack in your lineup. Depending on where the Giants slot him in the lineup, there is a chance for an increase in runs which could turn McGehee from a two to a three category player. Overall you’re looking at an unsexy player who will hit for average and drive in runs. Not bad, nothing special, just plain. You could do better, but you could do a whole lot worse. Not a bad bottom of the barrel option for third and a must own for NL only leagues.

Alex Rodriguez: This was once a nice designer shirt that everybody owned. Unfortunately this one was dropped in a puddle, never dry cleaned and shoved up in the attic with mothballs. The store didn’t even bother to clean it when they put it on display, just sprayed some febreze on it to make it smell good. The dry cleaner is afraid to wash it as it may fall apart and can’t guarantee the stains will come out. Plus a fat guy used to own it so it is all stretched out in the wrong places because it was a size to small but he just squeezed into it anyway. Still, you bought it hoping to get one good wear out of it.

A source told Teri Thompson, Bill Madden and Michael O’Keefe of the New York Daily News that Alex Rodriguez is “noticeably thinner and ‘massless’ than in previous years.” A-Rod will turn 40 this summer, has bad hips, missed the 2014 season for not taking steroids (insert sarcasm) and only played the final 2 months of 2013 because of an injury. Still, it’s A-Rod, right? We’ve all written off older players and injury prone guys and they’ve gone on to surprise us on someone else’s team. Is it realistic to think A-Rod can be a valuable fantasy asset? No, not really. In reality though, everyone is thinking the same exact thing so throwing a dart at the board with your final pick isn’t going to hurt. I don’t expect much, I wouldn’t count on him as your primary third baseman in an AL only league, but I would draft him with my final pick, just for fun. Maybe he has one more wear in him.

Cody Asche, David Freese and Chris Johnson: OK, I’m out of clothing analogies. I’m sure I could come up with something here, but the deeper I get at this position, the less funny things are. Speaking of funny, here’s a joke for you. What do you get when you add 40 points to the batting average of Mike Moustakas? Ash-Free Johnson. Told you things stop getting funny. None of them are going to hit much more than 10 home runs, score more than 55 runs or drive in more than 60.

Best case scenario is one of them hits between .280 and .290 which could lead to a slight increase in RBIs. Overall you’re looking at three players that are lower than Casey McGehee. That means bench material, injury fill in start in case of emergency players. Are these players you should own? Maybe in an AL or NL only league as insurance for your starter; but I would look elsewhere in deeper mixed league.

Waiting too long to fill the third base position is a dangerous risk in AL and NL only leagues and not a position I would want to be put in.  You always here don’t reach for a player because of position scarcity.  In this case, if you see the third base position starting to thin out, reach in and grab one before “Plouffe”, they’re all gone and you are left picking from the bottom of the barrel.

Bottom of the Barrel
First Base Second Base Third Base Shortstop – Outfield – Starting Pitcher – Relievers

By Jim Finch

The self proclaimed Grand High Exhausted Mystic Ruler of Fantasy Baseball. While I am not related to Jennie or Sidd Finch, I will attempt to uphold the integrity of the Finch family name as it relates to baseball.