2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2013 Fantasy Baseball, Total Run Series: Third Basemen

Statistics are worthless without a frame of reference. Sure, you can compare players with other plays in a basic way, but what does it all mean. It occurred to me that I went through the first three articles without providing a frame of reference for total runs. Those that have followed runs created through the years are already ahead of the game.

Baserunning runs work differently than runs created because zero is equivalent to average. Runs created works based on a minimal expectation of performance. When we look at a full season’s worth of numbers we notice that a regular should come in somewhere between 70 and 80 runs created. Bill James‘ total runs includes a baserunning and fielding number where zero is average. He adds a positional adjustment we don’t.

So, when you see a half dozen guys at a position on pace for 100 or more total runs. If you added in the fielding metric that might turn into a couple more guys. That makes third base very interesting indeed. When you get beyond those six to eight guys it gets really thin really quickly. Heck, if we were going purely on the current numbers, Mark Reynolds would be in the top twenty. He was just DFAed by the Indians.

This has a detrimental effect on fantasy players playing in leagues with twelve or more teams. If you look at the table below you would be hard pressed to find even ten guys worth starting. This is where creativity comes into play. There are several guys that are eligible at third base that don’t play the position regularly. They include Edwin Encarnacion, Matt Carpenter, et al.

Rank

RC

BR

Tot

Notes
Miguel Cabrera

2

105

5

110

Imagine the season as two thirds done. This means he is on pace for 160 total runs.
Adrian Beltre

17

81

0

81

He is quietly putting up solid Hall of Fame credentials.
David Wright

23

80

1

81

It looks like that contract was justified for now.
Kyle Seager

148

75

2

77

Perhaps the most anonymous superstar in the game.
Josh Donaldson

354

70

0

70

If Seager isn’t the most anonymous star then this guy is.
Evan Longoria

21

69

-2

67

A somewhat down year, but he is still on pace to get to 100 total runs.
Manny Machado

211

66

0

66

He has been a revelation this year. Add in the defense and he is easily top three or four.
Chris Johnson

360

56

-2

54

A blind pig finds mud every now and then. His defense makes him marginal though.
Ryan Zimmerman

31

53

1

54

If he could stay healthy he would be a consistent top five third baseman. If…..
Pedro Alvarez

166

53

0

53

He got off to a terrible start, but if you ignore April and May he has been top three caliber.
Martin Prado

81

50

-3

47

Just not an exciting guy in terms of fantasy. His ability to play multiple positions makes him okay.
Michael Young

240

49

-2

47

He has been exposed this year as mediocre. Add in terrible defense and he’s downright marginal.
Todd Frazier

143

45

2

47

His team is undefeated when he homers. Not bad for a guy with ten dingers.
Chase Headley

117

48

-3

45

They should have traded him in the offseason. 2012 is looking like a mirage.
Pablo Sandoval

53

41

-2

39

Fantasy players bought too much into the three homer game in the World Series.
Luis Valbuena

988

37

1

38

You couldn’t be more obscure than Valbuena at the beginning of the season.
David Freese

95

40

-3

37

He is the 2012 version of Pablo Sandoval. People still buying into that 2011 World Series.
Nolan Arenado

326

34

0

34

His defense plays him up severely. So, he will play regularly if anything else.
Trevor Plouffe

284

33

1

34

When you look up mediocre in the dictionary you see his picture.
Matt Dominguez

748

34

-1

33

Like Arenado, his defense plays him up, just not as much.

Of course, a big part of the problem is that there are several key names missing from this list. Toronto’s Brett Lawrie was a top 100 selection in a number of drafts and he is missing here. A large part of the problem is the fielding noise we see with Nolan Arenado and Matt Dominguez. We see it with Manny Machado as well, but he backs it up with some offensive production.

In all fairness, he has missed considerable time this season. He would otherwise be in the top twenty through sheer volume. Will Middlebrooks on the other hand fell off the wagon through bad performance. He lost his job in Boston and there is no indication that he will ever get it back.

However, the biggest name missing is Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez normally is a top ten third baseman easily and sometimes a top five when he is hot. A large part of his problem has been injuries, but it has also been a season where the Brewers have largely disintegrated. They have top notch fantasy players in Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy, and Jean Segura, but the supporting cast has been lacking. So, he is likely a guy that will end up going back into the top ten. Even if two out of three make it back to where they are expected to be, the position will gain its depth back.

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