2015 Fantasy Baseball: Where are they now? — Third Basemen
As we approach the all-star break, it is high time to look back at the disappointing players from the season’s first half. This time we are looking at third base. Like the other positions, there have been a number of injured players and under-performing players at the position. Our task here is to look at the players that could possibly come back to their previous levels of performance. That would eliminate injured players that will not return (most notably David Wright).
We are taking the top 15 preseason third basemen according to Yahoo and profiling the ones that have been the biggest disappointments. We will break down their performance by month to see if we can decipher any trends. As we’ve noted before, some players are eligible at multiple positions, and if they’ve been profiled before, we are skipping them this time around.
Adrian Beltre— Texas Rangers (Yahoo #2)
Like many of the players we looked at behind the plate and at second base, a variety of factors have affected Beltre’s performance. First, he missed three weeks of June nursing an injury. Still, that can’t explain everything. He had a bad April and the injury interrupted a decent May. Since then, he’s hitting under the Mendoza line without any home runs or stolen bases. It is beginning to look more and more like a lost season.
What to Expect?
Beltre has been in the big leagues since 1998. He likely is approaching the end of a very productive MLB career. There is nothing more insidious in fantasy sports than the memory of a great player. Make no mistake, Beltre has had a great career that likely will land him among the top ten third basemen of all-time. He isn’t that guy now. He may improve some, but he will never be the Beltre of three or four years ago again.
Evan Longoria— Tampa Bay Rays (Yahoo #6)
Really nothing has happened. If you look beyond the power numbers, Longoria is having a fairly normal season. In reality, this is nothing more than residual let down. A few years ago, Longoria looked like a perennial MVP candidate, but he just hasn’t produced on that level. If he hustles, he’ll get to 20 home runs and 80 RBI on the season. That’s not bad, but to the level we’ve expected from Longoria.
What to expect?
I’ve been burned by Longoria, but I’m inclined to give him a chance to turn things around. He’s never hit fewer than 17 home runs in a season, so I’d expect him to hit a power surge at some point this season. When that happens, his numbers will approach career norms. You might as well accept the rewards for a half season’s worth of consequences.
Kyle Seager— Seattle Mariners (Yahoo #8)
It’s really a combination of things. Seager had been steadily improving coming into the season and he signed a 100 million dollar deal in the off season. The combination of his contract and improvement had some people overvaluing him. When you look at the numbers, he’s not that far off career norms. If he produces like that in the second half he’ll hit 24 home runs, score 66 runs, and drive in 76 runs. It’s not great, but it’s not that bad.
What to expect?
Unfortunately, Seager has a track record of being a first-half hitter. He is currently ranked 24th among Yahoo eligible third basemen. Chances are there is someone better out there on the waiver wire right now. I might keep him on the bench in case he starts hitting again, but I wouldn’t give him regular reps as my third baseman right now.
Pablo Sandoval— Boston Red Sox (Yahoo #9)
The numbers aren’t really that far off career norms. He’s only surpassed 20 home runs twice in his career and he’s surpassed 79 RBI only once. He’s surpassed 68 runs scored once. In other words, he’s never been a big producer. So, when you look at his seven home runs, 29 runs, and 29 RBI you aren’t looking at a huge difference in what he’s normally done. Part of it is the fact that he’s only surpassed 600 plate appearances in three of his previous seven seasons to date. The other part is that people overestimate his ability based on his postseason performance. In 167 postseason plate appearances, Sandoval has a .344/.389/.545 slash line. Obviously, people keep waiting for him to produce those numbers in the regular season.
What to expect?
Sandoval has a career .802 OPS and compiled most of that in San Francisco. The natural progression should have been better numbers in Fenway, but it hasn’t happened. However, it is likely that he will be better than the numbers that he’s put up so far. How much better is the question. The Red Sox have begun to play better of late and he could ride their coattails. If you have nothing else at third, he could give you a shot in the arm.