Warning: Things are about to get very ugly, very fast. Remember the reference to Bruce Willis’s hair at the beginning of my rankings? Well, we’re moving away from the Die Hard years, and into the thinned-out Surrogates days.
11. Gordon Beckham (.271, 80 R, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 10 SB)
Do not sleep on young Mr. Beckham. This guy has a world of talent and flashed some of it in his 378 at bat stint with the White Sox last season. He has more upside than anyone in this half of the top twenty and should be a priority in keeper leagues. He will play 2B this year, but qualifies at 3B.
12. Chipper Jones (.302, 80 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 2 SB)
Chipper has fallen a long way from being near the top of the heap at third base as recenly as three ago, to borderline starter in 2010. His batting average dropped exactly 100 points in 2009 from 2008, but Chipper will likely pull his average back up towards to .300 mark in 2010. As always, Chipper is a huge injury risk.
13. Jorge Cantu (.277, 72 R, 22 HR, 90 RBI, 2 SB)
Cantu’s 2009 season was interesting. Compared to 2008, he saw a boost in his RBI total and average, but a big dip in both runs and homeruns. Cantu has had a very up and down career. You never know for sure what you’ll get from him, making him a risky pick in all leagues. Cantu also qualifies at first base.
14. Ian Stewart (.255, 85 R, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 6 SB)
Stewart finally gets a chance to play everyday in 2010, but he is still learning how to be a hitter at the major league level. The power will be there, but he doesn’t look close to ready to help you in the average department. Stewart will be productive in 2010, but still a couple years away from reaching his potential. He also qualifies at second base.
15. Adrian Beltre (.270, 75 R, 20 HR, 80 RBI, 10 SB)
Beltre had a strange 2009. He was able to maintain his typical mediocre batting average, but saw a huge drop in his power totals. In turn, his RBI total and runs dropped as well, resulting in a stat line that left a lot to be desired. The move to Boston should effect Beltre’s numbers positively, but it won’t matter much if he doesn’t get his power stroke back. Beltre is a huge high risk/high reward guy.
16. Mark DeRosa (.274, 80 R, 20 HR, 82 RBI, 2 HR)
DeRosa is another option at third with a lot of questions surrounding him. He will bat in the middle of an improved Giants line-up, but improved does not mean good. Last season he posted a career high in homeruns, but saw a considerable dip in average as compared to his previous three seasons. At 35, he certainly won’t get any better.
17. Casey Blake (.275, 80 R, 18 HR, 78 RBI, 3 SB)
For some reason Casey Blake gets no respect. Does he have upside? No. Is he reliable? Yes. Blake is not, and never will be, a star, but makes a great late round pick and an ideal back-up to your starting third basemen. Sometimes safe is good.
18) Jhonny Peralta (.266, 70 R, 17 HR, 81 RBI, 1 SB)
2009 was a huge disappointment for Peralta after a monster 2008. Peralta is a legit talent with the potential to return to his 2008 form. Expect the 27-year old to get back on track and have an encouraging 2010 season. He also qualifies at SS.
19. Alex Gordon (.255, 75 R, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 13 SB)
Disappointment. It’s the one word best used to describe the career of Alex Gordon. His talent is top notch, but poor performance and injury have plagued him. There is a chance that he turns it around and breaks out in 2010, but there is also the chance that he never develops into anything more than a big league reserve.
20. Scott Rolen (.287, 70 R, 12 HR, 68 RBI, 3 SB)
Injuries really robbed Scott Rolen of what could have been a spectacular career. He is a shell of his former self, and one of the biggest injuries risks in the game. He will play every day for the Reds and likely will be decently productive when he isn’t hurt. The question is, how often will he be hurt?
2010 Third Base Sleepers
Wood has put up some absolutely ridiculous power numbers in the minor leagues, but has struggled to be productive in each of his short stints with the Angels over the past three reasons. It looks like the Angels are finally ready to hand Wood a big role with the team, but Wood will have able replacements waiting in the wings should he struggle. Wood is a high upside guy in 2010, but one you may get nothing out of as well.
Much like Wood, Fox has put up some fantastic numbers in the minors, but has yet to be given a real opportunity in the majors. That may change in 2010 now that Fox is in Oakland, and has the opportunity to win a starting job coming out of spring training. Fox is not a lock to play every day, but if he does he could be very productive.
In addition to spelling his first name with just one “t,” Gamel is a talented young prospect with a high upside. Right now he lies behind Casey McGehee on the depth chart, but I am not big on McGehee at all, and believe Gamel will take over by midseason. He is absolutely lost with the glove, which you probably don’t care about, but his troubles with the leather may prevent him from hitting the big leagues sooner rather than later.