Miguel Cabrera has been an absolute monster since the day he was called up and has done nothing but continue to get better, year after year. Miggy sits high-atop the 2013 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Basemen and then there is a considerable drop-off between him and the next best at the hot corner.
Over the years, owners have been hit hard with superstar after superstar succumbing to injury. Think, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Adrian Beltre and Alex Rodriguez who have all missed large chunks of games throughout different points in their careers. Historically, this position is more injury-riddled than any other in Fantasy baseball.
The moral of the Fantasy third basemen story is: This is a position littered with talent, but be keep in mind you will want to have a capable reserve if the injury bug hits.
Changes you will want to keep your eye on:
- Kevin Youkilis is back in the AL East! Only this time he comes back in the Yankee pinstripes and turns his back on Beantown. "Youk" is well past his prime and is more a temporary fill until Rodriguez returns from hip surgery; however, Yankee hitting coach Kevin Long recently told the New York Post that he thought he could get Youkilis back on track. “We looked at old film and compared it to 2012," Long said. “We saw some considerable differences, mainly in his stance and it looked like the adjustments had an impact....I think we can get him back to being an All-Star caliber player." With his skills appearing to be diminishing, he is no more than a late-round pick in mixed leagues this year, but you'll want to keep an eye on how this new stance works for him this spring. Will Middlebrooks remains the future at the hot corner in Boston.
- Mark Reynolds joins Nick Swisher in Cleveland as the two big off-season signings for the Tribe – and he moves to first-base-only eligible in Fantasy play for those leagues needing 20 or more games played at the position in the previous year. Reynolds' power bat makes him a decent late-round pick in Rotisserie formats, but points leaguers should exercise caution, as his strikeouts and relatively low doubles totals may end up hurting as much as they help.
- Michael Young leaves the sweltering heat of Arlington and picks-up his parka on his way to Philadelphia. Both parks are hitter friendly and while he does not have middle-infield (SS, 2B) eligibility entering your draft, he could pick it up by midseason like he does most years. He will start the season capable of playing 1st and 3B and worth a later-round selection.
- Manny Machado , a former propsect at shortstop, will be the open day starting third baseman in Baltimore. That position switch for SS to 3B has historically crushed a players Fantasy value. Luckily, J.J. Hardy has played more than 140 games in a season just once (last year) in the past four seasons. That could mean Machado picks up five games there this season, making him eligible at SS as well as 3B and worth a late-round gamble.
- Alex Rodriguez is expected to be out until June after hip surgery. Coming off a postseason which he was benched for his performance at the plate and the fact that he is now 38 years of age makes him a very risky option. If you can stash him in a DL spot, Rodriguez is worth a late-round pick on draft day, but in some leagues, he might very well go undrafted and rightfully so.
- Keep in mind that there are some big names who will not have 3B eligibility entering 2013 like Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo. That is a lot of power exiting the position and makes things that much shallower.
- Can Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman stay healthy? They both have tremendous ability, if on the field, but there is a huge risk that they are going to continue to miss time. Value them as top options at a weaker position, but do so with a solid backup in place.
Here are the Top 60 at the hot corner:
Please review the original article to get a list of the entire set of rankings.