From The Fantasy Oracle 2016 MLB Draft Guide Is Here! 

A Third Base Hole

Ryan Zimmerman and Adrian Beltre were placed on the DL. Who should you turn to at the hot corner until they return?

Slide 1 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 1

Ryan Zimmerman has a broken thumb that is likely to cost him 4-6 weeks. Adrian Beltre has an injured quadriceps that has sent him to the DL (the stint was backdated to April 9th and the hope is that he will be back when first eligible). That's two top-10 third sackers on the shelf. So what do you do if you own either of those injured sluggers or if you're just looking to bolster the third base position on your club? So glad you asked.

In what follows I'll review nine third sackers that might be available on waivers for you to turn to for a boost at the hot corner.

Slide 2 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 2

Matt Dominguez hit 21 homers with 77 RBIs last season. Last season Ryan Zimmerman had 26 homers and 79 RBIs. Pretty close right? Dominguez has started slowly this year hitting .190 through 13 games, and that is the issue with him. Honestly, he's not a very good hitter. It won't stop him from popping 20 long balls, he could certainly do that again, and his glove is good enough that he should remain in the lineup daily for the Astros. He does own a poor career slash line though of .245/.288/.409 so understand he's a flawed hitter that you are merely adding for some pop. Think Mark Reynolds with less power. Come to think of it, how intriguing is that?

Slide 3 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 3

Todd Frazier may or may not be available depending on your league size. He might be the most intriguing option on this list as well. Frazier has hit 19 homers each of the past two seasons with an average of 70 RBIs. Those aren't big numbers but it should be pointed out that he's only averaged 477 at-bats the past two seasons. If he kept up that per at-bat pace and cleared 550 at-bats we would be looking at a better than 20-80 season. There has also been lots of talk that the Reds might let him run a bit, and he's got enough speed to swipe 10 bases pretty easily if he is indeed turned loose. It's early, but it is nice to see that he's pace through 13 games has led to a 0.56 BB/K ratio which would be significantly better than his 0.37 career rate. If he holds on to those gains it's quite possible he will be able to better the .249 career batting average he is saddled with, perhaps by a decent amount. Hits in a great home park too.

Slide 4 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 4

David Freese is always hurt. There I said it. If he wasn't he wouldn't be on the waiver-wire cause he can hit. Per 150 games for his career we're looking at a guy who has averaged 14 homers, 75 RBIs to go along with a .282 average. Not sexy by any means but usable in the right format. His home run upside is capped by his new home park in Anaheim and the fact that his career fly ball rate of 26 percent is laughably low (that's a number you would expect to see with guys like Ben Revere and Eric Young Jr.). Still, Freese has hit better than .290 in three of the past four seasons so despite his poor start this year - .140 through 11 games – brighter times lie ahead when his BABIP literally doubles from it's current mark of .167 to his .343 career level.

Slide 5 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 5

Conor Gillaspie isn't dynamic, never will be dynamic, and shouldn't be counted on to produce solid mixed league value this season. Just look at what he was able to do last season as a guide - .245-13-40-46 in 408 at-bats. Plus, look at that picture. Doesn't it seem like he could double as a librarian during the offseason? But this piece is about who can help you right now, and the answer to that might just be Gillaspie. He hasn't stolen a base or gone deep once, so avoid getting too far ahead of yourself here, but that total of nine RBIs and that .341 batting average have to be enticing. Same old story here in terms of the inflated average – it's a sample size thing. Conor is sporting an impossible to maintain 30.3 percent line drive rate leading to a .412 BABIP that also won't be sustained. If he's starting for you on April 15th that's fine. If he's starting for you on June 15th your team is going to be in trouble.

Slide 6 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 6

Chris Johnson hit .321 last year. I told everyone all offseason you shouldn't care. People didn't listen. They cared. They drafted him. They are now disappointed. Still, when a guy is coming off a .321 season and he's on waivers he deserves to be mentioned. Johnson is currently batting .239. How is that possible? Many reasons. One, his approach at the plate is atrocious. He's literally walked an average of 30 times the past two seasons. Pathetic. This year he's been even worse with one walk through 12 games. He strikes out a bit more than you would like and he's currently saddled with 15 punchouts in 12 games. Awful. He has no power. The past two seasons he's averaged 14 homers a year. He has one homer in 12 games this season. So just as I've been doing for the last four months I ask you – why do you have interest in a third baseman who is going to hit .275 with 15 homers and 70 RBIs? Is he any different than David Freese? Nope. But he was likely more expensive, perhaps substantially so on draft day. Johnson's a total mess right now.

Slide 7 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 7

Casey McGehee didn't have an at-bat in the big leagues last season. Why? He simply stopped hitting. After a 23 homer 104 RBI season in 2010 he hit .223 with 13 homers and 67 RBIs in 2011 before dipping to .217-9-41 in 2012. He then spent 2013 playing in Japan. His return to North America has gone as well as anyone could have hoped as he's hit .280 with 11 RBIs through 14 games. We all know that the Marlins suck at life so McGehee will play daily and likely hit somewhere in the middle of their lineup as well. What will be bring to the box? After being utter failure the past three years it would be unwise to expect him to return to 2010 levels. In fact, it would be unwise to expect him to be starting for you in a month. His .359 BABIP is obnoxiously high and his current 21 percent K rate would also be a career worst. He's also failed to go deep in 14 games. A great start to the story but don't expect this one to have a happy ending.

Slide 8 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 8

Mike Moustakas --- I mean do I really have to? OK, you know I do cause I'm so obnoxious. I told you so. Moose crushed it last preseason and then he embarrassed himself hitting .233-12-42-42 on the year. He crushed it this spring and... well let's just say that last year's numbers are looking good to him right now as he's hit .111 with one RBI through 10 games. He might still have a decent season, it's early, but can we please stop the talk of a breakout effort. It's just not happening. Period.

Slide 9 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 9

Trevor Plouffe has had some big league success. He's also a flawed player. For his career here is his slash line: .243/.306/.411. All of that is worse than league average stuff. He's stolen a total of six bases in his career (he's actually been caught seven times). He did sock 24 long balls in 119 games in 2012 but that's all he really brings – some decent pop. If you want to try and ride the wave have at it with Plouffe, but you should note that through 12 games he hasn't gone deep once and he's batting .326 (thanks to a .395 BABIP that is .114 points above his career rate and a 32 percent line drive rate). He'll be forgotten in short order in most mixed leagues.

Slide 10 of 10 A Third Base Hole | Slide - 10

Marcus Semien is interesting to me. So many folks seem to want to add this guy, or they already have, which I'm not quite getting. Don't get me wrong, in dynasty leagues I love this kid and his potential. But if we're talking 2014 and thinking mixed leagues it's hard to envision him having value all season long. I noted Gillaspie earlier, and if he's hitting he will play third. Semien might have 3B eligibility in your league but 10 of his 13 starts have come at second base while Gordon Beckham works his way back from injury. When Beckham is good to go the only way Semien plays daily is if the Sox trade Beckham. Otherwise he will become a utility guy. Given that Semien's batting .236 with a .689 OPS through 12 games that is likely where he belongs anyway. You should also be concerned that in his young career Marcus has struck out 38 times in 120 at-bats. Just not quite ready, but the future is bright.


Leave a Comment