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March 30, 2013

Fantasy Forecast: Third basemen are dropping like flies this spring

It has seemingly been a war of attrition at the hot corner this spring.

Six out of the top 13 third basemen based on average draft position in Yahoo! leagues have fallen prey to the injury bug this spring. Some (like David Wright) appear to be progressing nicely and may yet be in the lineup on Opening Day. Others (like Hanley Ramirez, David Freese and Brett Lawrie) are starting the season on the DL. It’s looking like it will be an all or nothing proposition when it comes to selecting a third baseman if your draft is coming up this weekend.

With so many on the hot corner in the infirmary, the best bet is really either to get your third baseman early (say Miguel Cabrera or Adrian Beltre) or wait until toward the end with Baltimore’s Manny Machado or old friend Kevin Youkilis available around the 20th round.

You could roll the dice on Evan Longoria (average draft position 22.2) or Ryan Zimmerman (43.6), but these two are seemingly always hurt and guaranteed to spend at least part of the season on the disabled list. There are intriguing names like Will Middlebrooks (155.2) or Pedro Alvarez (165.4), but I might be more inclined to go with the upside of the young Machado or the consistency of the old pro Youkilis — at least ahead of the streaky, homer-or-bust nature of Alvarez (30 home runs last season, but just a .244 average).

If you find yourself in need of a replacement third baseman, your best bet will probably be the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall. The third baseman has hit 4 homers with 12 RBI and a .426 average this spring and figures to be the everyday third baseman for Terry Francona. He has a limited major league resume, but he appears to be the best of the rest that can be found on the waiver wire after drafts.

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