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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Fantasy baseball rankings: 3B

It wasn't enough for Alex Rodriguez to be the story of the offseason. Now he's the story heading into the major-league season.

Just in case you haven't tuned into "SportsCenter" -- aka A-Rod, Manny and T.O. Central -- in the past 24 hours, the Yankee of many tabloid nicknames is going to try to play through a torn labrum in his hip.

If it proves to be too much, he will have surgery and could miss up to four months. If he can play through it, will he be the A-Rod of old -- the one who has 11 straight seasons with at least 35 home runs and 103 RBI?

We'll get into this much more as the season nears with our preview stories in print and in this space, but here are a few quick stats: Rodriguez's home-run total has been at 35 in both 2006 and 2008 -- his lowest since 1997, when he was 22-year-old shortstop in Seattle.

He turns 34 this summer, and he's coming off a season in which he missed 24 games and had 103 RBI, also his lowest since 1997.

If you could guarantee a repeat of 2008 (35 homers, 103 RBI, 18 steals, a .302 average and 104 runs), you'd take it. But you won't be completely comfortable calling or clicking A-Rod's name on draft day.

His injury drops him from No. 1 to 3 on this list, and the ranking could get lower depending on how the rest of the month unfolds. Which for A-Rod can only mean more drama.

Next week, we'll post the rankings of the top outfielders and designated hitters, as well as a comprehensive list of all batters. We'll post the top pitchers the following week.

Note: Each player is listed at the position he is projected to play this season, according to the depth charts at ... Statistics listed are from the 2008 season.


Rank, player, team: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. David Wright, Mets: 115-33-124-15-.302
2. Evan Longoria, Rays: 67-27-85-7-.272
3. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 104-35-103-18-.302
4. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: 97-27-111-2-.289
5. Garrett Atkins, Rockies: 86-21-99-1-.286
6. Chipper Jones, Braves: 82-22-75-4-.364
7. Michael Young, Rangers: 102-12-82-10-.284
8. Adrian Beltre, Mariners: 74-25-77-8-.266
9. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: 51-14-51-1-.283
10. Chone Figgins, Angels: 72-1-22-34-.276
11. Mark DeRosa, INDIANS: 103-21-87-6-.285
12. Melvin Mora, Orioles: 77-23-104-3-.285
13. Jorge Cantu, Marlins: 92-29-95-6-.277
14. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks: 87-28-97-11-.239
15. Edwin Encarnacion, Reds: 75-26-68-1-.251
16. Alex Gordon, Royals: 72-16-59-9-.260
17. Mike Lowell, Red Sox: 58-17-73-2-.274
18. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres: 71-23-84-0-.260
19. Casey Blake, Dodgers: 71-21-81-3-.274
20. Bill Hall, Brewers: 50-15-55-5-.225


Wright’s numbers are very comparable to A-Rod, and that’s following a season in which Wright’s batting average dipped 23 points. ... Atkins gets the nod over the Braves’ Jones strictly because of the latter’s habit of getting hurt. Jones has batted .324, .337 and .364 the last three years. ... Young, a career .300 hitter, makes the move to third, but don’t overlook his power drop the last three seasons (35 total home runs). ... Figgins is always overrated because he steals bases, but he slipped to 34 in that category last season and he provided zero pop. ... Zimmerman drove in a combined 201 runs in 2006 and 2007. ... The versatile DeRosa can also play second base and the outfield. ... Strikeout alert: Reynolds whiffed a ridiculous 204 times in 539 at-bats last season. ... Cantu and Lowell, who was great in 2007, can provide late value. ... Two to remember: The Cardinals’ Troy Glaus (27 homers and 99 RBI last season) is expected to miss at least the first month of the season because of a shoulder injury. The Giants’ Pedro Sandoval batted .345 with three homers and 24 RBI in 145 at-bats as a rookie last season.


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