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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.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Top 20 third basemen

If you’re the type of fantasy owner who just looks at last year’s stats, you won’t be selecting David Wright in the second round in the next few weeks.

If you’re the guy or gal who looks at three-, four- or even five-year averages, you’ll notice the Mets’ third baseman is an ideal mid-second-round pick.

He had an off year, hence his drop in value, but he’s still young (27) and is a proven commodity.

From 2005 to ’08, Wright batted .311 with averages of 29 home runs, 112 RBI, 22 stolen bases and 106 runs scored.

Last season, Wright scored 88 runs (a drop of 27 from the year before), hit 10 homers (a drop of 23), drove in 72 runs (52 down from 2009) and struck out a career-high 140 times. He went on the disabled list for the first time in his career, but he still played in 144 games and has said he just felt out of sorts last season.

The cavernous new Citi Field didn’t help Wright’s power numbers, but he had only five home runs in 277 at-bats on the road.

Was it just an off year? Was it something more? Does he miss alleged former fling Erin Andrews?

My guess: Yes, no and how can he not?

When I ranked the top 100 overall players prior to spring training, I struggled deciding between the Rays’ Evan Longoria and Wright, despite Longoria hitting 33 homers and driving in 113 runs in 2009, his second season.

Longoria likely will be a late first- or early second-round pick, and Wright should go off the board shortly thereafter.

He might not provide the power of Longoria, but he’ll hit for a higher average, steal a lot more bases and should be comparable in runs and RBI.

If you get Wright in the middle of the second round, you shouldn’t regret it.

We can’t say the same for any Indians fan who believes he can wait until the middle rounds to draft his or her starting third baseman: Jhonny Peralta.

On to the rankings:

Rank, player: R-HR-RBI-SB-Avg.
1. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees: 78-30-100-14-.286
2. Evan Longoria, Rays: 100-33-113-9-.281
3. David Wright, Mets: 88-10-72-27-.307
4. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: 110-33-106-2-.292
5. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks: 98-44-102-24-.260
6. Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 79-25-90-5-.330
7. Chone Figgins, Mariners: 114-5-54-42-.298
8. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: 46-15-65-2-.317
9. Michael Young, Rangers: 76-22-68-8-.322
10. Chipper Jones, Braves: 80-18-71-4-.264
11. Jorge Cantu, Marlins: 67-16-100-3-.289
12. Adrian Beltre, Red Sox: 54-8-44-13-.265
13. Ian Stewart, Rockies: 74-25-70-7-.228
14. Miguel Tejada, Orioles: 83-14-86-5-.313
15. Casey McGehee, Brewers: 58-16-66-0-.301
16. Placido Polanco, Phillies: 82-10-72-7-.285
17. Casey Blake, Dodgers: 84-18-79-3-.280
18. Brandon Inge, Tigers: 71-27-84-2-.230
19. Jhonny Peralta, Indians: 57-11-83-0-.254
20. Chase Headley, Padres: 62-12-64-10-.262

Preseason top 100 players (9): Rodriguez (4), Longoria (15), Wright (18), Zimmerman (31), Reynolds (40), Sandoval (44), Figgins (60), Ramirez (71), Young (86)

Short hops

Rodriguez needed only 444 at-bats last season to extend his 30-homer, 100-RBI streak to 12 years. ... Reynolds is a great combination of power and steals, but be wary of taking him early in points leagues that penalize for strikeouts. The Diamondbacks’ third baseman has fanned 427 times in 1,117 at-bats the last two years. ... Before an injury-marred 2009, the Cubs’ Ramirez had tallied at least 26 homers and 92 RBI in six consecutive seasons. ... Beltre had a three-year stretch with 25, 26 and 25 homers prior to a dismal 2009. ... Cantu has 45 homers and 195 RBI the last two seasons. ... The 35-year-old Tejada, whose power numbers are down significantly the last two seasons, is making the move from shortstop to the hot corner. ... To Peralta’s credit, prior to 2009, he had batted at least .270 with 21 homers and 72 RBI for four straight seasons. ... The promising Headley has struck out 241 times in 892 career at-bats.

NOTE: Statistics are from the 2009 season. ... Positions listed are according to the depth charts at

NOTE II: We pushed back the shortstop rankings until Thursday this week, hoping the Mets will release more on Jose Reyes’ thyroid condition by then.

Third basemen, today; designated hitters, Wednesday; shortstops, Thursday

LAST WEEK: Catchers, March 2; first baseman, March 4; second baseman, March 5

NEXT WEEK: Outfielders, starting pitchers and relievers

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