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February 10, 2014

Fantasy Players to Target

Third Basemen

by BP Fantasy Staff


For the earlier articles in this series, click below:

Rare is the day that members of the BP Fantasy Staff agree on something. Ergo, this piece should encourage you to draft Brett Lawrie, Aramis Ramriez, and David Wright.

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
I’ve admittedly been on the Lawrie train since the station. Maybe it’s because I’ve been known to drink a Red Bull or three myself. I didn’t just extrapolate those first 150 AB from 2011 and expect him to take over the fantasy world at third base in 2012, but I did have 20 HR/20 SB dreams floating in my head. Obviously, both 2012 and 2013 have been a disappointment against expectations, but he was 22 and 23 years old, too. He was just off the pace of league average with those two seasons, posting a 96 wRC+ in 978 PA. The real issue has been health, as three DL trips have limited Lawrie to just 232 games. Had he managed to stay healthy, he’d have had a pair of 15/15 seasons and everyone would still be firmly on the bandwagon. Instead, this place has cleared out. But why? Now is the time sign on. He’s made it through the rough patch of being a young player and now, 1,149 PA in, is when you can legitimately expect an upturn. Health does remain a holy grail, but I’m willing to bet on offensive improvements; plus, the cost has never been lower. —Paul Sporer

This obviously depends on your league and your format. In a non-keeper league, there is going to be a buying opportunity where at least two owners have been burned by Lawrie and will move him down their lists. Just as it was folly to push Lawrie up to a high-$20/low-$30 price in auctions based off of a tiny sample size in 2011, it would similarly be foolish to completely discount him now. Even if Lawrie simply stands still, a 15-home-run, 15-steal season isn’t entirely out of the question. Lawrie’s improved contact rates as the season went on are what make him stand out as a player to target. His strikeout rate through May 31 was 23.5 percent; after that it dropped to 13.5 percent. Don’t discount Lawrie because he isn’t what you thought he would be. 15/15 is valuable at any position, in any format. —Mike Gianella

Manny Machado, Orioles
I recently took Machado 44th overall in an expert mock draft on Fangraphs, and I agree with the criticism I received that I took Machado a bit too high and that I let the board play tricks on me. I strongly disagree with his current NFBC ADP of 106, however, and Machado is someone you should target in drafts this spring. He's such a good natural hitter that we tend to forget about his power potential, but as Machado enters his 20s and gains muscle, some of the 51 doubles he hit a year ago are going to start leaving the park. Many people are out on Machado because of his injury, but we've already gotten multiple reports stating that he's well ahead of schedule. Even if he's not ready for Opening Day—and he very well could be—it's difficult to envision him missing more than a few weeks. There is some risk in targeting Machado this year, and I fully acknowledge that. But he's being drafted after Kyle Seager, Martin Prado, and Chase Headley in some leagues, and that's a crime. If you're going to gamble, gamble on upside. —Ben Carsley

Aramis Ramirez, Brewers
Playing mostly in dynasty leagues means that guys at the tail end of their careers (Ramirez will be 36 in June) tend to get devalued. Double that for injury-prone players, which Ramirez is. But given the dearth of impact bats at the position, it’s what he does when healthy that makes me interested in Ramirez. In 92 games last year, Ramirez swatted 12 home runs to go with his .283/.370/.461 slash line. He doesn’t offer a ton of speed (though he swiped nine bases (!) in 2012), but he gets the job done everywhere else. And while he has missed plenty of time throughout his career due to injury, Ramirez was coming off back-to-back 149-game seasons before getting injured last year. I would anticipate him to be in the 115-130-game range in 2014, but what you get there plus the fill-in when he’s injured should be of great value. —Craig Goldstein

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Experts Mock D... (02/10)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Tar... (02/03)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Tar... (02/17)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Fe... (02/10)

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