Friday, 15 July 2011

Heating Up at the Hot Corner: Fantasy Baseball Third Basemen for the Second Half of 2011

As the temperature heats up heading into the ‘dog days of summer’, fantasy baseball teams will be looking for players which will heat up at many positions as well. The ‘hot corner’ has been anything but ‘hot’ so far in the 2011 season, as many players have battled through injuries and cold streaks, leaving the third base position rather shallow so far this year. Not to worry, there are several options for your fantasy baseball team after the All Star break to consider. Recently, I looked at second base options for the second half of 2011. Now, let’s consider some fantasy baseball players to consider (and some to avoid) in filling your roster spot at third base the rest of the way in the 2011 season:

Ryan Zimmerman (WAS)
Heralded by many as the ‘class’ of the position entering the season, Zimmerman has disappointed so far in 2011. An abdominal injury held him out of most of the first half of the season and this type of injury doesn’t portend well for his power numbers in the second half. Still a defensive dynamo, Zimmerman may no longer be the elite third baseman many felt he was. Batting only .214 since his return from the DL in mid-June, and with only 4 HR on the season, you may be best served by looking elsewhere for help at the position in the second half. 

Mark Reynolds (BAL)
The biggest knock against Reynolds has been his prodigious strikeout rates to go with a batting average that has often flirted with the Mendoza line. His .198 BA monstrosity from 2010 can be blamed partly on an injured hand. Although never one to challenge for a batting title, Reynolds did hit .299 in June and has hit at a .286 clip so far in July. The strikeouts are still there, but considering the fact that he has 20 HR on the season, Reynolds may be a real source for power in the second half.

Health has been an issue with Ramirez recently, but he did hit well after the break in 2010, producing a slash line of .276/.321/.526. Playing for a contract in 2012, Ramirez could be in for a decent second half this year. With Carlos Pena heating up and protecting him in the Cubs’ batting order, Ramirez could be one to watch after the break. At 32, he’s not over-the-hill, but injuries are a concern. If you like to gamble, he just may be worth it.

Chase Headley (SD)
Never one to impress with monster numbers, Headley is once again putting together a decent season. Although not a source of power, with 8 SB and a .305 BA so far in 2011, Headley is a solid option at third base that will not hurt your fantasy numbers overall. If you are looking for steady (if unspectacular stats), Headley is a middle-of-the-order hitter and a relatively safe bet the rest of the way.

Ryan Roberts (ARI) -
If you are looking to add some speed to your team from the third base position, Roberts is currently leading the pack with 13 SB. Add in 11 HR, and he has put up a decent first half, to be sure. He has lost some playing time to Sean Burroughs recently and has hit only .221 over the past month, but even from a pinch-hitting role, Roberts has delivered. When the dust settles after the second half, Roberts should regain his playing time and should contribute some steady numbers.

After getting off to a blazing start to the 2011 season, “Kung Fu Panda” was felled by a broken hamate bone in his right hand that caused him to spend some time on the DL. However, he did show up this season slimmed down by approximately 25 pounds which has re-established himself with both the Giants brass and fantasy owners alike. He is currently riding a 22-game hitting streak (only 4 behind Jack Clark’s team-record 26-game streak from 1978). No longer looking like he swallowed the Giants’ bullpen catcher, Sandoval is playing his way back to fantasy baseball relevance and should continue that surge in the second half of the season.

When looking at your options for third base in the second half of the 2011 season, there are several options. Since the position is relatively shallow, making the right move just might have you rounding the hot corner and ‘heading for home’ in the last few months of 2011.


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