Roto Arcade - Fantasy

This was an ugly weekend for major league third basemen, and thus for the fantasy community.

We learned that Ryan Zimmerman(notes) needs surgery to address an abdominal tear (estimated 6 week recovery), Pablo Sandoval(notes) fractured his right hamate bone (4-6 weeks), and David Freese(notes) has a broken bone in his left hand (4+ weeks). Zimmerman was a second round pick in most drafts, while Sandoval and Freese have been top-150 fantasy assets through the first month of the season. These are not minor losses, particularly when you consider the lack of depth at third.

Sure, Evan Longoria(notes) (oblique) is set to return, but it's not like you're going to find him in your league's free agent pool. Let's focus today on replacement options, for those who've just lost Zim, Panda, or Freese. Here's a list of today's most-added third basemen, as of 11:30 am PT...

1. Mike Aviles(notes) (KC - 2B, 3B, SS), 7,435 adds
2. Ryan Roberts(notes) (Ari - 3B, OF), 5,391
3. Jack Hannahan(notes) (Cle - 3B), 1,455
4. Wilson Betemit(notes) (KC - 3B), 1,352
5. Juan Uribe(notes) (LAD - 2B, 3B, SS), 1,124
6. Chone Figgins(notes) (Sea - 2B, 3B), 701
7. Chipper Jones(notes) (Atl - 3B), 652
8. Placido Polanco(notes) (Phi - 2B, 3B), 594
9. Alberto Callaspo(notes) (LAA - 2B, 3B), 527
10. Michael Cuddyer(notes) (Min - 1B, 2B, 3B, OF), 495
11. Alex Gordon(notes) (KC - 3B, OF), 484
12. Maicer Izturis(notes) (LAA - 2B, 3B, SS), 467

Again, those are the top dozen players that you're adding, today. But among that group above, only Hannahan (12 percent owned), Betemit (17 percent) and Callaspo (24 percent) are actually available in a majority of Yahoo! leagues. To me, Betemit seems, um...the least uninteresting of that trio. In each case, however, you're looking at a low-ceiling fantasy commodity, a player who's already performed as well as could reasonably be expected.

Beyond the 12 players above, you'll no doubt find that ineffective placeholders like Adam Kennedy(notes) (3 percent, multiple position eligibility) or Jhonny Peralta(notes) (28 percent) or Miguel Tejada(notes) (30 percent) are available. My slight preference, however, would be to roll the dice on one of the slow-starting third baseman, a player who hasn't yet had luck on his side.

These aren't exactly the Glengarry leads, but here's another list...

1. Ty Wigginton(notes) (Col -1B, 2B, 3B), 16 percent owned (oblique strain, hopes to avoid DL)
2. Chase Headley(notes) (SD - 3B), 17 percent
3. Edwin Encarnacion(notes) (Tor - 3B), 7 percent
4. Danny Valencia(notes) (Min -3B), 9 percent
5. Chris Johnson(notes) (Hou -3B), 6 percent

Yeah, I know: Brutal list, full of bad ideas. Valencia and Johnson both have oddly low BABIPs at the moment, given their batted-ball rates (.225, .231), so a case can be made that they're turnaround candidates. Washington's Michael Morse(notes) and St. Louis' Allen Craig(notes) could pick up 3B-eligibility while Zimmerman and Freese are sidelined, and either would be an acceptable short-term fantasy sub. I've made a small Craig investment; you might recall that he has the full Noise endorsement.

The minor league wild cards worth mentioning here are Ian Stewart(notes) and Brett Lawrie(notes), because both players are killing it at Triple-A. Stewart is hitting .406/.548/.844 with three homers in his 10 games at Colorado Springs, to no one's surprise. Whenever Stewart is recalled, he'll probably be re-hyped for fantasy purposes, but that tune gets harder to sing each time. Lawrie has been a hitting machine at Las Vegas (.373/.413/.618, near-cycle on Sunday), but his defensive shortcomings could keep him in Triple-A into June, if not beyond.

And that, at last, is every third baseman I care to mention. Please share the details of your Zim-Panda-Freese replacement plan in comments...

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