Here are some very preliminary 2014 third baseman rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
2014 Third Baseman Rankings
- Pity the team that needs a third baseman this winter. The best player available in free agency, Chavez, nearly retired a couple of years ago and can only be viewed as a part-timer because of injuries. Youkilis should probably be looked at the same way. Young might eke out another year as an everyday player, but he hasn't been an asset in that role since 2011. Reynolds is a first baseman. Juan Uribe and Placido Polanco will be out there as well, but teams aren't going to want to sign them as starters.
- A-Rod would be listed at No. 15 without the suspension threat hanging over his head.
- Sano's ETA will start to become a bigger story this winter. The Twins could lose Justin Morneau to free agency, and they're not thrilled with Plouffe's defense at third, making a move to first a possibility. After tearing up the FSL to the tune of a .330/.424/.655 line earlier this season, the 20-year-old Sano is now hitting .205/.305/.500 with six homers and a 30/14 K/BB ratio in 88 at-bats in Double-A. I don't imagine he'll be an option to begin next season, and he might need to spend the entire 2014 campaign in the minors. However, he had to be included here somewhere.
- I also snuck Moran on to the list at the very bottom. The 2013 first-round pick just made his pro debut last week, but he was the most polished bat in the draft and the Marlins have nothing to speak of ahead of him at third base. He might be a mid-2014 arrival.
- The Phillies will have to decide whether to acquire another stopgap for third base or to go young. The 23-year-old Asche has hit .288/.349/.453 with 10 homers and 11 steals in Triple-A this year. He'd probably be a fringe regular, but the team does have Franco coming up behind him. Franco, who was promoted to Double-A in mid-June, has hit .321/.360/.598 with 21 homers in 343 at-bats this season. He's just 20 and he shouldn't be an Opening Day starter, but he could overtake Asche as the year goes on.
|4||Edwin Encarnacion||Blue Jays||5 1B||5|
|16||Will Middlebrooks||Red Sox||11||26|
|18||Mark Reynolds||24 1B||18|
|36||Brent Morel||White Sox||41||NR|
|37||Brock Holt||Red Sox||67||NR|
|39||Conor Gillaspie||White Sox||51||36|
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