Results tagged ‘ Third Base ’
By R.J. Anderson //
Nobody could blame Adrian Beltre if he wanted to distance himself from the 2009 season as much as possible. Not only did he endure a horrendous offensive season in which he posted a .683 OPS, he also suffered an injury to a certain male region that should never be used in the same sentence as the term “ruptured”. Nonetheless, Beltre became eligible for free agency and joined the Boston Red Sox. A stronger supporting cast figured to help his counting stats, while a far friendlier ballpark for hitters figured to boost his overall offensive production.
Thus far, Beltre is hitting .343 AVG/.375 OBP/.467 SLG. Previously, Beltre posted a batting average above .300 exactly once in his 12-season career. Meanwhile, his career Isolated Slugging (ISO, slugging average minus batting average) is .182, much higher than this season’s .124.
Beltre’s .386 BABIP is certainly the highest of his career, and miles away from his .292 career mark. Of Beltre’s 36 hits, only nine have been of the extra base variety. Putting up 75% singles looks more like a Nick Punto season, not the kind of numbers you expect from a player who hit at least 25 home runs each season from 2006 through 2008, with 252 career homers.
What gives? Beltre’s 4% HR/FB ratio is a career low, even worse than his 5.6% in 2009. This seems unlikely to continue to be the case. In past seasons at Safeco Field – a park that strongly curbs extra-base hits by right-handed batters – Beltre was still able to launch more than 10% of his fly balls over the wall. A move to Fenway Park – an extra-base hit paradise for righties who can get the ball up in the air and deep – Beltre should not see his power disappear.
As it stands, Beltre is second among third baseman in hits and second in batting average, behind division rival Evan Longoria. The season is a month old and odds are Beltre is going to finish with a higher batting average than originally expected. But there’s little reason to believe Beltre’s skill set has completely morphed from hulking slugger to Ichiro Suzuki clone. Adjust your expectations accordingly.
For more on Adrian Beltre, check out Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Tools.
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By R.J. Anderson
Casey Blake will enter this season as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting third baseman for the second consecutive season. Blake, 36, qualifies as a solid if unspectacular player. Last season he hit .280, popped 18 homers, drove in 79 runs a season, scored 84 runs and stole all of three bases. He’s an above-average hitter, no doubt, but is he worth a roster spot in a 12-team mixed league?
Such a question would be so much easier if the Dodgers used Blake like the Cleveland Indians did for years. Last season, Blake appeared in 134 games at third and two at first and left. The year before he appeared in enough games to become eligible at third base and first base, and in the past he’s been eligible at three positions at once. But if a Manny Ramirez suspension wasn’t enough to get Blake out in the pasture, then the addition of Jamey Carroll and Garret Anderson almost certainly won’t lure Blake to another position.
That means Blake’s numbers matter only relative to other third basemen in the league. Bloomberg ranks him as the 13th-best third baseman, and one going well below his B-Rank slot of 152. Instead, Blake is being drafted, on average, at 282nd. That’s a gap of more than 100 slots, indicating that Blake is being undervalued. He’s projected to nearly match last year’s numbers, with 19 homers, a .276 average, and 79 RBI.
That makes Blake a more attractive option than other hot corner bearers like Jorge Cantu, Mark DeRosa, Alex Gordon (destined to start the season on the disabled list), Scott Rolen, and Miguel Tejada.
Is Blake worth a roster spot? He’s not a sexy option, but yes, he’s worth drafting in 12-team mixed leagues. Target him in the late rounds, and take advantage of the huge gap between his likely value and his perceived value.
information on other good third base options, check out Bloomberg Sports’ fantasy kit.