Final Preseason Newsy Third Base Tidbits

I didn’t expect to do another post on recent developments at third base until after the season began, but there were several relevant (some more than others) circumstances that could impact any of you doing emergency, 12th-hour drafts the day before the season begins.

I’ve written far too much about Ryan Roberts over the past six months, and part of that is probably because I have a hard time figuring out if I like him in fantasy baseball, and in what kinds of formats he might be useful, if at all. Well, it turns out that Kirk Gibson might be having the same thoughts kicking around in his skull relative to real baseball as he’s given Geoff Blum quite a bit of praise recently and failed to commit to Roberts as his every day third basemen when questioned. I have to believe that Roberts will see the majority of the time at third and maybe this is the way a former “gritty” player rewards a player with “veteran savvy” who is having a decent spring. But if you own Roberts, take notice.

The Anaheim logjam of infielders has pushed their 2011 leader in home runs, Mark Trumbo, from every day first baseman to a guy who might play third, might DH occasionally, might spell Albert Pujols once a month, might play outfield, and might just ride pine a day or two a week. It’s an interesting problem for Mike Scioscia to have, but not one for a fantasy manager. Trumbo with third base eligibility is one thing, but even though he is apparently looking decent over there, they aren’t committing to anything beyond maybe twice a week at the hot corner. Scioscia has repeated the call to get him at bats, but every time he’s in the lineup, he’s displacing a better glove (Alberto Callaspo), probably a better bat (Kendrys Morales), or a veteran (Bobby Abreu), and we know the skipper loves his veterans. An injury or a trade of Abreu frees things up a lot, but until then, you probably can’t count on regular appearances for Trumbo.

Chris Johnson has returned from the dead. Despite Eno Sarris’ bold predictions for 2012, Jimmy Paredes apparently didn’t do enough with his cup of Joe in 2011 nor his time in Spring 2012 where he hit .190/.190/.238. Although he had few at bats to demonstrate his worth, Houston shipped him to AAA for seasoning. They’ve flirted with the idea of Brett Wallace at third base as well, but the tea leaves are saying that Chris Johnson enters the season as the starter. I’ll spare my analysis up on him and give you an excerpt from Dan Wade’s excellent FG+ write-up on Johnson: “He doesn’t walk, hit for power, or steal bases particularly well, and if you’re counting on his batting average in 2012, you’re hoping against hope.” So there you go.

I had written the Oakland situation up more extensively, but seeing as how Howard Bender covered it well this morning, as did Carson Cistulli much earlier, I’ll just refer you there.  The short version is, Scott Sizemore tore his ACL, the door opened, and there stands Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard, and Adam Rosales. For whatever it might be worth, Sogard is hitting .341/.400/.545 with two HR’s and three doubles this Spring. Donaldson is at .231/.293/.288 with no home runs, three doubles and 14 strikeouts over 52 at bats. Rosales, .167/.261/.222 (yeesh).

For fantasy purposes, it’s probably best to simply avoid all of them altogether until the fog lifts because none of them possess immediate upside. Sogard does hold a special place in the hearts of those of us who made the Arizona Spring Training pilgrimage as he hit a foul ball which kissed off the hands of Carson Cistulli, who then wrestled blue haired ladies and children for possession thereafter.

In injury related news, David Wright is back swinging the bat after injuring his left rectus abdominis (I can scratch posting the word “rectus” off my bucket list) and it’s all systems go toward the regular season, so they say. But I’m still really concerned that this is an injury that could easily come back to haunt him, and I dropped him well down my own personal third base rankings, enough that he just becomes someone else’s problem to worry about. If there was guaranteed reward, that’s one thing, but with the risk comes the hope that he’ll get back to the great player he once was. The strained muscle just puts a big, ominous, cloud over that.

And lastly, insert Chipper Jones to the disabled list joke here. He’s out for about four weeks with a torn meniscus, right after he said he’s going to retire next season and right after I said he was a good gamble in late rounds. Yes, ironic. Martin Prado takes over in the meantime, so, yay for the Braves for not trading him and all that.

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Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

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And no one is going to play 3rd for the Rockies until the All Star break. The good news is there are only 4-5 major league ballplayers that can bunt.


or is it that only 4-5 major league ballplayers would bunt in Coors?