I’ll be honest with you. Rankings week is a tough week. It seems that everybody zooms in on the rankings of their players and wants them to be better. Most want more reactionary rankings than a site like RotoGraphs is going to give. The difficulty is that it is much more likely that a player’s true talent is the same as it was a month ago, and we do our best to find that true talent.
Of course, there are breakouts. There are role changes. There are injuries. And that’s where most of the movement will come. Third base should provide more movement than most, considering the fact that the position has had more breakouts, role changes and injuries than most. Let’s take a look at them.
We told you that we’d rank the new third baseman as soon as they were third baseman, and in the case of Miguel Cabrera, it seems defensible. He’s probably the worst defensive first basemen to ever move back to third base, and when that ball took a bad hop and hit him in the face in Spring Training, Tigers management could have pulled the plug on the experiment. They didn’t, though, and here we are with Cabrera first and Hanley Ramirez fourth.
The pair of injuries to Pablo Sandoval and Evan Longoria blew a hole right in the front of these rankings, so while Brett Lawrie hasn’t quite started out gangbusters, he’s shown enough to move up along with the rest of the healthy third basemen. Ditto even for the younger third-sackers that ended up behind the injured duo. David Freese, Mike Moustakas, and in-name-only Edwin Encarnacion have all shown enough to think that pre-season projections were a tad light.
Emilio Bonifacio and Martin Prado are sorta BABIP-dependent at the plate, and BABIP doesn’t stabilize this early, but a mediocre BABIP can put their offensive production in focus. But how about the sole two guys that didn’t move — two Pirates, Pedro Alvarez and Casey McGehee, are turning out about as we expected it seems. We always thought that Alvarez would have power and patience with a lot of strikeouts, but in a 5×5 environment, walks don’t correlate with batting average while strikeouts sink it. McGehee is finding time around the diamond. It might be a surprise that he’s managing to accrue about 1/2 to 3/4 the time of a regular, but preseason projections had him at around 500 PAs, so maybe it’s not such a big surprise.
Who do you like better or worse?
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With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.