Predicting injuries is impossible. Sure, there are some theories for pitchers (the â€œVerducci Effect”) and we often look at the past as a predictor of the future, but nothing is certain. Yet here we are for the second straight year trying to find answers at Third Base thanks to a rash of injuries. Starters Pablo Sandoval, Evan Longoria, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Zimmerman, and even Mat Gamel are all on the sidelines right now.
Have no fear, head-to-head owners, the HVaC is here to help. Certainly some injuries are longer or more severe than others and need to be addressed in a longer term manner. Other short-term fixes can be helped just by riding a hot hand. In either case, there is a fit for every team.
Both Longoria and Sandoval were inside the top-10 at the position and they are backfilled for the time being by Kyle Seager and Alex Rodriguez. Seager having hit 20 points better with three more RBI actually scores out higher and is widely available. While he is still fighting with Alex Liddi, he could be a decent short to medium term replacement. Another option is Chris Johnson. Though he is only getting play in NL-only formats, his 18 RBI and three home runs to go with a .295 average make him a viable candidate.
Three other options just outside the top-10 are Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Alvarez, and Mike Moustakas. Missing a player like Sandoval, it would make the most sense to grab Moustakas or Alvarez. Moustakas has been on fire over his last 14 games with two home runs and eight RBI. He is leading the Royals in OBP and in doubles. Alvarez is the most intriguing power option, but he will frustrate you to know end with his sub-.250 average.
Then there is Middlebrooks. He has shown in his first four games that he is going to do his best to live up to the hype. The issue is that when Youkilis is ready, Middlebrooks is gone. He needs to play and will not get regular time in that scenario. Long-term he could be the best of the three, just not right now. Depending on the injury that forced him out of Tuesdayâ€™s game, his value could be mitigated.
Here are the top-20 at Third Base right now. All data through games on Monday, May 7th.
And what about the rest of the top-50? Here are some notes on the movers and shakers.
- Jason Kipnis bolted into the top-10 overall with a strong week for the Indians. The infielder now has 19 runs scored and 19 RBI to go with six steals, something paramount to his position for head-to-head owners. His average is the same as Ian Kinsler as well. While Kinsler is putting up the runs, Kipnis is right with him or better in all other categories.
- Taking over as the top Catcher, Matt Wieters is showing why many were so high on him to start the season and why the Orioles are high on him overall. At the number two spot overall among all players, Wieters having hit seven home runs and holding up near a .300 average make him a standout that makes a huge difference at his position for owners. A place where numbers can be picked up!
- Hanley Ramirez has creeped inside the top-20 but not because he is hitting for average. Ramirez is going to frustrate owners for a while as he tries to get his average up and over .230. What is propping his value up for the time being are his six steals and six home runs. The 21 RBI certainly help as well. Getting numbers in three (and borderline four) of five categories means a player that is earning his keep.
- Overall, Shortstop is one of the more depressed positions in this format. While Derek Jeter is up near the top of the leaderboard, only Rafael Furcal and Ramirez are inside the top-20 before the bottom falls out. Troy Tulowitzki is coming on but is sitting in the mid-30â€™s and Ian Desmond does not show up until the 40â€™s. Tough going for those that put money into the position early. The value will be there, but the return simply has not happened in the opening 40 days.
- Some interesting names inside the top-50: Carlos Ruiz (3, this will regress), Jose Altuve (28), Carlos Beltran (38) Omar Infante (39), Chris Davis (44), Adam LaRoche (48), and Joey Votto (49)
- Where to find value or buy-lower in players outside the top-50: Jed Lowrie (54), Moustakas (57), Jose Bautista (64), Mark Trumbo (66), Brett Lawrie (70), Eric Hosmer (80)
Here is how the top-50 shakes out: