Originally written March 05, 2013 on Fox Sports South:
Here are my five fantasy tiers for third basemen heading into exhibition play, with a nod toward 5x5 roto leagues. To be honest, one could make a strong case for Ryan Zimmerman, Aramis Ramirez, Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez and especially Chase Headley earning a spot in the first tier; but after much reflection, I can only guarantee that Miguel Cabrera, David Wright and Adrian Beltre will post top-five finishes by season's end, health permitting. After all, Headley had never amassed more than 12 homers, 64 RBI, 77 runs or .420 slugging prior to the 2012 season ... and heading into his age-29 campaign, it's hard to envision a ceiling that's higher than 31 homers, 115 RBI and 17 steals. For a look at the continually evolving Average Draft Position values for third basemen, click here for FoxSports.com's ADP page. Tier 1 Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, David Wright Tier 2 Ryan Zimmerman, Chase Headley, Evan Longoria, Aramis Ramirez, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Martin Prado Tier 3 Brett Lawrie, Mike Moustakas, David Freese, Will Middlebrooks, Kyle Seager, Pedro Alvarez, Todd Frazier, Michael Young, Jordan Pacheco, Manny Machado (ambitious, plausible spot here) Tier 4 Marco Scutaro, Chris Nelson, Jedd Gyorko, Trevor Plouffe, Mark Reynolds, Chris Johnson, Juan Francisco, Ryan Roberts, Kevin Youkilis, Mike Olt, Jeff Keppinger, Matt Dominguez, Nolan Arenado (be on the lookout for a Memorial Day-esque callup) Tier 5 Matt Carpenter, Anthony Rendon, Adeiny Hechavarria, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Vitters, Josh Donaldson, Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo, Pedro Ciriaco, Brett Wallace, Ian Stewart, Greg Dobbs, Jamey Carroll, Brent Lillibridge, Eric Chavez, Luis Cruz, Ryan Wheeler, Wilson Betemit, Evan Gattis, Taylor Green, Danny Valencia, Alex Rodriguez (in limbo for entire season hip injury) Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @FOX_JayClemons.
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