by Moonlight Graham
If you’re a succesful Fantasy Baseball player, you know that it’s nearly impossible to finish near the top of the standings without having power at the corners. Unless you’ve secured significant pop at both First Base and Third Base, it’s a good bet you’ll be one of the first in your league looking to make a trade.
A quick glance at the top of your 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft sheets should reveal quite an imbalance between the two slots. You’ll probably have as many as twelve first tier options and a number of second and third tier guys capable of giving you 20+ HR and 90+ RBI. At third base, however, the pickins’ grow slim. There are but five top tier selections to be made; six if you’re confident that David Wright can bounce back in CitiField. As the talent at the Hot Corner begins to thin, you’ll find yourself scrambling to find adequate options. Good luck.
The solution? Well, even though Moonlight’s First Commandment tells us to never, ever draft for position in the first few rounds, it might be wise to grab an elite third sacker early as long as his stats are not dwarfed by another available player.
At First Base, we all know the cream of the crop, as Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira should all be gone by the middle of the second round. There is a group of studs, however, who fall to the fourth round and beyond in most mocks that may actually return more value than the aforementioned stars, if only that they’ll be selected so much later. Give a long look to Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, Derek Lee and Adam Dunn. Across the diamond, Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Pablo Sandoval and Mark Reynolds lead the pack. Reynolds and Sandoval might also be eligible at 1B in your league but you’d be silly to use them in that slot.
Take advantage of your last opportunity to grab Billy Butler and Joey Votto in any round after the second. These two young superstars will rocket to the top of the rankings in 2011. Gordon Beckham is a star on the rise for the White Sox who’ll be at 2B this year but still carry 3B eligibility. In Oakland, Kevin Kouzmanoff is happy to be away from pitcher friendly Petco Park, where he somehow managed 18 HR and 88 RBI.
You won’t find Moonlight among those that think David Wright’s stats will return to their old levels. He’s still a star, but 20 HR, and not 30, may be the max in his new home. Lance Berkman had minor knee surgery last weekend and will miss two to four weeks. His numbers slipped badly last year and the Astros have a lot of talent in the Minors.
Both of our stiffs are getting their mail in Seattle these days. At 1B, Casey Kotchman doesn’t have nearly enough pop to be considered and should go undrafted in a mixed league while 3B Chone Figgins will have you scrambling to make up HR and RBI all year. Avoid both.
Moonlight Graham’s Top Ten Fantasy Corner Infielders
Albert Pujols Alex Rodriguez
Prince Fielder Evan Longoria
Mark Teixeira Mark Reynolds
Miguel Cabrera Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Howard David Wright
Billy Butler Pablo Sandoval
Justin Morneau Kevin Youkilis
Joey Votto Aramis Ramirez
Derek Lee Chipper Jones
Adrian Gonzalez Gordon Beckham