What happened to third base? Simply put, this is not the deep position it once was.
Alex Rodriguez is overrated. Yes, he's really good, but I just don't see him as the third best player in mixed leagues this year. He's 34 years old and had a major hip injury last season. While I do think he's likely to hit .290/30/100/100/10 (AVG/HR/RBI/R/SB) (awesome numbers, no doubt), because his days of playing 155+ games per year are done, I don't think he has much upside beyond that. Take 2B Chase Utley, OF Matt Kemp, or OF Ryan Braun instead of A-Rod at the number three spot.
David Wright is underrated. Also, really good, and his line is likely to look just like A-Rod's, minus a few homers, plus a few steals, and maybe a higher batting average. Grab him at the end of the first round or beginning of the second round and be happy.
Evan Longoria is awesome at real baseball, but only very, very good at fantasy baseball. I think he's going roughly where he should (end of the first round), but I might prefer first basemen Miguel Cabrera or Mark Teixeira.
Pablo Sandoval, the Kung-Fu Panda, built on 2008's breakout in 2009 by hitting .330/25/90/79/5 in an offense that was near the bottom in terms of overall production. While the Giants have done very little this off-season to improve their squad, Sandoval can hopefully replicate last year's performance; he's a great value in the fourth round. While his defense at third base leaves a lot to be desired, from a fantasy prospective, the difference between him and Evan Longoria is virtually nil (Longoria will hit more homers, and maybe add a few more runs and RBI, Sandoval has about a 40 point advantage in batting average).
Jhonny Peralta is currently being drafted in the twentieth round, and could provide positive value in 2010. He doesn't wow you in any category, but he won't kill your batting average, and could easily chip in 20 homers and 75 RBI. In a ten team league, he's the last third basemen deserving of a staring spot - and finding a player worthy of starting on your roster in the twentieth round is a great value. Along with his third base eligibility, he also has the nice option of being eligible at shortstop which I discussed here.
Mark Reynolds shocked the world in 2009 with 44 homers and 24 stolen bases. If you're in a keeper league, there's little question that you're penciling him in near the top of your keeper list; however, for those of you in re-draft leagues, look to avoid Reynolds in 2010. Why wouldn't you want a 40-20 guy at the end of the second round? First of all, his average stinks. While he does hold a shiny 18.7 career line-drive percentage, which keeps his BABIP well over the .300 league average, his record-breaking strike out totals will put his average in the .250 range, and any change in his luck could put him in 1B Carlos Pena territory. Additionally, the speed came out of nowhere last season (14 career stolen bases at all levels prior to 2009), and shouldn't be counted on in 2010. Additionally, his isolated slugging percentage jumped from .216 and .219 in 2007 and 2008 all the way up to .284 in 2009, and he hit 14 "just enough" homers according to Hit Tracker Online. All in all, there is just too much risk associated with Reynolds this year to justify drafting him at his current ADP.
Aramis Ramirez is a fairly tough call heading into 2010, but I think his current ADP (63) is missing the mark on his value. He hasn't cracked the 30 homer barrier since 2006, he's on the wrong side of 30, and he's in a Chicago Cubs lineup that is middle of the road. That said, he's a consistent .290 hitter who is locked into the middle of the order and hits in a solid hitters park. I just don't see him as able to do much beyond 75 runs, 90 RBI, and 20 homers. That isn't sixth round value when guys like LHP Jon Lester, OF Andre Ethier, and OF Carlos Lee are going within five picks of him.
In the interest of full disclosure, Michael Young has not been on a team of mine in at least five years. This guy has been on more bottom half finishing fantasy teams than any other player in fantasy baseball. Just stop drafting him. He doesn't hurt your fantasy team, but he just doesn't do anything well enough to be an asset (outside of batting average). With absolutely no upside, I'll pass on him in the ninth round.
Last year 1B/3B Chris Davis was such a "sleeper", that he became wildly overvalued on draft day. Any time you are drafting a player based on their best possible outcome, you're in trouble. Davis moved all the way up to the sixth round of drafts last season, and disappointed every one of his owners. While he's only third base eligible in leagues such as Yahoo! that have 10 games played eligibility requirements, this year he's a prime candidate as a "post-hype sleeper." Currently going in the fourteenth round, Davis showed signs of life in the second half and really turned a corner. I think .275/30/70/80/3 is an entirely reasonable projection this season. Until 1B Justin Smoak is ready, there is no one on the roster to take a significant number of at bats away from Davis at first. Buy, buy, buy!
Your ability to draft Adrian Beltre at a good value point is going to depend entirely on when you do your draft. Right now his ADP is 192, but his target ADP is 168, and he's gone as early as the 116th pick in drafts that took place this week. My prediction is that he hits 20-25 homers, 70 RBI, 10 steals, and a .275 batting average. However, he has quite a bit of upside beyond that, as he's moving into a vastly superior hitting environment in terms of park and team. If things went really well, he could hit 30 homers and drive in close to 100 RBI. Beltre's high-floor/high-ceiling combo is a great one to target in the second half of your draft.
Chone Figgins is an interesting case, as he's talented, but doesn't have the skills that fantasy players normally look for in a third baseman. In terms of production, he's probably in the top five at the position as he's an asset in batting average, runs, and stolen bases. Remember, last year he finished as the second best third basemen according to ESPN's Player Rater. The trouble is, those numbers come with about 5 homers and 50 RBI. Figgins is currently going in the seventh round, and if you've got a team built on power hitters, he is a fantastic value at that point in the draft. However, if you already grabbed outfielders Carl Crawford or Jacoby Ellsbury, you may want to look elsewhere.