With the consistent popularity of fantasy sports in our country and across the world, it is obvious that the games and leagues within would evolve. Over the past few years keeper leagues have become an item of great interest within the fantasy sports community. A keeper league is a combination between a standard-draft league and a dynasty league. Every preseason many of the players are drafted, but owners are allowed to keep a select amount of players from the season before.
That being stated, the ideal players a fantasy owner such select in keeper leagues are those who are extremely productive on a year-in year-out basis, as well as players who are under the age of 36 and have proven the ability to remain healthy. This piece highlights the top five third basemen that should be selected in keeper leagues for the upcoming 2009 fantasy baseball season.
Top 5 Third Basemen for Keeper Leagues
1. Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees
2. David Wright – New York Mets
3. Aramis Ramirez – Chicago Cubs
4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
5. Garrett Atkins – Colorado Rockies
#1 Keeper Third Baseman – Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Alex Rodriguez is without question the best third baseman playing the game today. Season after season he produces mammoth numbers no matter what self-induced or unjust turmoil he may find himself in the middle of. 2008 was a bit of a down year for Rodriguez only hitting .302 with 35 homeruns, 103 runs batted-in, 154 hits, 104 runs scored, 33 doubles, 65 base on-balls and 18 stolen bases in just 138 games played; however A-Rod’s down seasons are the equivalent to most player’s career years. Don’t forget about Rodriguez’s 2005 and 2007 MVP seasons, they were incredible (especially ’07) and according to history he’s due for another. The Rodriguez equation states: A-Rod + Yankee jersey + odd numbered year = huge year and MVP.
2009 Predictions for Alex Rodriguez: .319 average, 51 HR, 142 RBI, 120 runs, 41 doubles, 84 BB and 22 stolen bases in 152 games.
#2 Keeper Third Baseman – David Wright, New York Mets – Fantasy Baseball 2009
In a city where A-Rod dominates all the talk of who’s the best at this position, David Wright still finds a way to have his named being mentioned almost as much; that way is pure talent. Wright is a very gifted ball player, who possesses all of the tools to one day find himself in Cooperstown on his first ballot. Wright hits for average and power equally and is also a tremendous clutch performer (which is hard to find on the Mets) who’s best seasons are clearly ahead of him. In 2008 Wright batted .302 with 33 homers, 124 runs batted-in, 115 runs scored, 189 hits, 42 doubles, 94 walks and 15 stolen bases. In ’09 and throughout the remainder of his career expect more of the same from him as he is the second best in the game on the hot corner.
2009 Predictions for David Wright: .327 average, 40 HR, 121 RBI, 112 runs, 42 doubles, 100 BB and 13 stolen bases in 158 games.
#3 Keeper Third Baseman – Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs – Fantasy Baseball 2009
Aramis Ramirez is a stud at third base and unfortunately if you aren’t an avid baseball fan you’ve probably never heard of him. Ramirez possess a lightning-quick stroke with plenty of power and the ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field. He is also a patient hitter in the middle of a very potent line-up that plays in a hitter-friendly ball park; what’s not to like about him? During ’08 Ramirez hit .289 with 27 homers, 111 RBI, 160 hits, 44 doubles, 97 runs scored, and 74 base on-balls in 149 contests. At 30 years of age and having 11 seasons of major league experience, Ramirez is now entering into the prime of his career and should continue to produce at a high level for many years to come.
2009 Predictions for Aramis Ramirez: .301 average, 36 HR, 129 RBI, 105 runs, 40 doubles, 70 BB and 3 stolen bases in 146 games.
#4 Keeper Third Baseman – Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays – Fantasy Baseball 2009
It’s pretty safe to say after the 2008 season which last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, Evan Longoria put together that he won’t be receiving many of those Desperate Housewife jokes any longer. Longoria went from being a triple-A level third baseman to the starting hot corner tender in the World Series for the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays, in a matter of just one season. He has an outstanding power and contact approaches at the plate, combined with a brilliant-young baseball mind that will have opposing pitchers in big trouble over the next 10-15 years. Longoria’s award winning 2008 season was highlighted by a .272 average, 27 homeruns, 85 runs batted-in, 122 hits, 31 doubles, 67 runs scored 46 walks and 7 stolen bases in just 122 games. Evan Longoria is a sure bet for a keeper third baseman, he’s going to have a great 2009 and an even better career.
2009 Predictions for Evan Longoria: .297 average, 38 HR, 117 RBI, 109 runs, 39 doubles, 87 BB and 14 stolen bases in 156 games.
#5 Keeper Third Baseman – Garrett Atkins, Colorado Rockies – Fantasy Baseball 2009
With Matt Holliday being shipped off to Oakland during the offseason, the Colorado Rockies are going to need a huge year out of Garrett Atkins. Atkins is fully capable of producing a tremendous year for them and helping his team to make a run at the postseason. Along with playing at Coors Field for 81 games a year, Atkins has great skills in the batter’s box which when you combine the two they equal big numbers for the fifth rated keeper third baseman in the Bigs. In 2008 Atkins hit .286 with 21 homers, 99 runs batted-in, 175 hits, 86 runs scored, 32 doubles, and 40 walks, playing in 155 games. Garrett Atkins will carry the Rockies in 2009 and in the process he’ll transform himself into one of the superstars of the game today.
2009 Predictions for Garrett Atkins: .291 average, 32 HR, 108 RBI, 101 runs, 37 doubles, 65 BB and 4 stolen bases in 159 games.
In order to be able to select one of these top-five keeper third baseman probably will require spending one of your first three picks, but don’t worry they’re worth it and you’ll be able to tell this season and then some.