Today I’m going to discuss the third base position as I continue to review my predictions for the top-10 at the position to see how they panned out (the following list is taken from the 2009 Fanball Annual Guide that was on newsstands prior to the start of the 2009 season).
To read previous positional reviews click on the following link:
1. Alex Rodriguez
2. David Wright
3. Aramis Ramirez
4. Evan Longoria
5. Chippers Jones
6. Garrett Atkins
7. Chone Figgins
8. Aubrey Huff
9. Kevin Youkilis
10. Alex Gordon
A-Rod rebounded from hip surgery and missing a month of action to record yet another 30-HR, 100-RBI season. That’s 12-straight years of that type of effort to tie the all-time record previously held by Jimmie Foxx. Yeah, he really slowed down didn’t he?
Wright hit .307, two points below his career mark, got on base at a .390 clip (career .389) and stole 27 bases. Yet his season was a failure. Why? A five year low in runs (88) and RBI (72) was distressing, but his simply atrocious total of 10 homers, after 26 or more the previous four seasons, rendered his ’09 after an abysmal outing for a player who wasn’t hurt.
Ramirez injured his shoulder which limited him to a mere 82 games played. Still, in half a season of games he hit .319 with a .905 OPS as he hit 15 long balls and 65 RBI putting his production slightly ahead of the levels we have come to expect.
Longoria had only 58 RBI over his last 105 games, but with 55 in his first 51 his overall mark of 113 was the best at the position. Evan also went deep 33 times, was one of only three third sackers to score 100 runs (100 exactly), and hit a solid .281 with a .889 OPS. Not a bad second season in the league wouldn’t you say?
Jones hit at least .324 from 2006-08, but at 37 years of age expecting a repeat was asking too much (he hit just .264). Why was he ranked fifth on my list then if I already had lower expectations for his ’09 outlook? Bottom line was that the third base position just wasn’t that deep heading into last season (and still isn’t in 2010).
Atkins was abysmal. Period. You can read all about the performance in my recent Five Questions piece.
Figgins had a terrific season and it will make him a lot of money this offseason. Chone led the position with 114 runs and 42 steals, while hitting .298 with a .395 OBP. By thaw way, he was second in the AL in runs scored (Dustin Pedroia crossed the plate 115 times).
Huff failed, miserably, to repeat his tremendous 2008 effort (.304-32-108) turning out a .241-15-85 line in a season split with the Orioles and Tigers. He didn’t play a single game at third instead seeing time exclusively at first base (93 games) and DH.
Youkilis was much more productive than I thought he would be. He failed to match his ’08 numbers (.312-29-115-91), but was pretty darn close across the board (.306-27-94-99).
Gordon was injured, had hip surgery, spent time at Triple-A and all-around was a huge disappointment. He hit only .232 with a .703 OPS in 49 games, and in the offseason the Royals brought in Josh Fields to possibly challenge Gordon for starts at third in the coming campaign.
By Ray Flowers