FANFOOD FB’13 – Third Base



As I round out the infield, I bring you to the hot corner. Let me say this, there are some talented players ready to make the jump to stardom. They may not be ready to make the jump to your team, but you need to know about them. This article will help you identify who they are followed by a recipe for smoked chorizo.



[C] [SP] [RP] [1B] [2B] [SS] [3B] [OF]

FANFOOD FB’13 Third Base


Much like the groups of second basemen and shortstops, one player stands atop of the pile and in a group of his own…Miguel Cabrera is your best option and the #1 or #2 overall player in the game. The first Triple Crown winner in 45 years needs to be on your team, but if you don’t have the top pick in your draft you have to look elsewhere. Adrian Beltre, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, and Chase Headley are not bad and you definitely will have the ability to get one of them.

Some people say that Ryan Zimmerman‘s numbers over the last two years show you he’s not the same player he was in 2009 and 2010, I disagree. Zimmerman is being brought along slowly following offseason surgery on his right shoulder. The Nationals plan to use him out of the DH spot in the early part of the Grapefruit League schedule, but he should be ready for the start of the season. He played through the injury for most of last season and still batted .282/.346/.478 with 25 homers and 95 RBI in 641 plate appearances. Despite the clean bill of health, Zimmerman will enter 2013 with legitimate durability concerns, as the 28-year-old has missed 98 games over the last three seasons…Evan Longoria also has been banged up for a couple years now. Evan Longoria has said that his surgically-repaired left hamstring “is ready.” Longoria underwent a minor procedure on the hamstring on November 20, and although the Rays will also take it slow with him early in spring training, the surgery is not expected to affect his status for opening day. Longo was limited to just 74 games last season due to hamstring problems, batting .289/.369/.527 with 17 homers…Adrian Beltre is on the verge of his 34th birthday and is dealing with a calf ailment that will cause him to miss the first round of the World Baseball Classic, but it’s not a long-term concern… David Wright hasn’t been much of a power hitter since the Mets moved to Citi Field and while no longer the first round stud he used to be, he is capable of .300/25/15…Chase Headley only became a power hitter last year and keep in mind he only hit 4 and 11 home runs the previous two years. Last year his fly ball rate was out of whack and he hit 31 home runs. His speed is decent and expect 15-20 SBs… The one I like in this group is Hanley Ramirez with shortstop eligibility. I have this feeling that he is going to shine in LA and I feel he has something to prove to himself and the fans.
After that group we get into players such as Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Martin Prado, Brett Lawrie and Kyle Seager. All of whom are solid but have their faults.

Aramis Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval have upside in this group, though Ramirez is a year older than Beltre and has proven to be the more susceptible to injuries in recent years…Sandoval’s endless weight issues jeopardize both his health and productivity… It seems like I have been talking about Martin Prado for a week. The hot corner is not where you want to play him, but I could understand if you draft him and move him around the roster if you are afraid of inevitable injuries to the first two…Brett Lawrie has the highest upside of this group with his power-speed combination. Keep in mind that he will move down to fifth or sixth in the lineup which removes some stolen base chances…Kyle Seager took many roto managers by surprise with his 20 home runs and 13 stolen bases, in addition to a .259 average and 86 RBIs, last year. He was an underrated hitter, with skills comparable to those of teammate Dustin Ackley. Seattle becomes a little more hitter-friendly in 2013 when the fences move 10 feet closer in left-center and four feet in right-center. The Mariners scored an AL-worst 619 runs and Seager drove in around 14 percent (86 RBI) of them. Now, he enters this season with a full year of starting under his belt and will most likely hit in front of Mike Morse and Kendrys Morales. That is all good but Seattle’s improved lineup means that Seager will hit further down it. Safeco Field’s redone fences will benefit right-handed batters much more so than left-handed hitters like him. If I had to pick just one of these guys, I would go with Brett with his low risk/high potential.


By now, every team in your league should have their starting third baseman, but this doesn’t mean you can’t draft one of these players like David Freese, Will Middlebrooks, Pedro Alvarez, Mike Moustakas, Kevin Youkilis, Todd Frazier, Manny Machado, Jedd Gyorko, and Michael Young. Any one of these guys could be a nice addition to your bench.

Will Middlebrooks could have value after he missed most of the second half of last season with injury when it started to look like he was going to post some big time rookie numbers. While his high K rate won’t allow his average to go beyond .275, Middlebrooks has 25 home run power…Mike Moustakas carries the post-hype sleeper tag who really was very good the first half of 2012 before he faded over the long season. However, Moustakas is just 24 years old, and there’s a lot to like about the No. 2 overall selection in the 2007 MLB Draft. His 16.4 line-drive percentage was remarkably low given his past performance in the minors, and could be a threat to hit .300 if he can cut down on the amount of fly balls. Ranked in the lower teens at his position in most preseason rankings, Moustakas has top-10 potential operating in the heart of a formidable Kansas City lineup…Pedro Alvarez has his vices (30.7 whiff rate, an underwhelming .244 batting mark, playing in pitcher-friendly PNC Park), yet for his projected draft position, hard to argue Alvarez’s value. His 30 bombs were second-best among third basemen and his .274/.352/.518 over the final 94 games illustrate the Pirate basher is not a severe detriment to average and on-base categories. Alvarez will be just 26 on Opening Day, and with Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Garrett Jones slotted in front of him, the RBI opportunities should be bountiful. Although I’d bench him against lefties (.207, six home runs), Alvarez is worthy of late-round consideration…Michael Young is a well-known aging commodity that is falling through the cracks. Young, who is on the outside of the position’s top-10 ranking despite owning a .304 batting average over the last four seasons, did show signs of corrosion last campaign, and turning 37 in the fall, you shouldn’t envision a significant revival in his new Philadelphia digs. However, Young was better than his .277 average indicated, evidenced by a 22.9 line-drive percentage. Projected to bat fifth in the Phillies’ order, Young could see an uptick in RBI if Chase Utley and Ryan Howard remain healthy…You might remember Todd Frazier as the guy who hit a bunch of home runs last season, but got benched too often in favor of the mummified Scott Rolen. Frazier has the everyday hot corner job in Cincinnati this year, so should we expect him to improve on 19 homers in 422 at bats? Maybe a little, and if he does, he could hit close to 30 bombs…David Freese is not your typical power hitting third baseman, but he’s hit over .290 every year he’s been in MLB. Also, excluding his averages, he has improved in every statistical category constantly hitting .293, 20 HRs, and 79 RBI in 2012…The Orioles promoted their 2010 first-round selection (third overall pick) Manny Machado as part of a turnaround season under Buck Schowalter. Machado was batting .266 at the time of his promotion with 42 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases. He paid immediate dividends by opening his Baltimore career with hits in seven of his first eight games, including three home runs and seven RBI. Machado ended the season batting .262 with 18 extra-base hits (seven home runs) and 26 RBI. You can expect 15-20 home runs out of Machado in his first full season and a double-digit stolen base total…Kevin Youkilis’s health has held him back the past three seasons (played in 115 games/season), but with Alex Rodriguez out with a hip injury until at least midseason and the Yankee DH in flux, Youk could earn a full season of ABs. If he can reach 130 or more games played in 2013, it’s not impossible for him to score you 85 runs, hit 20-23 home runs along with 75 RBI. You will have to live with the bad BA…Speaking of Alex Rodriguez, what do you do with him? You could always spend one of your last picks on him and immediately pick up an undrafted player you have your eye on.


Speaking of undrafted players this group may consist of Trevor Plouffe, Matt Carpenter, Chris Nelson, Chris Johnson, Nick Castellanos, Jordan Pacheco, Josh Donaldson, Juan Francisco, and Lonnie Chisenhall.

Jedd Gyorko and Nick Castellanos are both prospects who could get a shot at some point this season, with Lonnie Chisenhall a former prospect finally in line for everyday at-bats…Last season, two things stood between Chisenhall and playing time: Jack Hannahan, a good defensive player who’d won over manager Manny Acta enough to play third base. In 2013, Acta and Hannahan are gone, and the Tribe is committed to a legit OD lineup spot to Chisenhall. His control of the strike zone has been mediocre, but Cleveland’s staff has noticed that it’s improving. The 24-year-old is a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter with the power to drive 15 or 20 balls into the seats in a full season. Chisenhall hasn’t hit left-handers particularly well, and, if that continues, he’ll be subject to platooning with someone like Mike Aviles He won’t have a .300 BA any time soon…Trevor Plouffe exploded last year with 11 June homers, and finished the season with a total of 24 after slumping in the second half. Some people think Plouffe’s breakout was a fluke, but his minor-league track record suggests that the power was real, and a very unlucky BABIP (.243) tells us that his .235 batting average is likely to rise to acceptable levels. Some believe a thumb injury was partially to blame for his bad second half, while others believe the early hot streak was a mirage. However, he did hit 15 home runs in 102 games at Triple-A Rochester in 2010. So, there is a precedent for his power surge…Matt Carpenter has a history of strong batting averages in the minors, along with double-digit homer power. He’s been working at second base during the offseason, and has a decent chance to beat out Daniel Descalso for the job. If that happens, Carpenter figures to have dual eligibility before the end of April. Carpenter dominated minor league pitching during the 2010 and 2011 seasons before joining the Cardinals last season. He hits for average with great gap power annually. Carpenter has slammed 82 doubles in the past three years and twice generated a double-digit home run total. The 27-year-old corner infielder batted .294 in 296 at-bats for the Cardinals last year, producing 33 extra-base hits (22 doubles) and 46 RBI. His .365 OBP ranked 12th him among all third basemen last season…things haven’t quite developed for Chris Johnson as fantasy owners had hoped following his breakthrough 2010 campaign in Houston. Johnson struck out a ton, but produced tremendous power numbers with a strong batting average (.420 BABIP) in his 94-game introduction to Major League Baseball. He still represents a solid power option, having produced 48 extra-base hits (15 home runs) in his 488 at-bats last season between Houston and Arizona. Johnson will compete for the starting role in Atlanta after being acquired in the Justin Upton trade. His contact rate is troubling, but he remains a strong power broker…Jordan Pacheco was one of the most confusing players of 2012. How does a guy hit .309 for Colorado in 132 games and only have five home runs? Aside from his long ball lulls, he’s still a quality hitter. In 132 games he tallied 147 hits (1.11 hits per game), so you know he can put the ball in play. His power numbers will improve…Josh Donaldson used to play behind the dish but moved to third base because his club had no answers at the position. It eventually worked out: Donaldson batted .241 with nine bombs in 274 at-bats. After the All-Star break, he hit .290 with eight of those homers in 194 at-bats. He can definitely hit for power. Oakland isn’t exactly short on other options at third base these days. Jemile Weeks, Scott Sizemore and Jed Lowrie may all see time at second base; two of them are also candidates for the hot corner. There are just too many variables involved to make Donaldson a late-round choice or waiver add.



Top 30 3B (extra eligibility)

Miguel Cabrera
Evan Longoria
Adrian Beltre
Hanley Ramirez (SS)
David Wright
Ryan Zimmerman
Chase Headley
Aramis Ramirez
Brett Lawrie
Pablo Sandoval
Martin Prado (2B,SS,LF)
David Freese
Will Middlebrooks
Mark Trumbo (1B,LF,RF)
Mike Moustakas
Kyle Seager (2B)
Todd Frazier (1B,LF)
Manny Machado
Pedro Alvarez
Kevin Youkilis (1B)
Michael Young (1B,2B)
Trevor Plouffe (RF)
Alex Rodriguez
Lonnie Chisenhall
Marco Scutaro (2B,SS)
Mark Reynolds (1B)
Chris Johnson
Matt Carpenter
Jordan Pacheco (C,1B)



Other three baggers: Josh Donaldson, Scott Sizemore, Jeff Keppinger, Alberto Callaspo



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Smoked Chorizo

Here is a fun recipe for you to try in your smoker. Make your own spicy chorizo and it is delicious smoked. Have your butcher grind the pork, or run it through a meat grinder at home.


1 ½ pounds pork butt, ground



3 Tbs chili powder, good quality
½ cup minced onion
½ cup cider vinegar
juice of 1 orange
6 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno, minced
1 ½ tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp cayenne or ground chile de arbol
½ tsp cinnamon


Juice of 1 orange
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp olive oil.


Before you plan on smoking, mix all the sausage ingredients refrigerate overnight or for a couple of days.

Prepare the smoker, bringing the temperature between 200°F – 220°F.

Form the sausage into patties about 3 ounces each. Let the patties sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

Mix the mop ingredients in a small saucepan and warm over low heat.

Transfer the patties to the smoker. Cook for about 1 hour, mopping once or twice. The patties will be ready when they are richly browned and cooked through.

This makes a great breakfast sausage. Serve on the side or crumbled in scrambled eggs. Other ideas, pizza, sandwiches, gumbo, stuffed mushrooms.



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