During the offseason fantasy writers/experts constantly discussed how shallow the third base position would be in the 2012 season, and on Monday night it got even shallower after a super star goes down. Rays third basemen Evan Longoria came up lip after sliding into second base in Mondayâ€™s game partially tearing his left hamstring. He is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks of action and his presence will be greatly missed in the Rays lineup and in fantasy lineups.
This is now the second season in a row in which Longoria will miss at least a month of action, and is now starting to look injury-prone as he reaches him prime. While the timetable for his return is within eight weeks, we have seen similar injuries in the past that have taken longer time to heel, so this could end up being a lingering problem for the better part of the season.
While Longoria is exiting fantasy lineups, fellow-third basemen Pedro Alvarez is resurfacing after a horrendous 2011 campaign. Last season Alvarez was considered to be a rising star at third base, but failed to live up to the lofty expectations everyone had for him, resulting in a .191 batting average with 80 strikeouts in 235 plate appearances. This eventually landed him in Triple-A and made his season a wash. This season on the other hand is almost the complete opposite after he has picked up the pace the last few weeks.
Since April 21, Alvarez has gone 14-for-36 with four home runs and 10 RBI while sporting a .389 batting average. The power surge from Alvarez couldnâ€™t have come at a better time, considering the Pirates had one of the worst offenses in baseball to start the season. While he is not known for batting average, due to his lack of discipline at the plate, his power skills are nothing to joke about. He has already surpassed his home run total from a year ago connecting for six homers compared to just four in 2011 and he is now on track to become the player everyone thought he would be last season.
Will Alvarez be able to keep up at this pace? Probably not, but if you are lacking power and have a hole at third base, he should be your top option if he is still available to grab off the wavier-wire. If you were too late on Alvarez, below are a few other players that are solid fill-ins at the hot corner:
Chris Davis, 1B, 3B (BAL)–Like Alvarez, Davis was a big-time prospect who failed to get the job done early in his career. Davis posted a 17-homer and a 21-homer season in his first two years in the big leagues and then felt apart at the seams due to contact issues. He was later traded to the Orioles at the trade deadline in 2011 after three lack-luster seasons between the big leagues and Triple-A, but has now found his stripe in his new home. So far in 2012 Davis has hit five home runs and driven-in 13 RBI with an impressive .316 batting average. The batting average will likely go down as the season progresses, but his power seems to be legit and he should be consistent enough to be an every day starter in fantasy leagues for the foreseeable future.
Jed Lowrie, 3B, SS (HOU)–Lowrie started the season on the disabled-list, but has since returning to action is posting a .329 batting average with three home runs, nine RBI and 11 runs scored. What is even more impressive is that in his last 10 games he has compiled six multi-hit games including a three-hit game on Wednesday. He has been batting ahead of both Carlos Lee and J.D. Martinez in the majority of games, which should translate into a lot of runs scored if he continues to get on base. His multi-position eligibility gives him even more fantasy value considering the lack of depth at both third base and shortstop. So if you are in a deep mixed league or an NL-Only league, give Lowrie a good look.
Ty Wigginton, 1B, 3B, OF (PHI)–It seems like every season Wigginton surfaces on waiver-wire articles, so I figured I had to include him in todayâ€™s piece. In the beginning of April Wigginton wasnâ€™t an everyday player for the Phillies as the team was trying to figure out a good way to fill the voids left by Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. But after struggles from both John Mayberry and Jim Thome, Wiggninton has found himself consistent playing time and has produced at the plate. Since April 12, he has had only one game in which he did not record a hit when starting the game, and that game came on Monday. He has been a hitting-machine for the Phillies recording four multi-hit games in the last week and a half of play, but hasnâ€™t had much to show for it besides a solid batting average. If you are in a deep mixed league and need help in the batting average category, Wigginton is a solid addition.
Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him atÂ email@example.com.Â Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.