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NL Third Basemen: Day Four
by Tim Polko

Today's Fantasy Rx

National League Third Basemen without Positive Draft Value

Quick Key to the tables:
AB = At-bats.  H = Hits.  BA = Batting Average.  HR= Home Runs.
RBI = Runs Batted In.  SB = Stolen Bases.  R = Runs.  B = Bats.  T = Throws.
Pos = Position qualification based on 20 appearances or max. # of games in 2005.
Age = Player's Age as of October 2, 2005.
4x4 = BA, HR, RBI, and SB in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
5x5 = BA, HR, RBI, SB, and R in 12-team, $260 leagues with 23-man rosters in 2005.
RAR = Runs Above Replacement in 2005; Adjusted RAR = RAR modified to
consider a player's 2005 defensive rating in Scoresheet fantasy baseball.

We ranked players in order from the highest draft value in a 4x4 league to the lowest. As the majority of fantasy leagues allow you to keep anyone traded to the other league, we listed each player in the league where he started the season.

Jeff Baker388.21114063
COL Rockies4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 24B:R    T:R-4-4-0.4-0.5

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Colorado for my comments on Baker.

Luis Lopez276.22202003
CIN Reds4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 35B:S    T:R-4-4-1.2-0.6

Registering a seemingly unimpressive .264/.340/.391 line in 87 AB for AAA Louisville(IL) earned the journeyman a call-up in late May. He lasted merely a month in Cincinnati before a torn hamstring ended his season and placed his career in jeopardy. Lopez does not look likely to help any fantasy team in the future.

Jose Bautista284.14301133
PIT Pirates4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 24B:R    T:R-4-5-2.7-3.1

Bautista lost his rookie eligibility as a Rule 5 pick in 2004 while he bounced to the Orioles, Devil Rays, Royals, and finally back to the Pirates, his original team. Adroitly shaking off that disaster, he compiled a .283/.367/.509 performance with 24 HR, 91 RBI, and a 50:102 BB:K in 448 AB for AA Altoona before slumping in September over about a dozen games with AAA Indianapolis and then Pittsburgh. A combination of Joe Randa signing and a recent wrist fracture for Bautista in winter ball ends any question of him breaking camp in the majors, so now he can return to Indianapolis for a full AAA campaign before displacing Randa late in the year. Consider Bautista an excellent reserve pick easily worth a roster spot in 2007 at $5 or less.

Scott Seabol10523.2191100113
STL Cardinals4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 30B:R    T:R-4-4-4.9-5.3

Seabol's third straight solid season for AAA Memphis(PCL), featuring a .266/.330/.507 performance with 9 HR, 33 RBI, and a 20:40 BB:K in 203 AB, resulted in him spending almost the entire second half in the majors. Although his initial spring promotion offered intriguing results, he seriously slumped after his recall, failing to pry the starting job from Abraham O. Nunez and slipping so far down the depth chart that the Cardinals comfortably non-tendered Seabol in December. Seabol now needs to find another franchise with which to reestablish his credentials and faces a quickly closing window of opportunity to see more than briefest additional look in the majors, which is not a recipe for a slot on any fantasy roster.

Norihiro Nakamura395.12803013
LA Dodgers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 32B:R    T:R-6-6-4.4-4.5

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Los Angeles(N) for my comments on Nakamura.

Andy Marte578.14004033
ATL Braves4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 21B:R    T:R-6-7-5.5-5.8

Please refer to our Post-2005 Prospect Review: Atlanta for my comments on Marte.

Jose Valentin14725.1702143173O
LA Dodgers4x45x5RARAdj. RAR
Age: 35B:L    T:R-7-6-7.5-2.2

While some decay appeared inevitable upon his leaving the White Sox after five years in Chicago, Valentin's OPS fell more than a hundred points below his previous career low. Torn ligaments sent him to the DL at the beginning of May, he missed the next three months in rehab, and then sunk to an even lower level of offensive output down the stretch. The one key indicator that offers hope here is his continued success against southpaws, albeit in an extremely small number of at-bats. Valentin may emerge as a good fit on the Mets' bench, but with the presence of Julio Franco and Chris Woodward rendering him somewhat superfluous, wait until he earns regular at-bats off the bench before rostering him anywhere.

First Base Week begins tomorrow.

Today's Fantasy Rx: Although I expect Jeff Baker, Jose Bautista, and especially Andy Marte to enjoy successful big league careers, none of these players look like particularly solid options in 2006. Drafting any of these guys with the anticipation of them contributing in the majors prior to August at the absolute earliest ranks as a definite misjudgment of their expected roles this year.

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