The Kansas City Royals have been quiet this week, only announcing their slogan. Our Time. Well Royals fans had thought for a couple days this could be Our Time. Until, the Detroit Tigers shocked a lot of people when they signed Prince Fielder to the 4th largest contract in baseball history. I thought Fielder would now be the everyday DH and Miguel Cabrera stays at first. This week Cabrera has said he will play third. That altered our look at third basemen quite a bit. I doubt he plays too much third base because he defense could be atrocious. In the American League Central and for the Detroit Tigers, all of baseball knows who is on third. With that said we will now take a look at the American League Central third basemen. The following statistics will give us a view of each player’s 2011 season.
The Chicago White Sox will start Brent Morel. Who? That was my thought too. 2011 was Morel’s first full season in the big leagues. In both of Morel’s stints in the bigs he has shown nothing. Morel was a solid hitter throughout the minor leagues with an average of over .300. The White Sox have to hope Morel can regain the form he had in the minors, or he just may turn out to be another AAAA player.
The Cleveland Indians will be starting Jack Hannahan. Hannahan has been a career back up. He had not over 150 at bats for three until last season with the Indians. Hannahan had 320 at bats and his highest average in 5 years hitting .250. Obviously when you look at Hannahan stats he is nothing but a major league bench player. Good luck Cleveland with Hannahan at third.
Miguel Cabrera is officially listed as Detroit’s starting third basement per the Tigers official website. Cabrera is a perennial MVP candidate. In 2011, Cabrera posted his highest batting average ever at .344. Cabrera also posted his highest OBP ever at .448. That is not too far from the ordinary, Cabrera is a career .317 hitter and has posted a .395 OBP. Imagine the impact of having Prince Fielder now hitting behind Cabrera. The Tigers offense is going to be scary. Their infield defense may be the size of an offensive line and may post the worst defensive ratings in MLB history, but their offense will easily outweigh their defensive struggles.
The Kansas City Royals will have second year man Mike Moustakas at third. In his second big league season, the Royals hope Moustakas can continue to grow as a hitter. Moustakas struggled immensely in his first couple months in the big leagues. Moustakas has struggled at every stop throughout the minors after his initial call up. As Moustakas saw more major league pitching he began to show flashes of what scouts said could be expected of Moustakas. Can Moustakas take another step forward this year? For the Royals to compete in the central, he will have to take a huge step forward.
The Minnesota Twins will begin the season with Danny Valencia at third. Valencia in his first full big league season hit .246. A huge decrease from the average Valencia had carried throughout the minor leagues. A career .290 hitter in the minors Valencia, take a huge step back in his first full big league season. Valencia and the Twins hope he can become the hitter he was in the minors, but it looks like we may have another AAAA player.
Now that all third baseman have briefly been discussed, I will rank them from 1 to 5 in my point of view as to how their overall production for the 2012 season will stack up. Well I don’t know if it is even necessary, as no one can compare to Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera is by far and away the best player at third base. As for my rankings, here they are.
- Miguel Cabrera
- Mike Moustakas
- Danny Valencia
- Jack Hannahan
- Brent Morel
From my point of view, and anyone else who knows what baseball is, Miguel Cabrera will by far be the best and most impactful offensive player at third base. Cabrera will continue to produce MVP caliber numbers and dominate all major league pitching. It’s scary to think how much better Cabrera could be with Fielder hitting behind him. The rest of the third basemen have a lot to prove. Moustakas is a huge prospect for the Royals and if the scouts are right he should continue to improve. Moustakas has a long way to go, but he should be better than the rest.