It’s not hard to know who the best 3rd baseman in fantasy baseball is. Miguel Cabrera leads the pack by a good mile or so, coming off an absolutely dominant Triple Crown campaign in 2012, but somewhere in the dust behind him there’s a battle raging for who should be crowned the second best third baseman in 2013.
That battle is between David Wright and Adrian Beltre.
Both guys are the two best options at the hot corner not named Cabrera this year, and if they can put up numbers like they did in 2012, they’ll likely have earned those spots. That said, who is the better of the two?
Most fantasy draft boards would say Wright, and most draft results would agree. Wright is winning this battle almost all of the time in 2013 fantasy drafts. If he isn’t going a few picks ahead of Beltre, he’s sometimes going an entire round before Beltre.
That right there is a puzzling fact. Actually, it’s a downright mystifying one.
Beltre wins in a battle between the two, and it’s barely even a battle, really. The Texas Rangers third baseman has hit for a higher average than Wright in each of the last three seasons, and a look at the 2012 stat lines of both players makes you wonder how Wright could possibly be going ahead of Beltre.
Beltre’s 2012: .321 average, 36 HR, 102 RBI, 95 RS, 1 SB
Wright’s 2012: .306 average, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 91 RS, 15 SB
While Wright does have the clear advantage in stolen bases, having stolen 15 last season compared to Beltre’s one, that difference pales in comparison to the fact that Beltre was by far the better hitter of the two in 2012 and has been for the last few years now. If that’s not enough, Beltre hit a whopping .345 with 11 home runs and 20 RBI in September last season, coming through when fantasy owners needed him most. Wright hit .262 over that span, posting only four home runs and 15 RBI during the fantasy playoffs.
To be honest, it’s kind of baffling why Wright is going ahead of Beltre in 2013. Yes, Beltre is a few years older and at 33 a few years is a big deal, but Beltre’s .321 average last year was the second best of his 15 year career and the second time he’s done that in the last three seasons as well. He’s the most consistent 3rd baseman in the game today not named Cabrera, and he should be drafted as such.
When it comes to Beltre and Wright in 2013, draft Beltre.