Previously we have looked at the rest of the IF positions around the NL East. Today the Hot Corner. This one should be fun.
Placebo Placido Polanco: Declining counting stats, declining slash-line, declining defense, declining health, accelerating age. Sorry but you get #5 by a runaway margin.
#4 Chipper Jones: This shows two things, one how deep the NL is in 3B, two how Chipper is barely hanging on to his former glory. Chipper has had 3 straight seasons of an OPS under .900 and only 221 games games in the last 2 years. There is no question that when healthy he can still hit, the problem is that is few and far between. With the depth in the NL East at 3B he gets the #4.
#3 Hanley Ramirez: I know my friend Alex would be up in arms about this one, ja ja ja. However, until I can see him actually play a complete season at 3B and recover from his worst season he gets the #3 spot. He now says he is on board with moving to 3B. We shall see if that opinion continues when they/he struggles. Times are good right now but Hanley has not proven to be the most strong willed when times are bad. His OPS the last two seasons has declined from his once MVP like numbers, last year was abysmal for the AS posting a .243 .333 .379 .712 in only 92 games. IF he returns to form and is able to handle 3B he could vault right up to the #1/2 spot quickly.
#2 David Wright: Much of what was said about Hanley’s numbers apply to Wright. If he is still struggling with the back injury and mental issues dealing with anything from the park to the beaning then Wright could plummet down this list. For now he is hanging on to that #2 spot by a thread, lets hope his back is not hanging on by that same thread.
#1 Ryan Zimmerman: Another easy pick for #1? What is interesting is how many of the NL East 3B are coming off either their worst seasons or in all cases an unhealthy year. The Nationals as well as I expect Ryan to return to form this year. Extension talks are underway now to lock up one of the game’s premier 3B. Once he gets that big contract though, the days of an .800 OPS and solid defense will not be enough. Keep in mind that this guy, while a great 3B, has been given this throne by default. His numbers overall never really approached Wright in his prime, the question is “Is Wright’s prime finished and is Zimmerman’s just beginning?”