Fantasy Baseball: Rodriguez’s injury lets other third basemen rise

We are steadily crawling closer and closer to Opening Day, and maybe it’s just me, but I am getting excited. And of course I am happy to be watching the World Baseball Classic.

There are several columnists around the country dogging on the event because of the risk of injury to the players involved.

Since I am a Texas Rangers fan, I don’t have to worry about losing any of my favorite players, because nobody else wants them.

But there is something about seeing a team wearing USA on its jerseys that gets me excited.

And injuries are just part of the game. Whether it’s the Classic, Spring Training or the regular season, players are going to get hurt.

Perfect example: Alex Rodriguez.

He played for about a week after admitting to steroid use then decided to have surgery on his hip, which will cause him to miss at least the first month of the season.

Still, look for Rodriguez to put up 35 home runs, drive in 95 RBIs and get a .300 average, but I am not drafting him. He is falling to about the third round in most ESPN fantasy leagues.

If you really want Rodriguez and feel like settling for a lesser player at the hot corner for a month, go for it. Here are some third basemen you can look at for the first month of the year that should be available in the later rounds:

Ryan Zimmerman (Washington 3B)- I drafted him last year because I was starting to believe in the hype, then an early season injury hurt his productivity. You can expect around 19 home runs, 80 RBIs, 75 runs from Zimmerman in the full season.

Mark DeRosa (Indians 2B, 3B, OF)- DeRosa is the ultimate utility man. By qualifying at three different positions, he has value throughout the season even after the first month. Plus he is representing team USA well in the WBC. Expect him to hit 21 home runs, knock in 90 runs, score 85 runs and have a .280 average.

Third base is generally a shallow position, but this year I see about 15 players that can start in your fantasy league.

The Skiff fantasy baseball league is drafting this weekend, so after Spring Break I will let you know who had the best draft and give you some sleepers that went late.

Everyone have a safe Spring Break and join me in saying “Go USA!” in the Classic.

Bill Wessels is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Waxahachie.