My Top 10 Third Basemen List

Posted by Noah Wright on

By: Noah Wright

 

Recently, MLB Network looked at The Steamer’s top 10 third basemen entering the 2019 season. Every year, there seems to be some players that seem out of place, and this year was no different. Currently, the Steamer’s list looks like this:

1.) Jose Ramirez

2.) Justin Turner

3.) Nolan Arenado

4.) Anthony Rendon

5.) Alex Bregman

6.) Matt Carpenter

7.) Matt Chapman

8.) Kris Bryant

9.) Josh Donaldson

10.) Eugenio Suarez

After looking at it, I wanted to rank my top 10 third basemen, so with that, let’s get started.

1.) Jose Ramirez:

No matter what list you look at, Ramirez is likely going to be #1. He’s a 5 tool player. Last year, Ramirez batted .270/.387/.552 with 39 home runs, and 34 stolen bases in 698 plate appearances. Overall, Fangraphs gave Ramirez a 146 wRC+. He also led 3B’s in ISO at .287. Ramirez’s batting average would look a lot better if it weren’t for a slump in September. Jose also shined defensively. At third base, Ramirez had 3 DRS, 3.3 UZR, and worth an overall .8 dWAR.

2.) Matt Chapman:

I put Matt Chapman at second because I consider him a 5 tool player. Afterall, look at his stats: .278/.356/.508 batting line 616 PA’s, 24 home runs, a 137 wRC+. No doubt about it, Chapman is one of, if not the best defensively. Last season, Chapman had an outstanding 29 DRS, 10.4 UZR, and an overall 3.5 dWAR. Though he doesn’t steal bags like Ramirez, Chapman does have speed comparable to Francisco Lindor (28.3 Ft./Sec. compared to 28.4 Ft./Sec.) With decent tools in everything, he is, to me, the second best 3B in the MLB.

3.) Alex Bregman:

The Astros former first round pick broke out big in 2018. In 705 plate appearances, Breg turned in a .286/.394/.532 line with 31 home runs. He also had a higher wRC+ than any other third baseman at 157. Though Breg isn’t the best defensively. At third this season, Alex recorded -6 DRS, -3.1 UZR, and -.1 dWAR. However, he was a good defender in his rookie year, so there’s a good possibility that he rebounds in defensive metrics.

4.) Nolan Arenado:

Arenado lands 4th on my list, but for a decent reason. Though Arenado batted .297/.374/.561 with his fourth straight season with 35+ HRS (38), and a good 132 wRC+ in 673 PA’s, I had to take in the Coors factor. Last season, Arenado batted .347/.424/.681 at home, but .248/.325/.447 away from Coors. Even though Arenado recorded career worsts at third base in DRS and dWAR (5, .7), there’s not much reason to think otherwise he can go back to being the best defensive third baseman in the league. So even with the Coors factor, Arenado is still a quality 3B.

5.) Anthony Rendon:

Rendon is one of the most underrated players in the entire MLB. He turned in another really good offensive season, with a .308/.374/.535 with 24 home runs and a 140 wRC+ in 597 PA’s. Also, Rendon finished with a .227 ISO, showing he has elite power. Throughout his career, Rendon has showed he could be a Gold Glove level defender, but last season, he had -7 DRS, 5.9 UZR, and -.4 dWAR. However he isn’t super old yet, so it’s more than likely he bounces back in those metrics.

6.) Eugenio Suarez:

Back around the All-Star break, I would make a case that Suarez should get some MVP consideration. Though he slumped in the second half, he overall, turned in a quality season. In his break-out 606 PA’s, Suarez batted .283/.366/.526 with 34 home runs, and a 135 wRC+. Even though he plays in a hitter friendly park, he did not use that to his advantage too much, as his home and away splits aren’t one sided. Defensively, Suarez is around average, with a 1 DRS, -4.3 UZR, and .3 dWAR.

7.) Justin Turner:

The LA Dodger third baseman, though he missed time with injury, was really good when healthy. In a limited 426 plate appearances, Turner batted .312/.406/.518 with 14 home runs, and a 154 wRC+. Turner also has been a quality defender at third, and though he didn’t have the same numbers he has had the last few season, he did have a solid 1 DRS, -1.8 UZR, and .2 dWAR.

8.) Kris Bryant:

Bryant definitely has the potential to be a top 5 3B. However, after batting .293/.397/.546 with 68 home runs and 175 RBI’s between 2016 and 2017, Bryant was hurt for part of 2018, and wasn’t great when he did play. All told, his injury limited 457 plate appearances turned in a .272/.374/.460 line with 13 home runs, and 125 wRC+. Though he’s never been a gold glove 3B, he reached career lows in DRS (-2), UZR (-3.2), and dWAR (-.5). Regardless, he’s still a young talent, and could easily bounce back in 2019, given a healthy year.

9.) Josh Donaldson:

Donaldson has been an injury risk the last 2 years, and he’s not always performed at the all-star level when he was healthy. In just 219 plate appearances last season, the former MVP batted a solid but unspectacular .246/.352/.449 with 8 home runs, and 117 wRC+ between the Blue Jays and Indians. However, Donaldson is still an above average defender at third, with 1 DRS, 1.3 UZR, and a .3 dWAR. While not many expect him to return to his his MVP level form, but like Bryant, it’s still possible he can be a very productive player if he can stay healthy for an entire season.

10.) Travis Shaw:

Shaw turned in his second straight productive season, as he batted .241/.345/.480 with 32 home runs (career high) in 587 plate appearances. While his batting average did take a dip from last season, it could be from a lack of luck with balls in play, with a BABIP of just .242. However wRC+ gives him about the same worth as 2017, with a 119 wRC+ in ‘18, and a 120 wRC+ in ‘17. Defensively, Shaw is one of the premier 3B defenders, with his 9 DRS, 2.2 UZR, and 1.0 dWAR.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Miguel Andujar (NYY)
  • Matt Carpenter (STL)
  • Johan Camargo (ATL)
  • Brian Anderson (MIA)

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