Every year MLB Network puts on a series entitled “Top 10 Right Now” at each position in the game of baseball. And over the years I have joined along and made my list. Now prior to last season it didn’t mean much beyond being a personal exercise. Last year having had LaracuenteLedger.com, I now have a platform to display my list. And this year I’ll be keeping with the decade-long tradition. I follow along with MLB Network and release my list as they air the corresponding episode of each position. So we begin with the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.
Who are your Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now? Tell us via voice message on the Anchor App on your Android or Apple device. Or on any of our social media channels like Twitter @laracuenteledge or @LedgerPodcast. Or on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat you can search Laracuente Ledger. Or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.” And also check out The Laracuente Ledger Podcast on Anchor, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, and many more podcast sites.
Each time I sit down to make out my list of the Top 10 at each position I look to the graphic above that MLB Network releases. I usually have an idea in mind of my top players at each position, but then I research and try to make my best decision. Now the selection process is somewhat like a fantasy draft of each position as an individual draft. But by the same token one must take into account previous output and estimate what the player can do in the upcoming season at that position. And be sure to listen to today’s episode of The Laracuente Ledger Podcast for a complete recap of both my Top 10 Second & Third Basemen Right Now. So number ten on my Top 10 Third Basemen Right now is…
No. 10: Eugenio Suarez
The Cincinnati Reds third basemen, Eugenio Suarez starts out my Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now. Over the last four seasons, Suarez has hit 94 home runs. During the 2018 campaign, Suarez came into his own hitting 34 of those 94 homers. And for good measure drove in 104 RBI’s. Because Eugenio plays in Cincy, he does not get the recognition that he should in this deep and stacked field of third base. But he makes my list.
No. 9: Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson is one of the best players in Major League Baseball, when healthy. That, however, if the key factor. In 2018, Donaldson only played in 52 games during the regular season between Toronto (36) and Cleveland (16). And even in 2017 Donaldson was limited to 113 games. So the question about Josh is about if you can keep him healthy. Because when he is the player is dynamic. During the 2016 season when Donaldson played in 155 games he was raking, hitting 33 home runs and driving in nearly 100 ribbies. And one more impressive feat is his nearly 1-to-1 strikeout to walk totals.
But that was two seasons ago and looking at his 2018 campaign painted a different picture, it was a tale of two Donaldson’s. The first half mired by injuries and inability. While the second half was more aligned with the Donaldson we have come to know the last four years. If healthy Donaldson will have a big 2019 campaign in Atlanta for the revamped Braves.
No. 8: Miguel Andújar
The current Yankees third baseman and should have been Rookie of the Year, Miguel Andujar is number eight on my list for the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now. During his stellar Rookie campaign, Miggy had a batting average of .297, hit 27 home runs and drove in 92. And for all the talk of Miggy’s defensive woes, he committed just 15 errors. The 5x Gold Glove winner Derek Jeter committed 22 errors in his Rookie season. Miguel is a hard worker constantly trying to improve his craft and should have a much better season defensive in 2019. And the doubles machine that Andujar proved to be should carry over offensively in this upcoming season.
No. 7: Justin Turner
Now this pick I debated with because while Turner has incredible talent. Over the last two seasons Turner has missed a lot of time, including last season when he was limited to only 103 games. That being said, in those 103 games Turner would still slash .312/.406/.518 and he would hit 14 homers and have 52 RBI’s. Something that stuck out to me about Turner’s 2018 campaign was his strikeout to walk totals. Turner would strikeout 54 times but would counter that with 47 walks. Turner’s eye at the plate and ability to work walks is something that carries over from year to year regardless of age.
No. 6: Anthony Rendon
Arguably the most underrated third basemen in baseball is Anthony Rendon. The Washington Nationals third baseman is one of the more consistent third basemen over the last three seasons. During that span, Rendon has averaged 23 home runs and 92 RBI’s, all while playing above average defense. And even though injuries played a factor in each of the last two seasons, Anthony has still produced in a big way with an OPS+ of 139 (2017) & 137 (2018) and receiving MVP votes in both seasons. The Nationals will be looking to rebound in a big way in 2019. And as Rendon enters his walk year will also be looking to do damage, so expect a big season from the Houston, Texas native.
No. 5: Matt Chapman
The Bay Area hot corner specialist known as Matt Chapman comes in at number 5 on my Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now. Chapman may not be someone you have seen much of unless you’re favorite team plays out West. But Matt Chapman is someone you have to get to know. Matt Chapman is the best defensive third baseman not named Nolan Arenado. And the 2018 Gold Glove is evidence of that. But Chapman isn’t just an all gloveman either.
Matt Chapman in 2017 in only 84 games hit 14 homers and drove in 40 with an unmemorable slash line of .234/.313/.472. But in 2018, Chapman came into his own and hit 24 bombs, driving in 68 with a much better line of .278/.356/.508 leading to an OPS+ of 136. You may not know who Matt Chapman is upon reading this list, but by the end of 2019, you will know the name, Matt Chapman.
No. 4: Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant was a picture of durability and consistency from his debut in 2015 all through 2017. In 2018, however, Bryant struggled a bit with health, which limited him to only 102 games. But even with less time on the field, Bryant was still very productive. Bryant produced an OPS+ of 118 during the 2018 campaign and slashed .272/.374/.460. Not quite the level of MVP and greatness but still All-Star caliber.
Going into the 2019 season, Bryant should be healthy. And a healthy Kris Bryant is among the game’s best players, not just the best third basemen. So look for an excellent season from the North side of Chicago.
No. 3: Jose Ramirez
Another man that gets left out of the discussion of one of the games best and that’s the Cleveland Indians’ third baseman, Jose Ramirez. Jose Ramirez has done a phenomenal job of improving his talent every season since his debut in 2013. But the first two and a half seasons of his six-year Major League career were spent as a role player without consistent at-bats. But in 2015, we saw Ramirez start to get more time, and that’s when the career began to take off. And over the last two seasons, Ramirez has picked up his level of play to MVP type status. And that is easily visible by simply looking at his OPS+ of 145 and 150 in 2017 & 2018 respectively. And 2019 should add to that already impressive resumé.
No. 2: Alex Bregman
A guy that could easily slide over to shortstop and make the top half of that list too is Alex Bregman. The Houston Astros third baseman is one of the more charismatic and talented players in all of Major League Baseball. Like many of the players on this list, Bregman has shown improvement of that immense talent every season that he has been in the league. That includes his All-Star, MVP type caliber season of 2018. Bregman truly put himself on the map in a big way last season.
And in 2019, it should be no different. Bregman’s brash and arrogant nature can rub certain fan bases the wrong way, but it’s because of his style and the chip on his shoulder that the Louisiana State University alumni reaches this level amongst a crowded third base field.
That Leaves Number One: Nolan Arenado
I don’t think there is much question why Nolan Arenado is the top third basemen right now. Arenado does everything on a baseball field that you expect from not just an elite level third basemen but also from an MVP caliber superstar. Nolan Arenado is without question the top fielder at his position. Arenado also is one of the best hitters in all of the MLB. And my “BOLD” proclamation is that in 2019 Nolan wins the NL MVP. So, of course, he’s number one on my list of Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.