Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018 and 2019, we will go over our Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
10. Kris Bryant- Chicago Cubs
We begin this list with a disgruntled third baseman, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. Bryant just went through the process of filing a grievance to gain control. But the one aspect that can be controlled by Bryant is his game. Kris Bryant gives the Cubs a lot of versatility. In 2019, Bryant would put together his best season since his MVP year of 2016. Brian hit 31 homeruns, driving 77 RBIs and produce an OPS plus of 131. As the 2020 season approaches, Kris Bryant will be playing with a chip on his shoulder. So look for a big season out of One of the top 10 third basemen right now.
9. Josh Donaldson- Minnesota Twins
Josh Donaldson is the elder statesman of this third basemen group. But Donaldson Still among the very best. Donaldson put a significant return to form campaign in 2019 with the Braves. This would lead Josh to a 4-Year deal with the Minnesota Twins. In 2019, Donaldson would hit 37 homeruns and drive in 94 RBIs. Donaldson would also jump back to “All-Star” style status with a wRC+ of 132 (FanGraph’s) and OPS+ 127 (Baseball-Reference.) As the 2020 approaches, Donaldson is likely going to maintain a high level of production. But moving into a bigger ballpark in Minnesota as well as getting older, the production expectations must be tempered, somewhat. And it’s with tempering the expectations that Josh Donaldson ends up ninth in my Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now list.
8. Jose Ramirez- Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians are in a prime position, as they have top 10 players at premium infield positions. One such player is Jose Ramirez. Ramirez has been a somewhat quiet contributor to a championship-caliber ballclub in Cleveland. And despite having an injury-shortened season in 2019, Ramirez still hit 23 homeruns and 83 RBIs. A healthy Jose Ramirez is capable of delivering on elite levels of production, as demonstrated with his third-place finish in the 2017 and 2018 MVP ballot. Thus with 2020 about to begin, Ramirez can elevate the Indians and help them fend off the Twins and White Sox.
7. Justin Turner- Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers pursued Anthony Rendon pretty heavily this offseason. But all the while, knowing that they had a more than capable insurance policy in the form of Justin Turner. Turner has been extremely productive for the Dodgers but still an underrated performer. Over three of the last four seasons, Turner has finished in the top 15 on NL MVP voting. And as the Dodgers embark on 2020 with a renewed hungry as being “cheated” out of potential World Series victories. Look for Justin Turner to aid with another big season for Los Angeles.
6. Manny Machado- San Diego Padres
Manny Machado was, at one point, the number one third baseman in the game. But a “down” season would drop Manny. Now let’s be clear about this, a down year from Manny Machado is still better than about 75% of third basemen in MLB today. In 2019, Manny would hit 32 homers and knock in 85 RBIs. This kind of production from let’s say Maikel Franco or Renato Nunez would be praised. But Manny is seen as a much better player; thus, the numbers look diminished. When projecting forward for the 2020 season, Manny is likely to regain the elite level that once had him in the upper stratosphere of the Top 10 Third Basemen in the game.
5. Alex Bregman- Houston Astros
When it comes to Alex Bregman, his placement on my list is entirely based on the Sign-Stealing Scandal that has enveloped the sport. Bregman, based on numbers alone, should be ranked at the top. Alex Bregman has put together a very impressive early career with two top-five finishes in the AL MVP voting. And Breg has nearly 100 homeruns and an OPS+ of 144 over his four-year career. But his outspoken nature cost him on my list. In 2020, we will see just how much of Bregman’s game was predicated on cheating.
4. Eugenio Suarez- Cincinnati Reds
Over the past two seasons, Eugenio Suarez has been the best player not spoken about. The Reds Third Baseman has hit 83 homeruns and 207 RBIs with a slashline of .277/.362/.550. Many casual baseball fans, outside of Cincinnati, probably won’t realize just how successful Suarez has been for the Reds. Eugenio Suarez may not be a name widely recognized right now, but he’s a name that should be high on everyone’s Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now list.
3. Matt Chapman- Oakland Athletics
Matt Chapman is among the greatest defenders in baseball today, and I don’t just mean among Third Basemen. Period end of story. Chapman is the type of player that you build your franchise around. And add in that Chapman’s offensive game has been steadily improving and you have the makings of a superstar. Over the course, of Chapman’s two and a half year career, Matt’s hit 74 Homeruns and drive in 199 RBIs. Going into the 2020 campaign, the Oakland A’s are going to be very hungry. The A’s have been knocked out of the postseason (Wild Card game) by the Yankees (2018) and Rays (2019.) So in 2020, look for the Matt’s (Chapman and Olson) to lead Oakland to the postseason one again.
2. Anthony Rendon- Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Arguably the quietest and most underrated steady performer in baseball today is Anthony Rendon. Rendon was overshadowed in DC by superstars like Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and even Juan Soto. But the most consistent of all those players had been Anthony Rendon. Over the past three seasons, Rendon has slashed .310/.397/.556. In 2019, Rendon finished in third place in the NL MVP voting. And now moving out West to Anaheim to play alongside Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon can continue to stay under the mainstream radar. But he is my number two on my Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.
1. Nolan Arenado- Colorado Rockies (For Now)
And the number one among all Third Basemen in the game is…Nolan Arenado. Arenado is (in my opinion, as this is a personal list) the best Third Basemen in the game. No matter the part of the game that you are evaluating from Nolan does it well. Defense? Check. Offense? Check. Desire to win? Check! Nolan Arenado is the type of Superstar player that every team looks to build around. (Except the Rockies apparently.) But I digress, Nolan’s number are outstanding. Over his seven-year Major League career, Arenado has amassed 227 homeruns, 734 RBIs, 1160 hits, and owns a career slashline of .295/.351/.546. And add in Gold Gloves in every season as well as not finishing lower than 8th in NL MVP voting since 2015. Nolan Arenado is my selection for number one among the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.