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, 2019, and 2020, we will go over our Top 10 Second 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. Josh Donaldson
Josh Donaldson may not seem like a likely candidate because of having a downed and shortened 2020 season. Donaldson would only play in 28 of the 60 games and would have a slashline of .222/.373/.469. However, when looking at the 2021 campaign, a player like Josh Donaldson will likely bounce back. When checking in on the stats of the 2019 campaign, Donaldson would have a monster season. But even when you examine the shortened 2020 season, Donaldson would still have an OPS+ of 131. The league average is 100, and even in a down season, Josh Donaldson would still be 31% better than the average. 2021 will likely be a solid season for Donaldson and keep him squarely in the conversation of the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.
9. Ke’Bryan Hayes
Now, this may seem a little premature, placing Ke’Bryan Hayes on the list of the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now after just 24 games. However, the impression made by the son of former Major Leaguer Charlie Hayes can not be denied. Over his 24 games played in 2020, Hayes would slash .376/.442/.682 and an OPS+ of 202. Now, yes, there’s no way a pace like that would be sustainable over the course of 162 games. But the talent is nevertheless there for the second generation ballplayer. In 85 at-bats, Ke’Bryan would hit five homeruns and drive in eleven. And based on BaseballReference.com’s statistical averages over a 162 game season, Hayes would tally 34 homers and 74 RBIs. Not to mention the plus defensive rating during the 2020 season. This may be a bit of projection and small sample size bias, but I believe that Ke’Bryan Hayes is one of the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now for 2021.
8. Eugenio Suárez
Eugenio Suarez was quietly one of the most underrated Third Basemen in Major League Baseball over the past few seasons. And while 2020 was a down season, it doesn’t diminish Eugenio’s claim to being one of the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now. And even in a down and shortened season, Suarez would still manage to crush 15 homeruns and drive in 38 RBIs in just 57 games. As the 2021 season approached, the Cincinnati Reds can rely on Suarez to round back into his regular form and be among the very best Third Basemen right now.
7. Matt Chapman
Matt Chapman is one of the best infield defenders in baseball. Chapman provides the Oakland A’s with lockdown defense at the hot corner and provides a solid bat. Injuries would shorten the already shortened 2020 campaign for Matt Chapman. However, even in a shortened and somewhat “off” season, Chapman was still quite good. During his 37 games in 2020, Chapman would have an OPS+ of 122 and a homerun/RBI total of 10/25. Over the past few seasons, Matt Chapman has quietly been one of the best baseball players and not just the best Third Basemen. Having a combination of defense and power like Matt Chapman’s is a great addition to any team.
6. Gio Urshela
The New York Yankees Third Baseman, Gio Urshela, is up next on my list. Gio is a defensive standout that makes spectacular plays look simple and routine. Urshela has always been known for having an exceptional glove but recently had added a presence in the lineup to his repertoire. Having Urshela figure it all out has been extremely helpful to the New York Yankees over the past two seasons’ pushes to the postseason. And heading into 2021, there’s little doubt that the Yankees will attempt to make the journey go further this season. And Gio Urshela being one of the Too 10 Third Basemen Right Now certainly aids in that quest.
5. Manny Machado
The $300 Million man of San Diego ranks number five on my Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now list. When watching Manny Machado play, his talent is undeniable. However, the knock-on him was sometimes a seeming lack of effort. But since heading to sunny San Diego, Machado has been a man who plays to win each and every night. Manny would have an outstanding season despite the shortened 2020 campaign. Machado would smash 16 homeruns and drive in 47 RBIs. Manny would also have a slashline of .304/.370/.580. If Machado can sustain this level of play, he and the Padres will be back in the postseason in 2021.
4. Alex Bregman
As for many players, the 2020 season was not the best indicator of their talents. One such player that falls in that category is Alex Bregman. The Houston Astros Third Baseman is arguably one of the most dynamic players in MLB. Even in a down season, Bregman would have an OPS+ of 116. This list is about projecting forward for the 2021 season. And there’s little doubt that Alex Bregman will be among the very best Third Basemen right now.
3. Jose Ramirez
When examining the numbers to find the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now in Major League Baseball, it doesn’t take long to find Jose Ramirez. He’s a the top of many categories. The switch-hitting third baseman would continue his level of excellent play in 2020. Now while we discount players who have a good track record but had a down season in 2020. We also can’t deny when players have an outstanding short 2020 season, which Ramirez did. But with Ramirez, it’s not easy to dismiss this wonderful 2020 campaign because it’s in line with the norms of two of the previous three seasons. Ramirez’s 2019 campaign was a bit of a regression. But Jose would bounce back in a big way in 2020. And merits a very high ranking among the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now in MLB.
2. Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rendon is arguably the most underrated superstar in Major League Baseball. When you examine the offensive numbers for Rendon, there are few players, let alone Third Basemen, who outshine him. And even in a shortened season, Rendon would light up the stat sheet with an incredible OPS+ of 151. So with the 2021 season approaching, the Angels are glad to have Rendon manning the “Hot Corner.” And we are glad to pencil Anthony Rendon’s name in our Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.
1. Nolan Arenado
And still, my number one on the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now is Nolan Arenado. Now, let’s get the negative out of the way first, and then I can rave about Arenado. Yes, Nolan had a down offensive season in 2020. Across 48 games, Nolan would slash a lowly .253/.303/.434 with an OPS+ of 84. But that was an aberration. Nolan Arenado is a much better player than those numbers depict. The Rockies Third Baseman is consistently underrated and undervalued because of playing in Colorado. Many pundits discredit his numbers because of playing at high altitudes. However, his talents transcend locations. If Arenado were to be traded to another team, his stock values would be raised up even higher.
And that’s not even mentioning Arenado’s defense. In my humble opinion, Nolan Arenado is the best defensive Third Baseman in MLB. When looking at his insanely high defensive metrics, you see the second coming of Brooks Robinson. And while that may sound or seem blasphemous to some, Arenado is unquestionably an incredible defender. And without question, my number one selection for the Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now.