Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now

Tonight MLB Network will continue the 2013 iteration of their “Top 10 Right Now” series at each position capped off with a “Top 100 Overall”. They will air both the third base and shortstop shows on Friday evening. I always enjoy this series and generally look forward to it after the New Year since I eat up just about any fresh baseball content I can as we wait for pitchers & catchers to report. Instead of putting up my lists after they air their selections, I’ll post mine ahead of time and then compare notes after the shows air.

This is not a fantasy list!!

Both Kyle Seager and Brett Lawrie were heavily considered, but in the end they had to be left off this year. I think both will take a step forward in 2013, but not enough to merit a spot. Seager specifically has to combat Safeco Field where he was 200 OPS points worse last year (632 to 835) and I’m not sure the moved fences are going to make that much of a difference. Lawrie was just edged out by #10.

THE LIST

10. Pablo Sandoval (SF) – Two straight years shortened by injury is worrisome, but he looked plenty healthy in the World Series (that jerk!).

9. David Freese (StL) – More than adequately followed up the World Series generated hype with his best season yet. It also happened to be his first full season. There probably isn’t much growth left at 30 years old, but he should sustain in 2013.

8. Chase Headley (SD) – A jump from 4 to 31 home runs is excellent, but how sustainable is it? The power surge came out of nowhere, but Headley as a remarkably talented player isn’t new. He completely understands what Seager is dealing with in Safeco.

7. Martin Prado (ARI) – He was inexplicably included in MLBN’s LF list given the precedent they set with Shin-Soo Choo as he will be a third baseman this year with the D’Backs. A bit underrated because he doesn’t do any one thing extremely well, but instead holds his own in every facet of the game adding up to a damn fine player.

6. Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) – Essentially lost the first three months to injury. Sure, he was playing, but he wasn’t himself carrying a sub-700 OPS through June and even a week into July. That he ended at 824 tells you how great he was the rest of the way.

5. Aramis Ramirez (MIL) – One of the more underrated players in the game in my opinion. He is a fantastic hitter who has been below league average just twice since becoming a full-time player in 2001. He’s a capable third baseman, too.

4. David Wright (NYM) – Simply one of the best in the game. He does it all and he’s still just 30. He really cut into his strikeout rate last year, too, hopefully that’s a skill that has returned because the three years of 20+ percent wasn’t serving him too well.

3. Evan Longoria (TB) – We know he’s a superstar, we’ve seen it, but we haven’t seen that transcendent year yet as his last two have been cut short by injuries. It’s coming.

2. Adrian Beltre (TEX) – It’s so close, but his defense doesn’t do enough to make up the gap between he and #1. My little love letter to him was part of the Spring Training Countdown.

1. Miguel Cabrera (DET) – Far from the best defender at the position, but easily the best hitter. Plus he wasn’t the overwhelming disaster on defense that most people expected. There may be no finer hitter in all of baseball.

What do you think? Any major misses?

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4 Responses to “Top 10 Third Basemen Right Now”

  1. C’mon…Headley 8th? The dude is coming off a season with 31 HRs, 115 RBIs (1st NL), a Gold Glove and was 5th in the MVP voting. He had absolutely no protection in the Pads lineup or table setters and had to hit half the time at Petco…..against the best pitching division in baseball.

    • First, lineup protection means nothing so I don’t factor that at all.

      Meanwhile, it’s not all based on last year or I’d just make a 2012 WAR list and regurgitate it. And as I mentioned, can he sustain? Jumping from 4 to 31 doesn’t happen very often and when it does, it’s not often sustained.

      He had plenty of people to drive in. Denorfia, Venable, and Forsythe all had very good OBPs. Can’t lead the NL in RBI with no table setters, just doesn’t work out that way.

      And your last point is in favor of keeping him eight. Why bet on a repeat when a) it’s a CLEAR outlier b) he still plays in Petco (and the fence move in is negligible) and c) still facing the best pitching with Zack Grienke added.

      Third base is deep. There is nothing wrong this slotting for him. I can understand those that want him ahead of Prado, but he isn’t clearly above any of the other six and the arguments favor those six pretty firmly.

      I *really* like Headley, can’t stress that enough, but I think he’s fairly ranked here. Thanks for commenting!

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