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(Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

MLB’s Top Players at every Position in 2022: Third Base

Third base
(Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

MLB’s Top Players at every Position in 2022: Third Base

It’s called the hot corner for a reason. Some of the best stars in MLB play third base, which will make this list of top players jammed-packed with talent. Let’s continue looking at the top players at every position for the 2022 season.

1. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals

In his second season with the Cardinals, Arenado is having an MVP-caliber season. He has career highs in OPS+ (154) and WAR (7.9) while hitting .293/.358/.533 in 148 games. He hit 30 home runs, 103 RBIs, and 42 doubles. His defense is a whole other level, as he chases the tenth Gold Glove of his career. It’ll be a tight race between him and teammate Paul Goldschmidt, but Arenado is sure to get MVP votes.

2. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres

While he’ll always have that attitude to his name, Machado has definitely matured since joining the Padres and his on-field production shows no signs of slowing down. Machado played in 150 games this season, belting 32 home runs and 102 RBIs. It was a bit of a down year defensively for Machado, who’s won two Gold Gloves in his career. -3 defensive runs saved and eight outs above average (OAA) isn’t normal for the type of defense we see from Machado at the hot corner. Not to say it’s bad though, and the bat is still very much alive to make up for it.

3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians

While Ramirez may never win MVP with players like Aaron Judge or Shohei Ohtani in the AL, he’s always going to finish at least top-five in voting. The AL league leader in doubles with 42 also hit 29 home runs and a whopping 126 RBIs. What’s also impressive about Ramirez is he’s never struck out more than 90 times in a season. In 2022, he only struck out 82 times, which is only the second highest in his career. It’s unfortunate the Guardians have gotten so close to a ring but haven’t done it, because if anyone deserves one it’s Ramirez.

4. Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves

The Braves gave Riley $212 million for a reason. At 25 years old, he’s one of the best offensive third basemen in the league. In his what is now his fourth season, Riley hit a career-high 38 home runs for the defending world champs. Riley hits the ball hard, having a 95% hard-hit rate and an average exit velocity of 96 mph. His defense was quite surprising as well, with six DRS and being third in the league for assists with 283.

5. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox only have Devers controlled for one more season, and the way he’s been performing makes him deserving of an extension. Will the Red Sox pay him? Who knows, but what we do know is he had another good season in 2022. A 140 wRC+ in 141 games this season with a 4.4 WAR and 27 homers. He hit the second-most doubles in his career with 42 this season. Whether he’s in a Red Sox uniform after 2023 or not, Devers is a player worth paying for.

6. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

There are a lot of reasons to not like Astro players such as Bregman for obvious reasons. But whether we ignore the cheating or not, Bregman is still a top third baseman and can really hit. After a down year in 2021, Bregman returned to his normal form this season. He hit over 20 home runs, 23 to be exact, and 93 RBIs. He had a 136 wRC+, seventh best in all of baseball. We have to accept the Astros are a good team and Bregman is a top third baseman.

7. Yandy Díaz, Tampa Bay Rays

Díaz is our surprise pick for our list, but he is one of the most underrated players in baseball. He has a 14 percent walk rate and a 140 OPS+ which leads the Rays roster. His 3.5 WAR was third-best on the team, and he’s emerged as one of the best hitters in baseball. He’s similar to guys like Jeff McNeil: You can’t seem to get him out and he finds a way to get on base any way he can.

8. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates

There isn’t much to be excited for as a Pirates fan. Hayes is an exception, as the young third baseman is looking to become another star from Pittsburgh. That 4.3 is the best of his young career, and his 3.0 defensive WAR is the best in baseball. He only hit .244, but it’s that defense that is putting his name out there. A total of 22 DRS, one of the best in baseball puts him in an elite class.

9. Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays

Chapman hasn’t really been himself since 2019. The offense hasn’t been great, but at least he hasn’t lost touch with his defense completely. The third baseman has won just about every defensive award possible, from Gold Glove to Platinum Glove to Defensive Player of the Year. He just can’t stop striking out — 170 this year with a .229 batting average. He hit 27 homers for the second consecutive year, but besides that he isn’t producing as much. For now, his defense will continue to carry him and keeps him in the top-10 conversation.

10. Eugenio Suárez, Seattle Mariners

Suárez has always been a home run or strike-out player. He’s had some batting average success, but you’re going to see high homers and Ks from him over the average. In his first season with the Mariners this year, he continued that power surge to help them make the postseason — 31 home runs with 87 RBIs in 150 games, with a 129 OPS+. It was a big step up in the WAR category as well, going from -0.7 in 2021 to 4.0 in 2022. The strikeouts, like Chapman, are an issue for Suárez. He had 196 total strikeouts for the season, leading the AL. As long as the power is there, he’ll continue to be an everyday player for the Mariners.

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