Third base is where the deepest levels of talent in the majors reside, with two recent MVPs, multiple long-term deals, and former top five picks. In collating a top five at the position, I have had to leave out some of the most talented players in the league, including Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Kris Bryant and 49 homer Eugenio Suarez.
The top five has two of the best defenders in the entire league, a man who pushed Mike Trout all the way for the AL MVP in 2019 and a young star in a big market.
One decision that was very straightforward on this list was putting the Astros third baseman at the top. The second overall pick in the 2015 draft, he has blossomed into a genuine star at the Major League level, accumulating 9.1 WAR, which equates to MVP level production.
He filled in well at shortstop whilst Carlos Correa was on the IL, showing the versatility that is so valuable in 2020 whilst maintaining an OPS over 1.000. If anyone will challenge Trout for MVP in 2020 now Mookie Betts has gone, it will probably be Bregman.
He has hit at least 38 home runs in each of the last five seasons whilst producing nightly highlight-reel plays at the hot corner. The face of the Rockies franchise has been consistently excellent in the majors on both sides of the ball.
His relationship with the Rockies front office has been frayed recently for a perceived lack of ambition, amidst poor free agency decisions, although it is likely the consummate professional will continue to produce in 2020.
A consistently excellent player for many years in Washington, the new Angels third baseman hit a new level in 2019, with a career high 35 home runs and 7 WAR, good for top three in the MVP race.
Now in the same line up as Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, it is fair to assume that the protection in the line up makes him likely to at least match last year’s numbers. Not being the best hitter on the team will help Rendon remain somewhat under the radar, despite his big contract.
There can be a very compelling case made that the A’s third baseman is the best defensive player in the Majors at any position. He had 34 defensive runs saved in 2019, first in the Major Leagues and 18 more than Arenado in the third base rankings.
He has also become an above average offensive player, putting up an OPS around .850 in each of the last two years. He also displayed more power in 2019 with 36 home runs.
The Red Sox third baseman narrowly edges out DJ LeMahieu since the Yankees infielder played more at second in 2019, and there is a strong argument that Devers is better regardless.
It was a true breakout year in 2019 for the former top prospect, cutting his strikeout rate and improving his batting average by 70 points from 2018. His defence was also above average according to FanGraphs metrics. Still just 23, it is likely he will be even higher on this list in 9 months.