A few weeks back, Steve Phillips told MLB Network Radio that his top three third basemen in baseball right now are Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson and Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies … in that order. I think Phillips might be going against general consensus for no real reason beyond a few basic offensive stats and an eye test. In a really solid article, Jake Misener over at Cubbies Crib took a little deeper, more insightful look at Kris Bryant going head-to-head with Nolan Arenado.
With these articles in mind, I thought I would take a swing at “power ranking” the league’s best third basemen going into the 2018 season.
No. 5 – Alex Bregman
There isn’t a ton of elite-level third basemen going into the 2018 season. Manny Machado is a shortstop now. Justin Turner just injured his wrist. I’m giving the edge to Alex Bregman over Anthony Rendon just based on postseason success.
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So, with that said, going into his third season in the majors, Bregman will continue to elevate himself as a top tier third basemen. It is wild that a lot of Bregman’s performance simply relies on something that you can’t find on Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs… pure swagger.
That is not to say the talent and ceiling aren’t there though … because they are. His clutch hitting in the World Series wasn’t just a single stroke of luck. His sophomore season started off a bit rough offensively and defensively, which could be attributed to the lack of at-bats and field time last spring, as he played for Team USA behind Nolan Arenado in the World Baseball Classic. However, as you can see below, he obviously adjusted and greatly improved during the second half of the season.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
For a player who is so early in his career, he carries himself at the plate like a veteran, indicated by his contact percentage at 85.7%, third among third basemen from both leagues according to FanGraphs. As a career shortstop converted to third baseman, he grew into his own by the end of the season defensively as well. This is the season where Alex Bregman puts it all together for an elite year.