Buster Olney of ESPN ranked the top 10 third basemen right now and he did not have Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado as his number one third baseman…or even at #2.
It may surprise you when Nolan Arenado was not ranked as the #1 or #2 third baseman in baseball right now by Buster Olney of ESPN but he was not. Arenado was actually ranked as the third best third baseman. He was behind Anthony Rendon of the Los Angeles Angels, who was second, and Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros, who was ranked as the best 3B in baseball.
You may be surprised by the ranking but if you dive into last season’s numbers for third basemen (and not previous seasons), it’s actually a pretty accurate placement.
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Here are some of his rankings among third basemen in 2019:
- 2nd in RBI
- 3rd in HRs
- 3rd in slugging percentage
- 3rd in fielding runs
- 4th in batting average
- T-4th in fWAR
- 5th in on-base percentage
- 10th in walk percentage
- 11th in wRC+
In other words, Arenado, at least last season, was not the best third baseman in baseball.
Without looking at every single stat and using WAR, Arenado would actually be no higher than 4th among third basemen, as for both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference’s versions of WAR, Arenado would be behind Bregman, Rendon, and Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics, who was ranked directly behind Arenado at number four.
This is Olney’s overall list:
- Best of the rest: Yoan Moncada (Chicago White Sox), Eduardo Escobar (Arizona Diamondbacks), Manny Machado (San Diego Padres), Gio Urshela (New York Yankees).
- 1. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
- 2. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
- 3. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
- 4. Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics
- 5. Josh Donaldson, free agent
- 6. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
- 7. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
- 8. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds
- 9. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
- 10. Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
If you are considering each player’s entire body of work thus far in their careers, Arenado would likely be at the top, though.
MLB Network is starting their Top 10 Right Now countdown this weekend with left and center fielders but when their third baseman rankings come out, it will be interesting to see if “The Shredder” and the hosts agree with Olney.