2021 MLB Rankings: 30 days of MLB rankings! In this series, we will be ranking every projected starting player for the 2021 season at each in position, each in three parts. On day nine of this series, we’ll look at the middle ten third basemen in MLB.
Check out the previous rankings from this 2021 MLB Rankings series:
Catchers 30-21 | Catchers 20-11 | Catchers 10-1| First Base 30-21| First Base 20-11 | First Base 10-1| Second Base 30-21| Second Base 20-11| Second Base 10-1| Shortstop 30-21| Shortsop 20-11| Shortstop 10-1| Third Base 30-21| Third Base 20-11
2021 MLB Rankings: 10-6
10. Josh Donaldson, Minnesota Twins 2020: 5
2020: 28 games, .222/.373/.469 splits, .842 OPS, 6 Home Runs, 11 RBIs
In his first year with the Minnesota Twins, Josh Donaldson struggled, as he battled several injuries that limited him to only 28 games. Regardless, his past success is enough to keep him in the top ten. If Donaldson can stay healthy in a full season, he still has the potential to be an all-star. But at age 36, he likely won’t return to his prior MVP form.
9. Gio Urshela, New York Yankees 2020: 15
2020: 43 games, .298/.368/.490 splits, .858 OPS, 6 Home Runs, 30 RBIs
Before postseason struggles, Gio Urshela had the best year of his career in the shortened 2020 season, establishing himself as a top ten third baseman. He hits for a high average at the plate, has good speed on the base paths, and will hit a few home runs. Defensively, he’s one of the best in MLB as he posted an Rdrs of 6 at third base in 2020.
8. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds 2020: 5
2020: 57 games, .202/.312/.470 splits, .781 OPS, 15 Home Runs, 38 RBIs
Despite his average dropping considerably, Eugenio Suarez still provided a ton of power in 2020. Suarez has a ton of pop in his bat but needs to limit his strikeouts. He draws walks at the plate but sometimes is not aggressive enough, which gets him into trouble. Defensively, Suarez was a near-liability in 2020, posting an Rdrs of -4.
7. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox 2020: 7
2020: 57 games, .263/.310/.483 splits, .793 OPS, 11 Home Runs, 43 RBIs
While he had a down year in 2020, Rafael Devers is still one of the best third basemen in baseball. Devers’ biggest issue is that he doesn’t draw enough walks while striking out at a high rate. Regardless, he has a ton of power and had 28 extra-base hits last season. Defensively, Devers needs to improve, but at age 24, he should continue to get better.
6. Matt Chapman, Oakland Athletics 2020: 4
2020: 37 games, .232/.276/.535 splits, .812 OPS, 10 Home Runs, 25 RBIs
2020 was an underwhelming season for Matt Chapman, who missed time due to injury. He swings for the fences at the plate, which resulted in his hitting ten home runs and posting a poor rate of eight walks to 54 strikeouts. Defensively, he’s up there with Nolan Arenado as the best in baseball. While he didn’t win the Gold Glove in 2020, Chapman still has the best arm at third base.
2021 MLB Rankings: 5-1
5. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros 2020: 2
2020: 42 games, .242/.350/.451 splits, .801 OPS, 6 Home Runs, 22 RBIs
After an MVP-caliber year in 2019, Alex Bregman took a step back, along with several of his teammates in 2020. Regardless, this was likely just a bump in the road as the noise got to the Astros. If Bregman struggles again in 2021, then it will become fairer to question if he was only good because of 2019 It will be interesting to see how several of these Astros play this season.
4. Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels 2020: 3
2020: 52 games, .286/.418/.497 splits, .915 OPS, 9 Home Runs, 31 RBIs
In his first year with the Los Angeles Angels, Anthony Rendon played very well, as he posted an OPS+ of 151. Rendon has a great eye and great power at the plate as he was one of the few players in MLB to draw more walks than record strikeouts in 2020. Defensively, he’s right around league-average, but nothing special at third base.
3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians 2020: 11
2020: 58 games, .292/.386/.607 splits, .993 OPS, 17 Home Runs, 46 RBIs
Clearly, Jose Ramirez read my rankings and was upset I left him off the top ten last season. After a down year in 2019, Jose Ramirez pulled off a complete 180 in 2020 as he finished second in the AL MVP ranking. At the plate, Ramirez has extreme power, as highlighted by his .993 OPS and 17 home runs. Defensively, he’s below league-average, but his bat is enough for Ramirez to earn a top-three spot.
2. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres 2020: 9
2020: 60 games, .304/.370/.580 splits, .950 OPS, 16 Home Runs, 47 RBIs
After an underwhelming first year in San Diego in 2019, Manny Machado flipped the narrative and proved he was worth the money in 2020. Love him or hate him, Machado has all the tools that make an elite hitter. Defensively, he’s one of the best in MLB and posted an Rdrs of 7 in 2020. In 2021, Machado will play a huge role for a Padres team that could surprise a lot of people.
1. Nolan Arenado, St.Louis Cardinals 2020: 1
2020: 48 games, .253/.303/.434 splits, .738 OPS, 8 Home Runs, 26 RBIs
Even following a down year in 2020, Nolan Arenado remains the best third baseman in all of baseball. It will be weird to see him in St. Louis, but even without the benefit of playing at Coors Field, Arenado has elite power. Defensively, he continued to be the best in the league last year as he has now earned a Gold Glove in all eight of his MLB seasons.
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