Preliminary 2021 Rankings: Top 10 Third Baseman (Where To Rank The 2020 Breakouts, Any Surprises? & More)

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As you view these rankings keep in mind that they are extremely preliminary and will change as we continue our evaluations and projections for 2021. They will also be expanded here on the site, with even deeper rankings and more in-depth analysis available via our draft guide (ordering information is coming soon!)

With that said, let’s get to the rankings:

RankPlayerTeamQuick Thoughts
1) Jose RamirezCleveland IndiansTalk about an elite performance, Ramirez hit .292 with 17 HR, 46 RBI, 45 R and 10 SB. While he did earn the top spot on these rankings, there's a slew of red flags that could lead to a regression (for instance a career high 51.1% flyball rate and an average HR of 395 feet). He's among the elite, but don't ignore the risk.
2)Manny MachadoSan Diego PadresMachado had a spectacular second season in San Diego, hitting .304 with 16 HR, 47 RBI, 44 R and 6 SB. While his power may take a small step backwards (20.5% HR/FB, only 12 doubles and 1 triple), he should continue to produce big numbers (think 35 HR potential).
3)Alex BregmanHouston AstrosIt's easy to downgrade Bregman after his miserable 2020 (.242 with 6 HR). He continued to show an elite approach (4.9% SwStr%) and his big struggles against sliders should improve dramatically.
4) Nolan ArenadoColorado RockiesOnce again we are getting the rumors of a potential Arenado trade out of Colorado. That would have a devastating impact on his production, considering his struggles on the road (.227 with 1 HR in '20). If a trade comes to fruition his ranking could plummet.
5)Anthony RendonLos Angeles AngelsRendon was good, not great, in his first season in LA as he hit .286 with 9 HR. That said all of the underlying metrics point towards better production, and while he may not match his 2019 numbers he should rebound strong.
6)D.J. LeMahieuFree AgentThere is no arguing how good LeMahieu was in 2020, but what happens if he does leave New York via free agency? It's a possible outcome, and one that would significantly impact our expectations (.448 with 8 HR at home in '20).
7)Rafael DeversBoston Red SoxDevers proved that the power was for real (including a 93.0 mph Exit Velocity), but his abysmal approach (16.1% SwStr%, 42.3% O-Swing%) is going to cap his upside potential. Don't think of him as the .325 hitter he was in '19, he's far more likely to be in the .260-.270 range.
8) Matt ChapmanOakland A'sThe power is there for Chapman, but there are some clear red flags that are going to limit his upside potential. Simply put his propensity to strikeout (35.5% strikeout rate in '19) and elevated flyball rate (50.6%) could mean a sub-.250 AVG. The power saves him, but barring a change he's a tier or two below the elite.
9)Josh DonaldsonMinnesota TwinsInjuries... Injuries... Injuries... When healthy he's among the elite power hitters in the league, He only got 81 AB in '20 and entering the year at 35-years old it's hard to expect him to be healthy for the full year.
10)Eugenio SuarezCincinnati RedsSuarez is a power threat who is likely going to struggle with his AVG. While he may rebound from his .202 in '20, as pitchers throw him fewer and fewer fastballs (59.16% in '20) it gets harder to believe in a full-fledged rebound. Consider him a power only producer.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our preliminary 2021 rankings:

PositionDate Updated
Catcher--
First Baseman11/09/20
Second Baseman11/16/20
Third Baseman11/30/20
Shortstop12/07/20
Outfielder--
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--



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