2023 Positional Power Rankings: Third Base

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, Jay Jaffe and Leo Morgenstern examined the state of first and second base. Today, we wrap up the infield positions, starting with a look at third base.

Third base has featured some truly top-tier stars in their prime for a while now. Nolan Arenado, Manny Machado, and José Ramírez are all either 30 or 31 (Arenado turns 32 next month), and all are coming off seasons so spectacular that no projection system worth its ones and zeros would predict a repeat performance. Alex Bregman turns 29 in just a couple of days, and the projections see him notching another five wins in 2023. All of this to say, enjoy peak third base while you can, because aging curves bend but they rarely break.

The next wave is already here in the form of Rafael Devers, Austin Riley, and Gunnar Henderson. Nine teams are ticketed for All-Star-level production and a 10th is slated to start the game’s consensus no. 1 prospect. As the league continues to value positional flexibility, more and more starting third basemen are also expected to log time at a couple other positions. There are plenty of teams expected to throw half a dozen third basemen at the wall to see who sticks, but just two are projected to get sub-replacement-level performance from their strategic third base reserve.

2023 Positional Power Rankings – 3B
1. Cardinals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Nolan Arenado 651 .271 .336 .481 .351 23.2 -0.4 7.0 5.7
Brendan Donovan 28 .260 .356 .364 .324 0.4 -0.1 -0.1 0.1
Paul DeJong 14 .211 .287 .385 .296 -0.1 -0.0 0.1 0.1
Tommy Edman 7 .263 .318 .398 .313 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .269 .335 .473 .348 23.5 -0.4 7.0 5.9

For any third basemen out there wondering what you have to do to top this particular list: Arenado is coming off a 7.3-WAR season in which he finished third in the NL MVP voting. He took home his fifth Silver Slugger, his 10th consecutive Gold Glove, and his sixth Platinum Glove. So that’s all it takes.

Lest you suspect that Arenado has been racking up all that hardware based on his reputation, DRS, UZR, OAA, and the freshly-updated version of DRP all ranked him as either the best or second-best third baseman in the game in 2022. Oh, and he can hit a little bit too. In 2021, Arenado bounced back from a frustrating and injury-marred 2020 season. In 2022, he kept right on bouncing, posting a career-best 151 wRC+. With elite contact and strikeout rates to go along with his elite defense, Arenado doesn’t need to crush the ball, but he can put up special seasons when he does. Although he’s still running an extreme fly ball rate, Arenado had his highest hard-hit and line drive rates since 2018, and dropped his groundball rate to a career low 29.7%.

In October, Arenado opted into the last five years of his contract, potentially leaving quite a bit of money on the table in order to stay in St. Louis. Arenado was one of three Cardinal infielders with at least 5 WAR, and Gold Glove utility player Brendan Donovan should be able to fill in ably if the Platinum Glover misses any time.

2. Guardians
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
José Ramírez 595 .271 .354 .505 .363 26.0 2.4 2.5 5.5
Gabriel Arias 63 .239 .299 .379 .298 -0.5 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Tyler Freeman 28 .267 .329 .363 .308 0.0 -0.0 -0.0 0.1
David Fry 14 .225 .289 .373 .291 -0.2 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .267 .347 .485 .353 25.4 2.3 2.4 5.8

Here’s a quick snapshot of the 2022 season for José Ramírez. First half: 162 wRC+. Second half: 110 wRC+. Offseason: Thumb surgery. Even while playing through significant pain after a June injury that required a repair of his ulnar collateral ligament — an injury severe enough that the team was under the impression Ramírez would undergo surgery immediately until he set them straight — Ramírez was still comfortably above average at the plate in the second half of the season. He ended the year with his fourth six-win season and his second in a row, even though both his contact rate and his ISO steadily declined from June to October.

Ramírez is reportedly feeling great after the surgery, and for whatever it’s worth, he’s currently hitting well in spring training. Much like Arenado, Ramírez pretty much doesn’t whiff or strikeout, which allowed him to remain a solid hitter even as the injury sapped his power. If you’re looking for something to be worried about in 2023, Ramírez’s chase rate took a leap of nearly five percentage points in 2022, though you’d do well to note that its rise coincided with his injury.

The other big news for Ramírez is that last April he signed a five-year, $124 million contract extension with the Guardians, so he should be with the club until his age-36 season in 2029.

3. Astros
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Alex Bregman 651 .269 .376 .470 .368 31.7 -1.1 -0.1 5.6
David Hensley 28 .240 .319 .363 .303 -0.1 -0.0 -0.3 0.1
Mauricio Dubón 14 .255 .303 .381 .299 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Rylan Bannon 7 .205 .291 .344 .284 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .267 .371 .462 .363 31.4 -1.2 -0.4 5.7

In last year’s rankings, Ben Clemens noted the particularly large error bars around Bregman’s 2022 projections. Bregman was coming off two down seasons followed by wrist surgery (though as with Ramírez, a down season for Bregman meant a loss of power but a batting line that was still comfortably above average). The surgery did the trick, and Bregman bounced back to the tune of 5.5 WAR and a 136 wRC+ over 155 games.

Pitchers got the memo, throwing just 38.7% of their pitches in the zone (down from 44.9% in 2022) despite Bregman’s elite chase rate. The result was the lowest strikeout rate of his career. 34.2% of the pitches he saw came when he was ahead in the count, good for fourth in the majors.

Bregman doesn’t possess elite power, but as long as he can control the strike zone like a wizard while knocking balls into and off of the Crawford boxes, he won’t really need it. He enters his age-29 season with a clean bill of health and his second World Series ring, and the projections still expect him to improve.

4. Padres
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Manny Machado 651 .267 .340 .472 .347 21.5 -0.0 1.1 4.9
Ha-Seong Kim 21 .244 .315 .391 .311 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.1
Rougned Odor 14 .220 .291 .400 .302 -0.0 -0.0 -0.1 0.0
Matt Carpenter 7 .218 .327 .403 .322 0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Brandon Dixon 7 .235 .290 .429 .309 0.0 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .264 .337 .467 .344 21.6 -0.0 1.2 5.1

Manny Machado did it all in 2022, even adding good baserunning to his usual combination of excellent hitting and eye-popping third base defense. The 29-year-old posted the best offensive season of his career while finishing second in the NL MVP voting and leading the Padres past the Dodgers in the NLDS. All the same, there’s a reason that Machado’s 7.4 WAR, which trailed only Aaron Judge’s other-worldly 11.4 in 2022, didn’t bump him up into the first spot on this list. He’s a prime regression candidate, as both his .337 BABIP and the 44-point difference between his wOBA and xwOBA were the highest of his career by far.

Even if he’s swallowed whole by the regression monster, Machado is still a five-win player, combining electric defense and a massive 49% hard-hit rate. Although he struck out more in 2022, he offset the loss by putting the ball in the air more frequently. He’s also one of the most dependable players in baseball. The last time he played fewer than 150 games (2020 aside) was 2014. The Padres have more than their share of infielders at the moment, so while any absence from a superstar like Machado would be keenly felt, they would still be well-positioned to spell him if necessary. The Padres pre-empted Machado’s impending opt out by inking him to an 11-year, $350 million extension this spring.

5. Braves
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Austin Riley 672 .275 .345 .517 .370 29.4 -1.6 -5.2 5.0
Ehire Adrianza 21 .235 .309 .342 .291 -0.4 -0.0 -0.2 0.0
Orlando Arcia 7 .244 .307 .393 .307 -0.0 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .274 .344 .510 .367 29.0 -1.6 -5.3 5.0

Speaking of contract extensions, it’s time to head down to Atlanta. As is their wont, in July the Braves locked Riley up until his age-36 season. What makes them so sure Riley is their guy for the next 10 years? The short answer is that he hits the ball really hard. After a breakout 2021 season in which he put up a 136 wRC+, Riley was even better in 2022. He shaved 1.2 percentage points off his strikeout rate, which is a big deal as that’s the only flaw in his game. Riley didn’t do it by dialing back his aggression. His average exit velocity jumped to 92.5 mph, and his hard-hit rate is now over 50%. By any number that measures contact quality, Riley is at the very top of baseball. His .378 xwOBA was eighth in the majors, next to all the names that hitters want their names next to.

Riley is absolutely one of the finest hitters in the game, but his defense is what keeps the Braves down here at number five. It’s worth noting that although OAA and UZR don’t love him, DRS likes him and DRP sees him as around average. Bad to average defense will play just fine with a bat like that.

6. Red Sox
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Rafael Devers 546 .286 .351 .523 .371 24.1 0.1 -2.5 4.3
Justin Turner 105 .276 .353 .432 .344 2.4 -0.4 -0.2 0.6
Bobby Dalbec 28 .221 .292 .422 .310 -0.1 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Yu Chang 14 .233 .298 .388 .301 -0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Christian Arroyo 7 .265 .315 .421 .320 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .280 .348 .501 .363 26.3 -0.3 -2.8 5.0

This marks the last stop on our contract extension tour of the third base position. With the ink dry on an 11-year agreement to continue running on Dunkin, Devers is the undisputed star of Boston’s lineup, and he’s penciled in to bat second for the Sox this year. Devers is 26 years old, and ZiPS projects him to hit at least 30 home runs for the next four years and run a wRC+ above 100 for the next 11. No, that’s not a typo. The median projection has him as an above-average hitter for another 11 years.

In 2022, Devers had a 50.1% hard-hit rate and a career-best 140 wRC+. According to Baseball Savant, Devers had a positive run value against every single type of pitch in 2022 (except for the slurve, which he saw three of). That is to say, there’s no real way to get him out. He can hit everything, which is convenient because he swings at everything. The result is that he runs a bad walk rate and a good strikeout rate and lives and dies by his contact quality. Luckily, his contact quality is the stuff that dreams are made of (unless you’re a pitcher).

Justin Turner was signed primarily to DH, but provided he recovers well from a very scary HBP, he provides an awfully comfy security blanket in event Devers needs to miss any time.

7. Blue Jays
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Matt Chapman 665 .229 .322 .443 .334 14.3 -0.1 6.7 4.7
Cavan Biggio 21 .224 .336 .371 .316 0.2 0.0 -0.0 0.1
Santiago Espinal 7 .269 .326 .382 .312 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Addison Barger 7 .243 .297 .417 .309 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .229 .322 .440 .333 14.5 -0.1 6.7 4.8

Matt Chapman just put up his second consecutive 4.1-WAR season, but he went about it in a different way. Chapman managed to cut more than five points from his strikeout rate while pushing his hard-hit rate into elite territory, but for the first time, his defense graded out not as spectacular, but as somewhere a bit above average.

Chapman’s 117 wRC+ is a welcome return to form. He sees 4.25 pitches per plate appearance, fifth most in the majors. He just dropped his whiff rate considerably and put up the lowest chase rate of his career, but there’s still so much swing-and-miss in his game that strikeouts will always be the limiting factor in his batting line.

The projections are willing to overlook a down defensive year based on a long history of excellence. Chapman is 29, and his sprint speed has increased in both of the past two seasons as a 2020 hip injury has receded further into the past. It would be reasonable to think he’s got a little more time as an elite defender — he still makes his share of unbelievable plays — but it’s hard to argue when all of the major defensive metrics tell the same story.

The last name on that table is pretty exciting. Addison Barger is Toronto’s no. 2 prospect and no. 53 overall, and is likely to debut this year. Barger won’t see much time at third base unless something goes wrong, but he’s an exciting break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option.

8. Angels
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Anthony Rendon 532 .264 .359 .442 .350 16.9 -0.2 -1.1 3.6
Gio Urshela 133 .272 .321 .425 .324 1.5 -0.4 -0.5 0.6
Brandon Drury 28 .244 .298 .426 .315 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.1
Luis Rengifo 7 .256 .305 .407 .310 0.0 0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .265 .349 .437 .343 18.5 -0.6 -1.6 4.3

It has now been two years since Anthony Rendon played a full season and two years since he played like a star. After missing much of 2021 due to a hip impingement and surgery, Rendon missed much of 2022 due to a wrist injury and surgery. All the same, our robot overlords remember just how good Rendon was in the not-so-distant past, knocking just half a win off his projection from last year. In the five seasons he’s been healthy enough to play at least 136 games, Rendon has averaged 5.7 WAR. He played at a 6.8-WAR pace during the short 2020 season. Then the injuries started up. Rendon will turn 33 in June, and if he really is healthy and really can stay that way — two big ifs — the heart of the Angels’ lineup could get even scarier.

For what it’s worth, Rendon is tearing up spring training and has said that he feels fantastic. The other piece of good news is that Los Angeles has an excellent plan B in the form of Gio Urshela. Urshela is coming off a 2.4-WAR season in which he posted a 119 wRC+ as Minnesota’s starting third baseman. He’s likely to see time all over the infield this year.

9. Rays
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Isaac Paredes 434 .235 .328 .443 .337 12.5 -0.9 0.0 2.8
Yandy Díaz 91 .277 .374 .417 .350 3.6 -0.3 -0.4 0.6
Curtis Mead 70 .245 .308 .399 .310 0.6 -0.1 -0.1 0.3
Taylor Walls 49 .209 .300 .337 .285 -0.6 0.0 0.2 0.1
Jonathan Aranda 42 .247 .319 .387 .311 0.4 -0.0 -0.0 0.2
Charlie Culberson 14 .233 .278 .356 .278 -0.2 -0.0 -0.1 0.0
Total 700 .240 .329 .422 .329 16.2 -1.3 -0.5 4.1

After years of excelling in the minors, Paredes finally figured things out at the big league level in 2022, posting one of the strangest batting lines in baseball in the process. Being one of the most patient, contact-oriented hitters in the majors allowed him to put up a 116 wRC+ despite a .205 batting average. His .195 BABIP screams bad luck, but his SLG outstripped his xSLG by 87 points. The decoder key here is that Paredes ran one of the highest pull rates in the big leagues, which allowed him to make the most of what power he’s got. Even if that power takes a step back, his approach should allow him to be a decent bat.

Yandy Díaz, coming off a massive 146 wRC+ in 2022, shows up here even though he’ll be starting at first base. He could end up sliding over to third against righties, as his platoon splits are not quite so drastic as Paredes’, and the left-handed hitting Luke Raley has been getting work at first. Walls made 122 starts in 2022, most of them at shortstop when Wander Franco was out. It seems likely that he’ll serve in a utility role. There’s talk that he’ll take the short side of a platoon with Paredes at third, but Walls hasn’t shown that he can hit either lefties or righties just yet.

Meanwhile, Curtis Mead is making his own case for a promotion to the big club. The 22-year-old is the team’s top prospect and ranked 27th overall on our Top 100. He’s done nothing but hit in the minors, but whether or not he can actually play third base is yet to be determined.

10. Orioles
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Gunnar Henderson 343 .254 .345 .438 .343 9.7 0.1 -1.7 2.1
Ramón Urías 266 .250 .319 .409 .319 2.5 -0.4 2.1 1.4
Jordan Westburg 63 .233 .307 .387 .306 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.2
Jorge Mateo 14 .230 .275 .376 .284 -0.3 0.1 0.1 0.0
Terrin Vavra 14 .245 .335 .357 .310 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .250 .330 .419 .328 11.9 -0.3 0.4 3.9

How do you take your positional power ranking from dead last to 10th in just one year? Just find the game’s top ranked prospect between your couch cushions. The 21-year-old Henderson wasn’t even listed on last year’s rankings at either third base or shortstop, but he’s very much in the picture now. He demolished the pitching in Double-A, demolished the pitching in Triple-A, then made a quick cameo at the big league level, where he — you guessed it — continued to demolish pitching. Although his game features an unhealthy amount of swing-and-miss, Henderson possesses the kind of selectivity and power that would make him a star as a shortstop and a great third baseman. Henderson’s 53.7% hard-hit rate in his first taste of the big leagues was the highest among all the projected starters on this page.

Whether Henderson sticks at shortstop or makes the move to third base permanent is still an open question. He looks primed to start the year at third, with incumbent Jorge Mateo staying at short after a 2.8-WAR 2022 season, but one way or another Henderson is going to play every day. Even if he experiences growing pains, it’s hard to imagine the Orioles taking him out of the lineup. Despite his own 2.6-WAR season in 2022 and the 266 PA we project for him here, Ramón Urías might be the odd man out in terms of playing time, making him quite the valuable utilityman. Jordan Westburg and Terrin Vavra should also be playable options should Baltimore need them.

11. Dodgers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Max Muncy 504 .228 .350 .439 .346 14.9 -0.4 -4.5 3.0
Miguel Vargas 105 .262 .331 .419 .328 1.6 -0.0 -0.8 0.5
Chris Taylor 49 .230 .313 .389 .309 0.0 0.1 -0.0 0.2
Yonny Hernandez 28 .223 .321 .285 .279 -0.6 0.1 0.1 0.1
Miguel Rojas 14 .256 .307 .371 .298 -0.1 -0.0 0.1 0.1
Total 700 .234 .342 .424 .337 15.8 -0.3 -5.2 3.8

Muncy must be excited to finally be putting his 2021 elbow injury behind him. After a 90 wRC+ in the first half of 2022, he posted a 125 in the second half, exactly the same as his career line and his 2023 projection. Muncy spent the offseason getting his body right (especially important since the lockout forced him to rehab without input from the team before the 2022 season). Muncy has always featured a combination of hard contact, an elite walk rate, and a strikeout rate that fell somewhere between decent and downright bad. If the power that returned in the second half is back to stay, there’s every reason to believe in an offensive resurgence.

With Freddie Freeman at first, J.D. Martinez at DH, and the shift ban effectively disqualifying Muncy from second, third base will be his everyday home. While he won’t cover himself in glory defensively, his bat is important enough that the Dodgers will roll with it. With Gavin Lux out for the year, Rojas should be penciled in at short with Vargas at second; the Dodgers won’t feature as much of their trademark positional flexibility.

12. Twins
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jose Miranda 434 .276 .330 .443 .336 10.6 -0.7 0.3 2.7
Kyle Farmer 182 .246 .302 .367 .295 -1.5 -0.3 0.5 0.5
Royce Lewis 49 .262 .323 .439 .332 1.0 0.1 -0.0 0.3
Donovan Solano 35 .278 .331 .393 .318 0.3 -0.1 0.3 0.2
Total 700 .268 .322 .420 .324 10.5 -1.0 1.1 3.7

The Twins felt comfortable jettisoning Luis Arraez and Gio Urshela for a reason. Miranda and Lewis are exciting young players, and Cincinnati imports Farmer and Solano make for dependable veteran options. After tearing up the high minors in 2021, Miranda put up a 117 wRC+ in 2022. The projections see him nudging his walk and strikeout rates a bit closer to his minor league levels. If he can do the same with his contact rate or improve his plate discipline even a little, there’s a new level waiting to be unlocked.

Miranda is also a hitter without a true position. After spending most of 2022 at first base and DH, he spent the offseason getting in shape to play third. Shoulder soreness has left him unable to throw, but the team hopes he’ll be ready on Opening Day.

Lewis excelled in a 12-game sample in 2022, showing off a tantalizing maximum exit velocity of 114 mph, and he seems ready to get regular big league at-bats. Lewis is a shortstop by trade, but with Carlos Correa locked in, he’ll likely see time at third and in the outfield. The team is wisely dictating a slow, cautious rehab after Lewis suffered the extreme misfortune of tearing his ACL for the second time, but he started hitting in January and should be available around mid-season.

13. Pirates
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Ke’Bryan Hayes 567 .251 .320 .384 .311 -0.5 1.2 7.8 3.1
Rodolfo Castro 70 .227 .290 .396 .300 -0.7 -0.1 -0.1 0.2
Jared Triolo 35 .243 .309 .356 .294 -0.5 0.0 0.1 0.1
Mark Mathias 14 .234 .311 .384 .306 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Drew Maggi 14 .205 .294 .298 .270 -0.5 0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .247 .315 .382 .308 -2.2 1.1 7.8 3.4

Hayes has the highest defensive projection on this page, even higher than Arenado and Chapman — the Pittsburgh third baseman should start collecting Gold Gloves any day now. Name any defensive metric you like, and you can rest assured that somewhere in its source code it has been scrawling its initials next to Hayes’ and drawing little hearts around them.

All-world defense with a below-average bat makes for a valuable third baseman, but with Hayes the prospect of more is just so tantalizing. Still, after another season with a wRC+ in the high 80s, it seems less likely that he’ll unlock the potential that his bat so clearly possesses. Hayes hits the ball plenty hard. In fact, he does almost everything right at the plate, and if he can ever figure out how to hit the ball skyward, the sky is the limit. His 5.2-degree launch angle was the seventh-lowest in the majors in 2022, even though it doubled his 2021 launch angle.

Triolo is an interesting prospect with a great glove at third and a 2023 ETA, but with Hayes blocking the hot corner, he’s been learning how to play at other positions. However, Hayes has yet to play more than 136 games in a season, and with Castro expected to start at second and Mathias light on third base experience, Triolo’s time at third could come soon.

14. Marlins
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jean Segura 532 .273 .330 .390 .317 3.7 0.6 2.1 2.8
Joey Wendle 98 .264 .312 .390 .307 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.4
Jon Berti 28 .235 .321 .341 .298 -0.2 0.3 -0.1 0.1
Jordan Groshans 28 .254 .324 .345 .299 -0.2 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Luis Arraez 14 .304 .366 .407 .340 0.4 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Total 700 .270 .328 .387 .314 3.6 0.9 1.9 3.4

Segura is somehow one of the most fun and the most reliable players in baseball. That’s tough to pull off — as countless rom-coms have taught us, those qualities are often mutually exclusive. Segura puts the ball in play a ton and sprays it all over the field. He plays solid defense with the occasional spectacular play thrown in for good measure. He once stole 40 bases, and he once hit 20 home runs, but mostly he reaches base by hitting the ball on the ground a whole lot. If you’re looking for someone to slot into your infield with slightly above-average production both with the glove and at the plate, he’s as safe a bet as any player in the league.

Segura just turned 33, and 2023 will not only be his first season as a full-time third baseman, but just the second in which he’s played the position at all. He’s certainly got the arm for it, and a decline in foot speed will matter less at third than at second. Wendle projects to spend most of his time at short, while Berti will likely get reps all over the diamond, hopefully enough of them that he can swipe another 40 bases.

15. Yankees
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Josh Donaldson 357 .225 .320 .401 .318 3.2 -1.2 0.3 1.6
DJ LeMahieu 217 .274 .350 .397 .331 4.2 -0.3 2.2 1.4
Isiah Kiner-Falefa 84 .258 .309 .345 .289 -1.1 0.2 -0.6 0.2
Oswaldo Cabrera 35 .231 .290 .398 .300 -0.2 -0.0 0.2 0.1
Anthony Volpe 7 .232 .311 .395 .311 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .245 .326 .393 .317 6.1 -1.3 2.2 3.3

Aaron Boone has made it clear that he views Donaldson as New York’s starting third baseman. Not only that, but Boone and Brian Cashman expect a bounce-back season from the 37-year-old who just posted his first below-average offensive season since 2012. The projections agree, pegging Donaldson for a wRC+ somewhere between 107 and 110. That’s all well and good, but Dan Szymborski (and a whole lot of Yankee fans) don’t see it that way.

In years past, Donaldson balanced an iffy strikeout rate with a fantastic walk rate while obliterating the baseball. Donaldson still hit the ball hard in 2022, just a lot less hard then he had before. At the same time, he chased more and made less contact, crushing his walk and strikeout rates and throwing the balance out of whack. That’s a lot of things that need turning around if he’s going to be more than a league-average hitter again.

On the other hand, DJ LeMahieu did have a bounce-back season in 2022. Although his batted ball stats indicate that his power is still slipping, he makes contact at an elite rate and is walking more than he ever has. If the two veterans can strike some balance where they hit their combined median projection, it will leave the Yankees with a plus third baseman. If not, it could be a long season at the hot corner.

16. White Sox
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Yoán Moncada 560 .249 .328 .410 .323 6.7 -0.2 1.2 2.9
Jake Burger 91 .232 .290 .403 .302 -0.5 -0.1 -0.2 0.3
Leury Garcia 28 .251 .294 .344 .282 -0.6 0.0 -0.2 0.0
Hanser Alberto 21 .261 .286 .369 .286 -0.4 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .247 .321 .405 .318 5.3 -0.4 0.8 3.2

From 2019-21, Yoán Moncada averaged 5.2 WAR per 162 games. To say that his production cratered in 2022 would be a little unfair to Moncada and really unfair to craters. Moncada has said that he came back too soon from a spring oblique injury. He ended up suffering further injuries to his quad and hamstring on his way to a 76 wRC+ over 104 games. Presumably uncomfortable at the plate, he featured a more aggressive approach that crushed his walk rate and led to the lowest hard-hit rate of his career (excluding 2020).

Moncada is just 27 years old, and his performance ticked up toward the end of the season. However, the projections universally see him as being a solid, slightly above-average player rather than returning to his 2019-21 level. Even Moncada’s 80th percentile ZiPS projection has him accruing fewer WAR than last year. The options behind Moncada are not ideal. Last year, Burger spent 37 games at third base in Moncada’s absence, and the less said about his defense there the better. Meanwhile, Alberto and Garcia don’t have much to offer with the bat.

17. Brewers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Luis Urías 385 .242 .332 .413 .328 5.1 -0.4 0.3 2.0
Brian Anderson 238 .230 .316 .388 .310 -0.3 -0.2 0.1 0.9
Mike Brosseau 42 .226 .307 .384 .306 -0.2 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Owen Miller 21 .236 .294 .354 .286 -0.4 -0.0 0.1 0.0
Abraham Toro 14 .244 .318 .405 .317 0.1 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .237 .324 .401 .319 4.1 -0.7 0.3 3.1

After figuring things out at the plate in 2021, Urías has now put up back-to-back two-win seasons, even as a quad injury cost him a month in 2022. Last year, he doubled down on the strategy that worked so well for him before, pulling the ball every chance he got and posting the lowest groundball rate of his career. It allowed him to hold onto his gains even though his exit velocity and hard-hit rate fell back to earth. He’s a solid third baseman, and the guys behind him are more of the same.

Anderson is on a one-year deal after a rough 2022 in Miami. He’ll likely spend more time in the outfield than at third, as the Brewers bank on his bat returning to something like league-average production. Toward the very end of the season, Brosseau, who possesses stronger platoon splits than Urías, saw some starts against left-handed pitching. After posting a 118 wRC+ in 2022, the Brewers have said publicly that they’re open to finding more at-bats for him in 2023.

18. Mets
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Eduardo Escobar 371 .235 .294 .413 .305 0.9 -0.6 -1.5 1.3
Brett Baty 210 .251 .325 .415 .325 3.9 -0.5 0.6 1.2
Luis Guillorme 105 .261 .346 .344 .310 0.7 -0.2 0.2 0.5
Danny Mendick 14 .229 .296 .339 .283 -0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .244 .311 .402 .312 5.2 -1.3 -0.8 3.1

The Mets’ third base situation is one of the most interesting in the league, even if you forget about the couple days when the position was going to be manned by Carlos Correa. They have 23-years-old Brett Baty, who is our ranked 23rd on our Top 100. Not only has Baty destroyed minor league pitching, but Eric Longenhagen noted that a 2022 swing change allowed him to lift the ball and finally turn his many hard-hit balls into home runs. On the other hand, the Mets have Eduardo Escobar, an extremely known quantity. Entering his age-34 season, Escobar is beloved in the clubhouse and projects to be right around league average both at the plate and in the field.

Baty required surgery to repair a torn UCL in his thumb in September, ending a cup of coffee during which him struggled largely due to batted ball luck. He’s put the ball in play just 30 times in the big leagues, but he’s already hit a ball 113 mph, harder than Escobar’s career high.

Nearly every projection system sees Baty as the better player right now, and Escobar would make a lot of sense as a bench bat against lefties. The Mets have not publicly committed to either player, or even to starting the season with Baty in New York rather than Syracuse. In the meantime, Baty has been laying waste to Grapefruit League pitching, and the drumbeat to make him the everyday third baseman gets louder with each superlative performance.

19. Mariners
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Eugenio Suárez 602 .212 .303 .410 .313 5.9 -2.0 -1.5 2.5
Dylan Moore 42 .212 .317 .369 .306 0.2 0.1 0.0 0.2
Ty France 28 .272 .342 .436 .340 0.9 -0.1 0.2 0.2
Tommy La Stella 28 .247 .306 .371 .299 -0.0 -0.1 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .216 .306 .407 .313 6.9 -2.0 -1.3 3.0

Might you be interested in some home runs and strikeouts? Because Eugenio Suárez has got home runs and strikeouts to spare. Suárez has now hit 31 home runs two seasons in a row, but thanks to a bit more patience, a few more hard-hit balls, and decent batted ball luck, he went from a dreadful 84 wRC+ in 2021 to a sublime 131 in 2022. Suárez played a huge role in finally getting the Mariners over the playoff hump, and he’ll be a big factor in determining their fate this year. Suárez is understandably viewed as a regression candidate, because that’s how breakout seasons work, especially when you’re 31. All the same, if you have to bet on one player to put up 31 home runs and a 31% strikeout rate, Suárez is your guy.

Moore will continue in his super utility role, playing every position that doesn’t require tactical gear, facing lefties whenever possible, and praying that the BABIP gods continue to smile on him. However, after undergoing core muscle surgery in the offseason, he’s suffered an oblique strain in camp and will start the season on the shelf. France will be the team’s starting first baseman and no one wants to see him at third. La Stella looks to be a veteran presence as the 26th man on the roster.

20. Giants
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
David Villar 392 .228 .316 .409 .320 3.4 -0.4 -1.2 1.7
Wilmer Flores 210 .255 .327 .422 .328 3.2 -0.7 -1.9 0.9
Casey Schmitt 70 .237 .293 .368 .291 -1.0 -0.1 -0.1 0.2
J.D. Davis 14 .249 .338 .413 .330 0.2 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Thairo Estrada 14 .262 .321 .411 .321 0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .238 .318 .409 .319 6.0 -1.2 -3.3 2.9

A couple months ago, Michael Baumann said that the Giants have “basically three of the same guy at third base.” David Villar, Wilmer Flores, and J.D. Davis can all hit and are at the very least capable of standing next to third base. Villar, who started fewer games at third than Flores last year, comes into the season as the incumbent starter even though his bat doesn’t have anything approaching the track record of Flores or Davis. Although he hit 26 home runs across Triple-A and the majors, his exit velocity numbers leave a lot to be desired. In 181 PAs, his wOBA outstripped his xwOBA by 59 points, which makes it reasonable to look at his 124 wRC+ with a critical eye.

Davis has put up a wRC+ of at least 118 in each of the past four seasons. The last time Flores put up a wRC+ below 100, Villar was a high schooler. The team expects all three players to bat 300 to 400 times. Villar is expected to see some time at second base, and both Flores and Davis will continue to suit up at multiple positions. The defense won’t be pretty. Schmitt can play a mean third base, but he’s seen just 33 games above High-A. His bat would have to really take off to earn him significant time in San Francisco.

21. Rangers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Josh Jung 455 .242 .295 .428 .314 2.4 -0.8 1.3 2.0
Ezequiel Duran 126 .241 .286 .401 .299 -0.9 -0.1 -0.5 0.3
Josh H. Smith 98 .240 .333 .357 .310 0.2 -0.0 0.3 0.4
Brad Miller 21 .220 .297 .391 .302 -0.1 -0.0 -0.1 0.1
Total 700 .241 .299 .413 .310 1.5 -1.0 0.9 2.8

Be warned: This projection features some Texas-sized error bars. The Rangers are asking a lot of Josh Jung, and not for the first time. In 2021, Jung was the 109th overall prospect in baseball. He suffered a stress fracture in his foot, then he came back and crushed Double- and Triple-A pitching for 78 games. In 2022, he was the 17th overall prospect in baseball. He tore the labrum in his left shoulder and underwent surgery, then he came back and briefly hit Triple-A pitching just fine for 24 games. He then struggled immensely in 26 games with the Rangers, putting up an extremely uncharacteristic 38% strikeout rate. Jung has been honest about the fact that he was compromised last season, and it’s reasonable to assume that he didn’t completely forget how the strike zone works. Assuming he’s the same guy he was before the injury, he’s got a well-rounded game and power to all fields.

This year, Jung is the 31st overall prospect in baseball, and he’s once again being thrown in the deep end. Third base is his to lose. Duran has been taking reps in the outfield. Both he and Smith had their own struggles in larger big league samples, and Miller seems likely to end up in a platoon. All this to say that the Rangers’ high-variance roster construction very much extends to the third base position.

22. Diamondbacks
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Evan Longoria 280 .242 .311 .412 .314 0.2 -0.7 0.5 1.1
Josh Rojas 252 .249 .332 .384 .316 0.5 0.8 -0.1 1.1
Emmanuel Rivera 112 .241 .296 .397 .303 -0.9 -0.1 -0.3 0.3
Geraldo Perdomo 35 .224 .313 .319 .285 -0.8 0.0 0.0 0.1
Buddy Kennedy 14 .235 .310 .356 .295 -0.2 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Yairo Munoz 7 .269 .298 .388 .299 -0.1 0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .244 .316 .394 .311 -1.3 0.0 0.1 2.6

Longoria enters his age-37 season coming off a litany of injuries too long to lay out here. He’s also put up two very good, albeit short, seasons in a row at the plate. He’s not expected to play every day, but our projection is surprisingly optimistic, predicting that he’ll have more than 300 PAs for the first time since 2019. He’ll split time between third and DH, facing lefties as often as possible. Most of Longoria’s stats fell back to earth after a fantastic 2021, but he was still a valuable hitter in 2022, thanks in part to seeing the highest proportion of lefties in his career. Longoria still hits the ball hard and doesn’t have trouble catching up to the fastball, but the number to watch is his contact rate, which fell to a career low in 2022.

Rojas will see time at both second and third, but his defense will leave a lot to be desired wherever he suits up. He never swings at pitches outside the zone, but he also doesn’t swing much at pitches inside the zone. Patience and a decent contact profile have allowed Rojas to be slightly above average with the bat in both of his full seasons with the Snakes, and they will try to keep that going by giving him plenty of rest whenever there’s a lefty on the mound. Rivera started 80 games at third between the Royals and the Diamondbacks last year, and should be a capable fill-in.

23. Nationals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jeimer Candelario 441 .244 .317 .415 .320 2.4 -0.6 -1.0 1.8
Carter Kieboom 168 .229 .324 .362 .306 -1.0 -0.3 -0.8 0.4
Michael Chavis 42 .233 .280 .415 .300 -0.4 -0.1 0.2 0.1
Jake Alu 28 .256 .310 .408 .312 -0.0 -0.0 0.1 0.1
Ildemaro Vargas 21 .250 .293 .370 .290 -0.4 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .241 .315 .401 .314 0.6 -1.0 -1.5 2.5

Candelario is coming off the worst season of his career, a sub-replacement slog in which he suffered a subluxated shoulder and swung at approximately everything (which sort of seems like the opposite amount of swinging you’d want to do after suffering a subluxated shoulder). As Ben Clemens noted at the time, Candelario is one year removed from a couple of pretty great seasons at the plate, and he’s exactly the kind of high-variance signing teams in Washington’s position should be making. Because we’re talking about the Nationals, if Candelario does rediscover the parameters of the strike zone and plays well enough to rebuild his value, he’ll likely be wearing another uniform come August. And if he doesn’t, well, not many of us will remember the 2023 Nationals, and even fewer will want to.

Before Candelario’s signing, Vargas and Kieboom were expected to compete for the third base job. Instead, it looks like Vargas is ticketed for a bench role. Kieboom, who missed all of 2022 after Tommy John surgery, is dealing with shoulder soreness and will likely start the season on the IL. The Nationals have now been waiting an awfully long time to give Kieboom a long look to find out whether he can be a big league contributor, and that wait just got longer.

24. Phillies
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Alec Bohm 567 .272 .324 .409 .320 3.1 -0.8 -2.9 2.2
Josh Harrison 70 .251 .310 .369 .300 -0.7 -0.1 0.1 0.2
Edmundo Sosa 56 .243 .297 .374 .294 -0.8 0.0 0.3 0.2
Kody Clemens 7 .220 .275 .399 .292 -0.1 -0.0 0.0 0.0
Total 700 .268 .320 .402 .316 1.4 -0.9 -2.4 2.5

In 2021, the knock on Bohm was that he hit the ball hard but couldn’t elevate it. In 2022, Bohm nearly doubled his launch angle while giving back a bit of his thump. While he still hits too many groundballs, the trade paid off, as he improved to nearly league-average at the dish. Bohm also turned himself into one of the most aggressive hitters in the league, putting the ball in play in 77% of his plate appearances. The projections see him taking another small step forward in 2023, essentially replicating his second-half performance from last year. The Phillies are no doubt hoping for more from Bohm, as his tools are still evident.

The truth is that Bohm destroys lefties and would make a fantastic platoon bat right now. However, as Philadelphia’s everyday third baseman, even if he does tap into the power that evaluators have always seen, his defense will continue to hold him back. Harrison, veteran utilityman for hire, should raise the team’s floor as a solid stand-in both in the infield and outfield.

25. Cubs
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Patrick Wisdom 294 .209 .294 .423 .313 0.5 -0.1 -1.0 1.1
Christopher Morel 210 .231 .297 .413 .310 -0.1 0.1 -0.7 0.7
Nick Madrigal 119 .275 .328 .353 .303 -0.7 -0.1 0.6 0.4
Zach McKinstry 42 .244 .312 .393 .309 -0.1 -0.0 -0.4 0.1
David Bote 21 .225 .297 .366 .293 -0.3 -0.0 -0.1 0.0
Edwin Ríos 14 .217 .283 .413 .302 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .230 .302 .404 .309 -0.8 -0.2 -1.6 2.5

Wisdom strikes out a frankly obscene amount. In fact, he dropped his strikeout rate by more than six percentage points from 2021 to 2022, and it was still the highest in baseball! That’s not the only way he’s extreme. Wisdom’s 51% pull rate is third-highest in the majors, and it makes for a jarringly lopsided spray chart. That may not be how you’d expect someone to describe a good hitter, but Wisdom has considerable power too, and he has now put up two consecutive solid seasons at the plate. He projects to be right around league average again in 2023, but he’s walking a very fine line. Unfortunately, even if he can manage to continue his high-whiff, high-power high-wire act, his glove will hold him back. Morel doesn’t quite have Wisdom’s power, but his profile is otherwise remarkably similar.

Wisdom should receive the lion’s share of time at third base, though injuries elsewhere could press him into right field duty at times. Morel should have utility duty, with Madrigal — whose high-contact, low-power throwback game is so completely the opposite of the one Wisdom and Morel play that it constitutes its own sort of experiment filling in around the infield as necessary.

26. Athletics
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Jace Peterson 378 .230 .314 .356 .297 -0.8 1.2 -1.1 1.3
Aledmys Díaz 126 .245 .301 .390 .302 0.2 -0.4 0.2 0.5
Zack Gelof 84 .220 .282 .355 .281 -1.3 -0.0 -0.3 0.1
Kevin Smith 70 .210 .267 .358 .273 -1.5 0.0 0.2 0.1
Jonah Bride 35 .237 .329 .350 .305 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.1
Tyler Wade 7 .229 .302 .323 .280 -0.1 0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .230 .304 .362 .294 -3.3 0.8 -1.1 2.2

The Athletics are essentially rolling with two 32-year-old utilitymen to fill the third base position, although Peterson and Díaz will both see time all over the infield. Neither has a particularly pronounced platoon split, but it would certainly make sense to let Peterson face all the lefties he can. Together they should be able to put up a league-average batting line — a little more pop from Díaz, a little more on-base from Peterson — along with similarly cromulent defense.

Gelof and Smith have their own somewhat similar profile, though Smith has a couple more years and a few dozen big league games under his belt. Gelof was drafted as a third baseman, but has been learning to play second. He’s got plenty of power, but will need to make more contact. Smith features some pop as well, but has yet to demonstrate it in two brief big league stints, and his game features an extreme amount of swing-and-miss.

27. Rockies
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Mike Moustakas 294 .239 .311 .417 .318 -3.5 -0.7 -0.4 0.7
Elehuris Montero 210 .255 .313 .441 .328 -0.9 -0.2 -0.9 0.6
Ryan McMahon 105 .251 .330 .434 .334 0.1 -0.0 0.5 0.5
Nolan Jones 70 .251 .335 .417 .330 -0.1 -0.0 -0.1 0.2
Harold Castro 21 .290 .321 .402 .315 -0.3 -0.0 -0.2 0.0
Total 700 .248 .317 .426 .324 -4.8 -1.0 -1.1 2.0

A shoulder injury to Brendan Rogers means that McMahon, a Gold Glove finalist at third for the last two seasons, will be spending most of his time at second base. As such, we now project Mike Moustakas, who signed a minor league deal with the club on March 5, to get the bulk of the PAs at third base this season. There’s not much to say about Moustakas that you don’t already know. He’s a few years removed from being a net positive in any facet of the game, but he’s an infielder and the Rockies were looking for an infielder, so it’s a match made in heaven (or maybe just at a very high altitude).

The team appeared to be poised to start Montero at third, though they haven’t hidden their concerns about his defense there. Plate discipline was the big worry with Montero coming into the 2022 season, and he showed why in a 53-game sample at the big league level. A 4.3% walk rate and 32.4% strikeout rate won’t fly, but he has done nothing but hit in the high minors for the last two years. The projections see him inching his plate discipline back toward his minor league levels in 2023 and ending up as something just short of a league-average bat in 2023.

Jones, a prospect whose infield days were thought to be over, is now getting time at first and third base. He’ll likely see time in multiple positions and could end up platooning with Montero. With all this turmoil, it’s notable that Kris Bryant is nowhere on our list. He’s just an outfielder now.

28. Reds
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Spencer Steer 441 .239 .315 .418 .321 -0.3 -0.5 -0.4 1.6
Chad Pinder 147 .226 .270 .379 .283 -4.5 -0.2 0.0 0.1
Elly De La Cruz 49 .248 .290 .426 .308 -0.5 0.1 -0.3 0.1
Christian Encarnacion-Strand 35 .255 .305 .466 .331 0.3 -0.0 -0.4 0.1
Kevin Newman 21 .268 .310 .371 .299 -0.4 0.0 -0.1 0.0
Nick Senzel 7 .250 .312 .373 .302 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .239 .303 .411 .312 -5.4 -0.6 -1.1 2.0

Paul Sporer recently described Steer as Jung-lite. While it remains to be seen whether he possesses Jung’s great taste, the 5-foot-11 Steer is almost certainly less filling. Steer is Cincinnati’s no. 2 prospect, and when Eric Longenhagen calls someone, “a good hitter who will stabilize an infield spot in Cincinnati for the next half decade or so,” you’d do well to take note. Steer has hit well in the high minors for the past two years, though he did not excel in a 28-game sample with the Reds last year. His exit velocity and hard-hit rate were low enough to be worrisome despite the small sample, but his plate discipline and contact ability were encouraging. Steer can play anywhere on the infield, but he’s not going to be a contributor with his glove, and his defense has continued to be spotty in spring training.

Pinder signed a minor league deal with the Reds after spending the past six seasons in a utility role with the A’s. Before he left, he was Oakland’s longest-tenured player, and the A’s still have a lot of nice things to say about him. Pinder strikes out too much and walks too little, but he’s logged several nearly-league-average seasons at the plate (and one solidly above-average season) because he made quite a bit of loud contact. Unfortunately, his exit velocity fell to a worrisome low in 2022, and his defense has been slipping for the last couple years. The 31-year-old would need a lot of things to turn around in order to be more than a replacement-level player this year.

De La Cruz is the no. 6 prospect in baseball, a towering 21-year-old who has all the tools but strikes out enough that it could put the rest of the package in jeopardy. He’ll start the season at Triple-A, and when he does make his way to Cincinnati, he’ll likely see more time at short than third. Encarnacion-Strand came over from Minnesota with Steer in the Tyler Mahle trade, and like De La Cruz, he’s had success at Double-A while combining a staggering amount of raw power with a questionable hit tool. That’s about where the similarities end, however, and the Reds have said that he’ll be getting more reps at first base this season.

29. Tigers
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Nick Maton 322 .225 .306 .358 .295 -2.7 -0.3 0.7 1.0
Ryan Kreidler 147 .218 .295 .346 .286 -2.3 0.1 0.8 0.4
Tyler Nevin 91 .227 .304 .358 .294 -0.8 -0.1 -0.5 0.2
Andre Lipcius 49 .237 .315 .355 .299 -0.3 -0.0 0.0 0.2
Zack Short 35 .199 .300 .324 .281 -0.7 -0.0 0.1 0.1
Andy Ibáñez 21 .255 .313 .385 .307 0.0 -0.0 0.0 0.1
Jonathan Schoop 21 .248 .291 .398 .300 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.1
César Hernández 14 .248 .312 .352 .295 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .225 .304 .355 .293 -7.0 -0.4 1.0 1.9

Astute readers will note that the Tigers, who let Jeimer Candelario walk rather than going through arbitration with him, find themselves six spots and more than half a win behind the team that picked him up. With Candelario in the wind, Detroit’s third base situation is, to use a technical term, a bit of a cluster-biff. Maton came into spring training as the favorite, but he was supposed to compete for the job with Nevin and Ibáñez, both of whom got injured. Maton arrived in Detroit via trade after spending the last two years on Philadelphia’s taxi squad as a middle infielder and occasional outfielder. His defense shouldn’t be a problem, and he squeezes all the power he can out of an iffy contact profile by pulling the ball and putting it in the air, but he still strikes out entirely too much.

After that it’s anybody’s guess. Nevin got his first extended taste of the bigs last year, struggling to a wRC+ of 67 over 58 games. His defense leaves something to be desired, and he’d need more power than he has shown thus far to stick in a corner spot. However, it’s worth noting that he has shown a significant uptick in exit velocity this spring, which includes a ball hit 111 mph, a significant increase versus his previous max. Kreidler is another middle infielder battling for a roster spot at third, though he doesn’t appear to have the offensive potential of Ibáñez, who is now cleared to play. Lipcius and Short could see time with the big club as well, but there’s no impact player waiting in the wings here.

30. Royals
Name PA AVG OBP SLG wOBA Bat BsR Fld WAR
Hunter Dozier 329 .236 .302 .401 .307 -1.2 -1.0 -3.4 0.6
Nicky Lopez 154 .259 .318 .336 .292 -2.4 0.4 1.4 0.5
Matt Duffy 84 .264 .326 .344 .300 -0.8 -0.2 -0.4 0.2
Nate Eaton 49 .240 .302 .362 .294 -0.7 0.2 0.3 0.2
Bobby Witt Jr. 28 .263 .311 .456 .330 0.4 0.1 -0.2 0.1
Michael Massey 28 .254 .304 .399 .306 -0.1 0.0 -0.0 0.1
Johan Camargo 14 .253 .314 .381 .306 -0.1 -0.0 -0.0 0.0
Samad Taylor 7 .238 .309 .377 .302 -0.1 0.0 -0.0 0.0
CJ Alexander 7 .216 .255 .366 .270 -0.2 0.0 -0.0 0.0
Total 700 .246 .309 .378 .303 -5.3 -0.4 -2.5 1.7

Your eyes are not deceiving you. There are nine names in that table. You know you don’t actually have a third baseman when you have enough third base candidates to field an entire team. The only player here with a projected wOBA over .330 is Bobby Witt Jr., whom you may know as Kansas City’s starting shortstop. Should Witt actually be Kansas City’s starting third baseman? That’s not in our purview at the moment.

Hunter Dozer has been a Royal since 2016, and he’s under contract for two more years, which appears to be reason enough to run him out there again. Dozier spent more time at first and in the outfield than he did at third in 2022. Assuming he does the same this year, there should be room at the hot corner for Nicky Lopez to do his Nick Madrigal impression, or for Nate Eaton to show off his versatility, or for Matt Duffy to Matt Duffy for his sixth team in six years. We haven’t even gotten to Maikel Garcia, but why not bring in a 10th name? Garcia isn’t on our table (seeing as he’s a shortstop), but he’s also being mentioned as a possible option at third as well. Shall we keep going?





Davy Andrews is a Brooklyn-based musician and a contributing writer for FanGraphs. He can be found on Twitter @davyandrewsdavy.

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David Klein
11 months ago

I really hope Baty makes the team everyday as the third baseman every matters in a super tight division. Escobar is the known wholly mediocre to average commodity and the Mets love their vets to a fault. Eric Chavez saying Baty is ready for the majors defensively is a nice and we know the kid can probably hit and can beat out Escobar’s .290 obp. I hope the Met dump Ruf and make Escobar the platoon partner for Vogelbach I doubt it though.

Last edited 11 months ago by David Klein
Roger McDowell Hot Foot
11 months ago
Reply to  David Klein

Even whether or not Baty is ready, there is no way that Escobar “projects to be right around league average […] in the field,” as the article has it. That ship sailed a couple years ago.