Third base might be the most stacked Top 10 as you can make an argument for four guys taking the top spot. The list includes a reigning MVP, a former MVP, a home run champion, a couple veterans playing at high levels and a doubles machine. However, there can one when reigns supreme. Kris Bryant, Manny Machado, Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson all qualify to take the top spot but the reigning NL MVP gets my vote for the best third baseman in the game heading into 2017.
1. Kris Byrant – Chicago Cubs
What can’t this guy do? In just his second season he wins National League MVP honors all while leading the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years. He hits for tremendous power and increased his average while lowering his strikeout rate in 2016. Entering his 25-year-old season, expect Bryant to continue adding to his arsenal.
2. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
This really should be 1A but for the sake of keeping it clean, I’ll put Machado at number two. He might be one of the best all-around hitters in baseball. He slashed .294/.343/.533 with 37 home runs, 96 runs batted in and 40 doubles. His average, slugging, home run and RBI total were all career highs. At just 24, Machado will be a staple here for a long time. And all this without talking about his tremendous fielding at both third and shortstop.
3. Nolan Arenado – Colorado Rockies
Many people might not know Arenado because the Rockies have never been in contention since his arrival. However, all he does is mash the ball and play the best defense of any third baseman in baseball. Hopefully by playing in the World Baseball Classic, baseball fans every where will begin to appreciate everything he does. His 41 home runs were tied for the lead league in the National League in 2016. That’s two straight years leading the league in home runs and second straight year leading in RBIs.
4. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
The former American League MVP had another strong season leading the Blue Jays back to the postseason. 2016 saw a slight drop-off from his MVP numbers but Donaldson still hit .284/.404/.549 with 37 home runs and 99 RBIs. Don’t expect any drop-off for the former MVP in 2017.
5. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
Seager had his breakout season in 2016 when he mashed 30 home runs and hit a career best .278. Seager does a lot of things well and provides a good complement to Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano. He’s a strong defensive third baseman who will give you 20-plus home runs.
6. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
The only reason Beltre is not higher on this list is because of age. He will be 38 in April and is already battling injuries this spring. He continues to be a force at the plate and his defense has not slacked but health and a possible decline keep him out of the top five.
7. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
Longoria had a career best 36 home runs in 2016 while playing his fourth consecutive season appearing in 160-plus games. He is the model of consistency when it comes to the position. For a team that struggles on the offensive side like the Rays, Longoria keeps them a glimmer of hope.
8. Jose Ramirez – Cleveland Indians
Ramirez broke out last season and continued his strong play throughout the playoffs. All this guy does is hit and play solid defense at multiple positions. The 24-year-old hit .312/.363/.462 during the regular season and .310/.333/.448 in the postseason. He’ll continue to improve which is scary with that lineup.
9. Justin Turner – Los Angeles Dodgers
The 32-year-old has another strong season that awarded him a 4-year, $64 million deal this winter. He hit a career-high 27 home runs and 90 runs batted in. Though his average was a little down from 2015, he still hit .275/.339/.493.
10. Mike Moustakas – Kansas City Royals
Though he missed most of 2016 with a torn ACL, Moustakas is only 28 and should rebound from the injury. He is an above-average hitter and defender. In 2015 he hit .284 with 22 home runs and 84 RBIs. If he is fully healthy, he is one of the best third basemen in the game.