The 5 Best Third Basemen in Baseball Today
Heroes of the Hot Corner
Third basemen in baseball today are expected to provide a combination of power at the plate, sure feet and a cannon arm in the field, making them some of the more well-rounded athletes on most professional baseball teams.
The position is called the "Hot Corner" because third basemen are required to stand fairly close to the plate and most right-handed hitters tend to pull the baseball extremely hard in their direction.
The action comes fast at third base and it is up to the player to handle the ball, secure his footing and throw the ball all the way across the diamond before the hitter is able to reach first base. With the speed of some MLB baseball players today, making the throw from third base in time is no easy task.
Third Base Power
In terms of hitting and hitting for power, of the 46 MLB Players to hit over 400 home runs in their career, five are third basemen, coming in third place behind only first basemen and outfielders:
It should be noted that Cal Ripken Jr. hit 413 home runs with the Baltimore Orioles and finished his career as a third basemen, while Alex Rodriguez spent many of the earlier seasons in his career as a shortstop with the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers.
All-Time Third Base Home Run Leaders:
1) Alex Rodriguez* - 613
2) Mike Schmidt - 548
3) Eddie Mathews - 512
4) Chipper Jones* - 436
5) Darrel Evans - 414
*Currently in the MLB
The Best at Third Base
As you can see, some of the most proficient power hitters to ever play third base are still in the league, with Alex Rodriguez making the list of the best in baseball today, while others like Mike Schmidt, Eddie Mathews, George Brett, Wade Boggs and Brooks Robinson enjoyed heralded Hall of Fame careers.
Were he able to stay healthy for a full season, odds are Chipper Jones would find himself amongst the best third basemen in baseball today as he has already supplanted himself amongst the best of all time, but, due to his inability to stay on the field in recent seasons, other up-and-coming third basemen have surpassed him in the rankings.
Here are The 5 Best Third Basemen in Baseball Today:
The Best Baseball Players
5) Mark Reynolds
Mark Reynolds began his career as a third basemen in 2007 when he played in 111 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks, hitting .279 with 17 HR.
Under new coaching and management, the Arizona Diamonbacks traded Reynolds to the Baltimore Orioles during the 2010 off-season in an attempt to cut out all the strikeouts the franchise had become famous for in recent seasons. The team surpassed 1,402 strikeouts in 2010, setting a new all-time record.
If you come to the ball park to see home runs ... tape measure home runs, then Mark Reynolds is more than worth the price of admission. Reynolds lead third basemen in home runs in both 2009 and 2010 with 44 and 32 respectively. But, with Reynolds, his power comes with a price.
Mark Reynolds tends to strike out a lot. In fact, somewhere around 40% of his at bats result in a strikeout. In 2008, Reynolds placed himself in MLB record books when set the all-time single season strikeout record with 204 then went on to break his own record in 2009 with 223. In 2010 he brought the total back down to 211, good for second worst of all time.
Over the course of four seasons in the MLB, Mark Reynolds 121 HR, 346 RBI and scored 326 R. In that time, he has hit .242 with a .334 OBP and 4.83 SLG.
His best season came in 2009 when he hit 44 HR, 102 RBI and scored 98 runs. His .260 AVG was the second best of his career, while his .349 OBP and .543 SLG were both career bests. Reynolds also stole 24 bases.
Now with the Baltimore Orioles, Mark Reynolds will be surrounded by Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Brian Roberts, Derek Lee and Vladamir Guerrero under the coaching of Buck Showalter. At 27 years old, Reynolds has time to develop patience at the plate and could be in the perfect situation in Baltimore.
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4) Ryan Zimmerman
Ryan Zimmerman made his MLB debut in 2005. His first full season as a starting third basemen came in 2007 when he played in 157 games and hit 20 HR, 110 RBI and .287 AVG.
At only 26 years old, Zimmerman has become the face of the franchise and the cornerstone of the future for the Washington Nationals.
Although Ryan Zimmerman doesn't showcase some of the flash and swagger of other young talents, by exhibiting a consistent approach at the plate while showing exceptional skills in the field, he stands out as one of the all-around better third basemen in the MLB.
In his short career, Zimmerman has been selected to one All-Star Game (2009) and has already won two NL Silver Slugger Awards (2009, 2010) at third base and a Gold Glove Award in 2009.
Thus far in a little over five seasons, Ryan Zimmerman has hit 116 HR, 449 RBI and scored 435 runs in a fairly weak Nationals lineup. In that time, he has maintained a .288 AVG, .355 OBP and .484 SLG.
His best season came in 2009 when he hit 33 HR, 106 RBI and scored 110 runs. In that year, Zimmerman hit .292 with a .364 OBP and .510 SLG.
The future is bright for both the Washington Nationals and Ryan Zimmerman.
Thanks to the addition of Jayson Werth in the off-season, along with the continued development of Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper, Zimmerman should have a solid lineup surrounding him for the next three to five seasons. Along with that, Stephen Strasburg should return to the mound in 2012 after recovering from Tommy John surgery, giving the team a true ace and a legitimate pitching staff.
Who is the Best Third Baseman in Baseball Today?
3) Evan Longoria
Evan Longoria joined the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 season en route to the franchise's first division title and World Series appearance. That season Longoria hit 27 HR, 85 RBI with a .272 AVG in 122 games, earning him the 2008 AL Rookie of the Year Award.
Longoria is similar to Ryan Zimmerman in that he lets his bat and glove do all the talking while excelling at the plate and in the field. Due to his consistent performance over the past three seasons, the Rays have become a perennial contender in the AL East, often considered to be the best division in the MLB.
While other top-dollar talent has had to part ways with the small-market franchise, the Rays have decided to lock up Evan Longoria long term, making him the face of the franchise and cornerstone of the future.
Evan Longoria has been selected to the All-Star Game in each of his first three seasons. As mentioned above, he won the 2008 AL ROY Award. He has also won a Silver Slugger Award (2009) and two Gold Glove Awards (2009, 2010) at third base.
Thus far Evan Longoria has hit 82 HR, 302 RBI and scored 263 R with the Tampa Bay Rays. He has a career .283 AVG, .361 OBP and .521 SLG.
His best season came in 2009 when he hit 33 HR, 113 RBI and scored 100 R. That year Longoria hit .281 with a .364 OBP and .526 SLG.
Both Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford left the Rays during 2010 free agency, leaving the lineup a little thin compared to recent seasons. At 25 years old, it will be up to Evan Longoria to carry a lineup of young talent, including BJ Upton, Desmond Jennings and Matt Joyce, and keep the Rays relevant in the AL East.
Alex Rodriguez Jerseys
2) Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez made his major league debut at shortstop with the Seattle Mariners in 1994. His first full season was in 1996 when he played in 146 games. That year he hit 36 HR, 123 RBI and scored an astounding 141 R with a .358 AVG. However, he did not qualify as a AL ROY candidate.
Before the 2001 season, Rodriguez signed the largest contract in MLB History with the Texas Rangers. He is still the highest paid player in baseball today and made $33 million in 2010.
Three seasons later, the Rangers traded Rodriguez to the New York Yankees where he has played third base since.
Alex Rodriguez has had a legendary career and looked to go down in the record books as one of, if not the best player in the history of baseball. However, prior to the 2009 season, Rodriguez admitted to haven taken steroids/performance enhancing drugs. His admission immediately tarnished his career and could potentially keep him from the Hall of Fame and future accolades.
In 2009, Alex Rodriguez won his first World Series Championship, perhaps the last accomplishment he had left to achieve in his dubious career.
Alex Rodriguez has been selected to 13 All-Star Games. He has won three AL MVP Awards along with 10 Silver Slugger Awards and two Gold Glove Awards (both for shortstop). He has also won four Hank Aaron Awards.
In his career, Rodriguez has hit 631 HR, the most of any third basemen. He has 1831 RBI and has scored 1757 R. His career batting average is .303 along with a .387 OBP and .571 SLG.
The best season of his career came in 2007 when he hit 54 HR, 156 RBI and scored 143 R. That season, he maintained a .314 AVG, .422 OBP and .645 SLG.
At 35 years old, Alex Rodriguez still has another five to seven seasons in professional baseball. In that time he should be able to surpass Barry Bonds as the all-time home run leader while moving up the charts in a variety of other records and rankings.
Although, it all could be for naught due to his indiscretions involving PEDs earlier in his career.
David Wright Jersey Online:
1) David Wright
David Wright made his MLB debut in 2004 for the New York Mets. His first full season came in 2005 when he played 160 games at third base and hit 27 HR, 102 RBI with a .306 AVG.
Wright is under a lot of pressure to perform at peak levels each and every game, what with playing the Big Apple, and thus far in his career he hasn't disappointed or given fans much to complain about, outside of 2009 in his first season at the pitcher-friendly Citi Field.
While the New York Mets don't always live up to expectations, David Wright has been the model of consistency by hitting at least 26 HR, 100 RBI and batting .300 or better in five of his six MLB seasons.
Most important to New York Mets fans, Wright has managed to play in at least 150 games every season except 2009, whereas most of his teammates often find themselves on the disabled list throughout the the season.
David Wright has been selected to the All-Star Game five times. He has won two Silver Slugger Awards (2007, 2008) as a third basemen and has won two Gold Glove Awards (2007, 2008) at the position.
Over five seasons Wright has hit 169 HR, 664 RBI and scored 639 runs. He has a career batting average of .305 and a .383 OBP and .516 SLG along with 138 SB.
Both his 2007 and 2008 seasons were phenomenal, but overall, 2007 was his best.
That year he hit 30 HR, 107 RBI and scored 113 runs. His batting average for the season was .325 along with a .416 OBP and .546 SLG. Wright also stole 34 bases, making him a member of the elite 30/30 club in professional baseball.
It's hard to tell what the future has in store for the New York Mets as both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are in prime position to control the NL East for many years, but things are bright for Wright. He is only 28 years old, in the prime of his career, and should continue to move up the ranks of the greatest third basemen of all time.
Who do you think are the best third basemen in baseball today? Answer in the poll above or share your rankings in the comments below: