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Batting Around: Who’s the best third baseman in MLB? How much does track record matter vs. 2024 results?

Written by on May 24, 2024

Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we debated the best team in the AL Central. This week we’re going to tackle the game’s best at the hot corner.

Who is the best third baseman in baseball?

R.J. Anderson: I think there are several defensible answers. This season, you can certainly make the case for Rafael Devers, Isaac Paredes, or Alec Bohm. If you widen your scope to include the last few years, you’re also throwing Austin Riley and José Ramírez   into the mix (although, admittedly, neither has been quite as productive so far in 2024). If you’re trying to straddle the fence between methods, you’ll probably land on Devers. I do think Bohm deserves a lot of credit though, as he might be the most improved third baseman in the league.

Matt Snyder: I’m gonna stick with José Ramírez. Rafael Devers in the mix and some of the other big names (Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Matt Chapman, Nolan Arenado) aren’t hitting well enough this year to take the mantle from Ramírez. And while Ramírez should be hitting for a higher average and getting on base at a higher clip, his power is there, he’s still driving in runs and still stealing bases. I like José!

Dayn Perry: As we know, there are a couple of ways to answer this question at this relatively early hour of the season. You can answer based on the season to date without any other considerations, or you can answer with one eye on the season to date and one eye on how things figure to play out given performances histories. With the first method, I’d probably go Jordan Westburg of the Orioles narrowly over Isaac Paredes of the Rays. With the second method — my preferred one at this juncture — it comes down to José Ramírez vs. Rafael Devers, at least for me. I’ll lean Devers based on age and plate-discipline trends, but it’s a close call. 

Mike Axisa: Bohm, Paredes, and Westburg have been the best third basemen to date this season, though it is only May, and track record matters to me when we’re dealing with this little information in the current season. With Arenado looking like he’s aged out as an elite player, it’s Ramírez vs. Devers for me, and I lean Devers because he has age on his side and more raw power. Ramírez’s glovework has slipped enough to give Devers the slight edge. Riley certainly deserves a mention here as well. I wish it were easier to untangle the Coors Fieldiness of Ryan McMahon‘s offense. That guy can really, really play the hot corner.

The post Batting Around: Who’s the best third baseman in MLB? How much does track record matter vs. 2024 results? first appeared on CBS Sports.


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