The American League East division is home to some of the league’s best third basemen including Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado and Toronto Blue Jays Josh Donaldson.
Baltimore Orioles‘ Manny Machado and Toronto Blue Jays Josh Donaldson are two of the best at third base, and also two of the best players in the entire game. But, who gets the number one ranking?
In most divisions, Evan Longoria would be the best third baseman in the division. In the AL East, he is right in the middle.
Third base is such a heated battle at the top, but don’t let that distract you from Pablo Sandoval‘s return for the Red Sox. Sandoval was a major disappointment in 2015 and missed nearly all of 2016. With no Travis Shaw in the picture, it is his job this year.
To recap, the end of 2016 rankings at third base were:
5. Boston Red Sox
4. New York Yankees
3. Tampa Bay Rays
2. Baltimore Orioles
1. Toronto Blue Jays
Remember, let your comments be heard on whether you think the rankings are accurate or not.
5. Boston Red Sox
Which Sandoval are the Red Sox going to get in 2017? The guy who in 2015 was a massive disappointment, hitting .245/.292/.366 with 10 HRs, 25 2Bs, 47 RBIs and 43 runs? Or the guy who is a career .287/.339/.451 hitter, who in 162 games would average 19 HR, 35 2Bs, 83 RBIs and 72 runs?
Sandoval is said to have dealt with his eating concerns, which has helped him slim down. That will help. Sandoval had an oWAR of 0.3 and a dWAR of -0.9 in 2015. This, from a guy whose lowest oWAR in a full season previously was 1.5
Sandoval is never going to be as good of a defender as some of his counterparts in the division. He doesn’t have the athleticism of the top three at the position. The range numbers aren’t good, although he has had a few decent years sprinkled in.
There is a lot of unknown here. I’m not even sure the Red Sox know what to expect. And, with so many stars at other positions, it would make sense if Brock Holt would become the starter if Big Panda struggles. Or maybe even consider trying Hanley Ramirez (I expect that to be another defensive disaster) or Mitch Moreland at third base.
Of a team with very few question marks, third base is one for the Boston Red Sox.