The 2024 MLB season isn’t too far away, with pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in less than a month. That makes now the perfect time for position ranking across the MLB. That is something that I have decided to do alongside the guys at the Ball Blab podcast. We are releasing our rankings of the top ten players at each position, including the top twenty relievers and top fifty starting pitchers.

Our system of ranking players did not have any specific criteria, and was just us picking who we think are/will be the best ten players at each position. If you missed the second base rankings that came out last week, make sure to go check it out. The position player rankings will continue today with the top ten third basemen in baseball.


1. Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez Should Be Starting In The All-Star Game - Sports Illustrated Cleveland Guardians News, Analysis and More

2023 Stats: 691 PA, .282/.356/.475, 24 HR, 80 RBI, 123 wRC+, 5.1 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 665 PA, .278/.358/.493, 27 HR, 95 RBI, 129 wRC+, 5.0 fWAR

Jose Ramirez has been one of the best third basemen in baseball from 2016, and he now finds himself at the top of the third base position. While having one of the most consistent bats in baseball, Ramirez is also a solid baserunner (swiping 28 bags in 2023) who has provided solid defense throughout his career. Heading into 2024, Ramirez hopes to bounce back from what was a bit of a down season last year based on his lofty standards. Ramirez had his wRC+ drop below 140 for just the second time since 2016, and his fWAR dipped below 6.0 for just the second time as well (excluding the shortened 2020 season). There is no reason to believe that Ramirez is dropping off, and he should be set for another successful season in 2024.


2. Austin Riley

The Talented Mr. Riley: Q&A with the Braves third baseman on making the All-Star team and fatherhood - Atlanta Magazine

2023 Stats: 715 PA, .281/.345/.516, 37 HR, 97 RBI, 127 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 679 PA, .276/.348/.515, 36 HR, 109 RBI, 129 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

Austin Riley is coming off his third consecutive season with 30 homers, and he has cemented himself as one of the best third basemen in baseball. Riley finds himself in the middle of the best lineup in baseball, and he Riley finds himself in the perfect scenario to be a big run producer in the number three hole. As good as Riley is offensively, the most important part of his game is his defense. 2023 was arguably the best year of his career defensively, with 9 DRS and 0 OAA (the first time his OAA was not below 0). Riley will make himself the total package if his defense continues to improve, and the Braves will continue to pencil him at third base in for the next decade.


3. Rafael Devers

Rafael Devers lobbies Boston Red Sox front office for roster help

2023 Stats: 656 PA, .271/.351/.500, 33 HR, 100 RBI, 124 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 665 PA, .283/.357/.527, 34 HR, 105 RBI, 132 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

Rafael Devers is the lone member remaining from the Red Sox 2018 World Series, and he has turned himself into the face of the franchise. The 2023 season was a down year for Devers’ high standards, posting his lowest wRC+ in a full 162-game season since 2018. Even though the bat was down in 2023, Devers showed real signs of life late in the season, posting a 138 wRC+ in the second half while also being solid defensively with 0 OAA at third while Trevor Story played shortstop next to him. Devers will look for his bat to remain elite for the full 2024 season while hoping to continue his defensive improvement with a healthy Trevor Story at short all year.


4. Alex Bregman

Astros slugger Alex Bregman is getting back to his old self

2023 Stats: 724 PA, .262/.363/.441, 25 HR, 98 RBI, 125 wRC+, 4.3 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections:679 PA, .264/.366/.449, 23 HR, 86 RBI, 127 wRC+, 4.4 fWAR

Alex Bregman will be entering his eighth full season in the big leagues next year, which makes it crazy to believe that he doesn’t turn 30 until the end of March. Bregman is a huge piece for the Astros and, entering a contract year, he is looking to have another good year to earn big money in free agency or to secure a lucrative extension with the Astros. Bregman hasn’t been elite offensively since the juiced baseballs departed after 2019, when he hit 41 homers, but he has consistently been very good. Pairing that offense with his solid defense at third base give you one of the best third baseman in the sport.


5. Gunnar Henderson

Orioles rookie Gunnar Henderson named American League Player of the Week after batting .526 – Baltimore Sun

2023 Stats: 622 PA, .255/.325/.489, 28 HR, 82 RBI, 123 wRC+, 4.6 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 616 PA, .260/.343/.476, 26 HR, 84 RBI, 126 wRC+, 4.9 fWAR

The 2023 AL Rookie of the Year Award went to Gunnar Henderson. After an impressive rookie season where Henderson put up good numbers at the plate and defensively (at both third base and shortstop), he looks to make a leap into the “best third baseman in baseball” conversation. With Jackson Holliday getting the chance to crack the big league roster in spring training, Henderson should slot in at third base everyday in 2024. With the Orioles winning the AL East in 2023 and looking to make a deep postseason run with their flourishing core, Henderson will be a key piece to the Orioles success in 2024 and beyond.


6. Manny Machado

2022 Padres Player Review: Manny Machado - Gaslamp Ball

2023 Stats: 601 PA, .258/.319/.462, 30 HR, 91 RBI, 114 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 665 PA, .266/.335/.468, 29 HR, 99 RBI, 119 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR

From the Orioles current star third baseman to their former star third baseman, Manny Machado saw his offensive numbers dip in 2023. Machado put up a 153 wRC+ and a 7.5 fWAR in 2022, but in 2023 Machado’s fWAR was cut in half and he posted his worst wRC+ since 2019, his first season in San Diego. Machado has been finding more success in even numbered years and a lot of his 2023 struggles were due to an elbow injury, so maybe 2024 will be a good year for him. Machado will need to be at his best if the Padres want to compete after a lackluster 2023, especially at the plate. He may very well start the year on DH-only duty while his elbow recovers to the point where he can play third base again.


7. Royce Lewis

Royce Lewis, Twins' rookie star, snaps historic playoff losing streak

2023 Stats: 239 PA, .309/.372/.548, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 155 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 595 PA, .265/.332/.473, 26 HR, 88 RBI, 121 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR

Royce Lewis only played in 58 games in 2023, but he was stellar in those 58 games, slugging 15 homers on the way to a 155 wRC+. Lewis shined once the postseason came, with four homers in six games that helped the Twins win their first playoff series in two decades. Lewis will be the Twins everyday third baseman heading into 2024 and, while it’s hard to see him replicating the crazy numbers he put up in 2023 over a full season, he is a massive part of the Twins team for now and the future. He is finally an MLB player following a down 2019 in the minors and two consecutive seasons of not playing. The Twins picked him first overall in a 2017 draft that looks terrible for first round picks, and that selection finally looks like a good decision that will pay off long-term.


8. Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado contract: Cardinals 3B opts into remainder of five-year deal, per report - DraftKings Network

2023 Stats: 612 PA, .266/.315/.459, 26 HR, 93 RBI, 107 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 672 PA,.263/.323/.452, 26 HR, 98 RBI, 109 wRC+, 3.4 fWAR

Nolan Arenado has been one of the best third baseman in baseball for the past decade. However, after a top-three MVP finish in 2022, the 2023 season was not a memorable one for Arenado. He not only saw his offense dip, but his defense dropped as well. Arenado had his worst defensive season, posting just 1 DRS and 5 OAA while posting a negative UZR for the first time in his career. Although Arenado is entering just his age-33 season, his decline last year is something to keep an eye on. Although it wouldn’t be expected for someone like him to start his decline at just 32, some guys decline earlier than others. Arenado has already played in 11 MLB seasons, so the wear and tear could be catching up to him.


9. Ke’Bryan Hayes

Ke'Bryan Hayes' Hot Stretch More Than Just Month of August | Pittsburgh Baseball Now

2023 Stats: 525 PA, .271/.309/.453, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 101 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 609 PA, .261/.319/.415, 15 HR, 69 RBI, 97 wRC+, 2.7 fWAR

The best defensive third baseman in baseball over the last three years has been Ke’Bryan Hayes, and in 2023 he finally got the hardware to prove that. Hayes won his first NL Gold Glove by putting up a ridiculous 21 DRS and 17 OAA, with a total of 61 DRS and 47 OAA in 2906.2 innings over the past three seasons. As good as the defense was for Hayes, that alone would not get him on this list. His bat took a leap between 2022 and 2023, with his wRC+ jumping from 87 to 101, his homers jumping from 7 to 15, and his strikeout rate dropping. If Hayes’ numbers continue to increase offensively while his defense stays elite, he has a case to be one of the better third basemen in all of baseball. The only thing he could add to his game that he missed somewhat in 2023 was his baserunning, as he only stole 10 bases after swiping 20 bags in 2022. However, if running less keeps him healthy, then it’s fine to not be too aggressive on the basepaths.


10. Isaac Paredes

Isaac Paredes (2 HRs, 6 RBIs) blasts Rays past Rangers | Yardbarker

2023 Stats: 571 PA, .250/.352/.488, 31 HR, 98 RBI, 137 wRC+, 4.3 fWAR

2024 FanGraphs Projections: 574 PA, .243/.340/.461, 27 HR, 85 RBI, 125 wRC+, 3.4 fWAR

Last but not least is Isaac Paredes, who was excellent in his second season with the Rays in 2023. The Rays dealt Austin Meadows for Paredes in April of 2022, a shock to most fans after Meadows received MVP votes in 2019 and 2021 while Paredes had a negative WAR in 57 MLB games with the Tigers from 2020 to 2021. Paredes has been very good for the Rays though, receiving MVP votes of his own in 2023 while being the Rays second best position player (behind Yandy Diaz) once the man who shall not be spoken of was put on administrative leave by MLB. Entering 2024, Paredes looks set to be in the heart of the lineup for a Rays team that lacks name power, but still possesses a ton of talent.


That is the top-ten third basemen in baseball as ranked by myself and the guys on the Ball Blab podcast. Make sure to follow the @ballblabpod X account as well the @BleacherBrawl X account to check out the rankings and the upcoming columns for each set of rankings. Also, make sure to follow me @derrik_maguire on X and give your feedback on the top ten third baseman in MLB.

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