Ranking the top 10 MLB third basemen for 2023
Ranking the top 10 MLB third basemen for 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The highlight of the Boston Red Sox' offseason was locking up their star third baseman to a long-term contract extension.
Rafael Devers signed a $ 313.5 million deal to be Boston's franchise cornerstone over the next decade. The contract will take him through his age-36 season.
More MLB rankings: 1B | 2B | SS
At 26 years old, Devers already has established himself as one of the game's best at the hot corner. But how exactly does he stack up against the rest of the league? Here's a look at MLB's top 10 third basemen heading into the 2023 season.
10. Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles
2022 stats: .259/.348/.440, 4 HR, 18 RBI (34 games)
Henderson is MLB's No. 1 ranked prospect entering the new season. He's the heavy favorite to take home AL Rookie of the Year honors, and for good reason. The 21-year-old provided a glimpse of his potential during his brief big-league stint last season and should carry that success into his rookie campaign. In 112 minor-league games last year, he slashed .297/.416/.531 with 19 homers, 76 RBI, and 22 stolen bases. He's ready for The Show.
9. Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
2022 stats: .196/.329/.384, 21 HR, 69 RBI (64 games)
As you can see from those numbers, Muncy is coming off the worst season of his career. The veteran infielder hit under the Mendoza line a year after finishing 10th in NL MVP voting. Still, he walked 90 times in 565 plate appearances and finished the 2022 season with a .713 OPS. If he adjusts well to taking over Justin Turner's role as L.A.'s full-time third baseman, there's no reason to believe 2023 can't be a bounce-back campaign for the 32-year-old.
8. Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays
2022 stats: .296/.401/.423, 9 HR, 57 RBI
What Diaz lacks in defense and power he more than makes up for by getting on base consistently. The 31-year-old was one of only six qualified MLB hitters to post an on-base percentage over .400 last season. He also was one of six hitters to walk more than they struck out. If he can replicate that success in 2023, he should earn consideration for his first All-Star selection.
Yandy Diaz was an on-base machine for the Rays in 2022.
7. Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays
2022 stats: .229/.324/.433, 27 HR, 76 RBI
Chapman made a name for himself as a Platinum Glove third baseman during his time in Oakland, but his defense took a step back in his first year with Toronto. His offensive production also has dipped slightly over the last couple of seasons, though he still finished with solid numbers in 2022. Given his pedigree, we should expect a better all-around season from Chapman in Year 2 with the Blue Jays.
6. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
2022 stats: .259/.366/.454, 23 HR, 93 RBI
Bregman is a big reason the Astros have been so successful over the last six years. The two-time World Series champion might no longer be the top third baseman in the game, but he's still very much elite. It shouldn't surprise anybody if he returns to MVP form in 2023.
5. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
2022 stats: .295/.358/.521, 27 HR, 88 RBI
Devers is coming off a monster season at the plate and it should scare the rest of the league that he still hasn't reached his ceiling. The two-time All-Star has 40+ homer, .900+ OPS potential and should be in the conversation for several MVP awards over the course of his 10-year extension with Boston. He probably won't last the entirety of his contract at third base, but his future is bright whether it's at third, first, or DH.
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Rafael Devers is the face of the Red Sox after inking a 10-year contract extension this offseason.
4. Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves
2022 stats: .273/.349/.528, 38 HR, 93 RBI
Devers' $ 313.5 million deal makes Riley's $ 212 million extension look like a steal for Atlanta. Riley made his first All-Star team and finished sixth in NL MVP voting last season. The 26-year-old remains criminally underrated but will be impossible to ignore if he produces another season like his last two MVP-caliber campaigns.
3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians
2022 stats: .280/.355/.514, 29 HR, 126 RBI
Ramirez has consistently been among the top third basemen in the league since 2016. The 30-year-old veteran has placed top three in AL MVP voting three times in his career and finished fourth last season. His glove doesn't match the top two players on this list, otherwise he'd earn strong consideration for the No. 1 spot.
2. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
2022 stats: .293/.358/.533, 30 HR, 103 RBI
Years from now, we'll all be arguing over whether Arenado is the greatest third baseman in MLB history. The 31-year-old has seven All-Star selections, 10 Gold Glove awards, six Platinum Gloves, and five Silver Sluggers on his résumé. He's still looking for his first MVP but has finished top 10 in voting six times during his 10-year career.
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Nolan Arenado will go down as one of the greatest third basemen in MLB history.
1. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
2022 stats: .298/.366/.531, 32 HR, 102 RBI
Machado and Arenado are more of a 1A and 1B situation as both are models of the perfect third baseman. Machado, who recently signed a $ 350 million extension with San Diego that will take him through his age-41 season, makes everything look easy. He finished second behind Paul Goldschmidt in MVP voting last year and has three other top-five finishes in his illustrious 11-year career. He's the heart of a stacked Padres club that is among the favorites to win the World Series in 2023.