OPINION: National League Third Baseman Pool MLB’s Most Talented Players
This article will not mention most of the MLB’s best players. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Correa and countless others do not come into the discussion of where the best players in the league all reside.
That is because collectively, the most talented pool of players in the MLB live at the hot corner in the National League.
The biggest discussion when talking about the All-Star roster for the National League, which ultimately lost 2-1 to the American League on July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami, was how you could not fit all of the league’s premier third baseman on the roster.
Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies earned the starting spot and rightfully so. He has been arguably the best player at his position so far this season. He’s batting .301/.349/.556 with 18 home runs and 73 runs batted in to go with 111 hits. Arenado has contributed to a Rockies team that, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, have kept the NL West tough despite the Los Angeles Dodgers looking like the best team in baseball. As of now, the Rockies have the second wild card spot by a 5.5 game margin.
Speaking of the Diamondbacks, they lead the NL wild card race, clinging to a 0.5 game lead over Colorado and have turned around their season after a few lackluster years as of late. A catalyst to the success has been third baseman Jake Lamb. While the numbers don’t lead his position, he is still sporting a strong .273 batting average, with 20 home runs, 69 RBI’s, and 90 hits. He earned an All-Star nod for his efforts, being named the reserve third baseman.
The Dodgers’ Justin Turner received a spot on the All-Star team by way of the Final Vote, although many believe he should have had a spot outright. He has missed time this season due to an injury, but his numbers are still outstanding. He leads the league with a .370 batting average, and has added 11 long balls and 90 hits. Turner has certainly helped the Dodgers continue an impressive string of play.
Then, we’re left with the snubs. Experts named several different NL third baseman worthy of an All-Star selection or at least deeper consideration of whom were snubbed, and it just goes to show how deep the position really is.
Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals is hitting .320/.424/.597 with 20 home runs and 97 hits in 2017, but lost out on the Final Vote. Also losing out on the Final Vote was Kris Bryant, who was a large part of the Chicago Cubs’ historic championship run last season. He is not having the best season of NL third baseman given the depth at the position, but has still slugged 19 home runs and has a .273 batting average.
The Milwaulkee Brewers are leading the NL Central, and that is partly due to Travis Shaw, who has quietly risen up the ranks among NL third baseman, with a line of .299/.365/.575 to go with 21 home runs and 69 RBI’s. Division foe Jedd Gyroko of the St. Louis Cardinals is having his best season as a pro, with 85 hits and 14 home runs to go with a .292 batting average.
The efforts shown by the hot corner in the National League, especially at the plate, show why no division lead is safe (well, maybe LA’s is) and why all of these players deserve more recognition in a field clogged with talent.