The Five Best at the “Hot Corner” in the game of baseball today are…
- Alex Rodriguez: Once his career is all said and done, I won’t mind if people say that he wasn’t the greatest ever. But I will mind if they don’t include him in that discussion. Some put a lot of emphasis on the postseason, and rightfully so, but even if he never has the great postseason that everyone expects from him, it will be tough to make a valid argument against 700+ home runs from an infield position other than first base. His value on an individual basis has been diminished slightly because he moved off of the more difficult position of SS. But 3B aren’t exactly supposed to be this great offensively, either. If Alex Rodriguez is again the best player in baseball in 2009, as he was in 2007, then I will definitely not be surprised. He has been the best player in baseball multiple seasons already.
- David Wright: What can’t David Wright do? Play defense? Check that off. Hit among the best players in baseball? Color in the according circle. Field questions from the media while no one else seems to as your team is collapsing? Circle me silly. And yet, it still isn’t enough. Kind of reminds me of AROD actually, except Wright doesn’t make well over $20 million a year, which people definitely despise Rodriguez for doing. Over the past three seasons, David Wright has three of the top 6 Win Share totals among 3B. The other three belong to Miguel Cabrera (2), and to Alex Rodriguez (1). So what can’t David Wright do? Apparently, he cannot hit in the clutch, or so some think, even though Wright has batted .307/.407/.483 in “Late and Close” situations in his career.
- Chipper Jones: The thing that separates Chipper from the top 2 3B is not performance, necessarily, but performance over a period of time. Chipper is 36 now, and isn’t exactly staying on the field that much. The past two seasons, Jones has played in 128 and 134 games. But the two previous seasons, 2004 and 2005, Jones played in only 109 and 110 games. If Chipper could stay healthy he may move up a slot, but he hasn’t been on the field enough the past four seasons. Don’t take what I am saying the wrong way, because Chipper IS a Hall of Famer. But he happens to slot in nicely at number 3 in this ranking, rather than higher up. When we think of Chipper, think Edgar Martinez, except for one thing, Jones could field third well enough to stick around there, meaning he has/had more value.
- Aramis Ramirez: This is where it drops a little, but far from a ton. Aramis Ramirez, believe it or not, is a really good player. He definitely gets less coverage than the first three 3B mentioned, but that is because two play in New York; one is a Hall of Famer already and appeared in 11 straight postseasons at one point. Chicago is a media haven, but New York is even greater when talking about coverage. Oh, and the other three 3B are better, which may be helpful in adding to why Ramirez gets less props. But Ramirez has five straight seasons of OPS+ of 126 or greater. His defense used to be regarded as semi-atrocious, but apparently he worked on it, and now he is good enough to be regarded as not “semi-atrocious.”
- Ryan Zimmerman: This is where it gets dicey. Evan Longoria may pass Zimmerman this season, but I have one season at the Major League level to analyze Longoria. Zimmerman isn’t the hitter–or hasn’t been yet–that Longoria is most likely going to continue to be. But one thing that Zimmerman does well is his field the position. And three seasons of fielding the position well and batting a little above the average is greater in a ranking like this, than that of one good season. Don’t forget either, Zimmerman is merely 23 years old, Longoria is 22. Both are very young and BOTH have most likely not had the best seasons of their career yet. I do however believe that Longoria moves into the top 5 after another season, might even move up to number 4.