Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield - Page 6 of 6 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

Revisiting AL East Position Rankings: Infield

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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Third Base

Preseason rankings:

  1. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
  2. Manny Machado, Orioles
  3. Evan Longoria, Rays
  4. Chase Headley, Yankees
  5. Pablo Sandoval, Red Sox

In April, I agonized over whether to rank Donaldson or Machado as the division’s top third baseman, ultimately settling on the 2015 AL MVP. And Donaldson did end up with the most impressive offensive numbers this season, posting a stupendous .944 OPS to go with 33 homers and 78 RBIs. One problem, though: he suffered a calf injury that limited him to 108 games.

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So, I’m pushing the more durable Machado ahead of Donaldson in the end-of-season rankings. Sure, Manny had an inconsistent year with the bat, but still produced 33 homers and 95 RBIs. Plus, he played his usual excellent defense at the hot corner.

No other third baseman in the AL East was particularly impressive. Longoria scuffled to a .737 OPS, and his 20 homers were the fewest he’s ever had in a full season. The Yankees started a nondescript Headley for much of the season before trading for Todd Frazier. And Sandoval continued to be such a disaster for the Red Sox that the team released him and ate the $50-plus million remaining on his contract. They had trouble finding a major league caliber third baseman until 20-year-old Rafael Devers came up in late July.

End-of-season rankings:

  1. Machado, Orioles
  2. Donaldson, Blue Jays
  3. Longoria, Rays
  4. Headley/Frazier, Yankees
  5. All sorts of folks, Red Sox

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