2018 AL East Positional Rankings: Infielders - Page 6 of 6 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

2018 AL East Positional Rankings: Infielders

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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Third Base

  1. Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
  2. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
  3. Tim Beckham, Orioles
  4. Brandon Drury, Yankees
  5. Matt Duffy, Rays

If Donaldson weren’t already the best third baseman in the AL East, the rest of the division removed all doubt by eliminating his top competition this winter. The Orioles moved Machado to shortstop and the Rays traded Evan Longoria to San Francisco, leaving Donaldson in a class by himself at the hot corner. In each of his three seasons with Toronto, Donaldson has racked up at least 33 homers and an OPS of .939 or better, all while playing stellar defense.

The Red Sox, after bringing the brutal Pablo Sandoval Era to a merciful end last season, fast-tracked Devers to the majors at age 20. He was a quick study at the plate, batting .284 with an .819 OPS and collecting 30 RBIs in 58 games. Although his defense was erratic, he should improve as he matures.

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The Orioles’ Beckham apparently didn’t get the memo that AL East third basemen must have last names beginning with D. He’s also the biggest question mark defensively of the group, considering he’s started only five career games at third base, and none since 2016. Still, if he can swing the bat like he did in 2017 — when he put up career bests in nearly every offensive category — the Orioles can forgive a few mistakes with the leather.

Drury, too, will be moving to a position he barely played last year, when he had just one start at third base for Arizona. He does, though, have 41 career games at the hot corner. Meanwhile, the Rays’ Duffy hasn’t played any position since 2016; he missed the entire 2017 season after having two surgeries on his Achilles’ tendon.

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