These five players have the tough task of managing the hot corner day in and day out. They do so with ease and some have put together Hall of Fame worthy careers, while another is one of the leagues brightest up and coming stars. In 2016 this group combined for 172 home runs and 496 RBI. They are major contributors at the plate and will all aim to have similar, if not better, 2017 campaigns.
Top 5 American League Third Basemen
1. Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays
The 2015 AL MVP and three-time All Star put together a remarkable season in 2016. The departure of Edwin Encarnacion had Jays fans worried, but with a bat like Donaldson’s in your lineup, among others, replacing EE will not be overly difficult. JD led all third basemen with a .953 OPS while maintaining an impressive .284 average with 37 home runs and 99 RBI. He is a career .278 hitter and is 50 RBI away from reaching 500.
2. Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles
The 24-year-old has quickly established himself as one of the leagues best infielders. He is already a three-time All Star and a crucial member of the O’s lineup. Last season his stat line was off the charts (.294/37 HR/ 96 RBI) and 2017 should be no different. He is the definition of a cornerstone player and Baltimore has found their franchise third baseman until 2030 if both parties so choose.
3. Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers
The 37-year-old showed no signs of slowing down last season as he was the only AL third baseman to reach 100 RBI, and one of two to hit .300. Beltre is a four-time All Star and five-time Gold Glover, and when he does decide to retire Cooperstown will follow shortly after. Last season he batted .300 with 32 home runs and 104 RBI, which saw him eclipse the 1,500 mark in his career. He has batted .286 over his 12-plus years in the league with 445 homers and 1,571 RBI. If he can play another two seasons he has a very good shot at joining the 500 HR/ 1,500 RBI club, an almost certain HOF resume.
4. Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays
Another player who has etched Hall of Fame consideration is Longoria. The face of the Rays since his 2008 Rookie of the Year season, he has been a reliable and dangerous threat in the field and at the plate. Last season saw him bat .273 with 36 long balls and 98 RBI. The three-time all star needs just nine more home runs for 250 and is well on his way to 1,000 RBI, having driven in 806 so far.
5. Kyle Seager – Seattle Mariners
A mere one RBI shy of a 30/100 season, Seager had an impressive 2016 campaign and will look to build on it this season. His .278 average was 12 points higher than his career .266 and only needs 63 RBI to reach 500. Playing third base in the American League alongside the aforementioned players on this list is tough, and Seager’s talent can easily fall under the radar, but like the M*A*S*H television star, the fans of Seattle would be sad to see him go.
Honorable mention: Todd Frazier
Although he was the only AL third baseman to hit 40 home runs, his .225 average and .767 OPS were just too dismal to crack the top five.
The third basemen of the American League are certainly a talented bunch and will all look to impress in the upcoming season.