Cubs Have the Best 3B in Baseball But I'm Not Mad Online and Other Bullets

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Cubs Have the Best 3B in Baseball But I’m Not Mad Online and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Snow day. The kiddos will have a little extra fun today, and the parents will make it work. The Wife and I are really fortunate that she’s a teacher and I work at home, so that when there are sudden school cancellations, we can make it work relatively smoothly. Otherwise, snow days have to be kinda tricky for working parents, yes? The things you don’t think about when you’re a kid who just wants to hit the biggest hill in town.

  • Yes, I’ve seen the ESPN third base rankings from Buster Olney, which came out over the weekend. Well, don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m not gonna to do what you all think I’m gonna to do, which is just FLIP OUT! (jerry maguire dot flip out dot gif) I do think Olney is right about his preemptive defense here:

  • Truly, third base is perversely loaded right now in MLB, which is a lot of fun, but also makes any ranking like this an exercise in violence. Do I think Kris Bryant is the best third baseman in baseball? When you consider everything he brings, together with necessary park adjustments to properly compare offensive statistics, yes, I do. I think if you put Kris Bryant in Coors Field for half his games, he’d have a Giancarlo Stanton power season. If you asked 30 front offices in baseball who they want at third base in 2018, if they could pick one guy in baseball, I honestly don’t believe a single one – save perhaps the Rockies, because they’d feel like they have to – is going to pick anyone other than Bryant. The only guy I think is close, based on what he could be in 2018, is Manny Machado, whose down 2017 season has all the classic signs of pure bad luck.
  • … but the rankings at the top of that list go Nolan Arenado, Jose Ramirez (bet you didn’t realize he had a higher wRC+ in 2017 (148) than Bryant (146), eh?), Anthony Rendon, Bryant, and then Machado. (And you still have to rank Josh Donaldson, Justin Turner, and Alex Bregman!) Is that how I’d order them? No. Is it so egregious that it deserves being put on blast? Eh, I mean, they’re all really good in that top five. Bryant as “fourth” just feels totally silly and wrong, but it’s also clear that there’s a tier that he’s a part of. Trying to differentiate among them is a really difficult task, so I can’t poop too hard one those who undertake it.
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
  • How I’d have them if forced? And if we’re ranking those five based on which guy you’d want for a season in 2018?
  1. Bryant
  2. Machado
  3. Arenado
  4. Rendon
  5. Ramirez
  • Javy Baez wound up 8th on the second base list, and that seems about right, even generous. He’s obviously got the talent to be among the best in the game at the position overall given his glove and baserunning ability, but he’ll still need some significant adjustments at the plate to get into the top tier. I do love the potential in that bat, though, if the pitch recognition skills just take a slight step forward this year.
  • Ballots like these are why baseball nerds get upset about Hall of Fame voting:

  • Random wormhole brought me to looking back on Brian Giles’ career. Man, he was one heck of a hitter. He had six seasons with a strikeout rate at 10% or lower, and six seasons with a walk rate 15% or higher. And five seasons with an ISO above .250! To put that power/discipline combo into perspective, Anthony Rizzo is among the best of that type of hitter in baseball, and yet he’s had an ISO over .250 just once, has yet to post a season with a strikeout rate lower than 13.0%, and has yet to post a season with a walk rate above 13.2%. (Note: that not only speaks to how good Giles was, but also to the obvious differences in the eras.)
  • Wild fun fact:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.