The hot corner has its share of superstars amongst baseball players – Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, and Alex Rodriguez (he’s still one of the best players ever despite his current dilemma). All of these players are in their prime or approaching the back end of their careers, so who are the next wave of great third basemen? Here are the top 5 players 26 years old and younger who have the shortest jog to the field from the 3rd base dugout.
Top 5 Best Young 3rd Basemen
5. Brett Lawrie – Lawrie was limited in action in 2013 due to an injury, but he made an impact when he was in the lineup. With 11 home runs and a .254 batting average, Lawrie has the ability to be a huge threat between Jose Reyes and Jose Bautista in the Blue Jays lineup. He has solid glove work in the field and is a likely candidate to make a Web Gem on a nightly basis. His only fallback is his attitude, as he can get carried away when things don’t go his way, particularly at the plate. He is Charlie Hustle no matter what happens, and this bodes very well for Toronto’s future and the 23-year-old.
4. Matt Dominguez – You may not recognize this name, and that is because he plays for the Houston Astros. Dominguez quietly hit 21 home runs this past season with 77 RBI. Not known for his hitting as a prospect in the Marlins’ farm system, he is developing the power that traditional third basemen are known for. He will also be a name in Gold Glove talks, as Dominguez boasts one of the best gloves whether it is fielding bunts or stopping line drives curving around the bag.
3. Kyle Seager – One of the older players on the list at 26, Seager will be a key piece to the Mariners should they become a contender in 2014. After a season in which he hit .260 with 22 home runs, those numbers could greatly improve with Robinson Cano in the lineup and Mike Zunino hitting like a 3rd overall pick. Seager also had a .964 fielding percentage playing in almost every game of the season. A North Carolina product, he looks to make next season three straight with 20 or more home runs.
2. Manny Machado – The youngest player on the list is Manny Machado. He is only 21 years old and probably has the biggest upside because of his production at such a young age. He was hurt towards the end of the year, so hopefully he comes back at full strength. Machado had the highest batting average of players on this list at .283 and had an astonishing 51 doubles. His defense is just as valuable, making the hardest plays look very routine. He had one of the plays of the year when he threw out a base runner from foul territory about 20 feet beyond third base.
1. Pedro Alvarez – Alvarez just makes the cut in terms of age, but he is by far the most dominant power hitter after posting 36 home runs and 100 RBI. His strikeouts could be cut down, but very few teams wouldn’t be willing to trade a few strikeouts for those power numbers. As long as a player can hit, he will have a team to play for, and Alvarez will have a home for a long time with the offensive production he has. Hitting alongside Andrew McCutchen helps, but Alvarez is a threat in his own right. He has proven his consistency over the last few years which is why he tops the list.