MLB: The most valued third baseman of 2019

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros throws out Anthony Rendon (not pictured) of the Washington Nationals during the first inning in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

MLB: The most valued third baseman of 2019

8. Josh Donaldson, Braves, $7.391 million value; $23 million salary

Donaldson is the personification of the premium that teams place on having a hard-hitting third baseman as a lineup centerpiece.

After delivering on-field contributions that valued out at just under $7.4 million for Atlanta in 2019, Donaldson has been reported to be weighing offers in the neighborhood of four years and $100 million this winter. The teams in that hunt, reportedly including but not limited to the Nationals and Twins, understand that Donaldson can’t recover anything approaching that dollar value of production…and they don’t care.

Following an injury-plagued 2018, Donaldson re-established his health and his capabilities with 37 home runs, 94 RBIs and a .259 average. Based on the positional averages, his .521 slugging average matched Bryant at $4.418 million, 10th best. His .379 on-base average, slightly worse than Bryant, added $1.488 million to his value.

Donaldson finished ahead of Bryant due to his edge in the fielding-related categories. His .969 fielding average 14th, a bit above the .963 positional average. He also played more than Bryant, taking the field for 57 additional innings.

Since Donaldson is entering his age 34 season, it’s possible that teams bidding on him are in for a letdown. Of the 33 players in this group, the average age entering next season will be just 28.4, only nine will be over 30, and only Justin Turner in Los Angeles will be older than Donaldson. Of the 10 best, the average age will be 27 and only Donaldson will be over age 30.