MLB Midseason Position Power Rankings: B/R's Top 30 Third Basemen

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2017

MLB Midseason Position Power Rankings: B/R's Top 30 Third Basemen

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Third base was by far the toughest position to pick a No. 1 player for heading into the season, with Manny Machado, Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado and Josh Donaldson all having a strong case for the top spot.

    However, just one of those players cracks the top five in our midseason update of the top 30 third basemen.

    A few things to consider before we get started:

    • League averages: For the sake of reference, the league-average triple-slash line for a third baseman this season is .255/.328/.431.
    • Eligibility: To be considered for inclusion, a player must have played at least 51 percent of his innings at third base this season.
    • Preseason rank: Included is a look at where each player stood in our preseason rankings, which can be found here.

    The goal was to identify the 30 best third basemen for the 2017 season alone.

    Is someone like Machado a better bet to produce going forward than Eugenio Suarez?

    Probably, but that's not what this is about—it's about ranking players based on their performance so far this year.

          

    Previous top 30 series entries: Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Shortstops

30. Maikel Franco, Philadelphia Phillies (Preseason Rank: 17)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .217 BA, .657 OPS, 69 H, 27 XBH (13 HR), 45 RBI, 32 R

    2017 Defense: -6 DRS, -4.4 UZR/150, -1.0 DEF

    WAR: -0.9

                           

    Player Summary

    Maikel Franco has seen his career trend in the wrong direction since a stellar rookie season:

    • 2015 (total): 335 PA, .280 BA, .840 OPS, 14 HR, 50 RBI
    • 2016 (total): 630 PA, .255 BA, .733 OPS, 25 HR, 88 RBI
    • 2017 (pace): 646 PA, .217 BA, .657 OPS, 24 HR, 84 RBI

    The rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies are still counting on the 24-year-old to be a franchise cornerstone, and the power and run production abilities are obvious.

    He could be headed for improvement in the second half with a .215 BABIP at the break, and his 13.5 percent strikeout rate is a feather in his cap. For now, though, he's been a major disappointment.

29. Cory Spangenberg, San Diego Padres (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .252 BA, .646 OPS, 54 H, 12 XBH (5 HR), 20 RBI, 20 R

    2017 Defense: -3 DRS, 0.6 UZR/150, 1.1 DEF

    WAR: -0.3    

             

    Player Summary

    Cory Spangenberg showed flashes as a rookie in 2015 when the former first-round pick posted a .733 OPS with 26 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in 345 plate appearances.

    However, he was limited to 14 games last season after suffering a torn quad.

    With Yangervis Solarte shifting to second base and 2016 breakout slugger Ryan Schimpf penciled in as the starting third baseman, Spangenberg was left without a clear-cut role on the Opening Day roster.

    However, the 26-year-old has since played his way back into a starting gig, and the rebuilding San Diego Padres have every reason to give him a long look in the second half to see where he fits into the long-term plans.     

28. Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .248 BA, .717 OPS, 50 H, 18 XBH (4 HR), 22 RBI, 26 R

    2017 Defense: -2 DRS, -8.8 UZR/150, -1.7 DEF

    WAR: 0.3

        

    Player Summary

    Derek Dietrich has been a standout in a super-utility role the past two seasons.

    Over 701 total plate appearances, he's hit .270 with an .800 OPS while tallying 34 doubles, 17 home runs and 66 RBI and splitting his time between first base, second base, third base and left field.

    With veteran Martin Prado battling a hamstring strain and limited to 33 games this season, Dietrich has been the team's primary third baseman.

    His offensive numbers are not quite on par with what he's done in the past in a semi-regular role, but he's nonetheless done an admirable job as a fill-in.       

27. Wilmer Flores, New York Mets (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .278 BA, .753 OPS, 58 H, 20 XBH (7 HR), 25 RBI, 26 R

    2017 Defense: -4 DRS, -9.4 UZR/150, -2.6 DEF

    WAR: 0.1

                       

    Player Summary

    After serving as the New York Mets' starting shortstop in 2015, Wilmer Flores gave way to free-agent signing Asdrubal Cabrera last season.

    However, he remained a solid contributor, posting a .788 OPS with 16 home runs and 49 RBI while splitting time between third base (51 games), first base (27), second base (18) and shortstop (8).

    Flores is at his best against left-handed pitching, as he holds an .818 career OPS against southpaws. He's also a better fit defensively at the hot corner than he was at shortstop, though his primary value will always come from his bat.       

26. Eduardo Nunez, San Francisco Giants (Preseason Rank: 21)

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .299 BA, .737 OPS, 76 H, 21 XBH (4 HR), 25 RBI, 33 R

    2017 Defense: -3 DRS, -12.7 UZR/150, -2.9 DEF

    WAR: 0.1

                   

    Player Summary

    Eduardo Nunez posted a .764 OPS with 12 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 396 plate appearances for the Minnesota Twins last season to earn a surprise All-Star nod.

    He was flipped to the San Francisco Giants at the deadline for left-hander Adalberto Mejia, but he battled injuries down the stretch and into the postseason to open the door for Conor Gillaspie to emerge as an unlikely October hero

    While the majority of his playing time has once again come at third base, he's also spent time at shortstop and in left field to help offset a bevy of injuries to the roster.

    The 30-year-old is not the same power/speed threat this season, and he's nursing a hamstring injury, but he can still swipe a base and hit for a solid average while providing valuable versatility.      

25. Chase Headley, New York Yankees (Preseason Rank: 22)

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .251 BA, .706 OPS, 70 H, 23 XBH (4 HR), 36 RBI, 36 R

    2017 Defense: -5 DRS, -1.0 UZR/150, 0.3 DEF

    WAR: 0.5

             

    Player Summary

    At one point, it looked like there was a good chance Chase Headley would be headed for a bench role in favor of top prospect Gleyber Torres before the season was over.

    "If Torres gets a call-up this season, Yankees starting third baseman Chase Headley would be demoted to a utility infield role in which he'd be used at third and first," wrote Randy Miller of NJ.com, citing a team source.

    However, that was before Torres underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery.

    So, at least for now, it looks as though Headley will remain the team's everyday third baseman, despite his middling offensive numbers. Usually a stellar defender, he's also taken a step back with the glove.

    The 33-year-old is on the books for $13 million next season before reaching free agency.    

24. Deven Marrero, Boston Red Sox (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .225 BA, .615 OPS, 29 H, 10 XBH (3 HR), 20 RBI, 28 R

    2017 Defense: 3 DRS, 16.7 UZR/150, 4.6 DEF

    WAR: 0.4

        

    Player Summary

    Deven Marrero is the definition of a glove-first player.

    And the value of such a player was clearly not lost on Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell as he spoke with Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe:

    "When you look at the way we’ve stabilized the game when Deven Marrero came along and stabilized third base, we were going through a period of time where there was a lot of uncertainty and it affected a lot of games. You’re talking about a guy who was fighting his way to earn a spot as a reserve on the major league team. He steps in and has had a major impact on the defensive side of things. It’s enabled our pitching to be far more efficient. It’s had far more reaching effects then just his place in the lineup or what his batting average might be. The defensive side of his game has been a major contributor to where we are today."

    The 26-year-old has made a seamless transition to third base after playing mostly shortstop as a pro, and anything he provides with the bat is gravy.      

23. Nicholas Castellanos, Detroit Tigers (Preseason Rank: 13)

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .248 BA, .746 OPS, 80 H, 34 XBH (10 HR), 46 RBI, 41 R

    2017 Defense: -8 DRS, -10.1 UZR/150, -5.3 DEF

    WAR: 0.5

              

    Player Summary

    Nicholas Castellanos was in the midst of a breakout season last year when he suffered a fractured hand on Aug. 6 that cost him all but five games the rest of the way.

    Unfortunately, he couldn't pick up where he left off, as his numbers are down across the board this year.

    Still just 25 years old, Castellanos has the offensive tools to hit for both average and power if everything clicks, but he's also already in his fourth big league season. And offensive production will be key, as he continues to be a borderline liability defensively.

    Since the start of 2014, his minus-58 DRS is the single worst total among 172 qualified players.     

22. Yunel Escobar, Los Angeles Angels (Preseason Rank: 28)

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .284 BA, .757 OPS, 79 H, 23 XBH (6 HR), 25 RBI, 34 R

    2017 Defense: -6 DRS, -1.3 UZR/150, 0.5 DEF

    WAR: 0.6

             

    Player Summary

    Yunel Escobar has one plus tool: his ability to hit for average.

    The 34-year-old is a .283 career hitter, and his .304 average since the start of the 2015 season is good for 14th among qualified players.

    However, he's 152nd in slugging percentage (.405) and 104th in OPS (.766) during that same span, so it's been a hollow average.

    Still, he's a decent table-setter and has turned into a solid defender at the hot corner after beginning his career as a shortstop.

21. David Freese, Pittsburgh Pirates (Preseason Rank: 27)

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .244 BA, .736 OPS, 52 H, 13 XBH (6 HR), 26 RBI, 28 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, 1.7 UZR/150, 1.6 DEF

    WAR: 1.0

              

    Player Summary

    With Jung Ho Kang unable to secure a work visa and stuck in South Korea as a result of his offseason DUI conviction, the Pittsburgh Pirates' decision to sign David Freese to a two-year, $11 million extension last August became that much more significant.

    The 34-year-old posted a .764 OPS with 23 doubles, 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 492 plate appearances last season while manning both corner infield spots.

    As a veteran presence with solid run-production skills and a steady glove at the hot corner, he's well worth his salary and could be an attractive trade chip if the Pirates make him available this summer.

20. Johan Camargo, Atlanta Braves (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Danny Karnik/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .327 BA, .855 OPS, 34 H, 14 XBH (1 HR), 14 RBI, 16 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, 16.1 UZR/150, 2.5 DEF

    WAR: 0.8

              

    Player Summary

    As far as out-of-nowhere contributors this season go, few compare to Johan Camargo.

    The 23-year-old was not even ranked among the Atlanta Braves' top 20 prospects at the start of the season, according to Baseball America, after hitting a forgettable .267/.304/.379 with 36 extra-base hits in 491 plate appearances for Double-A Mississippi last season.

    However, the Panama native took over as the team's starting third baseman in June after Adonis Garcia went down with a finger sprain and he's shined on both sides of the ball.

    A healthy Freddie Freeman has since pushed him into more of a utility role, and offensive regression is coming with an unsustainable .413 BABIP, but that takes nothing away from what he's done.

19. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros (Preseason Rank: 11)

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .256 BA, .757 OPS, 74 H, 30 XBH (8 HR), 27 RBI, 40 R

    2017 Defense: -4 DRS, -14.3 UZR/150, -3.6 DEF

    WAR: 1.3

        

    Player Summary

    Alex Bregman was baseball's No. 1 prospect in MLB.com's midseason update last year, and after a shaky start to his big league career, he really hit his stride down the stretch.

    Following an inauspicious 2-for-38 beginning after making his debut July 25, Bregman hit .313/.354/.577 with 24 extra-base hits in 175 plate appearances the rest of the way.

    After taking a turn with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this spring, the 23-year-old is shouldering big expectations in his first full season in the majors.

    However, he's struggled to get things going at the plate and in the field, and he could start to lose time to standout utility man Marwin Gonzalez in the second half if he doesn't pick it up. That said, his future is still incredibly bright, and he has the potential to be a perennial top 10 player at the position.

18. Kyle Seager, Seattle Mariners (Preseason Rank: 6)

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .248 BA, .723 OPS, 80 H, 29 XBH (10 HR), 47 RBI, 34 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, 5.5 UZR/150, 4.9 DEF

    WAR: 1.0

        

    Player Summary

    Kyle Seager finally enjoyed a long-overdue taste of recognition on the national stage last year after ranking as one of the game's most underrated players for several seasons.

    The 29-year-old set career highs in average (.278), OPS (.859), home runs (30) and RBI (99) while playing stellar defense to finish 12th in AL MVP voting.

    However, despite similar peripheral numbers and a steady hard-contract rate, his stats are down across the board.

    The Mariners remain on the fringe of contention, and a hot start to the second half from Seager could provide a much-needed spark.

17. Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (Preseason Rank: NR)

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .194 BA, .821 OPS, 48 H, 34 XBH (21 HR), 41 RBI, 47 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, -1.3 UZR/150, 0.3 DEF

    WAR: 1.8

               

    Player Summary

    Joey Gallo is on pace for 3.3 WAR this season.

    Here's a quick list of all the players to post 3.0 WAR or better while hitting below .200 for a full season:

    • SS Brendan Ryan, 2012 (.194 BA, 3.4 WAR)

    That's it; that's the entire list.

    While Ryan reached that mark thanks to his standout glove work, Gallo has provided his value with his on-base skills and prolific power.

    His 38.5 percent strikeout rate remains an eyesore, but he's walking at a 13.4 percent clip for a .313 on-base percentage, and his 34 extra-base hits give him a .508 slugging percentage.

    It's not the prototypical standout offensive season, but it's getting the job done.

16. Josh Donaldson, Toronto Blue Jays (Preseason Rank: 3)

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .261 BA, .868 OPS, 42 H, 18 XBH (9 HR), 25 RBI, 19 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, 0.8 UZR/150, 0.5 DEF

    WAR: 1.5

           

    Player Summary

    A nagging calf injury cost Josh Donaldson time during spring training and then limited him to 13 games over the first two months of the season.

    While he's put those injury issues behind him, he's still not quite producing at the MVP level we've seen since he joined the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Over the past two seasons, he's averaged a .946 OPS with 36 doubles, 39 home runs, 111 RBI and 122 runs scored.

    Along with the early injury issues, part of his drop-off in production could have to do with a diminished supporting cast. His strikeout rate has climbed from 17.0 to 23.3 percent as he tries to shoulder more of the offensive load.

    The big question now is whether the out-of-contention Toronto Blue Jays will shop him at the deadline.

15. Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers (Preseason Rank: 5)

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .283 BA, .912 OPS, 36 H, 17 XBH (7 HR), 27 RBI, 19 R

    2017 Defense: 1 DRS, 8.5 UZR/150, 2.2 DEF

    WAR: 1.2

              

    Player Summary

    Adrian Beltre missed significant time early, watching from the sidelines for the first 50 games with a calf injury.

    Since returning, the 38-year-old has regained elite status.

    His .912 OPS ranks 36th among players with at least 150 plate appearances andthanks to a major spike in his walk rate (7.5 to 13.2 percent)his .384 on-base percentage would stand as the third-best of his career.

    Beltre already reached one milestone this season with his 600th career double, and he begins the second half needing just 22 hits to become the 31st member of the 3,000-hit club.

14. Todd Frazier, Chicago White Sox (Preseason Rank: 12)

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    Gail Burton/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .213 BA, .779 OPS, 57 H, 30 XBH (16 HR), 44 RBI, 41 R

    2017 Defense: 3 DRS, 1.4 UZR/150, 1.9 DEF

    WAR: 1.8

            

    Player Summary

    Outside of All-Star reliever Pat Neshek's pitching for the last-place Philadelphia Phillies, there might be no single player in baseball more likely to be moved ahead of the trade deadline than Chicago White Sox third baseman Todd Frazier.

    The 31-year-old is set to reach free agency at season's end, and it's unlikely the rebuilding White Sox would want to extend a qualifying offer that he may accept.

    While his batting average has bottomed out since joining the South Siders last season, he remains a plus defender with good power as well as a positive clubhouse presence.

    His stock should be on the rise after he posted a .932 OPS with eight home runs in June.

13. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles (Preseason Rank: 1)

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    Tom Olmscheid/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .230 BA, .741 OPS, 76 H, 35 XBH (18 HR), 47 RBI, 38 R

    2017 Defense: 4 DRS, 10.3 UZR/150, 6.9 DEF

    WAR: 1.5

           

    Player Summary

    Manny Machado should be poised for a big second half, provided his luck improves.

    Despite a notable uptick in his hard-contract rate (35.4 to 40.2 percent), his BABIP has dropped 70 points (.309 to .239) and his batting average has followed suit.

    The 25-year-old is still on pace for another 30-homer season, and he's turned in his usual elite-level defense at the hot corner as he makes a push for his third Gold Glove Award.

    With some advancement toward the mean, he could easily climb back into the top five in these rankings before the end of the season.

12. Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati Reds (Preseason Rank: 25)

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .254 BA, .796 OPS, 75 H, 28 XBH (14 HR), 44 RBI, 47 R

    2017 Defense: 7 DRS, 2.9 UZR/150, 2.9 DEF

    WAR: 2.3

                

    Player Summary

    Eugenio Suarez enjoyed an offensive coming-out party last year when he posted a .728 OPS with 21 home runs and 70 RBI—though it was largely overshadowed by an even more impressive breakout from teammate Adam Duvall.

    The 25-year-old Suarez is well on his way to another strong season, raising his OPS to .796 and continuing to show better-than-expected power after beginning his career as a middle infielder.

    He'll probably never hit much higher than .250 and strikeouts will always be a part of his game, but he's shown an improved approach at the plate (8.1 to 12.4 percent walk rate) and remains a rock-solid defender.

11. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (Preseason Rank: 10)

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    Matt Marton/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .259 BA, .744 OPS, 89 H, 34 XBH (12 HR), 53 RBI, 46 R

    2017 Defense: 9 DRS, 6.3 UZR/150, 4.0 DEF

    WAR: 2.4

                  

    Player Summary

    After a couple of down seasons by his standards, Evan Longoria put up some of the best numbers of his career last year when he posted an .840 OPS with 41 doubles, 36 home runs and 98 RBI.

    He hasn't needed to shoulder quite as much of the offensive load this year with Logan Morrison, Corey Dickerson, Steven Souza Jr. and Tim Beckham all enjoying breakout seasons.

    The 31-year-old is still enjoying a solid all-around effort, though, and he remains a reliable run producer with a .329 batting average with runners in scoring position.

    His glove has also rebounded nicely after what was statistically the worst defensive season of his career (-9 DRS, 0.8 UZR/150) in 2016.

10. Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Royals (Preseason Rank: 15)

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .270 BA, .863 OPS, 84 H, 39 XBH (25 HR), 54 RBI, 45 R

    2017 Defense: -4 DRS, -0.9 UZR/150, 0.6 DEF

    WAR: 1.3

    2017 All-Star

             

    Player Summary

    Steve Balboni holds the Kansas City Royals single-season home run record with 36 in 1985, but that record might not survive this season.

    Mike Moustakas is on pace for 47 homers after entering the All-Star break with 25—already good for a new personal best and enough to earn him a second All-Star appearance.

    The 28-year-old has picked a great time for an offensive explosion with free agency awaiting this offseason—and heading into the season he looked like a July trade candidate.

    However, with the Royals playing well of late, the team might stand pat and take the qualifying offer route with its top free agents this winter.

9. Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins (Preseason Rank: 16)

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    John Autey/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .276 BA, .906 OPS, 83 H, 35 XBH (21 HR), 62 RBI, 55 R

    2017 Defense: -8 DRS, -3.4 UZR/150, -0.5 DEF

    WAR: 2.0

    2017 All-Star

             

    Player Summary

    Miguel Sano received as much hype as any prospect in the league while he made his way through the Minnesota Twins farm system, then he exploded for a .916 OPS with 18 home runs and 52 RBI in 335 plate appearances as a rookie in 2015.

    His first full season in the majors was a trying one, though. He hit just .236/.319/.462 with a 36.0 percent strikeout rate and struggled with an ill-conceived move to right field.

    Back at his natural third base spot this year, Sano is finally enjoying the offensive breakout everyone was expecting.

    He'll never be a Gold Glove defender and still needs to work on cutting down his strikeout rate, but he has the raw power to be a perennial 40-homer threat and a steady force in the middle of the Minnesota lineup.

8. Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks (Preseason Rank: 14)

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .279 BA, .922 OPS, 88 H, 41 XBH (20 HR), 67 RBI, 54 R

    2017 Defense: -4 DRS, -7.3 UZR/150, -2.6 DEF

    WAR: 2.2

    2017 All-Star

            

    Player Summary

    Jake Lamb was a tough player to gauge going into the 2017 season.

    His .840 OPS, 29 home runs and 91 RBI in 2016 were tough to ignore, and those breakout numbers were huge with David Peralta and A.J. Pollock missing from the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup for most of the season.

    However, a closer look at his numbers showed a dismal .189/.284/.374 line with just eight home runs and 25 RBI in 218 plate appearances over the final two months. 

    The 26-year-old has quickly proved that late swoon was an aberration, though, earning a spot on the NL All-Star team while ranking among the NL leaders in OPS (.922, 17th), home runs (20, eighth) and RBI (67, fourth).

7. Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals (Preseason Rank: 23)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .300 BA, .882 OPS, 81 H, 31 XBH (13 HR), 45 RBI, 35 R

    2017 Defense: 11 DRS, 1.5 UZR/150, 1.7 DEF

    WAR: 3.4

               

    Player Summary

    In 2016, Jedd Gyorko turned in as unlikely a 30-homer season as you'll ever see.

    Without an everyday position, he spread his time among all four infield positions and in the process slugged 30 homers in just 438 plate appearances.

    He quickly seized the everyday third base job from veteran Jhonny Peralta this season, though, and he's been the team's cleanup hitter for most of the year.

    While his offensive production has driven his value, his defense has also been a pleasant surprise as his 11 DRS trail only Nolan Arenado (16) among all third basemen.

6. Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (Preseason Rank: 2)

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .269 BA, .928 OPS, 80 H, 38 XBH (18 HR), 38 RBI, 57 R

    2017 Defense: -2 DRS, -2.7 UZR/150, -0.3 DEF

    WAR: 3.0

            

    Player Summary

    The Chicago Cubs are not living up to expectations, but reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant is putting up terrific numbers once again.

    His .928 OPS ranks 15th in the NL, and his .399 on-base percentage is good for seventh as he's raised his walk rate from 10.7 to 16.3 percent while continuing to refine his approach at the plate.

    The 25-year-old has not graded out quite as well defensively this season, and he's only seen a smattering of starts in the outfield after spending a good portion of last year in left field, but he's by no means a liability with the glove.

    Bryant might have slipped out of the top five for now, but he remains one of the game's elite young talents and the best all-around player on the Cubs roster.

5. Travis Shaw, Milwaukee Brewers (Preseason Rank: 24)

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    Kamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .299 BA, .938 OPS, 89 H, 42 XBH (19 HR), 65 RBI, 50 R

    2017 Defense: 2 DRS, -0.2 UZR/150, 1.3 DEF

    WAR: 3.1

               

    Player Summary

    The offseason trade that sent Travis Shaw and prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers for reliever Tyler Thornburg is shaping up to be one of the most lopsided in recent memory.

    Shaw ranks among the NL leaders in OPS (.938, 12th), home runs (19, 15th) and RBI (65, sixth) as one of the offensive leaders of a surprise contender in Milwaukee. He's also under team control through 2021.

    One of the prospects that went to the Brewers in that dealinfielder Mauricio Duboncould also wind up being a significant addition down the road.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox have a glaring hole at third base, and Thornburg was lost to season-ending thoracic outlet surgery before he threw a single pitch.

4. Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (Preseason Rank: 8)

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .304 BA, .960 OPS, 87 H, 38 XBH (16 HR), 54 RBI, 46 R

    2017 Defense: 8 DRS, 17.0 UZR/150, 9.3 DEF

    WAR: 4.1

             

    Player Summary

    Anthony Rendon was one of the bigger All-Star snubs this season, and the 27-year-old is still searching for his first trip to the Midsummer Classic.

    After an injury plagued 2015, he took home NL Comeback Player of the Year honors last season when he posted a .797 OPS with 20 home runs and 85 RBI on his way to 4.1 WAR.

    He's already duplicated that WAR total in 81 games, as his OPS is up over 150 points (.960) and he's well on his way to setting a career-high in home runs (16 vs. 21).

    At the break, he was one of just seven qualified players with a .300/.400/.500 triple-slash line.

    And while he's not quite on Nolan Arenado's level, there's no question he's one of the best defenders at the position.

3. Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians (Preseason Rank: 9)

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .332 BA, .988 OPS, 109 H, 49 XBH (17 HR), 48 RBI, 62 R

    2017 Defense: 0 DRS, 7.7 UZR/150, 4.1 DEF

    WAR: 3.6

    2017 All-Star

              

    Player Summary

    Jose Ramirez was a deserving starter at third base for the AL All-Star team and one of the hottest hitters in baseball heading into the break.

    The 24-year-old is hitting .382/.426/.736 with 15 doubles and 10 home runs in 155 plate appearances since June 1 and went 2-for-2 with a stolen base in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

    He's come a long way since he batted .219/.291/.340 over 355 plate appearances as a utility player in 2015.

    Aaron Judge is the clear front-runner, but Ramirez is a contender in the AL MVP race.

2. Justin Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers (Preseason Rank: 7)

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .377 BA, 1.056 OPS, 86 H, 27 XBH (10 HR), 37 RBI, 40 R

    2017 Defense: 6 DRS, 9.0 UZR/150, 3.5 DEF

    WAR: 4.2

    2017 All-Star

            

    Player Summary

    The Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed Justin Turner to a four-year, $64 million deal during the offseason, and so far he's been worth every penny.

    He doesn't currently qualify for the batting title—he was five plate appearances shy of the 3.1-per-team-game requirement at the All-Star breakafter missing time with a hamstring injury.

    However, his .377 average is 30 points higher than Jose Altuve's, and it should only take him a few games to make up the needed plate appearances and supplant him as the MLB leader.

    His value stretches well beyond his batting average, though.

    He's also developed into one of the team's most consistent run producers as well as one of the top defensive third basemen in the game.

1. Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (Preseason Rank: 4)

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Offense: .301 BA, .905 OPS, 106 H, 50 XBH (17 HR), 70 RBI, 56 R

    2017 Defense: 16 DRS, 9.9 UZR/150, 7.8 DEF

    WAR: 3.7

    2017 All-Star

                

    Player Summary

    Nolan Arenado has once again been the league's premier defensive third baseman as he looks to make it five Gold Glove Awards in five big league seasons.

    He can swing the bat a little, too.

    After leading the NL in home runs and RBI the past two seasons, he's been an offensive force once again, and his 70 RBI are tied for the MLB lead.

    Detractors will be quick to point to those 81 home games at Coors Field as the source of his gaudy numbers, but he has an .849 OPS with 12 doubles and nine home runs on the road this season, so he's by no means a product of his environment.

    If he played in a major market, Arenado would likely be one of the faces of the sport. Instead, he remains one of the game's most underappreciated superstars.

                

    Standard stats and WAR totals courtesy of Baseball Reference and current through the All-Star break. Other advanced stats (DRS, UZR/150, BABIP, etc.) courtesy of FanGraphs.