Time for some post-All-Star break fun: here are my very, very preliminary 2018 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options are likely to be exercised.
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2018 Third Baseman Rankings
|2||Freddie Freeman||Braves||2 1B||4 1B|
|4||Manny Machado||Orioles||2 SS||2 SS|
|5||Josh Donaldson||Blue Jays||3||3|
|18||Jedd Gyorko||Cardinals||28 SS||12 SS|
|20||Rafael Devers||Red Sox||NR||37|
|24||Eduardo Nunez||21 SS||19 SS|
|26||Derek Dietrich||Marlins||24 3B||34 3B|
|28||Pablo Sandoval||Red Sox||22||30|
|29||Hernan Perez||Brewers||29||28 SS|
|32||Marwin Gonzalez||Astros||43||21 2B|
|34||Matt Davidson||White Sox||7 DH||26|
|39||Christian Arroyo||Giants||65 SS||NR|
- With Manny Machado back home and Freddie Freeman seemingly set to have eligibility next year, third base is going to be even more loaded at the top in 2018; that’s four potential first-round picks and a probable second-rounder in Josh Donaldson. The depth is awfully strong, too; I highly recommended getting a top-seven third baseman this spring, but it doesn’t look like much of a drop-off from there now with the way Travis Shaw and Jake Lamb have established themselves. Look at Nicholas Castellanos: I feel pretty much the same about him now that I did this spring, yet he’s six spots lower for next year.
- Rafael Devers will probably move up five spots anyway if he gets the chance to come up this year and impresses. Placing him 20th is a guess he’ll spend the first month or two of next year in Triple-A.
- Nick Senzel figures to have to wait longer, but I couldn’t leave him out of the top 40 when he has such ample power potential in Great American. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t look like the Reds are having any thoughts of putting Eugenio Suarez back at shortstop post-Zack Cozart. The Reds have the option of trading Suarez -- he’d fetch a nice return as a solid regular making the minimum -- but Senzel isn’t ready now and probably won’t be on Opening Day.
- I ranked 40 players at each of the infield spots and catcher; surprisingly, it was third base that was the most difficult to narrow down. Yunel Escobar, Adonis Garcia, Cory Spangenberg and Cheslor Cuthbert are candidates to have starting jobs next year (nearly certain in Escobar’s case), but were left off due to a lack of upside. More interesting were resurgent prospects Colin Moran (.310/.368/.556 with 18 HR for Triple-A Fresno) and Ryan McMahon (.353/.402/.596 between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque). Their paths appear blocked in Houston and Colorado, respectively, but they could be trade bait. McMahon has been playing more first than third lately and could be an option there next year if Ian Desmond remains in the outfield. I also want to see more of Korean import Jae-gyun Hwang before writing him off.