Throughout much of MLB history, third base has been considered a power-hitting position and 2023 was no exception. In addition to being an excellent hitter, the “hot corner” defensively requires cat-like reflexes and a strong arm. Let’s look at the best MLB third basemen for the 2023 season.
Best Third Basemen in MLB
10. Jeimer Candelario (Washington Nationals)
At 10th for best 3b in MLB is Jeimer Candelario. Candelario has played for three MLB teams over an eight-year career, and although he never made an All-Star team, Candelario led the league with 42 doubles with the Tigers in 2021.
He split time with the Chicago Cubs and the Nationals last season, posting a career-best 22 home runs and 70 RBI.
He was also above average in the field, committing only eight errors and a .971 fielding percentage in 115 games.
Also read: Best MLB First Basemen (1B)
9. Nolan Arenado (St. Louis Cardinals)
Arenado is an eight-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glove Award winner in 11 MLB seasons. He had seven full seasons with at least 30 home runs and led the league in home runs three times.
Although his prime days may be in the past at age 32, Arenado was still very productive in 2023, hitting 26 home runs and 93 RBI.
Defensively, he committed nine errors and had a .973 fielding percentage, well above the league average of .963.
8. Jake Burger (Miami Marlins)
Berger made his MLB debut with the Chicago White Sox in 2021, bating .263 in 15 games.
His playing time increased in 2022 and hit eight home runs in 168 at-bats. Burger had a breakthrough season in 2023, batting .250 with a combined 34 home runs and 80 RBI with the White Sox and Miami Marlins.
Burger is an adequate defensive player who hovered around the league average in fielding percentage. He went 2-for-7 in the NLWC round against the Phillies.
7. Manny Machado (San Diego Padres)
Machado completed his 12th MLB season and 5th with the Padres. A six-time All-Star, Machado has hit at least 30 home runs in a season seven times. That includes 2023 in which he belted 30 home runs and knocked in 91.
Machado is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner and flashed the leather last season, committing only seven errors with a .975 fielding percentage.
He has also has been clutch in the playoffs with 10 home runs in 41 games, although the Padres missed the postseason in 2023.
6. Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox)
Devers has played his entire seven-year MLB career with the Boston Red Sox. He led the league with 54 doubles in 2019 and made his first All-Star team in 2021 when he hit 38 home runs and knocked in 113.
Devers made his second All-Star team in 2022 and although he didn’t return to the midsummer classic last season, finished the year with 33 home runs and 100 RBI.
Defensively, Devers is below the league average in fielding percentage and committed 19 errors last season.
His best third basemen rank is based on his offensive production and would rank in the top five with better play in the field.
5. Isaac Paredes (Tampa Bay Rays)
Paredes began his MLB career as a 20-year-old with the Detroit Tigers in 2020. He played in 57 games in two seasons in Detroit before moving on to the Tampa Bay Rays.
He struggled to a .205 batting average in 2022, but became one of the best offensive third basemen in the league last season.
Paredes hit .250 with 24 doubles, 31 home runs, and 94 RBI in the regular season and 3-for-8 against the Rangers in the ALWC round.
Paredes is still a work in progress in the field, posting a .959 fielding percentage. At age 24, the sky is the limit for Paredes.
Also read: Best Second Basemen (2B) in MLB
4. Alex Bregman (Houston Astros)
Bregman has played his entire eight-year MLB career with the Houston Astros. He was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019 and finished in the top five in the AL MVP vote in both seasons.
Bregman hasn’t reached that status since, but was still excellent in 2023, hitting 25 home runs with 98 RBI. He hit four home runs in the postseason and has 19 career postseason home runs in 97 games.
Bregmans holds his own in the field, posting a .963 fielding percentage with 15 errors in 160 games.
3. Gunnar Henderson (Baltimore Orioles)
Henderson is another of the rising stars on the Orioles team that has made tremendous strides over the past few seasons.
He played in 34 games in 2022 and retained his rookie status for 2023, where he won Rookie of the Year honors. In 150 games, Henderson hit .255 with 25 home runs and 82 RBI.
He showed great poise in the ALWC round against the Rangers, going 6-for-12 with a home run.
Henderson showed promise in the field, making eight errors in 83 games for a .969 fielding percentage.
2. Jose Ramirez (Cleveland Guardians)
Ramirez has been one of the better and most consistent third basemen of the past decade. In 11 MLB seasons, he has made five All-Star teams and has surpassed 20 home runs in a season six times.
Ramirez hit .282 with 24 home runs, 80 RBI, and an OPS of .831 in 2023. In the field, he has been average most of his career with a fielding percentage around the league average.
At 31 years of age, Ramirez is signed with the Guardians through the 2028 season.
1. Austin Riley (Atlanta Braves)
Riley has played all five MLB seasons with the Braves and has become one of the biggest power threats in the league.
He has surpassed 30 home runs in each of the last three seasons and was named NL All-Star twice.
Riley’s 37 home runs in 2023 was just one off his career-best set in 2022.
He also knocked in 97 runs and had an OPS of .861. Riley’s play in the field is often overlooked. He posted a fielding percentage of .972 with 11 errors in 159 games.
He had one of the few hot bats in the Braves NLDS loss to the Phillies, hitting .353 with two home runs.