Major League Baseball
Ranking the 10 best third basemen in MLB 2024
Major League Baseball

Ranking the 10 best third basemen in MLB 2024

Updated Apr. 3, 2024 3:49 p.m. ET

With all the positional versatility around Major League Baseball, picking one spot for some of the game's top young stars can be challenging.

Gunnar Henderson, for instance, split his time between third base and shortstop last year but is expected to log most of his time to begin the year at shortstop (and therefore will be considered a shortstop for these ranking purposes). Henderson is among a crop of exciting infield phenoms beginning to make their mark. But at the hot corner, most of the sport's best players have a lengthy track record of big-league success. 

Our nine-part position series continues here with the top 10 third basemen entering the 2024 season.

10 Best Third Basemen in 2024

1. José Ramírez, Cleveland Guardians
2023 stats: .282/.356/.475, 24 HR, 123 wRC+, 5.1 fWAR
2024 ZiPS projection: .277/.354/.494, 26 HR, 129 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR


In the offensive desert of Cleveland, Ramírez remains the oasis. A four-time Silver Slugger, Ramírez has averaged a 143 OPS+ over the last four years and has hit at least 30% better than league-average in six of the last seven seasons. He has also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting six of the last seven years and was an All-Star in three straight seasons and five of the last six years. 

Ramírez has been a reliable force in the Guardians' lineup, playing in more than 90% of Cleveland's games in each of the past four years and seven of the past eight. One of the most underrated superstars in the game, he has been such a standout hitter — Ramírez has the highest wRC+ among qualified third basemen since 2017 — that it's easy to miss how good he has been defensively at the spot. While he hasn't won a Gold Glove, he was a finalist last season.

2. Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves
2023: .281/.345/.516 , 37 HR, 127 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .282/.351/.519, 34 HR, 130 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR

3. Alex Bregman, Houston Astros
2023: .281/.345/.516 , 37 HR, 127 wRC+, 5.2 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .282/.351/.519, 34 HR, 130 wRC+, 4.7 fWAR

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4. Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
2023: .271/.351/.500, 33 HR, 124 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .280/.351/.517, 33 HR, 128 wRC+, 3.9 fWAR

5. Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
2023: .258/.319/.462, 30 HR, 114 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .269/.335/.469, 26 HR, 119 wRC+, 4.1 fWAR

6. Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals 
2023: .266/.315/.459, 26 HR, 107 wRC+, 2.6 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .268/.328/.454, 21 HR, 111 wRC+, 3.4 fWAR

7. Matt Chapman, San Francisco Giants
2023: .240/.330/.424, 17 HR, 110 wRC+, 3.5 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .241/.333/.438, 22 HR, 113 wRC+, 3.7 fWAR

Both ZiPS and Steamer projections have Chapman as a top-10 player at third base next year, in large part due to the elite defense that remains among the best at his position in the game. Chapman is coming off his fourth career Gold Glove Award-winning season. He ranked third in Defensive Runs Saved at third base last year (though he measured out more modestly in outs above average, ranking 11th). 

While his bat is no longer what it once was, the Giants will hope being back alongside manager Bob Melvin in San Francisco means he can tap back into the offense that made him one of the best third basemen in the game during his time with Oakland. Chapman still hits the ball very hard, though his struggles to make contact consistently have turned him into a more average than exceptional hitter.

8. Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins 
2023: .309/.372/.548, 15 HR, 155 wRC+, 2.4 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .268/.330/.471, 18 HR, 121 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR

If not for injury, the 24-year-old former first-round pick would find himself much higher on this list. When he's on the field, all Lewis does is mash. He has a .913 OPS in 70 career games. Last season, he returned from his second straight year with an ACL tear, homered in his first game back and finished the abbreviated season with a 155 wRC+ — the highest mark of any third baseman and the 11th-best mark in the majors among players with at least 200 appearances.

Lewis hit 15 homers in 58 games, including four grand slams in an 18-game span last year. He then returned to the injured list at the end of September and came back raking again in the postseason with four homers in six games. Don't be surprised if we're talking about him as a top-five player at his position by season's end. He has the upside of an MVP candidate — if he can stay on the field. 

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9. Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates
2023: .271/.309/.453, 15 HR, 101 wRC+, 3.2 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .256/.313/.400, 11 HR, 91 wRC+, 2.5 fWAR

10. Isaac Paredes, Tampa Bay Rays 
2023: .250/.352/.488, 31 HR, 137 wRC+, 4.3 fWAR
2024 ZiPS: .241/.336/.459, 26 HR, 124 wRC+, 3.6 fWAR

Every year, Paredes' OPS has started with a different number — .568 in 2020, .625 in 2021, .740 in 2022 and .840 in 2023. Though he did launch 20 homers as a 23-year-old in 2022, last year represented a breakout for Paredes, who had a 131 OPS+ with 31 homers and finished 19th in MVP voting. 

Paredes isn't a standout defender and could find himself moving around the diamond once top prospect Junior Caminero is up for good, but his bat, at his age, is worth inclusion on this list. 

Honorable Mentions: Max Muncy (Los Angeles Dodgers), Josh Jung (Texas Rangers), Jake Burger (Miami Marlins), Jeimer Candelario (Cincinnati Reds

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Rowan Kavner is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the L.A. Dodgers, LA Clippers and Dallas Cowboys. An LSU grad, Rowan was born in California, grew up in Texas, then moved back to the West Coast in 2014. Follow him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.


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