The American League is widely considered as one of, if not the best division in all of baseball. So, it should come as no surprise that the division is home to many of the game’s best players at every position. Perhaps there is no better example of that than third baseman.
The AL East showcases some of the best players who occupy the hot corner in all of baseball.
Here in Boston, Red Sox are fans are no strangers to stellar third base play. Just last year, it was Adrian Beltre who had another strong year while playing third for the Sox. With the offseason acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez and Beltre’s decision to move to Texas, Kevin Youkilis moved back across the diamond to his natural position at third base. He’s been a rock there all season long, and he continues to do damage at the plate both in terms of run production and a tendency to seemingly always be on base.
Of course, Red Sox fans have also gotten an up-close-and-personal look at what rival teams’ third basemen can do as well. Alex Rodriguez, though he continues to work back from injury, is still one of the more dangerous hitters in the league. Rodriguez remains a staple of the left side of the Yankees infield next to Derek Jeter, and when Rodriguez is going good, he’s still incredibly dangerous.
The future of the third basemen in the AL East, though, may revolve around Rays third baseman Evan Longoria. Not only is Longoria considered one of the better young third basemen in all of baseball, he’s also considered one of the best young players in the game, too. He’s scuffled some at the plate this season (he enters the series with the Red Sox hitting .233), but he’s still someone you don’t want to see at the plate with the game on the line. He’s also developing a reputation as a strong defensive third baseman.
Perhaps the X-factor in this discussion is Toronto’s Jose Bautista. If you think that team success shouldn’t play too much into the MVP discussion, then Bautista is probably your AL pick. He’s put up gaudy numbers the last couple of years, and has really worked himself into one of the game’s best sluggers. However, his consideration as a third baseman must be accompanied by the fact that he’s only played 25 games at the hot corner this season, even starting the All-Star Game as a right fielder.
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