To draw away, ever so slightly, from the drama surrounding who will be the Cincinnati Reds‘ shortstop this coming season, the team’s starting third baseman, Eugenio Suárez, was recently ranked among the best at his position.
In another installment of MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now, this ranking focused on third baseman. This is by no means a weak position in the game, so to have Suárez in the same list as others mentioned is an impressive feat.
Eugenio Suárez had a respectable 2020 season for the Reds.
While Suárez did have an awfully slow start to the shortened 2020 season, he did catch up late to end on a modest note for only 57 games played. In 198 at-bats, the Reds’ slugger batted .202 with 15 home-runs and 38 RBIs with 30 walks. Couple that with a .781 OPS and a .470 slugging percentage, and his impact in the lineup along with the other heavy hitters helped propel this team into the playoffs.
When comparing this to his monster 2019 season in which 49 home-runs were hit with 103 RBIs it may seem like not much, but with a full season I feel he would have came super close to replicating those numbers at the plate. There had been early rumors of the Reds looking to deal Suárez while his numbers weren’t what they had been, but those talks seem to have faded.
When looking at his ranking from MLB Network, they placed Suárez at No. 10, barely making the cut. This was a two spot drop from last season when he appeared at 8th, and this new list has unranked players and injured players jumping him for higher spots.
Only going off of last season, the small sample size of games gave other players a chance to get hot and ride with it to have a statistical breakthrough when the margin to start slow was slim. Suárez missed that window to start strong which cost him. However, with his potential and power as shown in 2019, it would be hard for anyone to leave him out of this list.
How does Eugenio Suárez rank among the other Top 10 third basemen?
Looking at the others above him, there is no argument at the Top 3 with Anthony Rendon of the Los Angeles Angels, Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros, and Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies.
These players have been consistent and the ordering of them can go any number of ways. Following those three you have José Ramírez of the Cleveland Indians and Manny Machado if the San Diego Padres. Both players were ranked below Suárez in the Top 10 for 2019, but are perfect examples of using this last season to jump ahead, posting an OPS of .933 and .950 respectively.
Rounding out the next four spots are Justin Turner who is still a free agent at this time, Matt Chapman of the Oakland A’s, Josh Donaldson of the Minnesota Twins, and Gio Urshela of the New York Yankees.
Chapman had an even shorter season, only lasting 37 games and having hip surgery, but in that time totaled an OPS of .812. Chapman is also arguably one of the better defensive third basemen in this list, so it makes sense for the slight drop.
While Turner, Donaldson, and Urshela all had lower glam stats (home-runs and RBIs), they all had an OPS over .840 meaning they also consistently got on base to compliment the low slugging numbers. This overall consistency, coupled with their teams’ markets, gave them the push needed to drop the Reds’ third baseman down.
With a presumed 162-game season in 2021, Suárez will have his chance to return to the top of the games’ best at the hot corner. Trailing only Mike Trout (101) in total home-runs since 2018 (98), the plan of action needs to get on base more consistently to couple with an improved start and slugging percentage to back it up.