I'm trying to wrap these positional overviews up this week, so the preliminary schedule involves me combining the outfielders into a 60 player pool - I know, I know, I'm shorting you 30 players, but do you really care to read about the worst at each position? Take today for example, I'm going to ramble on concerning Nick Punto and you won't really care unless your name is Brendan Harris or Mike Lamb, you're a Twins fan, or you love Enzo Hernandez. The top 30 third basemen: Rodriguez, Jones, Braun, Cabrera, Wright, Ramirez, Lowell, Atkins, Reynolds, Glaus, Figgins, Lamb, Beltre, Encarnacion ,Zimmerman, Fields, Kouzmanoff, Dobbs, Blake, Iwamura, Mora, Bautista, Izturis, Chavez, Rolen, Gordon, Feliz, Inge, Vazquez, and Nick Punto.
To begin with the obvious: the league average third baseman possessed an OPS of .784 last year: roughly 17 of our hot corner candidates topped that including Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones, and Ryan Braun who broke the 1.000 OPS mark, Miguel Cabrera, David Wright, and Aramis Ramirez who were over .900.
A-Rod is incredible, but you all ready knew that. A lock for the hall-of-fame, a new contract in hand, and fresh off a 54 homerun season there's not much left for Rodriguez to do besides win back-to-back Most Valuable Players and finally bring in a World Series ring. I'm not sure how much of a debate is still going on about who the best player in baseball currently is, but over the next few years I think the A-Rod v. Albert Pujols debate for best player of the 2000's should get heated, particularly as we head towards a new decade. For comparisons sake here are their best five seasons WARP3's average:
Factor in that Rodriguez has played positions of higher degrees of difficulty during his career and I'd be inclined to give him the edge - I would factor in salaries earned and who is the best value, but as some have told me I'm a baseball writer, not an accountant. At least not in this column.
The worst of the worst included Brandon Inge, Ramon Vazquez, and the incredibly horrible Nick Punto. Consider this amazing statistic: Punto's OPS was .505 points lower than A-Rod's. Yes, wow.