Nothing much happened in the news yesterday, besides the Orioles being smote by some higher power on every level of their lives the past two weeks. I've decided to do something sort of random today. Let's check out who the best 5 third basemen are this year using NRAA (min. 175 PA).
All of those who knew Morgan Ensberg was more valuable than A-Rod this year, and who knew Abraham Nunez and Russ Branyan were in the top 5 raise your hand and hit yourself, because you're lying. Just kidding of course. I knew Branyan was one of the top 5 (that is why I did this) but Nunez was a surprise to me. A-Rod's defense is below average at third, while Ensberg is one of the best in the league at the corner. Let's check out the 6-10 third basemen to see who else could be a surprise.
Joe Randa was much higher on this list earlier in the season before his defense started to slip. Notice he is now below average per 100 games defensively by 2 runs. For those who don't know, NRAA is in per 100 game form when there is no number following it. Think it is time to move Chipper Jones back to the outfield? His Rate2 is awful, at 88 (12 runs below average per 100 games). If his defense was league average his NRAA would be 22.90, or third best in all of baseball at the hot corner. He is a league average outfielder defensively for his career by the way. The main problem is that Andy Marte did not impress in his short time in the majors (.159/.250/.250 in 44 AB) and Jeff Francoeur (.406/.415/.828) has taken over in left, nixing that idea for the present. Kelly Johnson continues to slide after starting hot, so who knows what the next Braves move is.
Mora's offense has really started to slip with the rest of the Orioles, forcing me to veto my own trade for him in my fantasy baseball league. I have no need for a third basemen who is barely slugging .400 over the past month. And that my friend is the root of the Orioles problem: Age and regression to the mean.
Back to Branyan (I need a Branyan shirt now). Let's check out his season line.
I'm not a big fan of OPS, but .904 is impressive. His MLVr of .247 leads the Brewers entire team. His walk rate is excellent; in 650 PA, Branyan would have 100 walks. In 500 at-bats he would hit 33 homeruns. Branyan is so underrated it is not even funny.