Chicago Cubs: MLB Network says Kris Bryant isn’t a Top 10 third baseman

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Manny Machado / San Diego Padres (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: An interesting mix of names in the Top 10

There are some names on MLB Network’s list that make sense. Others? Not so much.

Let’s start with the back end of the rankings, numbers six through 10. Rounding out the list? San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado, who put up a .796 OPS last season for the Friars. I know it’s a simplistic measure, but Bryant thoroughly outpaced that performance, despite playing through some nagging injuries.

Cleveland standout Jose Ramirez clocks in at nine, behind the likes of Eugenio Suarez, Justin Turner and Josh Donaldson. So with that list of names in mind, let’s dig in a bit deeper.

According to Fangraphs, Bryant ranked higher than all of these guys in WAR last season – with the lone exception of Donaldson, who narrowly edged him by 0.1 WAR (4.9 to 4.8). Again, that’s boiling things down to one number – but it’s hard to imagine a world where Bryant isn’t more valuable than at a bare minimum, three of these guys.

In terms of wRC+, Bryant outperformed all five of these guys. Now is he an elite defender? Not at all. But he does enough to get the job done and if you’re looking at his whole body of work, there’s absolutely no doubt he’s a more valuable player than everyone I just mentioned. Sure, Donaldson had a great year in Atlanta – but he’s battled injuries, is heading into his mid-30s and lacks the versatility of a guy like Bryant.