Chicago Cubs: MLB Network says Kris Bryant isn’t a Top 10 third baseman
Chicago Cubs: A marred name headlines this year’s rankings
Given everything we’ve heard about the Houston Astros this offseason, it’s hard to not view someone like Alex Bregman through a very different lens than we may have prior to the league’s investigation into the team’s sign-stealing scandal.
Bregman’s initial comments after everything went public were less than savory, which does him no favors in my eyes personally. But The Shredder doesn’t care about any of that. It cares about production and, regardless of how he did it, Bregman turned in another stellar season – netting him the honors of top third baseman in baseball.
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He’s followed by the likes of Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon, who led the Washington Nationals to a World Series title in 2019, Nolan Arenado, who has seen his own name in plenty of rumors this winter, Matt Chapman – a premier defensive presence at the hot corner and Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets.
Now, here. I can admit that from a statistical standpoint, I can see Bryant being ranked behind Bregman, Rendon and Arenado – maybe even Chapman. Maybe. But there’s no way he should be lower than fourth on this list.
Why? Because McNeil didn’t even play the majority of his games at third base last season. He appeared in just 24 contests there in 2019 – as opposed to 61 games in left, 39 in right and 34 at second. He played in more games at three other positions last year and his inclusion on this list is a farce.
That’s not to take away from the year he had because McNeil was really good – and I’ve long sought him as a trade target for the Cubs as a sort of heir to Ben Zobrist at a super utility guy. He carried a .916 OPS last season, including a .384 on-base percentage. Given the Cubs’ leadoff woes, he’d check a lot of boxes – but that’s a discussion for another time. He doesn’t deserve a spot on this list, let alone the number four overall ranking.