Next up, ten best and worse seasons by third basemen. The Blue Jays have had a lot of very good players at third.
- No surprise that Josh Donaldson owns 3 of the top 4 spots. If he gets a long term deal, he’ll own a good part of the top 10, at least until Vlad Jr. starts knocking him down the list.
- Kelly Gruber also owns three spots in the top 10. He is also number 30, 41 and 44 on the list, getting 2 places in the bottom 10. Kelly is is a cautionary tale on how fast a career can go off the rails with injuries.
- Hinske makes the top 10 for his rookie season. Hinske also has the 33rd and 42nd spots on the list. After 2004 he was moved off third. Like Lawrie, Hinske had a great first season, and then disappointed us for the next few years.
- Glaus has the #15 spot on the list for his other season with the Jays.
- Rolen has the #16 spot on the list. After Glaus and Rolen, I didn’t think we’d ever see a third baseman as good, then we get Donaldson.
- Mulliniks has the 9, 12, 13, 20, 24 and 40 spots. As a platoon player, he only got 70% of the playing time, limiting his WAR a bit. I liked Mulliniks as a player, it seemed he got everything out of his athletic abilities. I wasn’t a fan of him doing analysis on the Jays broadcasts.
And the bottom ten:
- Garth Iorg platooned with Mulliniks. He wasn’t a great hitter, but he had a good, glove. We could have found a better partner for Rance.
- If Danny Ainge could have hit, maybe he would have become a baseball GM instead of a basketball GM.
- Ed Sprague had one very good season (he’s 11th on the list for his 1996 season), and a bunch of less good seasons. He also has the 32 and 37 spots on the list.
In between there are a lot of names we remember:
- Tony Batista moved from short to third, for the 2000 season and is 15th on the list for that season.
- Brett Lawrie has spots 17, 23, 26 and 34 on the list. The 17 was his first season, he played just 43 games, but he was terrific. That 43 games had us dreaming of what he could do with a full season.
- Roy Howell played third for us in the early days, and he was a pretty good player. He is 19th, 22nd, 23rd and 29th on the list.
- Also on the list Tony Fernandez (18th, for 1999. He played third and hit .328/.427/.449 at age 37), Edwin Encarnacion (28th for 2010, the only season he played mostly third for us), Corey Koskie (27th for 2005, after he signed a 3-year deal with the team. He missed a lot of time with injury and got traded after the season, in a salary dump), Doug Rader (31st in 1977, playing his last season in the majors), Jeff Kent (35th, 1992, his rookie year) and Juan Francisco (38th in 2014. You’ll likely remember, he started great, and then things went bad when pitches figured out he couldn’t hit curvy things).