Like the shortstops, the third basemen saw me come up with five or so candidates right off the bat with a minimum of thought. Then the thinking came in, and there was some smoke wafting from my ears as my brain overheated. Fortunately, I was able to pour a pitcher of cold water on my head to cool things down.
Here is my list of the Top Third Basemen of the 2000's:
Like Albert Pujols, A-Rod was the clear cut No. 1 for third basemen despite his having moved there in 2004. Since taking up residence at the hot corner, he only hit no fewer than 30 homers and as many as 54 homers. His Wins Above Replacement - WAR was no lower than 3.9 and it was an amazing 9.1 in 2005 and an even better 9.3 in '07. Yeah, he won the American League MVP those years and finished in the top 15 in voting every year in between '05 and '09. While he never won a Gold Glove at third base, he won three Silver Sluggers.
In an A-Rodless universe, Jones is the clear-cut No. 1. He hit no fewer than 18 homers and he hit 30 or more homers three times. He did this as a switch-hitter who posted strong WARs, including 7.0 twice. He was a top 25 National League MVP candidate seven times and won one Silver Slugger. Another thing: Unlike many of his peers, he spent his whole decade with one team: The Atlanta Braves.
3. David Wright
Admittedly, I am a Mets fan and I was extremely tempted to place him above Jones, but that would have been wrong. Wright has had a good showing, but he didn't approach Jones' consistency. He did appear in the Top 10 for National League MVP voting three times and posted a great 8.0 WAR in 2007. He also stole as many as 34 bases and no fewer than 15. No slouch in the field, he's most known for a barehanded catch he made against the Padres in 2005 where he caught a popup over his shoulder.
4. Scott Rolen
Rolen was extremely productive between 2000-04, where he hit 30 or more homes twice and no fewer than 25. He was fourth in National League MVP voting in '04 and 24th in '01. He also won six Gold Gloves during the decade and was an All-Star five times. While his WAR numbers were very respectable, it was his 8.9 showing in '04 that ranked him so high in the MVP voting.
Ramirez had an impressive decade, hitting 30 or more homers four times and driving in over 100 RBIs six times. He was in the Top 20 in National League MVP voting four times, placing 10th twice. He was voted to two All-Star Games. His highest WAR total was 5.0 in 2007.
6. Mike Lowell
Lowell had good power despite hitting 30 or more homers only once. He had double-digit homer totals all but one time from 2000-09 ('05). Lowell was in the Top 15 in MVP voting twice, finishing fifth in American League voting in '07. He never had gaudy WAR numbers, with a respectable 4.7 being his decade-high. Lowell was a four-time All-Star and won one Gold Glove.
Beltre was a good player for the Dodgers before he had a monster walk year that landed him a monster free-agent contract with the Mariners. After hitting no more than 23 homers between 2000-03, he mashed 48 of them in '04 and then returned to his middle double digit homer totals. He was second in National League MVP voting that year (some dude name Barry Bonds won it that year). That same season, he posted a 9.3 WAR (Bonds posted an '04 10.3 WAR. Yup.).
8. Eric Chavez
From 2000-06, Chavez hit no fewer than 22 homers and over 30 homers twice. During that span, he was in the Top 30 American League MVP conversation four times, finishing at a high of 14th In '02. He was slick with the glove, winning Gold Gloves those years too. Back problems curtailed his effectiveness afterwards, but he is in the top 10 on the strength of those seven seasons. He had two seasons with WARs of 5.3 or better.
9. Troy Glaus
From 2000-02, Glaus was one of the most destructive forces with the bat, hitting 47, 40 and 30 homers respectively. He also stole 14, 10 and 10 bases, to keep opposing catchers honest. Afterwards, he had two more really good seasons where he hit 37 and 38 homers and aside from an injury plagued '09 season, he hit no fewer than 16 homers. That said, he never finished higher than 30th in MVP voting and was voted to four All-Star games. After posting a 7.0 WAR in '00, he never had a year where he had a ranking of 4.9 or better.
10. Melvin Mora
More famous for the number of children he had with his wife (she gave birth to quintuplets) than his play on the field, Mora was underrated for much of his career. He hit 27 homers twice from 2000-09 and hit double digits in all but two seasons during that decade. Mora was a two-time All-Star and was 18th in American League All-Star voting in '04. His best WAR was 5.5 in that same '04 season.
As usual, let us know what you think of the list above. Should someone be higher or lower? Some added or excluded? Comment below!
Check out our previous entries on the Best MLB Players of the 2000's: