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View Full Version : How important is Third Base?


Trav
03-20-2008, 12:20 AM
Defensively, how important is the third base?

DumpJerry
03-20-2008, 12:23 AM
It helps complete the diamond. Otherwise, the game would be played on a triangle.

I won't go into the dating aspects, that would send this to the ****house.

Save McCuddy's
03-20-2008, 11:52 AM
I think you'd prioritize the defensive positions like this:

C
SS
CF
2B
RF
LF/3B
1B

rdwj
03-20-2008, 12:14 PM
I think you'd prioritize the defensive positions like this:

C
SS
CF
2B
RF
LF/3B
1B

I'd put it just below CF

Meixner007
03-20-2008, 12:20 PM
I think you'd prioritize the defensive positions like this:

C
SS
CF
2B
RF
LF/3B
1B

I would rank 1B higher. A good 1B saves you outs/baserunners. A bad one adds to it. Yes this can be said about any position, but a good/bad 1B directly affects all infielders.

FedEx227
03-20-2008, 12:21 PM
I'd put it just below CF

Absolutely.

I leave catcher out because it's a completely different position than another other.

SS
CF
3B
RF
2B
1B
LF

A. Cavatica
03-20-2008, 12:48 PM
Bill James wrote about the "defensive spectrum" two decades ago. He left out C because it's a special case, and if I recall correctly, he ranked the positions like this:

SS
2B
CF
3B
RF
LF
1B

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defensive_spectrum

TDog
03-20-2008, 01:08 PM
It really depends on who is pitching. If Mark Buehrle is pitching, third base may be more important than center field.

But even an "unimportant" defensive position such as first base can cost you games with bad defense. The 2000 White Sox season ended with a bad defensive play at first base, and the 1986 Red Sox, of course, are remembered for their season crashing down with a bad defensive play at first. The only White Sox game I went to last year, in Oakland, ended with a bad defensive play in left.

If you put a defensive butcher in the field, other teams will find him, sometimes by design. In 1976, I thought the White Sox could get by with Jorge Orta at third base. I was wrong, and, in fact, he was moved to left about a third of the way through the season. But when Ken Brett was one out away from a no-hitter in Anaheim, a ball that rolled under Orta's glove was scored a hit.

skottyj242
03-20-2008, 01:19 PM
Where would a pitcher rank?

EndemicSox
03-20-2008, 01:19 PM
Depends on the pitcher, like the above poster said. Any of us who played the position for some time understand what it is like at the hot corner with a soft-tosser on the mound. Good times!

I want Mags back
03-20-2008, 03:12 PM
my guess would be that at least 25% of ground balls are hit to 3rd. So thats pretty important

Frater Perdurabo
03-20-2008, 05:21 PM
Crede's defense in 2005 really helped the Sox' groundball pitchers like Buehrle and Garland.

I value good defense at third base. I would rank the positions' defensive importance like this (other than catcher):

SS
CF
3B
2B (didn't Nellie Fox say the #1 requirement to be a good 2B was to be paired with a good SS?)
RF
LF
1B

Of course you want someone who can catch the ball to play first, but catching the ball is the easiest baseball skill to learn and perfect. Obviously not every first baseman can scoop up throws like Paulie, but over the course of a season that skill - or the lack thereof - probably will not make as much of a difference as the ability of a third baseman to stab liners out of the air, turn the 5-4-3 DP, charge slow rollers and bunts and fire to first, etc.

Trav
03-20-2008, 08:18 PM
I said the same thing about not being able to include the battery when I had this discussion down in Florida a couple weeks ago.

Is third base a harder position to fill with a top tier player than first?

A. Cavatica
03-20-2008, 09:31 PM
I said the same thing about not being able to include the battery when I had this discussion down in Florida a couple weeks ago.

Is third base a harder position to fill with a top tier player than first?

Without question. You can put any stiff who can hit at first.

Domeshot17
03-20-2008, 10:09 PM
C CF 2b and SS are all more important, the most important part of any defense is at the heart, up the middle. You can win without a good defensive 3b or 1b because they are primarly offensive positions first defensive second.

I still to this day can't believe people so undervalue defense at first.

Take a look at the last world champs, and they were awesome defensively at both corner positions

07 Boston has Youklis and Lowell
06 Stl has Pujols and Rolen
We had Pk and Crede
04 Boston had Bill Mueller and Mankeiwitcz
03 Florida Lowell and Lee
02 Anaheim was really the last team to be soft at either position with Glaus and Spiezio

Do they people saying put any schlub at first remember the disaster that was Mike Piazza? How about how 'great' Nomar was at first. Hell a Utility IF like Todd Walker was aweful for the cubs.

I think the truth is corner IF defense compliments the rest of your team. While they wont lose games, which is why they come in behind middle defense, they impact. Uribe wouldnt be one of the best without a 1b like Konerko to dig his throws out. Put Giambi there, you would be begging for Konerko back.

That said, a Great SS can help make up for an average or worse 3b. It does not go both ways (although a great 1b can save a terrible IF). Look at the Cubs. Error-Miss Ramirez gets credit for improving his D over the last few years, but the truth is he just has Derek Lee saving his throws.

At the end of the day we can argue this until we are blue in the face but the truth is defense is very important. You have to weigh how much it means versus Offense. I for one think Fields will be okay because of his football days. He will never be Crede, but as he learns the speed of the game, he will get the footwork down. He has a better arm then Crede, but he will never have the reaction Crede does. However, Crede has nowhere near the offensive potential Fields does. When you factor in the business side its not an arguement.

But if you had to have Miguel Cabrera or Brandon Inge, no one picks Inge.