Is there a better nickname for any position in sports than “the hot corner?” Third base has long been one of the most fun positions in the game to debate because there's no hiding from a subpar glove, but you've also got to mash to justify your spot. So, let's take a look at the 2024 MLB third base positional rankings and see where stars like Austin Riley and Manny Machado ended up.

If that wasn't enough to get excited about these rankings, the talent at third base might be at an all-time peak. There could be a half-dozen future Hall of Famers on this list and pretty much all of them are at the peak of their powers right now. This is sure to be one of the most hotly contested MLB positional rankings of the bunch, so let's dive on in.

Just Missed: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Eugenio Suarez, Jake Burger

Two guys who mash dingers and one who probably should have won a Platinum Glove last year. In fact, if not for Nolan Arenado, Ke'Bryan Hayes would probably have three or four Gold Gloves on the mantle by now. If one of these three is going to crack the list when next year rolls around, Hayes is likely the best bet.

10. Matt Chapman, Giants

Something about Matt Chapman returning to the Bay and playing once again for his Oakland skipper Bob Melvin makes a return to his late 2010s peak feel very possible. And no matter how he hits, Giants pitchers will fall in love with his glove from the minute he steps on the dirt at Oracle Park. We know from last season that he can hit in April, but is there a chance he'll keep it up all season this time?

9. Isaac Paredes, Rays

No third baseman in all the land topped Isaac Paredes' 137 WRC+ last season and if he does that again, he'll find himself a lot higher than ninth come next rankings season. The peripheral stats tend to suggest he overachieved in '23 and he certainly doesn't pick it like a lot of the names you'll see below. But the offensive ceiling here is enough to make any Rays fan giddy about his outlook for the season ahead.

8. Royce Lewis, Twins

Minnesota Twins third baseman Royce Lewis (23) throws to first base for an out in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

All we know so far about Royce Lewis as a big leaguer is he has an incredible smile, a violent swing, and he loves hitting grand slams. The 2017 #1 overall pick displayed his full potential at long last and it was glorious. Now, the test is going to be if he can keep himself on the field through a full big-league season and maintain the offensive output that endeared him to all in the Twin Cities through 58 games and the playoffs.

7. Max Muncy, Dodgers

If you like defense and batting average, Max Muncy isn't your cup of tea. But since 2018, Muncy has a 125 OPS+ and 175 homers. You might not get the day-to-day consistency with him that you would with others on this list, but when he's hot, there are few others that can carry an offense like Muncy—which is scary, because his team has at least three of the players you'd have to consider as “others” in this case.

6. Alex Bregman, Astros

We're getting to the part of the 2024 MLB third base positional rankings where writing someone's name feels mean because they've played like MVP candidates on their best days. Alex Bregman finds himself in uncharted territory heading into this year, playing for a contract for the first time at age 30. Even if he never reaches the juiced ball heights of his 41-homer 2019, he can earn himself a lot of dollars with a great two-way season in '24… but will it be for the Astros or elsewhere?

5. Manny Machado, Padres

Another player whose placement on this list could put a chip on his shoulder, Manny Machado has finished everywhere else in the top five of MVP voting at some point besides first. Combine that with the disappointment of last season and lowered expectations for the 2024 Padres and Machado has to be starving to prove he belongs at the top of the third base pyramid. He'll almost certainly be in the Hall of Fame someday, but how Machado plays from here on out could still have an outsized impact on his long-term legacy.

4. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado (28) fields a ground ball against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fifth inning at Busch Stadium.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The only questions left to answer about Nolan Arenado's career at this point are whether he'll ever win a ring and whether he'll wear a Rockies or a Cardinals cap on his Cooperstown plaque. 2023 was the first of his 11 big-league seasons that he failed to win a Gold Glove, so it's fair to wonder if his best days are behind him. But he's also just 33 and the Cardinals were atrocious last year, so if the team returns to prominence, don't be surprised to see a vintage Arenado season once more on both sides of the ball.

3. Rafael Devers, Red Sox

It says a lot about Rafael Devers that a “down year” offensively still resulted in 33 dingers and a Silver Slugger award. You know you're sacrificing defense by slotting Devers at third at this point, but if he hits like he did in 2021 and early '22, none of that matters. Still just 27, this is an inflection point in Devers' career, especially having been given the first $300 million deal in Red Sox history. It's time to rake like the franchise cornerstone the Sox know he can be.

2. José Ramírez, Guardians

A season that most will remember only for knocking Tim Anderson's lights out quietly also resulted in a top-ten MVP finish for the great J-Ram. He can cross the 50-WAR plateau with another strong season this year and there's every reason to believe he has more in the tank offensively than he displayed in '23. As the unquestioned face of a young, light-hitting Guardians team, the narratives set up nicely for Jose Ramírez to go ballistic and insert himself in the MVP conversation even more firmly.

1. Austin Riley, Braves

Days away from turning 27, Austin Riley has become the gold standard at third base simply by consistently mashing. No other third baseman has topped the 30-homer plateau in each of the past three seasons and as such, Riley leads the position with a 134 OPS+ over that time frame. He even plays a solid hot corner defensively, though he hardly needs to with that prolific bat at his disposal. And now Braves fans finally have their first number-one selection to tout on these lists after their representative has finished in the top five in each of the first three.