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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: The best third baseman in the NL West is...

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner pauses in the dugout prior to a spring training baseball game aga
Justin Turner (Ross D. Franklin / AP)
(Ross D. Franklin / AP)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and after watching the U.S. win the World Baseball Classic, I think Dodgers fans should be allowed to bring cow bells to games.

Comparing the teams

Continuing each weekday until conclusion, I will take a look at all five NL West teams, comparing them at each position, the rotation and the bullpen. Every team will be ranked at each position, so we can get a better idea of where the Dodgers stand as they try to win their first World Series since the Reagan administration. If you see a stat you don’t recognize, such as WAR or FRAA, just click on it and you will be taken to the explainer. All stats are courtesy of baseball-reference.com.

You can see the catcher rankings here.

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You can see the first base rankings here.

You can see the second base rankings here.

Today, we move on to third base.

1. Nolan Arenado, Colorado

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Last three seasons: .290 AVG/.339 OB%/.553 SLG%/10.5 Offensive WAR/ 6.4 Defensive WAR

Arenado was already a top third baseman last year. He got better by maintaining his power (41 homers) while doubling his walk rate (from 34 to 68). Add to that his Gold Glove-level defense, and you get a No. 1 third baseman.

2. Justin Turner, Dodgers

Last three seasons: .296/.364/.492/11.2 OWAR/2.4 DWAR

Coming off knee surgery, Turner got off to a relatively slow start last season (.256/.331/.445 before the All-Star break) before he became one of the hottest hitters in the second half (.298/.349/.549). The Dodgers were happy to bring him back, and Dodger fans will be glad to see his red hair flapping in the wind as he circles the bases.

3. Yangervis Solarte, San Diego

Last three seasons: .271/.332/.419/7.1/-0.8

Solarte is not great at any one thing, but he is average to good at almost everything. That’s not someone you build a team around, but it is someone who is good to have on your team somewhere.

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4. Jake Lamb, Arizona

Last three seasons: .251/.323/.448/4.4/0.2

After two below-average seasons at the plate, Lamb broke out with 31 doubles and 29 home runs last season. Unfortunately, 20 of those homers came before the All-Star break, as he hit only .197 in the second half. So, is his power for real? Did the league detect a flaw in his swing? Time will tell.

5. Eduardo Nunez, San Francisco

Last three seasons: .278/.314/.421/4.5/0.2

Nunez split time between the Twins and Giants last season. He made the All-Star team mainly because someone on the Twins had to be chosen. He slumped badly in the second half, with an OB% below .300. He did have 40 stolen bases last season, not bad for a guy who doesn’t get on base that much.

This concludes the look at third base. If we assign points based on where a player ranks at each position, giving seven points for first place, five for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth, then the NL West stacks up like this so far, with many positions left to look at:

Colorado, 7 points

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Dodgers, 5 points

San Diego, 3 points

Arizona, 2 points

San Francisco, 1 point

That brings the grand total after four positions to:

Dodgers, 18 points

Colorado, 18 points

San Francisco, 16 points

Arizona, 13 points

San Diego, 7 points

Ask Ross Porter

Once again, former Dodgers announcer Ross Porter will be answering select reader questions. Email me a question for Ross, and I will pass it on. The answers will begin once the season starts, but send the questions in now.

And finally

Jackie Robinson appears on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1962.

Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston.

Houston.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimeshouston


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