Who’s on 3rd? For the Yankees. I Don’t Know

In Abbott and Costello’s famous baseball routine, “I Don’t Know” plays 3rd base.

For the Yankees, Josh Donaldson started the season as their 3rd baseman, and two months in, they picked up Matt Carpenter for cheap in a “why the heck not” move (although manager Aaron Boone, a former 3rd baseman, has said they’d been scoping Carpenter since Spring training). That gives NY the following 3rd basemen:

  • Josh Donaldson, who was born Dec 8, 1985.
  • Matt Carpenter, who was born Nov 26, 1985.

They are both 36 yrs old.

  • Donaldson is a 3-time All Star. His career #’s for 162 games: 33-97-.268 (.366 OBP)
  • Carpenter is a 3-time All Star. His career #’s for 162 games: 19-70-.262 (.368 OBP)

They are both terrific Defensive 3rd basemen who have won several Gold Gloves each. Actually that’s not true — neither has ever won a Gold Glove.

Carpenter’s Defense

On a Yankee broadcast last week, during the Matt Carpenter Game, Suzyn Waldman waxed praise on Carpenter — saying how he was such a great hitting 3rd basemen, a 3-time All Star, and had won a bunch of Gold Gloves.

We double checked a second time — he hasn’t won any Gold Gloves. It’s just that people think he has. Maybe we are all getting him confused with Matt Chapman — who has won 3 Gold Gloves?

So I went looking on the internet for what people had to say about Matt Carpenter‘s defense — maybe he is considered a great defensive 3rd baseman but has “just missed” the Gold Gloves.

What I’ve found out is interesting — he played 3rd all the way up thru the minors, but was put at 2nd base when he first came up to the Majors with the Cardinals — and that’s where he first became an All Star. He later moved around the infield — some years playing 2nd, some playing 1st where he was apparently horrid, and then moved to 3rd.

He definitely can ‘pick it’ at 3rd as he has shown with the Yankees.

Donaldson’s Defense

I personally remember Josh Donaldson always making spectacular defensive plays against the Yankees thru the years so I know his Defense is top notch — unless I happened to see all his great Defensive games but I think not. His rep is that he is a sterling defender and we’ve seen it this year.

Donaldson has made great plays to his left and cat-like plays to his right down the 3rd-base line ala Graig Nettles.

Who Else Is On 3rd?

DJ LeMahieu. That’s who else is on 3rd for the Yankees. Remember he’s the Yankee ultimate reserve this year — some days he plays 2nd, some days he’s at 3rd, some days he’s at 1st.

LeMahieu has won 3 Gold Gloves as a 2nd baseman — and he’s as good a defender as you can be at 2nd and 3rd and 1st.

Who Else Can Play 3rd? Andujar

It is interesting that with Miguel Andujar playing so well this year — batting .268 in a league with so many low batting averages, and playing a strong defensive left field — that the Yankees opted to pick up Matt Carpenter and demote Andujar back to the minors. Carpenter is 36 remember; Andujar is 27.

And so far the Yankees have been right — as Carpenter has played ‘lights out’ the last 2 weeks.

Andujar of course is a 3rd baseman by trade (and he’s requested a trade) — although he has always been regarded as a poor defender there. Also Carpenter is a lefty power bat, while Andujar is a right-handed bat.

The Trade for Donaldson

When the Yankees acquired Josh Donaldson this winter; the 36-year-old was a secondary target in the trade that netted 27-year-old Isiah Kiner-Falefa to play shortstop — but from all appearances Donaldson was more than a throw in. The Yanks brought him in as a power-hitting, strong defensive 3rd baseman who hits for a high OBP. And they felt Donaldson still had a lot left in his tank at age 36 off a 26-72-.247 (.352 OBP) season last year.

The Yankees traded a great defensive 3rd baseman away to get Falefa and Donaldson — that being everyone’s favorite Gio Urshela, now 30 years old, along with Gary Sanchez (now 29).

Many Yankee fans including me felt Urshela played the best cat-like 3rd base since Graig Nettles, although Scott Brosius was exceptional (especially coming in on dribblers), and Alex Rodriguez had the strong arm, and Chase Headley could make a great ‘cat-like’ play or two.

Urshela hit for a .267 average with the Yanks last year but his OBP was just .301. And that is where Donaldson provides much more value; his lifetime OBP is .366 (it was .352 last year) and he has more power than Urshela.

Falefa Is the Yank Who’s Won a Gold Glove at 3rd!

Note that Isiah Kiner-Falefa is the one current Yankee to have won a Gold Glove at 3rd base, while with Texas — just beating out Gio Urshela for the award!

Up and Coming 3rd Basemen?

Everyone knows the Yankees have 3 great prospects at shortstop on the way up — Anthony Volpe, Oswald Peraza, and Trey Sweeney. It has already been suggested in scouting reports that Volpe may find himself at 3rd base, especially if Peraza takes short — or if Kiner-Falefa doesn’t give it up (and it looks like he has no intention to).

And scuttlebutt from the beginning was that Trey Sweeney was more likely to make the majors as a 3rd baseman rather than a shortstop.

I Don’t Know. 3rd Base.

And then of course there is Oswaldo Cabrera, who has rocketed up thru the Yankees minor league system with his Hot power bat. Guess where he plays. Take a guess.

I don’t know.

3rd base.


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