Red Sox vs the AL East: third basemen

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Jul 30, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) throws over to first base to get out Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick (not shown) in the ninth inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Angels 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Manny Machado, Orioles

Machado barely edges Sandoval in these ranking, but he sits third on the list because of two factors: his youth and his elite defense. Just 22 years old, Machado is one of the best defensive third basemen in baseball and his bat packs some punch as well. While Machado only played 82 games in an injury-riddled 2014 season, he made some strides with the bat and slashed .278/.324/.431 with 12 home runs. Machado bumped his walk rate from 4.1% in 2013 to a more respectable 5.6% last season and maintained an isolated power around the .150 mark. Given his remarkable youth and poise beyond his age, it’s easy to see Machado improving even more next season and we could see a legitimate breakout season from the young third baseman.