One of the most exciting storylines of the 2013 season has been Manny Machado’s breakout. Earlier this month, Machado turned 21 years old, and like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, he is already among the game’s elite. Machado is a well-rounded player, but his best skill may be defensive. With 23 Defensive Runs Saved, Machado leads all third basemen and trails only Carlos Gomez and Andrelton Simmons, both of whom have 26 Runs Saved, among all positions.
For most of the season, Machado has had a healthy lead in Runs Saved over the rest of third basemen. However, things have been getting tighter since Nolan Arenado made his big-league debut in late April. Through yesterday’s games, Arenado is up to 20 Runs Saved, himself, and Arenado has played 711.1 innings this season compared to 938.1 innings for Machado. That means that Arenado has actually racked up Runs Saved at a greater pace than even Machado.
With a couple months left in the season, third base could prove to be a fascinating defensive race between a pair of young players, similar to the one between Jason Heyward and Josh Reddick in right field a year ago.