Adrian Beltre isn't just the best third baseman in the American League West. If you ask Texas manager Ron Washington, he's the best in the game.
He doesn't have much competition in the West either, as every other team has some deficiencies at the hot corner.
Here's a breakdown of third base in the West and the team rankings.
Texas As good as Josh Hamilton was for the Rangers last year, Adrian Beltre ended up being the team's most valuable player. It wasn't even a fair fight either as Beltre's bat kept the Ranges offense afloat in the summer as Hamilton struggled. He finished with 35 homers, the second most of his career and also hit .321. Beltre also has no equal in the field either, as he won his second consecutive Gold Glove and was also the winner of the Platinum Glove, which is awarded to the best fielder regardless of position. Beltre, who will hit cleanup for the Rangers, was slowed by a stomach problem down the stretch last season but said it wasn't an issue when he reported to spring training. Beltre has been slowed a balky calf this spring which led to him miss the World Baseball Classic. Beltre knows his body well enough to be ready for Opening Day. By that time, he'll once again be able to show why he's one of the best third baseman in baseball.
Team production in 2012: .314 average, 34 home runs, 109 RBI, .872 OPS
Expected production in 2012: .300 average, 30 home runs, 105 RBI, .840 OPS
Seattle The Mariners started last year with a hodgepodge of third-base candidates including Chone Figgins, Alex Liddi and Kyle Seager, who was penciled in for a utility spot. Seager is a utility candidate no more as he ended up making 137 starts at third base for the Mariners last season and ended up being one of the few offensive bright spots for Seattle. In his first full season in the majors, Seager swatted 20 home runs with 86 RBI. Those numbers should get better this season with the ballpark reconfigured in Seattle. Seager didn't hit for average (.259) but he's still just 25. The key for Seager this season will be seeing how he adjusts to the league and how the league adjusts to him. Expectations for Seager are also higher this year, so it will be interesting to see how he responds.
Team production on 2012: .255 average, 19 home runs, 85 RBI, .716 OPS
Expected production in 2013: .260 average, 20 home runs, 80 RBI, .700 OPS
Los Angeles For all the upgrading the Los Angeles Angels have done to their lineup, one area they've failed to improve on his third base. For the second-consecutive year, it looks like the majority of the work will go to Alberto Callaspo. Callaspo doesn't hit for power (10 home runs, 53 RBIs) and his average dropped from .288 to .252 from 2011 to 2012. But he is serviceable at third, making just 12 errors at third last season with some of the game's best range, and the Angels gave him nearly 9 million for the next two seasons. One thing the Angels need out of Callaspo this year for him to stay healthy because the options behind him are pretty limited. Andrew Romine is the best option for Los Angeles, who also signed Bill Hall to a minor-league deal but he's been injured most of the spring.
Team production in 2012: .248 average, 9 home runs, 54 RBI, .664 OPS
Expected production in 2013: .260 average, 10 home runs, 60 RBI, .675 OPS
Oakland Give Josh Donaldson tons of credit for what he did last season. Donaldson was a catcher when spring training started but moved to third base when the Athletics lost Scott Sizemore to injury. Donaldson started slowly with two stints in the minors. Brandon Inge had the job at third but got hurt, opening the door for Donaldson. He ended up being a key piece to Oakland's run to the West title, playing well down the stretch and finishing the season with a .241 average and nine home runs. Still, Donaldson doesn't have the role sewn up as the Athletics traded for the versatile Jed Lowrie. Lowrie mainly played third for Houston last year but has made 50 starts at third base in his career. Sizemore, who is trying to win the job at second base, could also figure in the mix at third if Donaldson struggles.
Team production in 2012: .227 average, 23 home runs, 91 RBI, .671 OPS
Expected production in 2013: .240 average, 15 home runs, 65 RBI, .650 OPS
Houston If you're looking for an opportunity in the majors, Houston is the place to be. That's what Matt Dominguez is hoping. Dominguez, a former first-round pick of the Marlins, was mired in minors in Miami. But he was freed from Miami last year in the trade for Carlos Lee. Now he'll have the chance to be the primary third baseman in Houston, where converted first baseman Brett Wallace appears to be his biggest competition. Dominguez, who has played in just 48 games in the majors, hit .284 in 31 games with Houston last year with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Wallace's major-league experience at third base has been limited to five games so far, so the Astros really need Dominguez to perform well.
Team production in 2012: .267 average, 20 home runs, 76 RBI, .739 OPS
Expected production in 2013: .260 average, 15 home runs, 50 RBI, .650 OPS