by Rowan Kavner
FOX Sports MLB Writer
The strongest attack in baseball starts at the climax.
Mocky PetsAnd the Tria Turner And the Freddy Freeman It has raised a deep peak Dodgers Which leads the majors in each slash category (.261/.337/.452). Freeman and Turner ranked first and second, respectively MLBHit the leaderboard this season, while the Bates is the Dodgers’ leader in wins over replacement.
Together, they are undoubtedly one of the strongest trios in the major disciplines. But were they the best?
The question is somewhat subjective, so let’s simplify it. Based on WAR – and taking into account both FanGraphs (fWAR) and Baseball Reference (bWAR) releases of stats – these are the teams that boast the most valuable treble in baseball this year.
combined fWAR15.3 (Ohtani 7.9, Trout 4.8, Rose 2.6)
combined bWAR15.1 (Ohtani 7.9, Trout 4.8, Rose 2.4)
Average: 15.2 The war
Yes, that’s supposed to look up position player Threes in baseball. And if we only include what Otani does as a particular hitter, the angels wouldn’t be there. But we won’t show a fair or complete picture without including the value Ohtani adds as a pitcher, so we’ll separate the angels here.
If you count Ohtani’s hitting and chanting in a WAR, the Ohtani and Trout World trio would rank fourth as the best trio in baseball this year. That’s pretty cool considering that Trout has played in just 97 out of 133 games, while Ward has played in 110. It also speaks volumes about how absurd Otani’s season is (again).
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joint war: 14.4 (Altuve 5.0, Bregman 4.8, Alvarez 4.7)
Combined bWAR: 14.2 (Tucker 5.0, Alvarez 4.9, Altuff 4.3)
Average: 14.3 The war
WAR accounts tend to vary quite a bit from place to place, with each estimating certain stats over others in their attempts to measure player value in all aspects of the game. It is a complex statistic that inevitably leads to various conclusions all aimed at presenting a comprehensive picture of the player (you can read a more detailed overview over here). With that in mind, the Astros present an interesting case.
The baseball reference has Tucker as a 5.0 WAR player, which would put him first on his team. The FanGraphs version has a Tucker of 4.1 WAR, which would put it in fourth place. But no matter what order you rank them in — and which of the four you consider Houston’s top three — it shows the depth of top-level talent on the Astros that any three of Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez and Tucker can create one of the best triples in baseball.
joint war: 15.2 (Swanson 5.6, Riley 5.4, Harris 4.2)
Combined bWAR: 15.0 (Riley, 5.7, Swanson 5.0, Harris 4.3)
Average: 15.1 The war
There’s a reason both Harris and Riley receive mid-season extensions.
Harris didn’t make his MLB debut until May 28, and he’s already ranked the top 30 in WAR among the top leagues with at least 300 billboard appearances this season. He brought in a stunning boost to a club already tied to the playoffs led by Riley, who is tied for third place in the top leagues with 35 players, and Swanson, who leads all short-strokes in the Major League defensively, at 17 points above average.
There is disagreement in the opinion of the Baseball Reference and FanGraphs on whether Swanson or Riley is the Braves’ WAR captain, but either way, they have been some of the best players in baseball this season, and both rank in the top 10 MLB players in fWAR.
joint war: 15.6 (Judge 9.1, Trevino 3.5, LeMahieu 3.0)
Combined bWAR: 15.4 (Judge 8.6, LeMahieu 3.8, Benintendi 3.0 KC/NY)
Average: 15.5 The war
Braves, Astros, Dodgers and basics They each have three players worth at least four of WAR this year. The Yankees are the exception on this list, but when a single player performs at the judge’s level, it elevates the entire group to the elite rank.
With bWAR or fWAR, there is no Yankees player other than Judge in the MLB Top 30. However, with Judge, the trio including LeMahieu and either Trevino or Benintendi are automatically among the top three in the majors. This year, Judge has two wins better than every other MLB player besides Ohtani (7.9 fWAR). As of Thursday, he’s managed to mash 19 more people than any other player in baseball.
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2. Los Angeles Dodgers – Mocky Bates, Tria Turner, Freddy Freeman
joint war: 17.6 (Beats 6.4, Freeman 6.0, Turner 5.2)
Combined bWAR: 15.4 (Beats 6.2, Freeman 5.0, Turner 4.2)
Average: 16.5 The war
The FanGraphs’ and Baseball Reference versions of WAR differ greatly on Freeman and Turner, with each FanGraphs rating about a full win better than the baseball reference. Regardless, these may be the most balanced top three in baseball, especially when it comes to offensive value.
All three Dodgers rank in the top 30 of the OPS eligible players. Bates had a career high among the hosts (33), and neither Freeman nor Turner missed a game until August. With his team taking the lead in NL West, manager Dave Roberts gave Turner his first break of the year on September 2 (to the dismay of Shortstop). Turner has hit every other game he’s played this month with a total of 168 games this year. Freeman is the only major player to have more (172 as of Thursday).
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They’re arguably the best trio in baseball…but they’re not the most valuable, based on the war. This group, as it turns out, resides in St. Louis.
joint war: 19.1 (Goldschmidt 7.1, Arenado 7.0, Edman 5.0)
Combined bWAR: 21.0 (Goldschmidt 7.6, Arenado 7.4, Edmann 6.0)
Average: 20.1 The war
Goldschmidt and Arenado will win any duo honors this year. Add in Edman’s contributions, and the Cardinals will boast their most valuable trio, too. In fact, it is the only team with three players worth at least six players this year.
Even with their already stunning resumes, Goldschmidt and Arenado have career years. Goldschmidt tops the NL in every slash class and has smashed 35 homers with a best 109 RBI in the NL. Arenado has the best 162 OPS+. Consider Arenado and Edman’s additional defensive prowess—they’re third and number one in the NL, respectively, outside above average—and the distinguished trio stand a little higher than the rest by both bWAR and fWAR.
Rowan Kavner covers the Dodgers and NL West for FOX Sports. Previously he was Dodgers Editor for digital and print publications. Follow him on Twitter at @Rowan Kavner.
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