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MLB’s Best Offensive Trios

Ranking the top 30 offensive trios in baseball.

Have you ever wondered which team would win in a game of three-on-three or what franchise could put together the best group of trivia contestants? MLB teams aren’t commonly judged by just a few players, especially on just one side of the ball, but when considering which teams might possess the best top-end talent, the most effective way to find that out would be by ranking the preeminent players on each team in groups. As we all know, the best things come in threes, so it was only logical to figure out who each team’s best trio of bats consisted of and how good they were when stacked up against each other.

Some results may be exactly what you expected, but I guarantee you, there are some surprises, whether that be in terms of placement or in terms of the extent of their production. Regardless, this top 30 was eye-opening and a blast to put together, as I was just as excited to find out the sequencing as I hope you will be. Let’s find out who makes up each team’s best offensive trios and how they rank among their contemporaries.

 

Process

 

In order to rank the top offensive trios in baseball, we need to choose a statistic that is an ideal evaluator of offensive talent. That metric will be wRC+ because it takes into account a batter’s entire profile as well as adjusting for ballpark and the league average. Unfortunately, Fangraphs doesn’t allow you to add up multiple players’ wRC+ marks like it allows you to add up multiple seasons from a single player, so I had to do some manual math. We can’t just add up the trio of players’ wRC+ marks and divide by three because some batters should have more of an impact on the number as a result of a larger share of plate appearances.

Therefore, we need to calculate a number that weighs each batter’s wRC+ to their plate appearances accordingly. The equation for this was multiplying each player’s wRC+ by their plate appearances, adding those three numbers together, and then dividing by the total number of plate appearances to get an accurate wRC+ for the trio.

When selecting the trio of players, if the last of the three was tied in wRC+ with someone else, the tie-breaker was selecting the player with the greater share of plate appearances. The same tie-breaker goes for teams with nearly identical wRC+ marks, as the team with more plate appearances has had a larger sample of that level of production, producing more value and having a larger impact on their team’s lineup. Additionally, a minimum of 250 plate appearances was set to weed out players with small samples. Choosing a qualified minimum of plate appearances didn’t work because there were some teams that didn’t have three qualified hitters. Let’s uncover these rankings!

 

30. Detroit Tigers

 

Miguel Cabrera: 90 wRC+ (309 PA)

Robbie Grossman: 75 wRC+ (286 PA)

Javier Báez: 74 wRC+ (319 PA)

Trio: 79.72 wRC+

Far and away the worst trio in the Majors, none of the best three batters on the Tigers even display a league-average bat. Báez has the most dingers for Detroit, and he has yet to surpass double-digits, while Cabrera is batting .287 in what could be one of his final seasons in the Majors and Grossman earns his spot by getting on base via the walk (11.5% BB%).

 

29. Oakland Athletics

 

Ramón Laureano: 115 wRC+ (253 PA)

Sean Murphy: 106 wRC+ (339 PA)

Elvis Andrus: 91 wRC+ (312 PA)

Trio: 103.34 wRC+

One of the three trios led by a catcher, Oakland is one of just four trios that features a player producing below-league-average value. It is surprising to see Andrus qualify for the A’s after combining for a 74 wRC+ across the past four seasons, and he is joined by his team’s leader in batting average (Murphy, .241) and a bat that barely qualified but leads the team in OPS (Laureano, .733).

 

28. Miami Marlins

 

Garrett Cooper: 124 wRC+ (327 PA)

Jorge Soler: 102 wRC+ (299 PA)

Jesús Aguilar: 100 wRC+ (345 PA)

Trio: 108.70 wRC+

With Jazz Chisholm Jr. narrowly missing out on qualifying for this list because of constant injuries, the Marlins fall a lot further than one would originally expect. All-Star corner infielder/outfielder Cooper makes up for his absence by batting nearly .300 while Soler and Aguilar provide the pop, each with double-digit homers adding up to 24 between the two.

 

27. Milwaukee Brewers

 

Willy Adames: 113 wRC+ (306 PA)

Rowdy Tellez: 109 wRC+ (344 PA)

Christian Yelich: 106 wRC+ (379 PA)

Trio: 109.08 wRC+

Both Tellez and Adames were acquired mid-season in 2021 and have been integral members of the Milwaukee lineup this year, as the former paces his team in RBI (57) and the latter leads the bats with 19 long balls. All three are underperforming their xwOBAs by more than 30 points and Yelich leads the crew with a .347 OBP because of a team-leading .320 BABIP and a 12.1% walk rate. This trio is remarkably consistent, if not perfectly adequate, which is surprising for a team leading its division.

 

26. Cincinnati Reds

 

Brandon Drury: 134 wRC+ (339 PA)

Tommy Pham: 100 wRC+ (346 PA)

Kyle Farmer: 99 wRC+ (307 PA)

Trio: 111.31 wRC+

After the sell-off of their top bats, it was to be expected that the Reds would be near the bottom of this list, but who would’ve expected their trio to be led by Drury? In a breakout campaign, he has been the best Cincinnati batter by far, leading the team in almost every offensive category (.278 AVG, 18 HR, .864 OPS), but Pham and Farmer have been serviceable in their own rights, drawing walks (Pham, 11.6% BB%) and avoiding strikeouts (Farmer, 15.6% K%) but lacking in the power department (both with a sub-.150 ISO).

 

25. Texas Rangers

 

Corey Seager: 124 wRC+ (389 PA)

Nathaniel Lowe: 115 wRC+ (344 PA)

Adolis García: 101 wRC+ (369 PA)

Trio: 113.49 wRC+

It’s probably a good thing, especially for the owner’s and GM’s heart health, that the blockbuster offseason acquisition (10 years, $325 million) has been the best hitter on the team. Seager owns the most homers (22) and lowest strikeout rate (15.9%), but Lowe and García are great compliments, with the lefty providing the team’s best average (.270) and the righty bringing a power-speed combination (15 HR/13 SB) to the table.

 

24. Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Bryan Reynolds: 126 wRC+ (344 PA)

Daniel Vogelbach: 118 wRC+ (278 PA)

Jack Suwinski: 100 wRC+ (250 PA)

Trio: 115.00 wRC+

With Reynolds steering the ship, the Pittsburgh trio is one of just three teams led by a switch-hitter, and even though he’s having a sub-par season to his standards, he still owns the team’s highest average (.261) and home run total (15). Narrowly escaping the bottom five, Vogelbach hits the ball hard (11.7% barrel rate) and takes the free pass (14.4%), while Suwinski just barely qualified and is one of just four rookies on this list thanks to leaving the yard more than any other NL rookie (14 HR).

 

23. Colorado Rockies

 

C.J. Cron: 135 wRC+ (381 PA)

Charlie Blackmon: 109 wRC+ (363 PA)

Connor Joe: 103 wRC+ (381 PA)

Trio: 115.77 wRC+

Due to the fact they play their home games in Coors, any park-adjusted stats heavily depress the value of Colorado bats. The mile-high air still kept them out of the bottom five, as Cron has the third-highest batting average among players with at least 20 dingers, Blackmon has already surpassed his homer total from last year (14 HR in 2022), and Joe has backed up last season’s breakout by continuing to sport impressive plate discipline (0.64 BB/K ratio). On a side note, this is the only trio with matching first initials.

 

22. Kansas City Royals

 

Andrew Benintendi: 127 wRC+ (363 PA)

Hunter Dozier: 118 wRC+ (309 PA)

Bobby Witt Jr.: 107 wRC+ (368 PA)

Trio: 117.25 wRC+

There aren’t many teams on this list that feature multiple batters that haven’t cleared the fence on more than 10 occasions, but the Royals are one of them as Dozier and Benintendi make up for their power deficiencies by making tons of contact (Benintendi, .317 AVG/14% K%) and contributing across the board (Dozier, .772 OPS). Witt Jr. is one of the few players making their MLB debut to be one of the three best hitters on their respective team, and despite being held back by an aggressive approach (5.4% BB%), he has made up for it by being a lightning rod with his blend of power and speed (13 HR/17 SB).

 

21. Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Ketel Marte: 127 wRC+ (336 PA)

Christian Walker: 115 wRC+ (370 PA)

Josh Rojas: 109 wRC+ (253 PA)

Trio: 117.62 wRC+

Rounding out the bottom 10, a switch-hitting contact hitter, a home run masher, and a balanced bat form this trio from the dessert. Walker’s massive power surge (22 HR) has been impressive, especially considering he strikes out less than 20% of the time, but Marte is getting on base at the highest clip on the squad (.363 OBP) and Rojas has been a cromulent all-around performer with a .751 OPS.

 

20. Baltimore Orioles

 

Austin Hays: 120 wRC+ (354 PA)

Trey Mancini: 119 wRC+ (361 PA)

Ryan Mountcastle: 116 wRC+ (332 PA)

Trio: 118.39 wRC+

The Orioles feature three powerful right-handed bats that have overcome the shifted left field wall. Mancini leads the group with a .277 average, Hays leads the squad with 46 RBI, and Mountcastle leads the way with a .473 SLG, and all three combine for 35 long balls. This is the first team on this list in which all three players have a wRC+ at least 10% above league average.

 

19. San Francisco Giants

 

Joc Pederson: 135 wRC+ (266 PA)

Wilmer Flores: 122 wRC+ (334 PA)

Mike Yastrzemski: 115 wRC+ (318 PA)

Trio: 123.34 wRC+

Securing a top 20 spot, the Giants get the most out of their bats by putting them in positions to succeed, and that has resulted in a career year for Pederson who leads his team with 17 bombs. Flores has become an everyday player after being a role player in the past, driving in the most runs (51) and striking out less than 16% of the time, while Yastrzemski is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, pairing a solid walk rate (11.9%) with a .748 OPS.

 

18. San Diego Padres

 

Manny Machado: 150 wRC+ (353 PA)

Jurickson Profar: 114 wRC+ (373 PA)

Jake Cronenworth: 111 wRC+ (412 PA)

Trio: 124.08 wRC+

This trio doesn’t look right without Fernando Tatis Jr., but Machado is carrying the team in his absence, tying for the highest wRC+ by a player on a team ranked outside of the top half. The third baseman is joined by a switch-hitter that gains the most value from his incredible plate discipline (0.92 BB/K) and a lefty that has put himself in a position to score the most runs (59) on the team.

 

17. Chicago Cubs

 

Willson Contreras: 133 wRC+ (339 PA)

Ian Happ: 126 wRC+ (368 PA)

Nico Hoerner: 112 wRC+ (291 PA)

Trio: 124.30 wRC+

Featuring two All-Stars and a premier contact hitter, the Cubs land inside the top 20 despite being in a state of flux as an organization when it comes to being competitive. Two of these hitters (Contreras and Happ) make up for any downfalls by walking at a double-digit rate, while Hoerner leads the pack with a .307 average, Happ paces the trio with an 11.4% walk rate, and Contreras heads the group with an .821 OPS.

 

16. Toronto Blue Jays

 

Alejandro Kirk: 150 wRC+ (306 PA)

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: 130 wRC+ (396 PA)

George Springer: 123 wRC+ (353 PA)

Trio: 133.46 wRC+

Rounding out the bottom half, this squad is impressive in and of itself but it probably would have been much higher on this list had it been formed in 2021. Nonetheless, having the best offensive catcher in the Majors has its perks, as Kirk boosts a couple of multi-time All-Stars by walking more than he strikes out and batting .315, but the other two right-handed sluggers provide pop, combining for 37 homers and sub-20% strikeout rate. They are the first team in which all members of their trio own a wRC+ 20% better than the league average.

 

15. New York Mets

 

Pete Alonso: 139 wRC+ (395 PA)

Starling Marte: 133 wRC+ (336 PA)

Brandon Nimmo: 131 wRC+ (376 PA)

Trio: 134.46

Three very different hitters comprise this trio helping the Mets boast the first squad made up of bats that each have a wRC+ 30% better than the league average. The biggest contributor is their best power hitter (Alonso, 24 HR), but his contemporaries aren’t slouches, as Marte provides speed (12 SB) and the trio’s highest batting average (.295) and Nimmo is an on-base machine (9.8% BB%).

 

14. Seattle Mariners

 

Ty France: 148 wRC+ (352 PA)

Julio Rodríguez: 135 wRC+ (380 PA)

Eugenio Suárez: 127 wRC+ (393 PA)

Trio: 136.27 wRC+

Two new additions to the team in 2022 have made a huge impact as the rookie Rodríguez and the offseason trade acquisition Suárez prop up their leading hitter with the best power-speed combo in baseball (Rodríguez, 16/21 HR/SB) and a heavy stick (Suárez, 14.2% barrel rate). France gets to his offensive production by making a great deal of contact (14.%) which has helped him to lead his team in average (.308), placing him among the top 10 in the Majors in that category.

 

13. Chicago White Sox

 

José Abreu: 147 wRC+ (395 PA)

Andrew Vaughn: 134 wRC+ (306 PA)

Luis Robert: 126 wRC+ (323 PA)

Trio: 136.49 wRC+

Even though team leader Tim Anderson just barely missed beating out Robert for the final spot, this trio is still one of the most fearsome bunch of right-handers. All three of them are batting above .300 and all of them have double-digit homers, but most impressively and similarly to the Blue Jays, none has struck out in more than 20% of their plate appearances.

 

12. Minnesota Twins

 

Luis Arraez: 148 wRC+ (348 PA)

Byron Buxton: 130 wRC+ (304 PA)

Carlos Correa: 130 wRC+ (303 PA)

Trio: 136.56 wRC+

How can you not love this cast of unique and invigorating offensive threats? The only lefty of the group (Arraez) is the best contact hitter in all of baseball, leading the Majors in batting average (.338) while striking out less than anyone (8% K%). Even though he lacks power, Buxton and Correa make up for that, featuring a top 10 total of dingers (Buxton, 23 HR) and an impressive rate of hitting the ball with the ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle (Correa, 10.7% barrel rate).

 

11. Atlanta Braves

 

Austin Riley: 152 wRC+ (400 PA)

Dansby Swanson: 132 wRC+ (394 PA)

Matt Olson: 126 wRC+ (415 PA)

Trio: 136.56 wRC+

It may be a surprise to find that this list doesn’t contain Ronald Acuña Jr., especially because he meets the plate appearance requirements, but that is just a testament to how spectacular the Braves’ lineup is. It is led by Riley, who owns the highest wRC+ by a player on a team ranked outside the top 10 and features the third-highest total of homers (27) in the Majors. His teammates also wield damage-inducing bats, as Swanson leads the team with a .294 average, 60 runs scored, and 14 steals and Olson has fewer home runs (17) and RBI (60) than only Riley while walking more than the entire team (11.3%). They tied with the Twins in combined wRC+, but the plate appearance tie-breaker afforded them the higher placement.

 

10. Philadelphia Phillies

 

Bryce Harper: 167 wRC+ (275 PA)

Rhys Hoskins: 127 wRC+ (386 PA)

Kyle Schwarber: 125 wRC+ (391 PA)

Trio: 136.71 wRC+

While Harper is a generational talent and sports the highest wRC+ of any hitter on a team ranked outside the top five, he actually has some impressive support. The left-hander leads the team with his .318 average while Schwarber leads the NL in homers (29) and Hoskins leads the trio with 82 hits, 19 of which have left the yard.

 

9. Washington Nationals

 

Juan Soto: 152 wRC+ (393 PA)

Josh Bell: 148 wRC+ (394 PA)

Yadiel Hernandez: 98 wRC+ (253 PA)

Trio: 137.35 wRC+

There are a couple of teams that would’ve done better had this been a list of top duos, and the Nationals are one of them. Regardless, this is a top 10 trio because the duo of bats leading them has combined for 33 dingers and a sub-14% strikeout rate, while Hernandez snuck into his team’s selections with just barely enough plate appearances to qualify and a .712 OPS.

 

8. Cleveland Guardians

 

José Ramírez: 161 wRC+ (375 PA)

Andrés Giménez: 138 wRC+ (284 PA)

Steven Kwan: 110 wRC+ (317 PA)

Trio: 137.74 wRC+

While Ramírez guides the young guns in his trio, they have been able to hold their own for the franchise in its first year under a new name. They would’ve been near the top five if Josh Naylor qualified, but regardless, they have two players with sub-10% strikeout rates and double-digit walk rates (Ramírez and Kwan) while their third bat (Giménez) has double-digit bombs and is nearly batting .300.

 

7. Tampa Bay Rays

 

Ji-Man Choi: 145 wRC+ (257 PA)

Yandy Díaz: 142 wRC+ (337 PA)

Harold Ramírez: 142 wRC+ (264 PA)

Trio: 144.90 wRC+

The Rays were the main reason we ended up needing a 250 plate appearance minimum because of the way they utilize their player’s in part-time roles, but boy was it unexpected to see them climb this high up the list with a group of unheralded hitters. The limited usage of their bats in situations where they succeed has led to them featuring the first trio in which all three bats own a wRC+ 40% better than the league average. This isn’t a home run hitting group, as Choi leads them with seven, but it’s made up for by the fact that Ramírez is batting .329 and Díaz walks (14.5%) nearly as much as Choi (15.2%), placing them both in the top 10 in that category in MLB.

 

6. Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Freddie Freeman: 159 wRC+ (406 PA)

Mookie Betts: 143 wRC+ (335 PA)

Will Smith: 139 wRC+ (319 PA)

Trio: 147.92 wRC+

One of just two trios led by two former MVPs, the Dodgers narrowly missed the top 5 with their expensive, award-winning duo and one of the best offensive backstops in baseball. The lefty (Freeman) is brandishing the highest batting average of his career in a full season (.321), while Betts is doing typical Betts things, leading the team with 20 homers, and Smith is doing his part by walking at the highest rate (11.6%) of this trio.

 

5. Boston Red Sox

 

Rafael Devers: 170 wRC+ (377 PA)

Xander Bogaerts: 137 wRC+ (375 PA)

J.D. Martinez: 137 wRC+ (356 PA)

Trio: 148.23 wRC+

Starting off the top five, the Boston trio might own the most lethal cast of contact bats because they can also hit the ball over the fence. All three of these players own a batting average north of .300, while Devers leads the team with 22 long balls, Bogaerts walks the most (9.6% BB%), and Martinez has the most two-baggers (30), landing him in the top three in MLB.

 

4. New York Yankees

 

Aaron Judge: 172 wRC+ (389 PA)

Anthony Rizzo: 137 wRC+ (361 PA)

Giancarlo Stanton: 134 wRC+ (318 PA)

Trio: 148.85 wRC+

Many people may be stunned that the Yankees miss out on the top three, not only because they are a part of the featured image, but also because they employ the league’s foremost home run hitter. This trio of beef boys is led by Judge, who doesn’t just pace baseball with his 33 homers, he has also scored more than anyone else. He is joined by two more 20-homer hitters, with Stanton owning the most RBI (61) on the team other than Judge and Rizzo sporting impressive plate discipline (0.67 BB/K). This is the only team in which all three players have gone deep at least 20 times.

 

3. Los Angeles Angels

 

Mike Trout: 168 wRC+ (326 PA)

Taylor Ward: 149 wRC+ (287 PA)

Shohei Ohtani: 133 wRC+ (382 PA)

Trio: 149.08 wRC+

Widely recognized as a top-heavy team, the Angels are led by the only three players on their team with above-league-average bats, and they are way above that threshold. They land inside the top three thanks to the efforts of two MVPs and one of 2022’s biggest breakouts. That breakout is Ward, who paces the Angels with a .286 average and a 13.2% BB%, while the most recent MVP and MLB’s only two-way player provides a power-speed combination (19/10 HR/SB) – and he also pitches. The GOAT leads the way thanks to a top five HR total (24) in baseball.

 

2. St. Louis Cardinals

 

Paul Goldschmidt: 184 wRC+ (391 PA)

Nolan Arenado: 149 wRC+ (370 PA)

Brendan Donovan: 131 wRC+ (258 PA)

Trio: 157.87 wRC+

A surprising top three addition driven by two of the game’s best hitters, the Cardinals feature the National League’s top trio because their pair of recent major acquisitions are able to carry a breakout rookie to league-leading production. The most unknown name of anyone in the top five, Donovan has quietly had a very productive debut season that is predominantly driven by his team-leading 12% walk rate. Goldschmidt and Arenado are household names, as the former is heading the NL MVP debate with a .330 average, 20 bombs, and the second-best wRC+ in the Majors, while Arenado is having his best season in St. Louis with a .293 average, an .885 OPS, and his well-known ability to avoid strikeouts (13% K%).

 

1. Houston Astros

 

Yordan Alvarez: 197 wRC+ (316 PA)

Jose Altuve: 155 wRC+ (323 PA)

Kyle Tucker: 135 wRC+ (346 PA)

Trio: 161.45 wRC+

MLB’s best offensive trio is none other than the Houston Astros, led by the game’s best hitter, according to wRC+, and buoyed by a former MVP and one of baseball’s most under-appreciated elite bats. While Alvarez is a top five home run hitter (26 HR), he doesn’t suffer in other departments, batting .306, and leading baseball in OPS (1.058). Interestingly, Altuve would be the best hitter on 22/30 teams (73%), proving how stacked the Astros are. Tucker is no slouch either, having smacked 18 homers and joining his teammates with what might be their most impressive trait – plate discipline. All three of the Astros’ best hitters own a BB/K of at least 0.70, placing each of them in the top 25, and their patience doesn’t take away from their ability to crush the balls they do end up putting in play.

Photos by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by @visual_endgame on Instagram & Twitter.

Jake Crumpler

A Bay Area sports fan and lover of baseball, Jake is a recent graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in English Literature. He currently writes fantasy articles for Pitcher List and is the lead baseball writer at The Athletes Hub. Some consider his knowledge of the sport to be encyclopedic. Without baseball, Jake would be a Pokémon master.

2 responses to “MLB’s Best Offensive Trios”

  1. Houston says:

    What do we make of Taylor Ward’s 2nd-half-of-the-first-half collapse?

    • Jake Crumpler says:

      Just a quick look at his graphs on Fangraphs shows that he has been swinging out of the zone more in recent weeks which has coincided with a drop in wOBA. Therefore, it is logical to suggest that he is being too aggressive and not letting the pitchers come to him. He had great plate discipline early in the season and capitalized on good pitches to hit, but now it seems like he’s pressing. The silver lining is that this could be an easy adjustment – swing less and be more selective. So, a bounceback in the second half is very likely if he can revert to his days if being patient, but if he keeps trying to make things happen by reaching at pitches that don’t result in fortunate batted ball events, then he will be unable to attain the heights he displayed early in the season.

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