The Top 10 First Basemen of MLB
The Best First Basemen Going Into 2020
By Sunday Umoh | April 26, 2020 - 05:41 PM
As we are awaiting Major League Baseball’s plan for Opening Day and beyond due to the COVID-19 pandemic let’s take a look at the Top 10 First Baseman coming into the 2020 season. While first baseman are typically known for their power on the offensive side of the plate, the top players at the position around the MLB possess all five tools of baseball. Those tools are speed, the ability to hit for power, the ability to hit for average, great arm strength and lastly the ability to field that position at first base.
When looking to compile our list of the Top 10 First Baseman around the MLB coming into the 2020 season, we not only looked at what they could do at the plate or on the base path but also with their abilities on the defensive side of the game of baseball. A dropped ball on the possible last out of a game that leads to the winning run score or a line drive that goes between their leg that extends an inning while a single swing of a bat can win a game.
Taking into consideration each aspect of the first base position, here is our TOP 10 First Baseman in Major League Baseball.
Top 10 MLB First Baseman
- 10. Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman is coming off his first All-Star appearance in 2019 and continues to develop into the potential face of a continuous rebuilding team. Despite the ups and downs on playing on a team that has struggled Josh Bell has put up some solid offensive numbers since arriving in the big leagues in the summer of 2016. Bell finished the 2019 season with 37 doubles, 37 home runs, 116 runs batted in to go with a .277 batting average and a .367 on base percentage. Those numbers landed him fourth in doubles (37), fourth in runs batted in (116), seventh in batting average (.277) and fifth in on base percentage (.367).
- 9. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
Carlos Santana is coming off his second 30 plus home run campaign (34) and his fourth 100 walk (108) campaign since arriving at the MLB level full time in 2011. After leaving Cleveland for just one season in 2018, Santana has been a house name for ball club while putting up some solid numbers. The 34 home runs were tied for sixth while his 108 walks were second among all first baseman. In addition, Santana finished sixth in batting average with a .281 and first in on base percentage (.397) among the group.
- 8. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs first baseman enters 2020, with seven straight seasons with at least 23 home runs including at least 30 home runs in four of those seasons. In addition to four seasons with at least 30 home runs, Anthony Rizzo has four 100 plus seasons with at least 100 runs batted in. In 2020, Rizzo finished tenth in runs batted in (94), fourteenth in home runs (27) and fourth in batting average (.293) among all first baseman. In addition to his proven track record at the plate, Rizzo is an excellent defensive first baseman committing just six or fewer errors in four of the last seven seasons.
- 7. Pete Alonso, New York Mets
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year, MLB Home Run leader Pete Alonso took all of Major League Baseball by storm in his rookie season. Alonso smashed a rookie record 53 home runs while driving in 120 runs while playing in all but one game. The New York Mets first baseman led all first baseman in home runs (53), fourth in runs batted in (120) and fourth in WAR (5.). The one downside to Alonso’s game is defensive skills committing 12 errors while posting a -1.6 defensive WAR. In addition to being one of the best rookies seasons any player have put together in the history of Major League Baseball. If Alonso can continue to put these offensive numbers up and continues to develop his ability to field the position, expect to see Alonso hire on this list over the next few years.
- 6. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
The 27-year-old first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies has shown his ability to not only play the position but compete at the plate with the best first baseman in the game despite having just two full seasons under his belt. Rhys Hoskins who made his MLB debut in 2017, has 81 home runs including hitting a career high 34 in 2018. In addition to his power, Hoskins led all first baseman with 116 walks and was tie for sixth with 33 doubles. Despite some struggles in the field in 2019, Hoskins showed he is slowly adjusting to the position after moving from left field to first base full time in 2019.
- 5. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Since signing with the Chicago White Sox in 2013 after defecting from Cuba and making his debut in 2014 Jose Abreu has been one of the most productive players in all of baseball and at the first base position. In six Major League seasons, Abreu has hit more than 30 home runs four times and drove in over 100 runs in five seasons. In 2019, Abreu finished eighth in home runs (33), first in runs batted in (123), second in doubles (38) and fifth in batting average (.284) among all first basemen.
- 4. Matt Olson, Oakland A’s
The Oakland A’s first baseman is entering his third full season in the majors. Matt Olson is just 26 years old and is near the top of production among all first baseman’s around the game of baseball. As a rookie in 2017, Olson hit 24 home runs in just 59 games, those numbers increased to 29 in 2018 before reaching 36 home runs in 2019. Olson continues to develop his ability to put up big numbers at the plate while continuing to develop his eye at the plate all while playing in a ball park that is built for pitchers. In addition to his production at the plate, Olson posted a .9 defensive WAR while committing just eight errors
- 3. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt has put together an impressive MLB campaign since entering the Majors back in 2011. Since arriving, Goldy has hit 243 home runs to go with 807 runs batted in while taking home three gold gloves, four silver slugger awards while making six All-Star appearances. In addition, Goldschmidt has led the National League in both home runs and runs batted in. Goldschmidt finished 2019 sixth among all first baseman’s in home runs (34) and ninth in runs batted in (97). In addition to his offensive numbers, Goldschmidt is one of the best defensive first baseman’s committing just five errors in 2019 while posting a .996 fielding percentage.
- 2. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Coming in at a close second is the Atlanta Braves Freddie Freeman. Freeman is a bonified National League All-Star who has shown raw talent both at the plate as well as in the field. Freeman put together his best season in 2019 finishing with a .295 batting average to go with 34 doubles, two triples, 121 runs batted in and 87 walks. Freeman finished the 2019 season behind just Pete Alonso (53) and Cody Bellinger (47) in home runs out of all the first baseman’s around Major League Baseball. In addition to those numbers, Freeman finished sixth in WAR (4.4) among all first basemen.
- 1. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
When you look at the first base position the MLB is filled with a long list of talent from the likes of future hall of famers Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera. Another name that continues to make a statement around Major League Baseball is the Los Angeles Dodgers First Baseman Cody Bellinger. Bellinger who will turn 25 on July 13th, is entering his fourth year in big leagues. Since his arrival with the Dodgers at the Major League level, Bellinger has impressed with both his bat and his glove while showing his ability to not only play first base but also in the outfield. As a rookie Bellinger hit 39 home runs while driving in 97 runs across just 132 games. Last year his third year in the majors, Bellinger put together an MVP caliber stat line that saw him hit 47 home runs, drive in 115 runs, steal 15 bases, hit .305 at the plate and finish with a 9.0 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). He finished second out of all first baseman in home runs (47), fifth in runs batted in (115), first in stolen bases (15) and first in defensive WAR (1.9). While it’s uncertain of his exact position moving forward many experts believe with the acquisition of Mookie Betts that Bellinger will move to first base full time. Bellinger possesses all the tools to be the best first baseman in baseball.
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