Ranking MLB’s Top 10 Active First Baseman
Baseball may not be America’s pastime anymore but it is still very popular in today’s world. Since the sport started I can only imagine people were debating player to player, team to team as we do today. This is going to be the second piece of a 10-part series to break down the top ten players at every position. Today I will be looking at First base which I believe is still a very deep position and one of the more important offensive spots. Full Disclaimer: These views are my own, and they are rankings based on my criteria for a player per position in this league. The criteria includes hitting, defense, durability, potential and playing up to your contract plays no part. Let’s get started.
Honorable Mentions: Albert Pujols (LAA), Freddie Freeman (ATL), Lucas Duda (NYM)
10: Mark Teixeira (NYY) Age: 35 – 2015 Stats: 111 gms, .255 avg, 31 HR’s, 79 RBI’s, .357 OBP
I know a lot of people may say he is too old and injury prone and those are both valid points. But one thing you can’t deny is that when Tex was on the field last year, he straight out produced. If he didn’t go down for the season he easily could’ve finished with 40 bombs and 100 runs batted in which would have been a great season. I don’t believe he is still regarded as the best fielder at his position but top three is easily conceivable. The Yankees and Tex both need to pray for a healthy season since he is a power bat in that potent lineup and he will be a free agent next year.
9: Eric Hosmer: (KC) Age: 26 – 2015 Stats: 158 gms, .297 avg, 18 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, .363 OBP
After winning his third consecutive Gold Glove, Eric Hosmer helped lead his team to a world championship. He posted career highs in OBP, RBI’s and runs scored (98) while also ranking top five in average and hits for all first baseman. The main thing that I really feel that kills Hosmer’s stock is that the power numbers just aren’t there. He has everything else covered with the high average, run producing numbers and a great glove. The first base position is just so stacked with big boppers it’s just hard to set yourself apart from the rest of the group with only 18 home runs.
8: Chris Davis (BAL) Age: 29 – 2015 Stats: 160 gms, .262 avg, 47 HR’s, 117 RBI’s, .361 OBP
The home run leader in the MLB for two out of the last three years is Chris Davis who just cashed in for every single one of them. Over those three years he has averaged 42 home runs and 109 runs batted in per year. We all know he isn’t going to hit for a great average but this past year he had respectable numbers. The year previous was a career low .196 which was not very good at all. The power numbers for Davis are almost a sure guarantee but you can’t always count on him in other areas. You can pencil him in for at least 30 homers and 100 strikeouts every year and this one is no different.
7: Adrian Gonzalez (LAD) Age: 33 – 2015 Stats: 156 gms, .275 avg, 28 HR’s, 90 RBI’s, .350 OBP
If I had to pick one player off this list to speak on consistency, this would be my choice. Every single year you know exactly what you are going to get from Adrian. He is going to be steady fielding wise, give you close to 30 home runs and drive in around 100 runs. In recent years, there has been a drop off in production but nothing alarming to say he won’t produce at a high level. I think that if Corey Seager is able to come into form, and players like Carl Crawford and Yasiel Puig stay consistent, Gonzalez numbers will be affected in a good way with more help and depth in that Dodger lineup.
6: Jose Abreu (CWS) Age: 29 – 2015 Stats: 154 gms, .290 avg, 30 HR’s, 101 RBI’s, .347 OBP
Since coming over from Cuba, Abreu has made his mark in the major leagues and some people including me weren’t fully expecting it. In his rookie season he posted a .317 avg, 36 HR’s and 107 RBI’s which was a tremendous year. As you can see from his 2015 stats, there was a slight drop-off but that’s normal for your sophomore season and has happened to many great players. Only three players have had a .290 avg and hit 60 home runs in the past two seasons and Mr. Abreu is one of them. I believe Abreu will produce another great year offensively and he should continue to work on his defense and drawing more walks moving forward.
5: Edwin Encarnacion (TOR) Age: 33- 2015 Stats: 146 gms, .277 avg, 39 HR’s, 111 RBI’s, .372 OBP
Encarnacion has come on hard for the Blue Jays since 2012, which has helped catapult them into being a World Series contender coming out of the AL. Over the past four years he has averaged just over 37 home runs and 105 runs batted in which shatters what he did earlier in his career with the Reds. Encarnacion arguably had the best second part of the year by posting a .336 avg, 21 HR’s and 57 RBI’s in just 61 games. He ranked number two in all of those categories just behind Joey Votto in average, and Chris Davis in the other two statistical categories. He is quite similar to Chris Davis but I will take the consistency over these past few years to put him ahead on the list.
4: Anthony Rizzo (CHC) Age: 26 – 2015 Stats: 160 gms, .278 avg, 31 HR’s, 101 RBI’s, .387 OBP
Anthony Rizzo has continued to improve every year since he got the call up, which like Encarnacion, has put the Cubs in the World Series conversation coming out the NL. With all the help around Rizzo like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber for a full season, I expect him to have his best year so far. One of the more underrated traits with Rizzo which usually isn’t there for first basemen is that he had 17 stolen bases. He is still considered a young player who is past his years and continues to show he is one of the best players at his position.
3: Joey Votto (CIN) Age: 32 – 2015 Stats: 158 gms, .314 avg, 29 HR’s, 80 RBI’s, .459 OBP
After a sub-par year in 2013 and an injury plagued year in 2014, Votto came back into form in 2015 for a disappointing Reds squad. As you can see he played almost every game and put up numbers which we expect from a former MVP. The thing with Votto which I think a lot of people don’t realize is that, if he wanted to hit 40 home runs and have his average dip a little bit, he could. He has one of the best approaches out of anyone in the league and sticks to it. The runs batted in is a sign of being on such a bad team and we hope to see Votto and the Reds be better in 2016.
2: Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) Age: 28 – 2015 Stats: 159 gms, .321 avg, 33 HR’s, 110 RBI’s, .435 OBP
When I conducted this list I always ask people and watch shows to get opinions and I know a rather large percentage of people will have a conflict with Goldschmidt being number two. Coming off a season in which he won a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and came second in the MVP race, Paul has continued his rise to stardom. He has the total package at the plate with discipline, power and an overall great bat. His game has shown he can cover all aspects and with some more help this year, we will see if he can get the D-Backs into a playoff position.
1: Miguel Cabrera (DET) Age: 32 – 2015 Stats: 119 gms, .338 avg, 18 HR’s, 76 RBI’s, .440 OBP
Even though first base has some real fierce competition, this pick for me was a no-brainer. Yes we all know that he isn’t the best defender in any way, but Cabrera at the plate is either the best or tied for best only with Mike Trout coming into that question. Since coming to the Tigers in the past eight seasons he has averaged a .326 avg, 36 HR’s and 115 RBI’s which is just crazy. Put that with two MVP’s and a Triple Crown and you have the best first basemen in the MLB.
Hardest debate: Choosing #3 or #4 between Anthony Rizzo and Joey Votto
Now that the list is complete, I would love to hear some feedback and your opinion on the first base position.
Next up: Second Base
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