After a long offseason, spring training is finally among us. Now that Spring is here, it’s time to rank the top 10 first basemen heading into this season. The first basemen are the cornerstone of any franchise. Who are the top 10 first basemen entering the 2017 season?
- Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)
Freeman had a career year in 2016 slashing a .302 average and .400 on-base percentage. He also drove in 34 home runs this year. The Braves first baseman was a 6.5 win player this year and is just now entering the prime of his career. Freeman, 27, is one of the best defensive first basemen as well and is extremely athletic for his 6’5″ frame. If the Braves can contend this year, Freddie Freeman could win the NL MVP.
2. Anthony Rizzo (Chicago Cubs)
Rizzo comes in at number 2 and probably could easily be the best first basemen in the league. Rizzo, 27, slugged his way to a .292 average and .385 OBP. It was also the 3rd straight year Rizzo jacked more than 30 homers in a season. There’s really no holes in his game as the Cubs slugger might be the best defensive first basemen in baseball. Did I mention that he also stole 17 bases in 2015?
3. Miguel Cabrera (Detriot Tigers)
Age is a concern heading into 34 but Miggy is one of the best pure hitters the sport has ever seen. He did play 158 games last year showing that he has no plans on slowing down. 38 homers to go along with a .318 average and .393 OBP is nothing short of amazing. Obviously, the defense is the only thing keeping Cabrera from being number one on the list.
4. Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona Diamondbacks)
It’s seriously not fair for a guy Goldschmidt’s size (6’3″ 225) to steal 32 bags. He also has a nice power stroke hitting 24 homers last year but does have a career high of 36 showing he can up that number in 2016. Overall Goldy is a 4.4 War player but his defensive numbers can limit him sometimes which pushed him down the list a tad.
5. Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds)
Did you know Votto hit .408 after the All-Star break in 2016! He finished with 29 homers and 97 RBI’s but probably could have up those numbers if teams didn’t pitch around him so often (.434 OBP). Votto is the only player on the Reds roster worth anything. The fact that he puts up the numbers he does with no protection in the lineup in remarkable.
6. Hanley Ramirez (Boston Red Sox)
Coming into last season I wrote a piece saying that Hanley Ramirez was going to have an excellent 2016 season after a down year in 2015. He proved me right as Han-Ram was one of the best players on the Red Sox roster that scored the most runs in baseball last year. His value will only increase this year moving to DH allowing him to focus just on slugging taking away from his silly errors in the field. When focused Ramirez is one of the best players in baseball, he just needs to be surrounded in a winning environment for that talent to go on display.
7. Edwin Encarnacion (Cleveland Indians)
The Blue Jays made a foolish move this offseason when they decided to replace Encarnacion with Kendrys Morales. That choice is going to benefit the newest Cleveland Indian as his presence makes them a favorite to return to the World Series in 2017. Edwin has 5 straight years of at least 34 home runs providing an instant jolt to any offense. He also walks a ton as you can see by comparison (.263 average – .357 OBP). Is there anything more enjoyable than watching his parrot home run celebration?
8. Jose Abreu (Chicago White Sox)
Abreu isn’t much of a defensive force but he sure can hit. He had a big 2nd half of the season hitting .383 after a slow start to the year. 25 jacks and 100 RBI’s is impressive as well. He could be one of the bigger names on market at the trade deadline too.
9. Eric Hosmer (Kansas City Royals)
Hosmer took a step back in 2016 but so did the whole Royals team so lofty expectations could have played a factor. When he is on his game, Hosmer has shown he can hit in the .290 range with a .350 OBP. He did hit a career-high 25 homers in 2016 though. The KC first baseman is entering a contract year in 2017 so look Hosmer to be motivated this year.
10. Adrian Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers)
A-Gon isn’t the power hitter he once was but he is still productive. His defensive numbers have also been on the decline as of late but that means he is still among the top defensive options at the position. Gonzalez’s .285 average and .349 OBP rounds out the top 10.
Honorable Mention: Brandon Belt, Chris Davis, Wil Myers, Carlos Santana