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First Base

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

MLB’s top players at every position in 2022: First Base

First Base
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

MLB’s top player at every position in 2022: First Base

We continue our series of the top players at every position in MLB this year. For this post, we’ll be looking at the first base position and who was the best at it this season.

Be sure to check the previous post of this series, where we looked at the top catchers of 2022.

1. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals had themselves a fantastic first base/third base duo this year. Goldschmidt was of course on one side of that and has set himself up to win NL MVP, after posting an incredible 7.8 WAR, alongside a .317 batting average with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs. An OPS+ of 181 and 41 doubles will help push the 34-year-old to his first MVP of his career.

2. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

It’s hard to believe that Freeman might not win MVP despite the season he just had. He finished just under Jeff McNeil for the batting title, batting .325 on the season. Freeman only hit 21 home runs, which for someone like him seems low. He didn’t need the long ball this year, however. Leading the league in hits (199) and doubles (47) just proves that his talent in Atlanta was able to transfer to the bright L.A. lights.

3. Pete Alonso, New York Mets

The polar bear had himself the best year of his career since he was a rookie. Mashing 131 RBIs, most in the NL, and tied with Aaron Judge for most in all of baseball. He played in all except two games this year, hitting a total of 40 home runs and 27 doubles. It was a disappointing year for these Mets, but Alonso would be a clear favorite for MVP if it wasn’t for Goldschmidt or Freeman.

4. José Abreu, Chicago White Sox

After his 2020 MVP season, Abreu has been able to continue a groove up into 2022. It wasn’t the year of homers for Abreu like usual, but he still hit 15 of them with 75 RBIs. His batting average was also .304, fifth best in the AL. The nine-year veteran is now a free agent, so if it’s the end of his time in Chicago he left with a stellar season.

5. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

Vladdy continues to be one of the young leaders for this Blue Jays team. A first-round exit in the playoffs is not what they were expecting, but Guerrero at least provided another amazing season. It was a slight dip from his 2021 season when he finished second for MVP voting, but not by much. He hit 32 home runs, a mark seventh best in the AL, and 97 RBIs which ranked fifth. He hit a career-high in doubles with 35, so don’t let his figure convince you that he can’t run.

6. Nathaniel Lowe, Texas Rangers

The 27-year-old first baseman had himself a breakout year after a modest 18 homer and 72 RBI season in 2021. His batting average, which sits at .302, is seventh-best in the AL. Lowe’s 3.3 WAR and 27 homers are career highs for the slugger. Following the All-Star break, he was even better, batting .347/.401/.579 line in 277 plate appearances.

7. Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

Walker probably had one of the quietest seasons of the year. The eight-year veteran didn’t wow anyone with the batting average, but he hit home runs and scored lots of runs. The slash was only .242/.327/.477, but Walker also mashed a career-high 36 home runs and 94 RBIs. His 5.1 WAR clears his previous career high at 2.8, which has given him some value for contending teams to look his way.

8. Luis Arráez, Minnesota Twins

Arráez was kind of everywhere on the field, but it was his bat that made him valuable. He’s the one who prevented Judge from winning the triple-crown, batting .316 which is the best in the AL. Arráez is a career .300 hitter in the four years he’s played, collecting 444 hits in that span. Arráez is still only 25 years old, and while the defense is questionable, the bat keeps him at the top of the lineup everyday.

9. Anthony Rizzo, New York Yankees

It was the first full season in a Yankee uniform for Rizzo, and that short porch helped his home run numbers. He’s another story of not having a good batting average, but high slugging from home runs and RBIs. Rizzo hit 32 homers in 2022, tying his career-high. He also provided 75 RBIs and had a 131 OPS+. The four-time Gold Glover had a down year defensively, having -3 defensive runs saved. His bat is still clearly there though, and the Yankees are using it to its full power.

10. Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves

When the Braves traded for Olson, he knew the expectations would be high trying to replace Freeman. The hometown kid had some ups and downs in his first season as a Brave, but the team should be just fine with him at first. He hit 34 home runs and 103 RBIs, with a career-high 44 doubles that were second-best in the NL. We’ll wait to see if the two-time Gold Glover wins another one, but his five defensive runs saved and NL leading 1,209 putouts should put him over the edge.

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