Every year MLB Network puts on a series entitled “Top 10 Right Now” at each position in the game of baseball. And over the years I have joined along and made my list. Now before last season, it didn’t mean much beyond being a personal exercise. Last year having had LaracuenteLedger.com, I now have a platform to display my list. And this year I’ll be keeping with the decade-long tradition. I follow along with MLB Network and release my list as they air the corresponding episode of each position. So we begin with the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
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Each time I sit down to make out my list of the Top 10 at each position I look to the graphic above that MLB Network releases. I usually have an idea in mind of my top players at each position, but then I research and try to make my best decision. Now the selection process is somewhat like a fantasy draft of each position as an individual draft. But by the same token one must take into account previous output and estimate what the player can do in the upcoming season at that position. And be sure to listen to tomorrow’s episode of The Laracuente Ledger Podcast for a complete recap of both my Top 10 First Basemen & Starting Pitchers Right Now. So number ten on my Top 10 First Basemen Right now is…
No. 10: Miguel Cabrera
There is no doubt that 2018 was a lost season for the once leader of this very list. Miguel Cabrera was limited to just 38 games in 2018. But for the majority of his career, Miguel has been a healthy and productive player. And by all indications, Miguel is once again healthy. Now his placement at number ten comes due to injuries that have limited Miguel to 168 out of 324 over the last two seasons. Miguel Cabrera was one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball. And can regain that mantle if he’s healthy in 2019.
No. 9: Brandon Belt
Brandon Belt is often overlooked when it comes to list, such as this. But when you look over Brandon’s career, he has been a steady contributor and one of the better defensive first basemen in the game. Defense is often overlooked from this primarily offensive position. But a good defensive first baseman like Brandon can add significant value to a team.
No. 8: Matt Olson
The Oakland A’s first basemen, Matt Olson makes the countdown at number eight. Matt Olson is a name that you should pay close attention to in 2019. Olson came up last in the 2017 campaign for the Oakland Athletics, playing in only 59 games and receiving 216 plate appearances. However,
Matt Olson will continue his progression in 2019 and get better. And like many of this
No. 7: Rhys Hoskins
The number seven entry on my list is Rhys Hoskins. I think that when all is said and done Rhys will have a fantastic Major League career. I also believe that in 2018 the Philadelphia Phillies did Rhys no favors by sticking him in left field. With the trade of Carlos Santana, Rhys can now move back to a more comfortable position of first base. And in the very friendly confines of Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia, Hoskins will have a monster season. Over the course of two Major League seasons, Hoskins has racked up 52 homers in just over 870 plate appearances. And I think his career high total of 34 home runs in 2018 gets eclipsed in 2019. And as a first baseman, Rhys has been just above league average defensively, which adds to his value.
No. 6: Jesus Aguilar
During his two seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, Aguilar has become a dangerous threat at the dish. In 2018, Aguilar would earn a starting spot at first base and would deliver an impressive 135 OPS+ in 566 Plate Appearances. To go with those career-high PA’s, Aguilar would drive in 108, hit 35 home runs, and slash .274/.352/.539 and garner an All-Star nod as well. Looking then to 2019, Jesus Aguilar has to be seen as one of the games top first basemen. And his defense also adds to his value. While not quite at an elite level, Aguilar is still an above average defender at first, and that should help the Milwaukee Brewers in a very tough NL Central Division.
No. 5: Jose Abreu
Another one of the more underrated yet remarkably consistent first basemen in Major League Baseball, Jose Abreu is number five on my Top Ten First Basemen Right Now list. Abreu since debuting in the Major Leagues in 2014 has been nothing less than an All-Star caliber performer. And at his best is a player that can compete for the MVP. Abreu has amassed nearly 150 home runs and nearly 500 RBI’s in his five seasons in the Bigs. In 2019, Abreu will likely contribute another All-Star caliber offensive season on Chicago’s South Side
No. 4: Anthony Rizzo
Now in the first base pecking order, there are levels. And Anthony Rizzo is in the upper echelon of first basemen. Rizzo has been consistent is his All-Star/MVP level production throughout his Major League Career. But he has also been the picture boy for durability. For the last six seasons, Rizzo has played in at least 140 games. And aside for 2014 when he played in only 140, Rizzo has played in at least 153 of the Cubs 162 games every season. That level of accountability goes a long way especially when it’s accompanied by an average OPS+ of 128, with nearly 30/100 (HR/RBI) each season.
No. 3: Paul Goldschmidt
Another player that has been durable and consistent and that’s Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt is one of the most underrated players in Major League Baseball. Goldy has spent the entirety of his eight Major League seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, which could have lent itself to the lack of exposure on Goldschmidt. However, when it comes to overall excellence Goldschmidt is among the best. For his career, Goldy is a 30/100 player with a .297/.398/.532 slash line. Moving over to the St. Louis Cardinals will bring a bigger spotlight to one of the games best. And in an ultra-competitive NL Central, Paul Goldschmidt’s star should shine brightly.
No. 2: Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman has been overlooked for many years as one of the games best because his team wasn’t competing. But last season the Braves stepped into more of the limelight and Freddie Freeman was in his element. Freeman across nine Major League seasons has produced nearly 200 home runs and 700 RBI’s. Freddie has also played stellar defense. When you have a healthy Freddie Freeman on the field, he delivers like an MVP level candidate. And when looking at the 2019 season, Freddie will be better protected in that Atlanta Braves lineup. This protection should allow Freddie Freeman to take his game to another level.
No. 1: Joey Votto
Now when you set out to make a list like this personal choices and bias will affect who you choose. Joey Votto is one of my favorite players in Major League Baseball. And when you at his outstanding career you can understand why he ranks number one. When it comes to