Every offseason, MLB Network runs through a series of programming. One such show is about the Top 10 Right Now at each position. And as we have done in both 2018, 2019, and 2020, we will go over our Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
Just a quick note about this list, it is a personal list, and everyone will value different things from each position. So I encourage you to make your own list and see who makes the cut on your list.
#10: Vladimir Guerrero Jr
We begin our list of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Vladdy Jr made the move to first base just before starting the shortened 2020 campaign. This was done in hopes of lessening his defensive shortcomings. Moving to first can allow Vladdy to focus on what matters most and what brought him to “The Show,” his bat. Guerrero Jr would play in all 60 games during 2020 and play to the tune of an OPS+ of 115. (League Average OPS+ is 100.) Vlad was better than a good portion of the Majors’ in 2020, and he’s continuing to improve. With Vlad now having already made the switch to first and becoming more comfortable in the position, he should have a big 2021 campaign. So his inclusion on the list of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now is merited.
#9: Rhys Hoskins
The Philadelphia Phillies’ First Baseman is an underrated talent, in my book. Rhys would play in 41 games in 2020 and produce an OPS+ of 137, according to BaseballReference.com. Hoskins has the offensive ability to carry a team when going well. The Philadelphia Phillies are playing in what I believe to be the toughest division in baseball. And going into the 2021 season, the Phillies will be looking to compete for the NL East crown. Rhys Hoskins will play a major role in the Phillies’ success in 2021. During the 2020 campaign, Rhys would hit 10 homeruns and drive in 26. Now, if we estimate a normal 162 game campaign, those numbers would easily have been in the 30/80 range. And a regular season with those numbers could have pushed Hoskins further up the countdown.
#8: Brandon Belt
Brandon Belt is a name that was previously a perennial on my list of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now. However, injuries and ineffectiveness hurt his chances until now. Belt would return to form in 2020 put up solid numbers offensively. Across 51 games in 2020, Belt would hit 9 homeruns, drive in 30 RBIs and produce a slashline of .309/.425/.591. These monstrous numbers would result in an OPS+ of 178. While that OPS+ would be difficult to maintain over the course of a typical 162 game season, there’s no denying the feat’s impressiveness. Thus such a feat merits inclusion in our Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
#7: Mitch Moreland
Across 42 games for the Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres, Mitch Moreland dominated. During that stretch, Moreland would hit 10 homeruns with 29 RBIs and an OPS+ of 139. Now the majority of that would come in his 22 games with Boston to start the season. No matter where it came from, Moreland should continue the hot-hitting in 2021. Mitch also doesn’t receive much credit, but he is an adequate and serviceable defender at first base. So when compiling both his offensive and defensive ability, Mitch Moreland earned a place on this list of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
#6: Eric Hosmer
Eric Hosmer has become a name that has become synonymous with this list. Hosmer would have a huge bounce-back season in 2020 after somewhat struggling since signing in San Diego. But with the return to form of 2020, Hosmer slashed .287/.333/.517 for an OPS+ of 131. Eric would also blast 9 homeruns and drive in 36. Hosmer also brings a steady glove defensively in the field. And when you add in the bounce-back offensive year with better than league average defense, and you have one of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
#5: Pete Alonso
Pete Alonso is a powerhouse. In his rookie season, Alonso would smash 53 homeruns. In 2020 he would follow up with 16 in just 57 games. And while Alonso wouldn’t have quite the same success as in 2019, 2020 was still a strong campaign. The 2020 season would see Alonso produce an OPS+ of 123, which is considered All-Star level. And while his defense would lack, his offensive ability more than makes up the difference. So heading into the 2021 season, Alonso is going to have a better lineup around him. This should lead to an even better season for someone who’s already among the upper echelon of the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.
#4: Luke Voit
When the Yankees acquired Luke Voit, many people questioned the move, as Greg Bird was supposed to be the first baseman of the future. But that quickly changed with some outstanding hitting from Voit. Across his three seasons with the Yankees, Voit has been a monster. In 213 games with the Yanks, Voit’s hit 57 homeruns, driven in 147 RBIs, and slashed an incredible.279/.372/.543. These are honestly MVP caliber numbers during that timeframe. So heading into the 2021 season, Luke Voit will be a major presence and factor for the Yankees as they try to reclaim the AL East crown and win the World Series.
#3: Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt is a man that has found himself in this list essentially every season. Goldy has been a constant contributor to whatever team he’s been playing for in MLB. When looking at Goldschmidt’s numbers, 2019 was arguably his worst season, and he would still have an OPS+ of 115. Paul would still be 15% better than a league-average player in the season with his career’s lowest OPS+ season. Going into the 2021 season, there aren’t many first basemen that you would want more than Paul Goldschmidt.
#2: Jose Abreu
The Chicago White Sox’s first baseman is quietly a superstar. Because he’s playing on the White Sox instead of the Cubs, he doesn’t get first-billing news coverage. But that all changed in 2020 when Jose Abreu walked away with the AL MVP. Abreu would play in all 60 games in 2020 and mash 19 homeruns, drive in 60 RBIs, and slash .317/.370/.617. Jose Abreu has been as underrated a superstar as you can get in Major League Baseball. And so his inclusion on the list is well deserved.
#1: Freddie Freeman
And then there was one, Freddie Freeman is the number one First Baseman in the game. When examining the career of Freddie Freeman, it is astounding. If we look back at Freeman’s career since his first All-Star season of 2013, Freddie has been no worse than 32% better than league average. Let’s stop and make sense of that number 32% better than the league average player AT MINIMUM! Freddie Freeman has been the model of consistency and dedication. And add in the fact that Freddie Freeman is also a solid defender at the position, which gives him the edge over Abreu. So Freddie Freeman is the number one among the Top 10 First Basemen Right Now.