Spring Training has arrived, and that means time to prep for fantasy baseball drafts. We’ve already begun our looks at the best players at each position, and we now move to the first basemen of Major League Baseball. The first base crop is a deep one, as several standouts from last season didn’t even make our top ten. With that said, let’s take a look at who did, and we like each player on this list.
10. Josh Bell
We’ll start off with a bit of an aggressive ranking, in new Guardians first baseman Josh Bell. There are strong arguments to be made for C.J. Cron, Christian Walker, or Anthony Rizzo, but Bell does offer a good amount of value and fantasy potential — for a few reasons. The 30-year-old possesses a great amount of strength and power, as well as a keen eye and approach at the plate. Set to bat in the middle of a Guardians lineup that can hit and get on base, Bell stands a good chance to drive in more than the 71 RBIs he posted last season.
Yes, a potential rehash of Bell’s second half of 2022 is a concern. But, one can’t ignore Bell’s prior production, which includes three 20+ home run campaigns and a stand out first half from last season.
9. Vinnie Pasquantino
We’ve already broken down Royals first baseman Vinnie Pasquantino in more detail back in January, but we’ll briefly summarize our thoughts on the “Italian Nightmare.” Yes, we love Pasquantino’s fantasy value for the 2023 season. The 25-year-old can pound on the baseball, work counts, and hit for average. While it was a small sample size, the Royals infielder posted an impressive .960 OPS over the final two months of the regular season, a total that put him among the top ten in all of baseball.
We noted our concerns about the support around Pasquantino in January — and those still stand. But, the potential value does outweigh the negatives with the young slugger.
8. Rhys Hoskins
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins enters his final year before free agency, so it’s fair to expect a monster campaign — right? Last season in Philadelphia, Hoskins hit .246/.332/.462 with 30 home runs, 79 RBIs, and 81 runs scored. The 29-year-old was one of just 16 players — and one of six first basemen — last season to have at least 30 homers, 70 runs batted in, and 80 runs scored during the regular season.
Batting average can be a bit of concern for someone like Hoskins, a career. 242 hitter that does tend to strike out a lot. But, Hoskins is a consistent power hitter who should once again benefit from being in the middle of the Phillies lineup.
7. Nathaniel Lowe
The 2022 campaign proved to be a breakout campaign for Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe, who smacked 27 home runs and 76 RBIs for Texas. Lowe posted the fifth-highest batting average (.302) among first baseman from last year, up from his .264 batting average from a year earlier.
The Rangers have a solid lineup once again in 2023, and Lowe should be in the middle of things yet again. While the 27-year-old may not have the track record as compared to others on this list, he does have the power and plate discipline to make things happen.
6. José Abreu
New Astros 1B José Abreu could benefit greatly from the move to Houston, as he’s now set to figure in the middle of a deep lineup. With the White Sox last year, Abreu hit .304/.378/.446 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs, and 85 runs scored. The power numbers were down from 2021, a season that saw Abreu belt 30 home runs and 117 RBIs for Chicago. Despite that, Abreu made plenty of hard contact in what was a strong season overall.
A former AL MVP and a player who has cracked the 30 home run marker in five seasons, it’s hard not to like Abreu’s chances of being a fantasy monster this year.
5. Matt Olson
It was a bit of a bizarre season for Matt Olson, one that saw the Braves first baseman crack the 30 home run plateau for the third time in four seasons. On the surface, Olson did just fine. The 28-year-old finished fifth among all first basemen in home runs (34), and third in RBIs (103). But, an uneven September did leave a sour taste in the owners who were hoping for a good run in the fantasy playoffs. The former All-Star hit just .193 in the final full month of the season, but did crack seven home runs along the way.
Predicting Olson’s batting average can be a bit of a moving target. But in a strong Braves lineup, Olson should be in good shape to have another 30+ HR, 100+ RBI campaign.
4. Freddie Freeman
Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman‘s first season in Los Angeles went quite well from a statistical standpoint. Freeman posted a fantastic .325 in 2022 and scored 117 times, both figures best among all first basemen. Not to mention, the 33-year-old drove in 100 runs last year, the third time that Freeman accumulated at least 100 RBIs in a single season. Freeman also proved to be a threat on the basepaths, as he stole a career-high 13 bags in 2022.
Very few in baseball can match Freeman’s ability to hit for a high batting average, and hit home runs.
3. Pete Alonso
Last season proved to be a strong one for Mets star Pete Alonso, who tied for the MLB lead in RBIs (131) in his fourth season. The infielder cracked 40 home runs for the Mets in 2022, a total that put him in a tie for third among all players, alongside Angels sensation Mike Trout. While Alonso didn’t bat as high as compared to Abreu, Lowe, or Freeman, the 28-year-old recorded a career-high .271 batting average.
In a stacked Mets lineup yet again, Alonso should have a good chance to crack the 100 RBI marker in 2023.
2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
A couple of weeks ago, we broke down whether Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should be considered the top first baseman in fantasy. While Vlad was in 2021, someone else surpassed him last year. That doesn’t mean that Guerrero Jr, who hit 32 home runs and drove in 97, can’t be the top dog when it’s all said and done in 2023. The 23-year-old has incredible power, and could benefit from a polished lineup that is set to include Daulton Varsho and Brandon Belt this season.
For those concerned about Guerrero’s dip in production, just think back to what the Blue Jays star did in 2021.
1. Paul Goldschmidt
It’s hard to make an argument that reigning NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt isn’t the top first baseman in fantasy to start the year. “Goldy” was just one of two players in baseball last season to hit 30 or more home runs, at least 100 RBIs, and hit for a batting average of .300 or better. The only other player to do that besides Goldschmidt? Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
As we documented in our fantasy profile, Goldschmidt has been one of the league’s most consistent hitters for the past decade. Unless an injury pops up, it’s hard to envision a tough campaign for the Cardinals first baseman.