2023 MLB Fantasy: Which First Baseman Should You Target with Vinnie Pasquantino Out?

The Kansas City Royals have not had it easy in 2023. The Royals entered play on June 14 with the third-worst team OPS and that figure may dip even further with the loss of Vinnie Pasquantino. If you’re one of the owners of Pasquantino and in need to pivot, here’s a look some options to consider.

Related: 2023 MLB Fantasy: Giants OF Luis Matos Enters the Fray as a Waiver Wire Option

A Look at Pasquantino

After a strong 2022 campaign with the Royals, Vinnie Pasquantino‘s first full season in Kansas City had been an odd one prior to this point.

Across 61 games, Pasquantino hit .247 with nine home runs and 26 runs batted in. The 25-year-old did a strong job of putting the ball in play, as indicated by a very low 11.9% K% rate that was tenth-best in the Majors (min. 175 PA) and an impressive 90.8% Zone Contact% rate. On the other hand, “The Italian Nightmare” chased a lot this season, particularly on pitches on the outer half of the plate.

Nonetheless, the 25-year-old still offered a fair amount of value to both fantasy owners and more importantly, the a struggling Royals team. Pasquantino ranked third on the team in home runs, behind Salvador Perez (14) and Bobby Witt Jr. (11), and tied for third in runs batted in. Unfortunately, Pasquantino’s time this season has concluded.

The Royals first baseman will require shoulder surgery and is set to miss the remainder of the 2023 campaign. That injury will likely lead to some fantasy owners scrambling for a replacement.

A Look at Potential Replacements

As far as replacement first baseman options are concerned, there are some names that can provide a lift. For those in 12-team leagues, Jose Abreu is not a terrible option despite a rough start to his season. Over the past week, the former AL MVP hit .346 and two home runs, all of which are numbers that baseball fans would expect from the Astros infielder.

Other names to consider are LaMonte Wade Jr., Josh Bell, Brendan Donovan, and Miguel Vargas. Donovan and Vargas are utility options, as both can play multiple positions. Wade Jr. can play outfield, but be wary of the Giants’ tendencies to sit him against lefties. As we noted earlier in the year, the Giants first baseman has historically been a platoon bat and his splits against lefties and righties are significant. On the other hand, his power and ability to score runs do carry weight.

Then, there’s Josh Bell. Personally, I love Josh Bell as a player. However, Bell’s season thus far has not been up to the standards he’s set in recent season. The good news, though, is that the Guardians infielder’s looked much more like the slugger that Nationals fans saw last season. Since May 28, Bell posted a .350 average with three home runs and ten runs batted in.

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