2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the best first basemen?

The start of MLB Spring Training is just a few weeks away, and that means it’s nearly time to embark on a brand new season. We continue our look at the best players at each position, with our focus now on the first basemen. So, which players made our list? Let’s take a look at our top five, starting with one of the game’s best sluggers.

Related: 2023 MLB Power Rankings: Who are the best catchers?

5. Matt Olson

We start off the top five with Braves first baseman Matt Olson. Atlanta acquired Olson to replace a franchise icon, and performed well in his first season with the Braves. Despite an ugly end to the regular season, Olson smacked 34 home runs in 2022, the third time in four seasons that the Georgia native eclipsed at least 30 in a season. The power-hitting first baseman — regularly among the best in terms of exit velocity and Hard Hit% — has clubbed 87 home runs over the last three seasons, good for fifth among all players.

While Olson will whiff on a regular basis, it’s hard to find a slugger who has good plate discipline and the kind of power that the former All-Star possesses in his skillset.

4. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Originally called up as a third baseman, Blue Jays infielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. moved to first at the start of the abbreviated 2020 season. Since then, Guerrero Jr. has morphed into one of the game’s most feared sluggers. Guerrero Jr. has recorded 169 extra base hits over the past three seasons, the fifth-most among all MLB players. The son of Vladimir Guerrero may not have been able to replicate a 48 home run 2021 campaign in 2022, but Guerrero Jr. did slug 32 homers last season.

Guerrero Jr. also managed to receive recognition for his defensive work after last season. The Blue Jay first baseman won his first AL Gold Glove in 2022, despite a below-average -4 Outs Above Average.

3. Pete Alonso

It’s hard to have a better start to one’s career than what Pete Alonso did in 2019. The Mets slugger hit 53 home runs that year, a figure that led all of MLB and broke Aaron Judge‘s record for most in a rookie campaign. While Alonso hasn’t replicated that mark since, the infielder has remained a problem for opposing pitchers. Alonso has hit 93 home runs over the last three season, the second-most out of all players. And in 2022, the Florida native led all of baseball in RBIs (131).

The two-time Home Run Derby winner will be key to the Mets’ World Series hopes in 2023. New York is expected to have one of the game’s best lineups next season, thanks in part to the presence of Alonso.

2. Freddie Freeman

After a decade in Atlanta that saw Freddie Freeman win three Silver Slugger awards and a World Series championship, the California native headed home in 2022. Freeman inked a massive deal with the Dodgers, and came as advertised last season. The Dodgers infielder hit .325/.407/.511, as Freeman led all NL hitters in plate appearances, runs, doubles, hits, and OBP. Among one of the game’s best line drive hitters, the 33-year-old also hit 21 home runs in 2022. Last season marked the ninth time in his career in which Freeman hit at least 20 home runs.

Since his debut, Freeman has been one of the game’s best all-around hitters. The 33-year-old will open up 2023 just 97 hits shy of 2,000. Provided that he stays healthy, he should eclipse that mark for a Dodgers team that has high asperations this upcoming season.

1. Paul Goldschmidt

At the top spot of our list is the reigning NL MVP, Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt hit .317/.404/.578 last season, with 35 home runs and 115 RBIs. The Cardinals slugger led all NL players in slugging and OPS, and his 180 OPS+ marked a career-high for the 35-year-old first baseman.

St. Louis has one of the best infields in baseball, thanks in no large part to someone like Goldschmidt. The seven-time All-Star is once again expected to be a key cog for the reigning NL Central division champions.

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