With the Super Bowl now in the rearview mirror, baseball is next up to bat to start its season. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a week, and America’s pastime will be in full swing before we know it. That being said, here’s a look at the MLB’s top five first basemen heading into the 2019 season.
Who’s on first? pic.twitter.com/5ukTsBTWGa— MLB (@MLB) February 6, 2019
5) Rhys Hoskins
How are the best hitters in the game able to hit every location hard? In this clip, Rhys Hoskins is crushing every location 1-9. The launch is almost identical in every location except slight changes in posture. pic.twitter.com/BOQJ6ARFRH— Bradley Spencer (@B_radSpence) January 29, 2019
Hoskins, just 25-years-old, is a powerful right-handed hitting first basemen for the Philadelphia Phillies. He came in fourth in ROY voting in 2017.
In just his second year in the league, Hoskins drove in 96 runs and hit 34 homers, both good for top five among first basemen. He was also top five in slugging percentage, top 10 in hits and OBP. He needs to get his batting average up a bit—he hit just .246 in 2018—but Hoskins has already established himself as a top-tier first basement in just two years in the MLB. Look for him to have an outstanding season in 2019 and continue to make a name for himself.
4) Freddie Freeman
Freeman led all first basemen with 191 hits in 2018. The Braves’ first baseman also led that group in batting average, doubles, and WAR and was top five in RBI, slugging percentage, OBP, and OPS. He is arguably the best offensive first baseman in the MLB.
Today’s tea:— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) February 6, 2019
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In fielding percentage and errors, however, Freeman ranked 13th and 14th, respectively, among MLB first basemen. If he can get his defensive numbers up, he’ll have a legitimate shot at vaulting up to the top of these rankings.
3) Anthony Rizzo
Rizzo, an eight-year vet, won an NL Gold Glove in 2018, his second in two years. It’s not just his defensive prowess that makes him a quality first baseman, though. The Chicago Cubs’ slugger was top 10 among first basemen in batting average, home runs, and slugging percentage and top five in hits, RBI, OBP, and OPS.
He can do it on both sides of the ball and helped lead Chicago to its first World Series title in 108 years in 2016. He’ll be looking to continue his success and get the Cubs back on top of the NL Central this season. Just 29-years-old, Rizzo has plenty of time to remain a top threat to opposing teams at first base.
2) Joey Votto
Joey Votto is coming off of another stellar season, earning his second straight—and sixth overall—all-star selection. Always a threat to get on base, Votto led the NL in OBP for the third straight season and seventh time in his career, posting an absurd .417 mark.
His .427 career OBP is good for first among all active players and 12th in MLB history (the next closest active player is Mike Trout, sitting at 23rd with an OBP of .416). He’s also second among active players in walks for his career. His disciplined, methodical approach at the plate will allow him plenty of longevity as a batter. The Reds are retooled and ready to make a run at the NL Central title in 2019, and their captain will surely be a force at first base in his 13th season with the team.
1) Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt has one of the best bats in the league. He’s won two straight NL Silver Slugger awards and four total in his career. He also finished in the top six for NL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons and won a Gold Glove in 2017.
Among first basemen in the league last year, Goldy ranked top five in batting average, walks,