2018 MLB Season: Top 5 First Basemen
Spring Training 2018 is underway and there are lots of question marks surrounding the upcoming MLB season. Well, Couch Rider Report is expanding and will be on the ball covering everything baseball from this point on. To start, we’re going to bring you a series of Top 5 players from each position for the upcoming year in hopes that each player succeeds at a higher level than they did a year ago. So, without further ado, here is the inaugural Couch Rider Report, Top 5 First Basemen for 2018.
1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
There is no arguing that Goldy is and should be ranked at the top of the list for first basemen after a fantastic 2017 season. He finished last year with a .297-36-120 stat line. Throughout his career, Paul has saved his truly transcendent seasons for odd-numbered years, but it’s believed that he will be able to meet and/or improve on his stat line from 2017. His 120 RBI’s was good for No. 4 in the majors. Only Stanton, Arenado and Ozuna had more with 130, 129 and 124 respectively. Goldy has made a strength is figuring out a way to modulate an elevated bat path and developing a knack for finding a hole in the defense on a consistent basis. This led to him getting 166 hits on the season. His launch angle of 32-degrees ended up being the highest of the 30+ home run hitters last season. Provided he’s able to improve all his numbers from last season, he could end up having a monster 2018 and hold on to the No. 1 spot in our Top 5.
2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto seems to be an ageless wonder. He truly could have won the MVP last season with the year he had. His OPS of 1.032 topped all first basemen qualifiers. However, He walked more than twice as much as the No. 2 first baseman, Freddie Freeman. Pitches that Votto faced edged outside the strike zone. He only went after 5.3 percent of the time, which was no doubt the lowest amongst all hitters in the majors. Joey Bats finished the season with a stat line of .320-36-100. He also added 106 runs and 5 stolen bases. While Goldschmidt holds the top spot, Votto could have easily taken that after a fantastic 2017 season. Votto will be 35 in September, so it will be interesting to see if he’s able to have a repeat performance of last season. Nonetheless, Votto is very deserving of the No. 2 spot in the CRR top 5.
3. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
Jose had a huge bounce-back season in 2017. A poor 2016 had himself and his doubters wondering if he still had what it took to compete in the MLB. Well, he responded to his critics in a big way last season with a stat line of .300-33-100 while adding 90 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. While I’m reluctant on placing him in the No. 3 spot, he was able to salvage his image with the impressive showing. He’s going to need back to back seasons in order to keep his spot in the top five because consistency is a big thing in baseball. Jose is one of those players that just has struggled in that area in past seasons.
4. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
If Freeman can stay healthy, he will no doubt be a stud as he’s just entering his prime. In just 117 games played last season, he recorded a stat line of .307-28-71. He also had 84 runs scored and snagged 8 bases in his partial season. The sky is the limit for Freddie as he definitely has Tier 1 first baseman potential. If you were to give a grade to Freeman in the categories of batting average, runs, home runs, RBI’s & stolen bases, the only area he’d struggle in is stolen bases. Not bad for the left-handed power hitter. If Freeman played the entire season, he’d no doubt be in the No. 3 spot.
5. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
Anthony is an all around great guy! Most recently he went back to his hometown after his high school was the victim of a heartless attack on Valentine’s Day & attended all the vigils. He’s a guy you can look up to on & off the field. However, he does have a bit of a low career batting average of .268 and that’s why he sits at the No. 5 spot. Despite the low average, he’s been quite consistent everywhere else. The last three seasons he’s had 101 or 109 RBI’s respectively. In HR’s he’s had 31 or 32 each of the last four years and scored between 89 and 99 runs the last four seasons as well. Due to his consistency, he’s very much deserving of rounding out our inaugural first baseman Top 5.