Ranking the Top 10 First Basemen Before the 2024 MLB Season

MLB First Basemen Rankings, Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

This represents the continuation of a series ranking the Top 10 players at each position for the 2024 season. Next up, we take a look at MLB first basemen.

Given that this is a forward-thinking projection, please remember: if a younger player is on the rise, I will project them to be better. If an older player is on the decline, I will project them to be worse. If a player had a freak awful 2023 season after being on the rise, I will project them to be better as long as there are no off-the-field issues.

Let’s dive in and explore Chris’ top 10 first basemen for the 2024 MLB season. Click here for an archive of other positions.


First Basemen Rankings: Honorable Mentions

10. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has the potential to be in the top five or even the top three. In 2021, he hit 48 home runs, slashed .311/.401/.601, and posted a 166 WRC+ (the league average is 100). However, his numbers have taken a big dip over the past two years. He had a WRC+ of 133 in 2022 and 118 in 2023. In addition to his decline at the plate, he has been pretty brutal in the field, amassing just -6.0 DRS last year. He was also 19th amongst first basemen in Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

With that said, Guerrero will turn just 25 in March. This leads me to believe that while he might not be as good as he was in 2021, he’ll probably have a bounce-back year.


9. LaMonte Wade Jr.

Wade had a career season last year, slashing .256/.373/.417 with a 122 WRC+. However, he was just below average in the field with zero DRS. He finished 12th in WAR amongst all first basemen. Wade also just turned 30, so while his prime may have begun late, the fact he has been on the rise the past couple of seasons is good news for him and the Giants.

8. Nathaniel Lowe

Lowe is an all-around solid first baseman. In 2022, he was one of the best-hitting first basemen in the league, contributing 27 home runs, a .302/.358/.492 slash line, and 144 WRC+. With this being said, he took a big step back in 2023, where he only hit 17 home runs, slashed .262/.360/.414, and had a 114 WRC+. While this is by no means bad, you want him to be closer to 2022 than 2023. He still got on base at an elite level but would ideally put his bat on the ball a bit more.

He has also been just about average in the field for a few years now. While he finished 11th in WAR last year, he is only 28. This season, I expect him to be closer to 2022 than 2023.

7. Christian Walker

The best defensive first baseman in the league comes in at No. 7. In 2022, Walker led the position in DRS with 17.0, which was 11 more than the player who finished second. Last season, though, he finished in second with nine. In addition to his elite defense, he is super solid at the plate. Walker hit 33 home runs, slashed .258/.333/.497, and amassed a 120 WRC+ last year.


With this fantastic versatility and ability, you might think that No. 7 is too low. However, I am expecting bounce-back years from a couple of the players ahead of him, and the position is also super stacked to begin with.

6. Pete Alonso

One of the best pure power hitters in the game comes in at No. 6. In 2022, he hit 40 home runs, slashed .271/.352/.518, and had a 141 WRC+. However, Alonso took a big step back in 2023. Despite hitting six more home runs, his batting average dropped drastically as he slashed .217/.318/.504 with a 121 WRC+. He was, however, pretty solid in the field, ranking fourth in DRS amongst qualified first basemen.

Alonso is a free agent after the 2024 season, and although the Mets will likely give him a blank check regardless of what happens, he will still be looking to earn his money. The Mets are surely hoping he will bounce back as someone who can hit for both power and contact this year.

5. Paul Goldschmidt

The 2022 National League MVP comes in fifth. That year, he hit 35 home runs, slashed .317/.404/.578, and finished with a 176 WRC+. However, like a few of the other first basemen, he took a step back in 2023 with 25 home runs, a .268/.363/.447 slash line, and a 122 WRC+. While this is by no means below average, it’s just not up to his MVP level.

Goldschmidt was also pretty good in the field with 3.0 DRS in 2023. Goldschmidt will be 37 by the time the upcoming season finishes, so he could be on the decline. However, there’s no doubt that he could have another strong year.

4. Yandy Diaz

Debatably the best-hitting first baseman in the league comes in at No. 4. Diaz was on fire all of last season, hitting 22 home runs, slashing .330/.410/.522, and contributing a 164 WRC+. He was approximately average in the field with zero DRS. Diaz will be 33 by the end of the season, so it is pretty cool to see him “peaking” at this age. Will this continue? That’s unclear, but there is no reason to believe he will drop outside of the top five.

3. Matt Olson

The fact that a guy who hit 54 home runs last season is third on this list shows how stacked the position is. Olson slashed .283/.389/.604 and had a 160 WRC+. He was also third in DRS with 8.0. Why is this fantastic two-way player only at No. 3? Well, the two guys ahead of him happen to have solid arguments for best in the world when they are at their best.

2. Bryce Harper

A player who is brand new to the position comes in at No. 2. There are only two or three guys in all of baseball who I would want in a big spot more than Harper. After being named MVP in 2021, he played 99 games in 2022 and 126 in 2023. (He underwent Tommy John surgery in between 2022 and 2023.) With this being said, he still played like one of the best players in the league, finishing with 139 and 142 WRC+, respectively.

Harper was also phenomenal in the playoffs in both seasons. He finished with a 217 WRC+ in the 2022 postseason and 186+ in 2023. He is only staying at No. 2 for now given that he does not have a ton of experience playing first base yet, but he very well might find himself in the top spot by the end of the season.

1. Freddie Freeman

Who else? Despite not being the power hitter Olson is, Freeman has been just as good, if not better, than his replacement. Last season, he hit 29 home runs, slashed .331/.410/.567, and finished with a 163 WRC+. Even though he played somewhat poorly in the postseason, he is still someone you should trust in big spots. The three seasons prior, he finished the postseasons with WRC+ values of 142, 169, and 245, respectively.

Furthermore, statistically speaking, Freeman is the best baserunning first baseman in the league. Though he can struggle in the field, when you factor in his ability to get on base, hit for power, run on the basepaths, show up in the playoffs, and have all the leadership skills and intangibles you can ask for, that’s the best first baseman in the league.

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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