Ranking the best first basemen 2022 will be a tough task, as it’s one of the most talent-filled positions in Major League Baseball entering the season. In fact, some of the best two-way contributors in the league also happen to be first basemen.

Best first basemen 2022

Leaving out some names such as Anthony Rizzo, Ty France or Jared Walsh wasn’t an easy decision. But, judging by last year’s production and the projection for next season, these are the 10 top first basemen right now.

10. Brandon Belt

With Buster Posey out of the picture and Kris Bryant also gone, the San Francisco Giants will need someone to step up at the plate in 2022. That’s where Brandon Belt, one of the most consistent players in that position, will have to embrace a new role.

Belt is one of the best offensive first basemen in the league, fresh off a campaign with 29 home runs in just 97 games. He slashed .274/.378/.597 with 59 RBIs as well, and the only question is whether he’ll be able to stay healthy.

9. Yuli Gurriel

Yuli Gurriel is the definition of a late bloomer. Despite not making his MLB debut until the ripe age of 32, he’s already entered the Houston Astros history books with his incredible offensive production.

    

Fresh off winning the American League battle title and the Gold Glove, Gurriel is expected to do plenty of heavy lifting again in 2022. Last year, he had five defensive runs saved to go along with 15 homers, 81 RBIs, 59 walks, and a slash line of .319/.383/.462 with a .846 OPS, and 131 OPS+.

8. Joey Votto

No one can defeat Father Time but Joey Votto sure has tried. He’s coming off a solid season at age 37, posting the third 30+ homer campaign of his Hall of Famer career, just when everybody thought he was starting to slow down.

Votto is coming off a season where he slashed 266/.375/.563 with 36 home runs, 99 RBIs, 77 walks, .938 OPS, 136 OPS+. On top of that, he had four defensive runs saved and posted an insane 1.057 OPS after the All-Star break. The Cincinnati Reds may not be very good but they can always count on their star to bail them out.

7. Jose Abreu

The fact that an average defender like Jose Abreu ranks seventh on this list just speaks volumes of how incredibly gifted and impactful he is in terms of offensive production. Despite his -1 defensive runs saved and -1 outs above average, there’s no way we could’ve left one of the best hitters in the game out of this list.

    

He has five seasons with 30+ home runs and slashed .261/.351/.481 with 117 RBIs and 61 walks last season. Notably, it was actually a down year for him after posting a wRC+ of 165 a couple of seasons ago and winning AL MVP in the COVID-19-shortened season.

6. Pete Alonso

Pete Alonso‘s haters may call him one-dimensional but his numbers prove that he’s one of the top first basemen right now. Besides his well-known knack for hitting moon shots, Alonso’s defense continues to improve, as he showed with his five defensive runs saved, two outs above average, and a 3.0 fWAR.

He’s coming off a season slashing .262/.344/.519 with 37 home runs, 27 doubles, and a wRC+ of 133, and we don’t have to tell you the kind of power he has. Should his defensive development continue, he could be on the podium of this list by the end of next season.

5. Paul Goldschmidt

The years go by and Paul Goldschmidt continues to be one of the signature names in baseball and one of the best first basemen in MLB in 2022.

Even though he’s 34 years old, he’s coming off a season slashing .294/.365/.514 with 31 home runs and a 138 wRC+ after some struggles in the shortened campaign.

Goldschmidt continues to put together a Hall of Fame kind of résumé, winning the fourth Gold Glove of his remarkable career. He had 99 RBIs, 67 walks, nine defensive runs saved, six outs above average, and a 4.9 fWAR last season.

4. Max Muncy

Max Muncy has made a name for himself for his timely hitting for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Regardless of where Dave Roberts has called him to hit in the Dodgers’ overpowered lineup, Muncy has always been a steady offensive contributor.

Muncy has all the offensive tools you’re looking at as a potential cleanup hitter and has excelled as a defender as well. Ironically, his days as a first baseman are now numbered, as the Dodgers landed Freddie Freeman. Now, he’s expected to take those numbers (140 wRC+, a 14.0% walk rate) from last season to the next step as the team’s designated hitter.

3. Matt Olson

The Atlanta Braves came to realize the fact that they wouldn’t be able to keep Freddie Freeman, so they traded for the best available replacement. Matt Olson had already outgrown the ever-rebuilding Oakland Athletics and was ready for a bigger challenge in his career.

Olson is a two-time Gold Glove winner who’s also topped the 35-homer mark three times thus far in his career. He’s coming off his best season yet with a 146 wRC+, 39 home runs, 111 RBI, 5.8 rWAR, and a .379 wOBA. He’s one of the best first basemen in MLB in 2022 and the Braves didn’t hesitate to sign him to a very lucrative eight-year deal to fill in for Freeman.

Read more: Preseason MLB position rankings

2. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Even though everybody was talking about Shohei Ohtani (and for very good reason), Vladimir Guerrero Jr. still became a strong candidate to win American League MVP honors last season. His surge as one of the league’s deadliest sluggers is just getting started, and that’s what makes him even scarier.

Guerrero’s now making his way in the league after some early doubts about his ability to adjust and avoid striking out so much. He led the league in nearly every hitting-related advanced stat and would’ve been the MVP if it wasn’t for Ohtani’s historically great season. He’s just 23 and the Toronto Blue Jays are building a competitive squad around him.

1. Freddie Freeman

You know what they say. The rich always get richer, and that’s what happened with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It wasn’t enough for them to have Max Muncy and the most stacked lineup in all of baseball already. No, they also wanted to have Freddie Freeman as well.

Freeman may not be the offensive juggernaut Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has become but he’s the best overall first baseman in the game. He’s a top-notch fielder, a timely hitter who can hit for contact or power, and a positive veteran leader presence in the clubhouse. He followed his NL MVP campaign with a .300/.393/.503 with a .416 xwOBA and a 135 wRC+ slash line last season. He’s the best first basemen 2022.

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1 thought on “Ranking the 10 best first basemen ahead of the 2022 regular season”

  1. Gurriel is far from a late bloomer, matter of fact he was a super star by 22. The issue was that he didn’t leave Cuba until his early 30’s. Otherwise, he would have been a 15 year pro by now.

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