It shouldn’t be a secret that some of the best first basemen in 2023 will be among the best offensive players in baseball this season, period.
Historically, some of the best players in baseball history have been first basemen. Not surprisingly, the current crop of first basemen in the majors is quite impressive.
Best first basemen 2023
Of course, the current best 1B in baseball is definitely up for debate. Even after trimming our list to the 10 best first basemen in 2023, there is a lot to discuss.
At least three or four of them have an argument for being the best in the league right now while a few others aren’t far behind. With that in mind, let’s take a look at our list of the top first basemen in MLB ahead of the 2023 season.
10. Christian Walker
It would have been impossible to leave Christian Walker off this list after he produced an OPS over .800 and won Gold Glove honors in 2022. Let’s face it, his 36 homers and 94 RBIs last year were no joke.
The caveat is that those numbers aren’t necessarily in line with his track record, which has been a little more up and down. However, Walker has at least proven that he’s capable of putting up numbers like that while also playing quality defense.
That’s more than a lot of starting first basemen in the majors can say, which means he deserves the benefit of the doubt heading into 2023 after a career year in 2022.
9. Anthony Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo’s days of being an all-star might be behind him and he may not have gotten the biggest deal on the free-agent market. But the 33-year-old should still be considered among the top first basemen in the majors.
If nothing else, he’s playing with the right team because his bat was built to hit at Yankee Stadium. Even past his peak, Rizzo still tied his career-high in home runs with 32 last season. Even with a disappointing .224 average, he still produced an OPS of .818, which isn’t easy to do.
The Yankees also have a player who has four Gold Gloves on his resume and still has one of the slickest gloves among first basemen, keeping Rizzo among the second-tier of first basemen in the majors.
8. Rhys Hoskins
Defensive shortcomings have long prevented Rhys Hoskins from becoming an elite first baseman. But his bat does more than enough talking to keep him among the top-10 players at his position.
Hoskins contributed 30 homers and 33 doubles to the Phillies last season, and it wasn’t even among the best seasons of his career. The Phillies know exactly what they have with Hoskins, and what they have is a player who can do damage with the bat every time he steps in the batter’s box.
7. Jose Abreu
His age says that Jose Abreu should be past his prime, but his numbers still say that he should be one of MLB’s best first basemen in 2023. The 36-year-old was the American League MVP during the shortened 2020 season and has continued to produce an OPS of over .800 in back-to-back seasons.
The Astros believed Abreu was still worth a three-year, $58.5 million deal during the offseason, so the belief in baseball is that he still has some productive years left. While his 15 home runs last season were a little disappointing, Abreu made up for it by hitting .304 and contributing 40 doubles. Plus, with a hitter-friendly park in Houston, the homers should return in 2023.
6. Nathaniel Lowe
Even if the average fan doesn’t know a lot about him, Nathaniel Lowe still figures to be among the best first basemen in 2023. He’s just 27 and won Silver Slugger honors last season after batting .302 with an OPS of .850 with the Rangers. It looked like hitting .264 with 18 homers in Texas in 2021 would be his breakout season.
But Lowe was even better in 2022, nearly producing a slugging percentage of .500. The Rangers definitely have a keeper, and given the salary he’s set to make in 2023, he might be one of the most valuable first basemen in the majors this season because Texas is getting a bargain.
5. Matt Olson
Even if he couldn’t quite fill Freddie Freeman’s shoes in Atlanta, the Braves can’t have too many complaints about Matt Olson after last season. He still gave them 34 homers and 103 RBIs last season while posting an OPS of .802.
Don’t forget that Olson also won two Gold Gloves early in his career while playing in Oakland. He’s no slouch defensively and is still good for at least 70 extra-base hits per season. That still puts him well above the average first baseman.
4. Pete Alonso
While he sometimes has a reputation for being only a power hitter, Pete Alonso is much more than that. He’s managed to turn himself into an above-average defensive first baseman, even if he’ll never be a Gold Glove contender.
Of course, Alonso’s bat is what gets the most attention, and for good reason. He’s posted career-highs in batting average, home runs, RBIs, and OPS last season. Now that he has a little more help around him in the Mets lineup, Alonso has become more dangerous, especially since he’s a more patient hitter. Plus, as a two-time Home Run Derby champ, he’s a threat to go yard in every at-bat.
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
The crazy thing with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is that he’ll still only be 24 on opening day in 2023. The guy already has more than 100 career home runs, making it clear that he’ll be one of the best first basemen in 2023.
With just 32 home runs and an OPS of .819, one could say that he actually underachieved last season. But calling that an underachievement speaks to how good Guerrero can be.
To the surprise of some, he also won the Gold Glove in 2022, starting 126 games at first base for the Blue Jays. Other than not having elite speed, Guerrero is a complete player and not far behind the two first basemen ahead of him on our list.
2. Freddie Freeman
Even if he’s not at the top of our list, Freddie Freeman is still in line to be considered one of the greatest first basemen of all time when he retires. Granted, that might not be for a long time after he hit .325 with an OPS of .918 during his first season with the Dodgers last year.
The former MVP settled in quickly with his new team, carrying the Dodgers for long stretches last season. Over the last seven years, Freeman has hit .300 or better six times and had an OPS of .900 or better five times. There’s no reason to think that will change in 2023.
1. Paul Goldschmidt
After winning MVP honors last season, we have to put Paul Goldschmidt at the top of the list of the top first basemen in MLB. While he shouldn’t still be in his prime at age 35, that’s not what the numbers say.
His OPS has been over .800 every year of his career and over .875 in 20 straight seasons. Plus, his .982 OPS last year was the second-highest of his career. Don’t forget that Goldschmidt also owns four Gold Glove awards, winning most recently in 2021.
He’s still an elite player both offensively and defensively, making him the best first baseman in baseball heading into the 2023 season.