Okay, fine I get it. Baseball is almost done, and unless you are competing for a ‘ship, you’re probably not worried about late-season hot and cold streaks and if Spencer Torkelson will run into a five HR week, right? I do hope you all have happy endings and are satisfied with your seasons. Or at least are happy that it’s over?
Well, as Semisonic once crooned, every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. So looking at the first base landscape for next season, who is the one you want to take you home? I’ve got 25 first basemen, ranked here and in tiers for the way too early portion of your 2024 draft prep.
Tier One: Cream of the Crop that Rises to the Top
Either Freddie Freeman or Matt Olson would occupy my top spot in first base ranks at this time. Either are great choices. I would probably, if forced to choose, take Olson just because of the power, but Freeman’s average upside may be too great to pass up. Basically, and here is the crack analysis you come for, either is a good choice to carry your team next year.
Tier Two: I Believe They Can Fly
I just believe in these guys and I would happily draft them. Any of them have first round upside and have performed at a first round level in the past. Here’s how I have them for next year, in order
Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: The guy has been a disappointment, I get it. I just believe in a guy who makes contact as often as he does and hits it hard so often. It’s probably a mechanical tweak that needs to be made. Or he needs to have an offseason where he works super super hard and gets ripped again like he did that one year he was like an MVP and stuff. Oh, wait, or weight, is there a correlation there? I’m still in on Vladdy if he can find that happy spot again.
Bryce Harper: Okay, let’s see if we spot a pattern here with Bryce. Remember, he came back way early from Tommy John and got more healthy as the year went on.
I see no reason to doubt that Harper will be back in form next year. The power finally came back in August and I think it’s here to stay. I’m happy to take a discount on the future Cooperstown resident. Of course, he may not move there, but I think a plaque is in his future.
Cody Bellinger: Depends on where he lands but I’ll have him fifth next year. Unless he goes to Coors. This is a Boras guy, remember? He’s going to the highest bidder. This is not relevant though. I do buy into what he’s done, why not? It’s not like he’s ever done this type of season before and fell off completely, right? That’s what I would say to guys to deter them from getting a big Belly.
Tier 3: Pete Alonso
He’s better than the rest of the guys below him, and not as good as the guys above him. Polar Bear gets some ice and his own tier.
Tier 4: Zone of Good Future Values
Triston Casas is my pick for next year and I anticipate rostering him often. The guy has been nails since June started. Pedigree plus results equals Educator approved!
Goldie: I’m not taking him but you can. He’s gonna be 36. My process doesn’t take guys at this age.
Yandy: Great season, but taking him here assumes that his power surge is real. The average and OBP are consistent for him. His power, dude had 12 HR in the first two months. He’s had six in the 3 plus months since. Good hitter, but would have to make up his power later.
Ryan Mountcastle: Once the guy got healthy he’s hit over .350. I’ll probably be ranking him as equal with Casas.
Candelario: I’m assuming he stays in Chicago because they need him so so badly and he likes it there and they have money.
Christian Walker: shut me up which is hard to do. I still don’t think I’ll have a lot of him due to being in his 30s, but I’m just that way.
Nate Lowe is what they said he is. Ranked lower due to breakouts by Mountcastle, Diaz, and Casas, but he’s a solid choice.
Anthony Rizzo: What? Wait, what? Why? Just go and check his numbers pre and post concussion. I’m buying in one more time.
Tier 5: Roster Fillers with some Upside
Spencer Steer: Good solid bat with some pop and steals. Could easily get into Tier 4
Alec Bohm: Average category who needs lineup support to do well.
Luis Arraez: Even more batting average but even less power and a worse lineup than the Bohmenator.
Spencer Torkelson: Had a big streak but that ended; do you believe? I’d take him as a CI and see
Tier 5: Roster Fillers
Ty France: Boring but at least won’t hurt you too much
Justin Turner: He’s almost my age, which isn’t good. But he keeps producing.
Isaac Paredes: Good power but value dependent on lineup protection
Nolan Jones: I ran out of good options so I went with a Rockie. At one point I had a theory that you needed a Rockie in your lineup to win. This was kinda like 20 years ago? Joe Girardi on a Cubs broadcast was talking about how long the grass is in Wrigley, citing his experience when he played. The year was 2003. That was 20 years ago somehow. And that was about how long ago my outdated Rockie theory is.
Kyle Manzardo: He’s a good prospect, still, if you ask me. I’m always willing to forgive a guy who is dealing with family health issues. My brother in law is battling leukemia, and it’s going well, so I can imagine how hard it would be to play baseball during a health crisis like that in your family. Manzardo could still make noise for the Guardians next season.