Ladies and Gentlemen: 30 days, 30 MLB position rankings. Nine positions and the top starting pitcher ranked from each team in three parts each. Each player on the list is based on who the projected starter is for a team for the 2020 season by position. On day four of this series, we’ll look at MLB first basemen ranked 30-21.
Check out my previous rankings from this series:
30. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
2019: 105 games, .179/.276/.326 splits, .601 OPS, 12 Home Runs, 36 RBIs
It was a pretty obvious pick to have Chris Davis last. After hitting 53 home runs in 2013, Davis’ production has completely fallen off and contributed to driving Baltimore into a rebuild. Davis broke an MLB record last season as well by going 54 consecutive at-bats without a hit. Not to mention, he struck out on a whopping 39.5% of at-bats.
29. Ryan O’Hearn, Kansas City Royals
2019: 105 games, .195/.281/.369 splits, .650 OPS, 14 Home Runs, 38 RBIs
In his first full MLB season, Ryan O’Hearn struggled mightily at the plate in 2019. His lack of production netted a w/RC+ of 69 (league average 100). Defensively, O’Hearn is above average, only committing four errors in 2019. However, his offensive struggles land him at number 29. Hopefully, he can turn it around during his age 26 season in 2020.
28. Travis Shaw, Toronto Blue Jays
2019: 86 games, .157/.281/.270 splits, .551 OPS, 7 Home Runs, 16 RBIs
After a great 2018 campaign, Travis Shaw’s production completely fell off last season, posting career-lows across the board. After getting non-tendered by Milwaukee, Travis Shaw signed with the Blue Jays, where he projects to be the everyday first baseman. Shaw played primarily at third base for the first five years of his career but will move across the diamond for 2020.
27. Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers
2019: 87 games, .219/.308/.414 splits, .723 OPS, 10 Home Runs, 36 RBIs
Ronald Guzman isn’t terrible, but doesn’t do much of anything to stand out, either. Guzman is a solid defender and great at scooping but doesn’t bring much to the table as a hitter. For a first baseman, ten home runs is a low number for 87 games played. However, Guzman is only 25 and is hoping to improve upon last season in 2020.
26. Evan White, Seattle Mariners
2019 (AA): 92 games, .293/.350/.488 splits, .838 OPS, 18 Home Runs, 55 RBIs
Evan White is one of the toughest players to place on this list since he has yet to play a game at the MLB level. After a strong showing in Double-A last year, White signed a 6 yr 24M deal in December, ensuring his spot on the team. White will immediately get the chance to play every day, with Dan Vogelbach likely to move to DH. It will be interesting to see how well White performs in 2020.
25. Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins
2019: 131 games, .236/.325/.389 splits, .714 OPS, 12 Home Runs, 50 RBIs
After a great 2018 with Milwaukee, Jesus Aguilar completely fell off in 2019. Coming off a season where he mashed 35 home runs and 108 RBIs, Aguilar’s numbers fell off across the board, and he recorded a -0.2 WAR last year. After being DFA’d by Tampa Bay in November, Aguilar signed with the Miami Marlins. He’s hoping to be able to return to 2018 form this season with a new team.
24. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels
2019: 131 games, .244/.305/.430 splits, .734 OPS, 23 Home Runs, 93 RBIs
At this point in his career, Albert Pujols isn’t likely to bat over .250 or hit more than 25 home runs (in a 162 game season). Pujols should be a DH at this point in his career, but has to play at first when Shohei Ohtani plays as a hitter. At age 40, the three-time MVP has two years left on his contract. Seeing as his career may be ending soon, it will be interesting to see if he gets to 700 home runs. Coronavirus may hurt his chances as he enters 2020 with 656 for his career.
23. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
2019: 156 games, .234/.339/.403 splits, .742 OPS, 17 Home Runs, 57 RBIs
An all-star back in 2016, Brandon Belt fell off a bit with San Francisco in 2019. Belt is still a solid defender who can scoop well but doesn’t have the power he once possessed. His 98 OPS+ in 2019 was a career-low, and Belt is now on the wrong side of 30 years old. With two years left on his contract, Belt is hoping to reverse the downward spiral he’s fallen down the past few seasons.
22. Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres
2019: 160 games, .265/.310/.425 splits, .735 OPS, 22 Home Runs, 99 RBIs
With Eric Hosmer only two years into his 8 yr 144M contract, the Padres are already having significant buyers’ regret. Hosmer is far from terrible, but is just a very league average player. A four-time gold glove winner, Hosmer struggled in the field last season as he committed 14 errors. His OPS+ of 93 was the worst of his career since 2012 as well.
21. Ji-Man Choi, Tampa Bay Rays
2019: 127 games, .261/.363/.459 splits, .822 OPS, 19 Home Runs, 63 RBIs
After bouncing around MLB and Triple-A for the first three years of his career with three different teams, Ji-Man Choi finally found his place in the majors last year. In 2019, Choi put up career highs across the board, earning himself the everyday first baseman role for 2020. Choi also does a great job getting on base, drawing 64 walks in 127 games last year. He’ll be hoping to build on last year’s success when the league returns in 2020.
Come back tomorrow for part two of my first baseman ranking!
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