2021 MLB Rankings: 30 days of MLB rankings! In this series, we will be ranking every projected starting player for the 2021 season at each in position, each in three parts. On day five of this series, we’ll look at the first baseman ranked from 20-11.
Check out the previous rankings from this 2021 MLB Rankings series:
2021 MLB Rankings: 10-6
10. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants 2020: 23
2020: 51 games, .309/.425/.591 splits, 1.015 OPS, 9 Home Runs, 30 RBIs
At age 32, Brandon Belt has had a resurgence of his career, and he recorded an OPS over 1.000 in the shortened season. Is that sustainable? Likely not. However, he could still return to his all-star form in a full year in 2021. Defensively, he’s been around league-average for his career, but in 2020 he recorded an Rdrs of 3.
9. Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins 2020: 8
2020: 53 games, .204/.278/.478 splits, .757 OPS, 13 Home Runs, 25 RBIs
At the plate, Miguel Sano needs to cut down on his strikeouts. Striking out 90 times in 2020, he led the AL in that category as his batting average and OPS dropped significantly. However, he has an absolute boomstick at the plate, hitting 13 home runs in 53 games. Defensively, he struggles at times, but he’s still good enough to crack the top ten.
8. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies 2020: 14
2020: 41 games, .245/.384/.503 splits, .887 OPS, 10 Home Runs, 26 RBIs
After a down year in 2019, Rhys Hoskins was able to turn it around before getting injured in 2021. He has extreme discipline at the plate as he walked 29 times in 2020 after leading the league in walks in 2019. Defensively, Hoskins is still a liability but has made minor improvements in recent years. Hopefully, he’ll be ready for opening day after undergoing offseason elbow surgery.
7. Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics 2020: 3
2020: 60 games, .195/.310/.424 splits, .734 OPS, 14 Home Runs, 42 RBIs
In 2019, Matt Olson was one of the best first basemen in all of baseball as he posted career-highs across the board. In the shortened 2020, he failed to replicate that success. However, considering 2020 was not a full year, I won’t drop him too far. Olson still has a load of power and is a plus defender, having won two Gold Gloves in his career.
6. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs 2020: 5
2020: 58 games, .222/.342/.414 splits, .755 OPS, 11 Home Runs, 24 RBIs
In the shortened 2020, Anthony Rizzo had arguably the worst year of his career as his hitting numbers all dropped from 2019. However, at age 31, Rizzo is still among the elite first basemen in MLB. If he can stay healthy, Rizzo could hit 30+ home runs and walk 80+ times in 2021. Defensively, he’s still one of the best in the league as well.
2021 MLB Rankings: 5-1
5. Luke Voit, New York Yankees 2020: 12
2020: 56 games, .277/.338/.610 splits, .948 OPS, 22 Home Runs, 52 RBIs
Luke Voit took advantage of the short season as he led all of baseball with 22 home runs, finishing in the top ten in AL MVP voting. The only issue here is that it’s tough to put him any higher because it was not a full season. Defensively, he’s below league-average as well. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate the success he had in 2020 in a full season.
4. Pete Alonso, New York Mets 2020: 2
2020: 57 games, .231/.326/.490 splits, .817 OPS, 16 Home Runs, 35 RBIs
In 2019, Pete Alonso was one of the best players in MLB as he led all of baseball with 53 home runs. While he still showed off his power, Alonso’s numbers dipped a bit in 2020. The reality is that Alonso is likely somewhere in between the 2019 and 2020 version of himself, which is still an elite first baseman. Not to mention, he’s only 26 at the start of this season.
3. Paul Goldschmidt, St.Louis Cardinals 2020: 6
2020: 58 games, .304/.417/.466 splits, .883 OPS, 6 Home Runs, 21 RBIs
In his second year with the Cardinals, Paul Goldschmidt had a great year, posting an OPS of .883 and OPS+ of 142. Goldschmidt has an incredible eye, having walked 37 times while only striking out 43 times last season. Defensively, he’s one of the best in baseball, having won three career Gold Glove awards as well. At age 33, he’s shown no signs of slowing downs.
2. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox 2020: 10
2020: 60 games, .317/.370/.617 splits, .987 OPS, 19 Home Runs, 60 RBIs
A player who has always been underrated, Jose Abreu should finally get his respect after winning the AL MVP in 2020. He’s one of the best in baseball at the plate as he led the league with 76 hits, including 34 extra-base hits. Defensively, Abreu was well above league-average in 2020 as well. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate his MVP-level form in 2021.
1. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves 2020: 1
2020: 60 games, .341/.462/.640 splits, 1.102 OPS, 13 Home Runs, 53 RBIs
Surprisingly, Freddie Freeman isn’t branded as one of the best players in all of MLB. Having recorded an OPS over 1.100, he earned the NL MVP award, as he led the league in runs and doubles. Through his age 30 season, Freeman already has 1,524 career hits. If he can keep that up for the rest of his career, he could retire with over 3,000 hits.
Come back tomorrow for the first part of my 2021 MLB rankings at second base.
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