We know all about the present state at first base. Freddie Freeman is going in the first rounds of drafts once again, and there is good reason for that. Matt Olson could hit 50 home runs again this year, and Pete Alonso might possibly join him there. Vladimir Guerrero appears poised to have a resurgent season and Paul Goldschmidt continues to defy aging.


However, when digging into our 2024 first base rankings, we want to know about the future. When we are having this conversation prior to the 2024 season, who has the best chance to make their way into the Top-5? 

Three interesting names that are worthy of our attention heading into 2024 drafts are Triston Casas, Spencer Torkelson and Vinnie Pasquantino. Each of these first baseman are ascending players, and that is what we are after. 

Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox

It was truly a tale of two halves for Triston Casas last season. After hitting .225 in 77 games to begin the season with nine home runs, Casas really turned things around in the second half. In 54 games, he hit .317 while going deep 15 times to go along with 38 RBI. The strikeouts didn’t go anywhere as Casas continued on his trajectory of striking out about once per game, but it wasn’t detrimental to his production. 

As long as Casas hits .317, although no one is truly expecting that to continue despite his strong plate skills, the strikeouts are simply irrelevant. Historically, Casas hasn’t been a liability in the batting average department, and at this point, a 25.1% strikeout rate is par for the course. In OBP leagues, Casas is also an asset thanks to a 13.9% walk rate last year. Casas drove in 65 runs in 132 games last year while scoring 66 times and hitting 25 home runs. 

When you factor in his .226 ISO, that power output shouldn’t really be a surprise. When Casas makes contact, good things happen as evidenced by his 13.1% barrel-rate and 46.2% hard-hit rate. A 15.7-degree average launch angle is manageable as he doesn’t truly sell out for the long ball but he does have 35 home run potential. A maximum exit-velocity of 113.2 miles per hour and average exit velocity of 91.1 miles per hour also points to continued success. 

Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers

Considering Spencer Torkelson is a former first overall pick, in 2020, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. In the case of Torkelson, it is the natural progression from top prospect, to potential bust, to potential post-hype sleeper. Now, after a strong 2023 season, Torkelson’s star is certainly pointing in the right direction. 

While the Detroit Tigers might not be the most prolific offense, things are trending in the right direction for the team as a whole. The good news is that Torkelson is right in the middle of everything the Tigers are doing offensively. Last year, Torkelson drove in 94 runs while scoring 88 times. 

With 31 home runs, Torkelson’s home runs were certainly on display. The problem though, is the fact that Torkelson hit just .233. It did come with a .269 BABIP, and Torkelson’s xBA of .251 points to some level of improvement. Torkelson’s .480 xSLG represents some upside over his .446 slugging percentage from a year ago and his batted ball metrics also point to continued success. 

The first baseman hit every other ball hard last season to go along with a 14.1% barrel-rate and 112.7 mile per hour max exit velocity. The overall skill set for Torkelson is strong, and with 19 home runs and 49 RBI in 72 second half games last season, that was certainly on display. While that pace is certainly aggressive, there is no reason why Torkelson can’t continue to build on his success. Detroit’s growth as an overall team will also help the first baseman. 

Vinnie Pasquantino, Kansas City Royals

For Vinnie Pasquantino, his biggest problem last year was the inability to stay on the field. The good news though, is that entering the 2024 season, all systems appear to be a go for the Kansas City Royals’ first baseman. Just like the Tigers, things are beginning to look up for the Royals and an improved lineup will only pay dividends for Pasquantino. 

With a .190 ISO last year, Pasquantino was down compared to his minor league levels, but a shoulder injury will certainly do that to a player. Having the off-season to rehab and return even stronger will pay dividends for Pasquantino this season.

The fact that he simply doesn’t strike out – 11.9% of the time last season – helps from an approach standpoint. A 17.4-degree average launch angle illustrates that Pasquantino is trying to drive the ball and improvements to the quality of his batted balls will put that to good use. Despite hitting .247 last year, Pasquantino did have a .279 xBA and he is another name to keep an eye on this season as you look to uncover the next surging option.