The 2023 fantasy baseball is here and what better position to break down than the loaded first base position in the MLB. It is all about the power here. If it is home runs and RBI that you are looking for, you have come to the right place as we dig into our 2023 Top Five first baseman. What is also interesting here, is how clear the separation is between the Top Five and the remainder of the player pool. We do want to maintain some surprise and drama here, so let us countdown our rankings. 


1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

While it wasn’t 48 home runs and 111 RBI like we saw from Guerrero in 2021, it is hard to argue with 32 home runs and 97 RBI from the first baseman. I’m not sure we are going to see a .290 ISO from Guerrero again, but .205 isn’t too bad either. 

Looking at Guerrero and his 4.8 degree average launch certainly is interesting considering his ability as a power hitter, but it is hard to ignore his 50.4% hard hit rate and 11.2% barrel rate. The issue for Guerrero was that he only hit .267 with runners in scoring position last season, but the fact that he still came close to the century mark does say good things about what we can expect from him. 

If Guerrero can make some adjustments and reverse the increase in his ground ball rate from 44.8% to 52.1%, then look out. The thought process here is that what we saw from Guerrero, including his .274 batting average, is his floor. 

2. Pete Alonso, New York Mets

Ranking Alonso above Freeman might not necessarily be groundbreaking, but it is slightly off from where we are seeing ADP land thus far in draft season. Alonso once again showed he is one of the best sources of power in the game as he went deep 40 times in 2022 while driving in 131 runs as one of the top RBI options. 

It is hard to pass up power at that level, but the good thing with Alonso is that we don’t have to sacrifice anything in the batting average department as he hit .271 last season while also being an asset in OBP leagues at .352 thanks to a 9.8% walk rate. With a strikeout rate of just 18.7%, Alonso continues to show that he is not your typical power hitter. 

Alonso posted a career high 18.2-degree average launch angle in 2022 and we see his contact rate steadily rise as it settled at 78.6% in 2022. The first baseman is as close to sure thing for 40 home runs as there is in the league and we should get 100 RBI from him once again with some upside in play once again. 

3. Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

The big takeaway from Freeman’s initial season with the Dodgers was the fact that he only hit 21 home runs last season. All other facets of Freeman’s game went just fine as he hit .325 with 100 RBI and 117 runs scored. 

In looking at Freeman’s ISO, .186, we have seen a substantial decrease since his .255 mark from 2019, but he still posted the third highest RBI total of his career in 2022 along with his second lowest strikeout rate at 14.4%. We should expect about half of Freeman’s home run decrease, from 31 in 2021, to return this season as he lost about four or five long balls compared to his expected home run total in 2022. While there isn’t any fantasy impact associated with it, Freeman’s 47 doubles also provide some optimism and he simply isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. 

Grabbing the top tier batting average from Freeman early in drafts does provide some roster building flexibility later on. 

4. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

Last season proved to be one of the best seasons of Goldschmidt’s career, and it should not be a surprise that he took home the MVP award. It came after the first baseman hit .317 with 35 home runs, 115 RBI, and 106 RBI while he posted the second-best ISO of his career at .260. 

Despite it being his age 34 season, Goldschmidt simply showed no signs of slowing down from a statistical perspective. The majority of his batted ball metrics were right in line with his previous levels of success, and between his strong approach and solid contact, 11.5% barrel rate, he remains a strong option moving forward. 

While his average exit velocity did decrease last season from 92.6 to 90.7 miles per hour and he also saw a similar dip to his barrel rate, his 2022 levels were similar to his previous levels which still makes us feel good about him moving forward even if he won’t hit .317 again (.261 xBA). Goldschmidt should flirt with another 30/100/100 season, but if not, his floor is pretty close to that. 

5. Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves

For the most part, Olson’s first season in Atlanta was very similar to what we had become accustomed to from him in Oakland with one exception; his batting average. Olson’s batting average dropped from .271 to .240, and perhaps the most notable difference was seeing his strikeout rate jump from 16.8% to 24.3%. It should not have been a surprise as Olson’s O-Swing% jumped from 28.3% to 32.8% 

It was really September when Olson struggled as he hit just .193, but from the power perspective, he was  consistent as he went yard 17 times in each half of the season. Olson also broke the 100 RBI mark for the second straight season (103). The first baseman continues to have strong batted ball metrics with a 13.6% barrel rate, 92.9 mile per hour average exit velocity, and 50.9% hard hit rate. 

Olson returns to the middle of the lineup for Atlanta, and things should be even smoother for him in his second year with the Braves. 


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