When putting the first base list together, our Top 100 only had two players listed at the position and one of them, Yordan Alvarez is being moved to the outfield. It’s not that the minor leagues are void of first baseman, instead, it’s more a product of players who can hit, but need to move off their drafted position. Albert Pujols came up as a third baseman as did Miguel Cabrera. There are even whispers of Jake Lamb moving over to first.
Consequently, the list is uneven. It starts off strong with Peter Alonso, Alveraz, and Nate Lowe, but quickly falls off. There are several players who can hit with suspect future power potential as well as the opposite. Guys who have prodigious raw power but might not ever hit enough to get to it.
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1. Peter Alonso (NYM)
The Mets fans are clamoring for Peter Alonso and for good reason. He’s got plus power and has enough bat control to get to his power. His ceiling is Rhys Hoskins, but I liked Hoskins swing better. Plus, Alonso is a poor defender that might eventually force him to the American League.
2. Yordan Alvarez (Hou)
It’s a shame when you can hit and hit with power but find yourself blocked with no end in sight. Yordan Alvarez becomes the latest conundrum in Houston. There is 25 to 30 home run potential with a solid .270/.350 average. When, and in what city he plays, I don’t know.
3. Nate Lowe (TB)
Few players in the minor league had a better growth season in 2018 than Nate Lowe. He’s showing a solid hit tool walking nearly as much as he struck out with growing power. After spending six weeks in Triple-A, he might even see Tampa Bay in the second half of 2019.
4. Nick Pratto (KC)
Nick Pratto will likely never equal what Eric Hosmer did in Kansas City, but he’s a talented kid that should grow into power.
5. Brent Rooker (Min)
Brent Rooker started off in the outfield but the Twins have decided to move him to first base where he could become put up big power number. The raw power is real but so are the strikeouts.
6. Grant Lavigne (Col)
Grant Lavigne was selected in the supplemental first round last June. He has huge raw power but will need to work on his contact rate. In his first exposure to professional ball, things went quite well.
7. Bobby Bradley (Cle)
Bobby Bradley has huge raw power to go with huge contact problems. He’s likely no more than a second division talent, but he can hit home runs a long way.
8. Josh Naylor (SD)
While others are high on Josh Naylor, I have never been. I don’t see him moving Hosmer off first base so expect a trade at some point.
9. Evan White (Sea)
Evan White can hit but the amount of power he will eventually have has always been the concern.
10. Chris Shaw (SF)
The Giants have tried Chris Shaw in the outfield, but his best position remains first base. He could get full time at bats on a second division team and let’s face it, that’s the Giants.
11. Matt Thaiss (LAA)
Matt Thaiss improved his slugging last season but it’s still not enough as he’s likely a first base only prospect. He can hit a little and if he can add some loft to his swing, who knows, there might be something there.
12. Josh Ockimey (Bos)
Josh Ockimey is yet another strong, big bodied first baseman with huge raw power. While he’s shown the ability to work a walk, he could also strikeout 30% of the time.
13. Kevin Cron (Ari)
The Diamondbacks are looking for their replacement for Paul Goldschmdit. Kevin Cron, brother of C.J. Cron has huge raw power and might compete with for playing time in 2019.
14. Pavin Smith (Ari)
Drafted in the first round in 2017, Pavin Smith showed little power in his first full professional season. Unfortunately, his swing lacks loft so projecting him for more than average power at this point is not warranted.
15. Jake Gatewood (Mil)
Jake Gatewood is a physical player with plus raw power but his 30% strikeout rate will not play at the highest level.
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