2021 1B Rankings (Version 1.0)

Continuing our preseason position rankings ahead of the 2021 season, which might actually start on time. Well, it is Major League Baseball. So, there are probably a few more public labor disputes ahead. Anyway, let's continue with the first basemen, a position filled with a lot of power, some uncertainty without an official designation about the universal DH, and a group that weakens in the middle with intriguing depth at the end.

Yes, I'm in on Vladdy, Jr. this year. Yes, I still want someone to send me a Dom Smith Fathead I can proudly display near my desk. And yes, I'll still take those Max Muncy shares after not getting my return last season, but... well, let's get to the list.

Freeman is clearly the top option. However, I liked Bellinger more after digging into his 2020 than I anticipated. The batting average should bounce back and the power-speed combo is unique for his position. Plus, he's eligible in the outfield and could eclipse 100 runs and RBI.

You probably know the drill with Vladdy, Jr. by now: too many grounders. That said, his HR/FB, barrel% and hard hit% all went up despite his GB% going up too. He still hits the ball as hard as anyone in the game and with a 70 hit grade, he's a small adjustment away from turning a 25-homer pace into 35 or maybe more. I'm willing to bet on the necessary adjustments as he gains more experience. Considering Voit's breakout was more about previous health than surprising gains, I'm more inclined to be in on him this year. And we've yet to see him healthy with a healthy Stanton and Judge on at least a somewhat consistent basis.

This might be too low on Alonso given his power and spot in an improved lineup. However, if the batting average can't crack .250 and you're not getting steals, is that profile worth top 60ish ADP? Power is one of the easiest things to find later in drafts across multiple positions.

Swinggraphs.com shows Muncy's bat path getting away from excellent 2018 and similar 2019. He was solid in the playoffs, and I'm confident Dodgers and him will get the bat back to where it was. Positional flexibility helps.

I'm a gigantic Dom Smith homer. Not afraid to admit it. The lack of official word in the universal DH makes me cringe like Michael Scott, but I still think it's going to happen. As for Bohm, he passed the eyeball test in a major way during 2020 debut. He probably won't provide the power some others around him will, but he also was a little unlucky there during small sample.

There's been some platoon chatter about Eric Hosmer and the Padres are loaded with depth. But I have a hard time seeing San Diego sitting a team leader who is making a ton of money.

For Josh Bell, moving from the Pirates to hitting behind Trea Turner and Juan Soto must be like a 16-year-old driving a 1988 Ford Ranger for six years before graduating, landing a good job and buying a new Ford Raptor. I like Bell's potential for counting stats, but the big power spike of his career is, basically, just one half of a season.

I find myself buying Walsh and Candelario more after taking a look at 2019 swings and 2020 swings. Changes were made. Walsh is a little more difficult to project with old man Pujols lingering, but offers more upside.

Carlos Santana is on the wrong side of the age curve, but he seems like a guy I'll own a few shares of. The Kansas City lineup is actually solid at the top and he was Mr. Consistent before last season.

Who knows what the Rockies are going to do with every infielder and outfielder not named Trevor Story? I think Fuentes should be in line to get a lot of 1B at-bats.

C.J. Cron's value probably goes up 10ish spots if he signs with a team that gives him an everyday job. He was one of my favorite late-draft values last season.

I still think there's more hitting in Chavis's profile than he showed last season, but tough to see him being more than a utility or platoon player with power and a low batting average.

Cooper is penciled in by some as an everyday guy for the Marlins, but I'm not sure how real that is. Like so many guys on this list, a NL DH would help.

Photos courtesy AP Images

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