MLB Top Ten Lists: 1B/SS

FIRST BASE

  1. Paul Goldschmidt
  2. Miguel Cabrera
  3. Joey Votto
  4. Anthony Rizzo
  5. Freddie Freeman
  6. Edwin Encarnacion
  7. Matt Carpenter
  8. Brandon Belt
  9. Chris Davis
  10. Jose Abreu

Analysis: All three of the bottom players had rough stretches at the plate in 2016, all hit extremely well, but consistency and track record is much easier to find once you get to Matt Carpenter. While Carpenter is not a regular first baseman, he hits just like one with an OBP and SLG at around .300 and .500. For the 4-6 hitters, the differentiating factors are slim. Encarnacion hits from the right side, is 34 and moved from the very hitter-friendly Rogers Centre to Progressive Field in Cleveland. Rizzo and Freeman both are entering their age 27 seasons and coming off career years. Freeman led first basemen in WAR in 2016, was third in average and OBP and was first in SLG without any more protection than second-half acquisition Matt Kemp. A full season from Kemp, Dansby Swanson and their plethora of veteran pitchers could help take a load off of Freeman. Rizzo’s scenario was different. With a World Series caliber roster, Rizzo had plenty of opportunities to take chances and play more meaningful baseball. Rizzo slashed .292/.385./.544 and batted over .340 with RISP. Goldy, while smashing only 24 homers he stole 32 bases. 

SHORTSTOP

  1. Corey Seager
  2. Francisco Lindor
  3. Carlos Correa
  4. Trea Turner
  5. Brandon Crawford
  6. Trevor Story
  7. Aledmys Diaz
  8. Xander Bogaerts
  9. Troy Tulowitzki
  10. Addison Russell

Analysis: Both Russell and Tulowitzki flashed 20+ home run power and plus-defense on opposite ends of age spectrum. For Bogaerts, at age 28 he has little left to prove, except for his power. After blasting 21 home runs and fielding at a rate far below average amongst the other top shortstops. While power is important, it is not a differentiator in the top-ten. All of the players hit double-digit home runs, but not all have a proven track record, although the Shredder did not seem to take that into account, besides Brandon Crawford’s ranking. Crawford hit only 12 home runs but led the position with 20 DRS. Turner, Diaz and Story all came off extremely limited sample sizes with incredible talent. For Diaz, while he hit .300 with 17 homers, he had a negative DRS and did not have a minor league track record equivalent to some of the others on this list. For Story, 27 bombs before the end of July stood out, and he may hit 30+ in a full season, but his home/road splits seem to be a classic example of the “Coors effect.” Correa, only 22, is entering his third season and has hit 20+ homers two years in a row.  Seager led shortstops in WAR and WRC+ in 2016. As far as snubs, Jean Segura, who is now a Mariner, hit 20+ home runs and stole 30+ bases while leading the National League in hits with over 200.

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