2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 First Base Rankings

by Joe Bond
2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 First Base Rankings

Welcome to the next installment of my 2024 positional Top-10 Fantasy Baseball Rankings, this one being for the first base position. I will be going through each position breaking down my early top-10. If you missed the others follow the links below.

2024 Positional Top 10 Rankings

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First base surprised me last year. I was determined to go into drafts a make sure I got my first base out of the way in the first few rounds. This usually meant I got a Freddie Freeman, Vlad Guerrero, Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt type. What I ended up doing was passing on most of them because they had next to no speed and I gravitated toward more players early who could help me in more categories.

And boy I'm glad I did cause a lot of the guys I would have taken near the top of the first base rankings disappointed, with the exception of Freeman and Matt Olson. We were also surprised with the depth at this position. Guys like Cody Bellinger, Christian Walker, Luis Arraez, Triston Casas and Spencer Steer were all drafted much later, or not at all, and were viable starting options. Waiting a taking one of them allowed you to draft players at other positions that balanced out your categories better. I even found myself stockpiling some of these players for my corner infield and utility spots because they were so good.

2024 Fantasy Baseball Top 10 First Base Rankings

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No. 10: Vinnie Pasquantino, Kansas City Royals

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Vinnie P had a disappointing 2023. He had a bit of a sophomore slump at the plate as we saw his batting average drop to .247. This was super surprising as he has had a great batting average all throughout the minors and his first taste in the majors in 2022.

The rest of his numbers were pretty much the same, so I'm chalking this one up to a bit of bad luck as we also saw his BABIP drop to .250.

Overall I think Vinnie P is a fine player. He won't hurt you in any one category, but won't help you tremendously in one either except for batting average. That is of course assuming he raises it back up. I still get Eric Hosmer vibes from him though. And I said the exact same thing about him for years.

No. 9: Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

Walker has put back-to-back solid seasons together.

This one is simple. He will provide 30+ home run power, close to 180+ R+RBI and a moderate amount of steals. His batting average is not great, but not a complete drain to your team.

No. 8: Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays

Diaz enjoyed a breakout season at the age of 31. Yes, you read that right.

Diaz was in the top 2% of leagues last season in exit velocity last season and top 7% the season before. So despite a low launch angle, 5.7, he was able to hit for power last season, hitting 22 home runs. It is not impossible to hit for power when you have a low launch angle, but it does require you to hit for a high exit velocity. Juan Soto does it consistently, but it is hard to do as proven by my article about this very subject.

If he can repeat his 2023 he will be a steal at No. 8, but with the lack of speed and a predicted dip in batting average mixed with the risk that he drops back to his pre-2023 power numbers, this feels like a fair place for him.

No. 7: Cody Bellinger, FA

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Cody Bellinger had a massive bounceback season in 2023. He had his best season by far since he won MVP in 2018.

The big question is can he do it again? Sorry to say but the answer is I don't know. I'm not alone either in that thinking. Esteban Rivera at FanGraphs dove more into Bellinger and came to the same conclusion.

There is a lot to like about Bellinger.

  • He has performed at an elite level before.
  • He is still in his prime at 28 years old.
  • His athleticism is top-notch and should keep him as a power-speed guy.
  • Changes to his swing and plate approach allowed him to drop his K-rate, therefore bringing his average up.

There is also a lot to be concerned about

  • His hard-hit rate has dropped almost every season to a low of 31.4% in 2023
  • Exit Velocity dropped to a career-low 87.9
  • 2020-2021 were very forgettable season. 2022 Wasn't much better.
  • We don't know his landing spot yet.

No. 6: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals

Last season was a disaster for Goldy and the Cardinals. They finished with a losing record for the first time since 2007 and last place in the NL Central for the first time since 1990.

Goldschmidt's season was a reflection of that too. He finished with his worst batting average, .268 since 2019. He has hit the least home runs in a season (25) since 2016, when he hit (24). At least in 2016 he had 106 runs and 95 RBI, cause last year he had near career-lows in both with 89 runs and 80 RBI.

I believe there is still too much talent here for him to drop farther than No. 6, but the concerns are legit and I wouldn't blame you for passing on him even at a "discount".

No. 5: Pete Alonso, New York Mets

Well at least Alonso hit for power last season because his batting average took a massive hit. He dropped from .271 in 2022 to .217.

He did hit for a higher percentage of fly balls and dropped his line drive rate, which would explain some of the batting average dip. He also got unlucky a bit with a crazy low .205 BABIP. I expect that to rise quite a bit back to at least a respectable number and therefore not be the average drain he was in 2023.

Still, you can't deny the power. He has back-to-back 40-plus home run seasons with just narrowly missing it in 2021.

No. 4: Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies

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Wait what!? Bryce Harper? Yeah I know I had to remind myself that he transitioned to 1B/DH last season too.

I was completely off Harper last season as he was returning from Tommy John surgery. I realize it is not the same for hitters as pitchers, but it is still a major surgery. He proved me wrong and then some.

In 457 AB he hit 21 home runs and 164 R+RBI. He hit for a great average too, .293, something we have grown to get used to with him as he has gotten older.

He is projected right now for 30 home runs around 180 R+RBI and 13 steals. I could easily see him out perform those numbers in a full season.

No. 3: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

This was a tough one. I debated putting Guerrero all back at No. 6, but I'm going to say that last year was a bit of a fluke. You have to remember, he is still just 25 years-old.

I fully expect a bounce back into the mid-to-upper 30's for home runs, and close to 200+ R+RBI. I know some of you are looking at the batting average dropping too and expressing concern. Don't. He has been the victim of some bad luck with a .289 and .277 BABIP the last two seasons.

No. 2: Matt Olson, Atlanta Braves

I'll make this quick.

Is Matt Olson going to hit 54 home runs again? No.

Will he have a .600+ Slugging percentage again? Prob not.

Will he hit for .283 again? Seems unlikely.

So why do I have him second? Because even if he regresses a little he is still very worthy of this ranking. Nothing in his profile changed that much except that he started hitting the ball harder, which led to an increase in power. Nothing else to talk about here.

No. 1: Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Hard to go away from a guy who just seems to be great every single season.

We all know the batting average is going to be elite, although nobody expects you to best a .324 average in 2022. Well, he did.

Overall though we had our doubts before last season and thought he might be on the decline. This was due to him hitting just 21 home runs 2022, his worst mark since 2015. Well, all he did was go out a hit 29 just to prove us all wrong.

Oh and to top it off had more R+RBI in 2023 than 2022 and threw in 23 steals just to boot. Those 23 steals, by the way, are a career-best, at age 33.

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