Justin Mason’s First Base Ranks: 1/11/2023

Now that football season is over, it is time to really prep for baseball drafts!

This year to improve my prep, I am doing full projections on every position which are reflected in my ranks. My ranks will be available here on FanGraphs and daily updates and full projections will be available on the Sleeper and the Bust Patreon once I have completed them.

Justin Mason’s 2023 First Base Ranks
1 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR AL 1B/DH
2 Freddie Freeman LAD NL 1B
3 Paul Goldschmidt STL NL 1B/DH
4 Pete Alonso NYM NL 1B/DH
5 Matt Olson ATL NL 1B
6 José Abreu HOU AL 1B/DH
7 Nathaniel Lowe TEX AL 1B
8 Vinnie Pasquantino KC AL 1B/DH
9 Christian Walker ARI NL 1B
10 Rhys Hoskins PHI NL 1B
11 Ty France SEA AL 1B
12 Anthony Rizzo NYY AL 1B
13 C.J. Cron COL NL 1B/DH
14 Josh Bell CLE AL 1B/DH
15 Rowdy Tellez MIL NL 1B
16 Jose Miranda MIN AL 1B/3B/DH
17 Joey Meneses WAS NL 1B/OF
18 Andrew Vaughn CHW AL 1B/OF/DH
19 Wil Myers CIN NL 1B/OF
20 Ryan Mountcastle BAL AL 1B/DH
21 Seth Brown OAK AL 1B/OF
22 Matt Mervis CHC NL 1B
23 Triston Casas BOS AL 1B
24 Miguel Vargas LAD NL 1B
25 Josh Naylor CLE AL 1B/DH
26 Brandon Drury LAA AL 1B/2B/3B/DH
27 DJ LeMahieu NYY AL 1B/2B/3B
28 Trey Mancini N/A N/A 1B/OF/DH
29 Spencer Torkelson DET AL 1B
30 Luis Arraez MIN AL 1B/2B/DH
31 Jake Cronenworth SD NL 1B/2B
32 Dominic Smith WAS NL 1B
33 Joey Votto CIN NL 1B
34 Luke Voit N/A N/A 1B/DH
35 Wilmer Flores SF NL 1B/2B/3B/DH
36 Isaac Paredes TB AL 1B/2B/3B
37 Harold Ramírez TB AL 1B/OF/DH
38 Eric Hosmer CHC NL 1B
39 Carlos Santana PIT NL 1B/DH
40 Garrett Cooper MIA NL 1B/DH
41 Yuli Gurriel N/A N/A 1B
42 Jared Walsh LAA AL 1B
43 Mike Moustakas N/A N/A 1B/3B/DH
44 Brandon Belt TOR AL 1B
45 Hunter Dozier KC AL 1B/3B/OF/DH
46 Jesús Aguilar N/A N/A 1B/DH
47 Ji-Man Choi PIT NL 1B
48 Miguel Sanó N/A N/A 1B
49 LaMonte Wade Jr. SF NL 1B/OF
50 Kyle Manzardo TB AL 1B
Position eligibility is based on 20 games played in 2022.
Blue denotes the beginning of a tier.

Notes on Tier 1
After doing my first base projections, I have Vlad Guerrero Jr. as a top tier first round pick. He has pretty much had 700 plate appearances in his last two seasons (698 in 2021, 706 in 2022). You can’t underestimate how important that many plate appearances with a good batting average does for your fantasy team. I definitely think the stolen bases regress some because they came out of nowhere, but I still love his price in drafts right now.

Freeman is about as safe as you get from a late first rounder. Just like Vladdy, he gets a ton of plate appearances and his speed component is a lot more believable. I do worry that the power drop off keeps his ceiling lower and that the Dodgers’ lineup isn’t as strong as previously. However, you can pretty much book 20/10/100/100 .300 which is pretty great as a floor.


Notes on Tier 2
Goldschmidt is a very safe option even if the power isn’t as good in 2022 because that Cardinals lineup is so stacked. I almost put Goldschmidt and Alonso in the first tier, but I think it is probably right to put them both in their own two person tier.

Alonso is probably the top bet to lead the NL or Majors in home runs and while the Mets won’t have Correa, they still have one of the better lineups in baseball. I think the only question for Alonso is what the average looks like in 2023.


Notes on Tier 3
Probably my favorite tier to go shopping in.

Matt Olson is probably a bit underrated considering his “down year” in 2022. The big question is can he get the average back to where it was in Oakland? I have him down for a bit of better average but not all the way back.

I understand people are fading Abreu after his loss of power, but his swing is built for the Crawford Boxes in Houston and that lineup is pretty amazing around him.

Vinnie P and Lowe are my favorite guys in this tier. In a year when we don’t know how the lack of shifting, larger bases, and pitch clock rules will change things, I am really focusing on guys who make a lot of good contact in the zone and that is what Vinnie P and Lowe are elite at.


Notes on Tier 4
Walker is an interesting case as he improved his zone contact by over 5% from 2021 by becoming more patient especially in the zone. While he may be looked at as a regression risk, I think there is a reasonable outcome that he actually improves the average by 10-20 points.

I am not the biggest Rhys Hoskins fan, but you can pretty much pencil in his line. I always thought we’d get a 40 homer season at some point, but I think that is wishful thinking at this point.

I don’t think there is another level for Ty France, but he has a pretty safe floor as well.

Yankee Stadium is perfect for Rizzo’s left-handed swing and while there could be a little regression, I think he can also get some batting average back too.


Notes on Tier 5
CJ Cron is amazing in Coors and awful on the road, so this reflects his weekly leagues rank. In NFBC or daily leagues, you can platoon him and move him up the two tiers.

I know Josh Bell’s end of 2022 was disappointing, but he should rebound pretty well in Cleveland.

Miranda and Vaughn are quickly becoming over drafted in my eyes. Neither have really shown the power potential to warrant their draft spots right now. I could easily be proven wrong, but I think I am probably out in spite of their dual eligibility.

I don’t know if Wil Myers could have found a better landing spot than Cincinnati. He could easily have a huge bounceback as the playing time and park are a perfect fit. If he stays healthy, watch out!

I am really worried that Baltimore’s park change will keep Mountcastle from being able to get close to 30 home runs again. He just doesn’t have the power that can play there unfortunately.

Seth Brown has power that plays everywhere and as long as he is in Oakland he will play a lot.

If Mervis is up Day 1, then I think he can be a stud from the get-go. I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t make the Opening Day roster.


Notes on Tier 6
Casas should play every day and hit a bunch of home runs. What will the average be like though?

Vargas has a really good approach and hit tool that I want to bet on but will he be a full time player? The lack of moves the Dodgers made gives me hope.

Josh Naylor would actually be more useful if they never let him hit against lefties, but what options do the Guardians even have to platoon him?

I want to believe in Brandon Drury, but I am struggling to do so even after I bumped up his projection.

Torkelson is being forgotten about because of his struggles in 2022, but if there is a time to buy back in on him, the price is primed for it right now.


Notes on the rest
Dom Smith should play quite a lot, but does that really matter?

Isaac Paredes would be a lot more interesting if knew he would play a lot.

I don’t know what to do with Jared Walsh considering we just have no idea how thoracic outlet surgery affects hitters. That being said, his platoon issues is a big problem even if he is healthy.

Brandon Belt signed in Toronto which is a great lineup, but how much will he play in it?

Say what you want about Eric Hosmer, but he has a job, which is something. I don’t know what to do with Voit, Gurriel, Moustakas, Aguilar, and Sano until they sign.

Kyle Manzardo would be much higher on my list if he didn’t play for the Rays.

Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as other periodic articles. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for FriendswithFantasyBenefits.com, and the owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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1 year ago

No Kirilloff? Is there a reason why everyone is writing him off? Wrist injuries sap power and ability to hit fly balls, so I don’t get why people are writing him off now when he’s likely finally healthy. RosterResource currently has Gordon penciled in as the DH, which makes little to zero sense to me – that’s not a bat that you push Kirilloff behind.

1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Mason

He is on Fantrax as well

1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Mason

Oof, fair enough. 20 seems excessive, but I guess the leagues I’m in have been the same for a decade+ so makes sense that options change over time.

1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Mason

He had 18 games played at 1B in 2022. Isn’t 15 the cutoff on most sites, or is it 20?