2013 First Base Tier Rankings: May

Not a whole lot changes during the first month of the season. There simply haven’t been enough plate appearances yet to knock established players for poor performances, ditto boosting them due to strong performances. Injury is the biggest reason why players move from tier to tier at this point of the season. Our preseason consensus rankings can be found right here while the April tiers are right here.

Tier One
Joey Votto
Prince Fielder
Albert Pujols

How much longer do we consider Pujols an elite player? He’s off to another slow start (89 wRC+) and it’s painful just watching him run these days because of his knees and plantar fasciitis and whatever else. The homers and RBI totals are still there, but everything else is going south. Pretty scary.

Tier Two
David Ortiz
Paul Goldschmidt
Buster Posey
Billy Butler
Allen Craig
Edwin Encarnacion
Adrian Gonzalez

Big Papi is back from his Achilles/heels problem and he is mashin’ (246 wRC+). His performance will return to Earth as the season progresses, no doubt about it, but the track record is there. The only reason he’s not in Tier One are the lingering injury concerns. Gonzalez’s declining power, which Eno Sarris looked at in depth yesterday, is pretty terrifying. He can still hit for average and drive in runs with the best of them though.

Tier Three
Chris Davis
Anthony Rizzo
Carlos Santana
Joe Mauer
Freddie Freeman
Mark Trumbo
Nick Swisher
Brandon Moss

I buy into Davis breaking out as a top first baseman thanks in part to the adjustments he’s made to get to the outside pitch, but I’m going to need to see a little more before running him higher up the ladder. Before this year he was just a homer source. Trumbo got off to a torrid start last year before disappearing in the second half, and I won’t made the mistake of buying into it so soon again.

Tier Four
Mike Napoli
Paul Konerko
Adam LaRoche
Ryan Howard
Justin Morneau
Ike Davis
Michael Cuddyer
Eric Hosmer

Konerko and Davis are just bad at this point. They don’t look good at the plate and there really hasn’t been much of a hint of a breakout. I have (much) more faith in Konerko becoming useful again than I do Davis, but I’m still staying away right now.

It’s early, but Hosmer is really bumming me out. Outside of Freeman and Goldschmidt, when was the last time a true first base prospect legitimately hit their ceiling? Hosmer still has time of course, but the track record of young players at his position isn’t great.

Tier Five
Mark Reynolds
Todd Frazier
Garrett Jones
Kevin Youkilis
Kendrys Morales
Chris Johnson
Brandon Belt
Lance Berkman
Yonder Alonso
Chris Carter
Daniel Murphy
Michael Young
Dustin Ackley
Lyle Overbay

Reynolds is off to a ridiculous start but at some point he’ll come back to reality with a low-.200 average, lots of pop, and not much else. I’d rank Berkman higher if he was showing a little more power and just wasn’t so damn injury prone. Overbay is worth owning in super-deep leagues if you only play him against righties and at Yankee Stadium.

Tier Six
Corey Hart
Adam Dunn
Mark Teixeira
Mitch Moreland
John Mayberry Jr.
Martin Maldonado
Logan Morrison
Matt Carpenter
Carlos Pena
Adam Lind
Chris Parmelee
James Loney
Jordan Pacheco
Tyler Moore
Greg Dobbs
Jeff Keppinger
Brandon Laird
Todd Helton
Justin Smoak
Luke Scott
Alex Gonzalez
Nate Freiman
Tyler Colvin
Brett Wallace
Mike Olt
Daric Barton
Carlos Lee
Casey Kotchman
Chad Tracy
Justin Turner
Joaquin Arias

Sorry, but I’m not buying into Loney as a legit hitter just yet despite his awesome start. Dunn is partying like it’s 2011 while Hart and Teixeira are hurt with no real return date in sight. Could be two weeks, could be four. Hopefully you have a strong stopgap if they were your projected starters.

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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

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Rizzo seems low.


His 4 steals so far are a nice surprise as well. The fact he could produce 10+ on a season is unexpected.


He’s really turned it around the last few weeks. Ugly average to start the season, but the power was there.

juan pierres mustache

maybe a little low, but what really got me was the comments re: hosmer about how freeman and goldy were the only 1B prospects to pan out recently…

All Balls No Brains
All Balls No Brains

I think with the big uncertainty around him he is about right. If he keeps up the last two weeks, I’m sure he’ll rise by June or July into that second tier, but he was atrocious there for a while, and it didn’t appear to be bad luck but bad hitting. So, yeah.


He had a very low BABIP, which is still below average (albeit slightly). Why do you say it was bad hitting?

Eric Dykstra

Agreed. I had him higher pre-season, and he’s been fantastic.