The New York Mets have one of the best first basemen in baseball in Pete Alonso. First base is one of the deepest positions in the game with numerous game-changing offensive players, and Alonso ranks among the best of the best.
This was a very hard ranking to make because there is so much talent at this position. I mainly looked at 2021, but I did take into account past performance as well. For this article, I made my top 10 list, but if you watch Giraffe Neck Marc’s Youtube video, you’ll see just how deep this position goes.
So where does Pete Alonso slot into my list?
Let’s start at the top, which has to be Vladdy Jr. at #1. In any other season, he would’ve been the unanimous MVP. It took Shohei Ohtani doing things we’ve never seen before to take it away from him. Vladdito slashed a ridiculous .311/.401/.601/1.002 with 48 homers, 29 doubles, 123 runs scored, and 111 RBI’s, good for a 169 OPS+. Yeah his defense was slightly below average, but it doesn’t matter when you hit like that.
Number two is Freddie Freeman. It’s crazy to me that the Braves haven’t re-signed him yet, but I fully expect them to. Freeman slashed .300/.393/.503/.896 with 31 homers, 25 doubles, 120 runs scored, and 83 RBI’s, good for a 133 OPS+. His defense was also fantastic, ranking in the 86th percentile in Outs Above Average (OAA) on Baseball Savant. Simply put, Freddie does it all.
The third best first baseman in baseball is Max Muncy. The late-bloomer has become one of the best hitters in baseball, and he holds his own defensively too. Last year, Muncy slashed .249/.368/.527/.895 with 36 homers, 26 doubles, 95 runs, and 94 RBI’s. He did suffer a torn UCL that kept him out of the playoffs and will likely cause him to miss time in 2022, but when he’s on the field, he’s one of the best.
Coming in at number four is St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. He slashed .293/.365/.514/.879 with 31 homers, 36 doubles, 102 runs scored, and 99 RBI’s. Even in his mid-30’s, he’s still mashing and he’s one of the best defenders too. He’s also the rare first baseman who is a good base runner, posting a positive BsR every year since 2013.
This is where it started to get really difficult.
I decided to go with current Oakland A Matt Olson at #5. Olson is coming off of his best season in 2021. He slashed .271/.371/.540/.911 with 39 homers, 35 doubles, 101 runs scored, and 111 RBI’s. While Olson has been known as a premium defender at first, he did have a down year in the field. I originally had him higher, but the defensive slide led to his overall slide.
At #6, I’ve got Mets slugger Pete Alonso. The Polar Bear slashed .262/.344/.519/.863 with 37 homers, 27 doubles, 81 runs scored, and 94 RBI’s. Surprisingly, he actually had a +2 OAA, which was better than Matt Olson (+1). That speaks to how much work Pete has put into improving his defense, as well as Olson’s slide. I went back and forth about Alonso and Olson at #5, but decided to go with Olson because of his higher OPS and his defensive track record.
I won’t go into too much detail about the next few guys, but the number 7-10 guys on my list were interesting. Brandon Belt, Joey Votto, Jose Abreu, and Rhys Hoskins were all in that zone, and frankly, the order to put them in is pretty interchangeable. Abreu rakes, Votto gets on base and finally tapped into his power last season, Belt is pretty solid all around, and Hoskins, even while coming off a down year, has that on-base/power combination that is a serious threat.
This was tough to do, but I feel good about the results. Alonso is in a really good spot, just outside the elite tier of this position. If Freeman and Goldschmidt start to show their age, Alonso will rise up this list.
Where would you rank Alonso among Major League first baseman?