Welcome to my positional prospect rankings series for 2023. The offseason is always a fun time, especially in the world of dynasty and prospect rankings. This is the time of year when we have additional time to dissect our rankings in many different ways and dive deeper into prospect profiles to see if we have them ranked appropriately. The two most beneficial ways to break them down are by team and position. Chris Clegg and I are posting our Top 20 prospect rankings for every MLB team this offseason and I’ll be going position by position as well, continuing with my top First Base Prospect Rankings here today. On paper, this position isn’t quite as exciting as the catcher position that I went over last week. However, I feel like this is often the case as prospects often move to first base later in the game from other positions.
- If you missed out on the Vinnie Pasquantino in 2021/2022, you have a golden opportunity to rectify that with Kyle Manzardo in 2023. Manzardo’s profile is quite similar to Pasquantino’s. In 93 games between Hi-A and Double-A, Manzardo racked up 26 doubles and 22 home runs with a robust .327/.426/.617 slash line and .290 ISO. On top of that, he nearly walked (59) as much as he struck out (65), which equate to a 14.9% walk rate and 16.4% strikeout rate. His blend of contact, power, and approach is rarely seen, giving Manzardo one of the highest floors in the minors with considerable upside as well.
- Don’t let his struggles down the stretch with Boston make you value Triston Casas any less favorably than you did before his promotion. And if even the slightest buy-low window opened up in any of your dynasty leagues, take advantage of that. Casas has the offensive profile you look for in a future early-round first baseman for fantasy. There’s double-plus raw power that he’s yet to full tap into during games along with the ability to hit for a high average and get on base at a high clip as well. Him and Manzardo are nearly a coin flip for the top spot that his position for prospects.
How about this for your first career at-bat against the Yankees? 😳
Triston Casas takes Gerrit Cole deep.
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) September 13, 2022
- Although he was drafted as a catcher, the first base position is likely where Tyler Soderstrom winds up long-term due to the presence of Shea Langeliers. Soderstrom even played more at first than he did behind the plate in 2022. We’d obviously love to have his bat with catcher eligibility, but Soderstrom has the power to fit in among the other sluggers at this position. However, it’s the AVG and approach that I’m a bit worried about. The Athletics don’t have the greatest track record with developing bats recently and Soderstrom’s BB and K rates have slowly trended in the wrong direction. Having Oakland’s spacious park awaiting him doesn’t help either. Long-term, I think he’s more of a .250/25 type that could be a 30+ homer bat in a more hitter-friendly park.
- Without question, the buzziest name at this position for prospects right now is Matt Mervis. After mashing 40 doubles and 36 home runs in 137 MiLB games with a .309/.379/.606 slash line, Mervis continued to impress in the Arizona Fall League with another six home runs in 17 games. While the hype train is about to derail here, Mervis’ bat is definitely legit and my Fasntrax Toolshed co-host, Chris Clegg, did a great job breaking him down here. Longterm, I’m a believer in Mervis’ ability to approach Top-10 status at this position with .260+/30 upside. However, given how much buzz he has at the moment, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what offers you could get for him in dynasty leagues.
🚨 MATT MERVIS HOME RUN 🚨
An absolutely 💣 to left-center.
— Eric Cross (@EricCross04) November 6, 2022
- Both Blaze Jordan and Niko Kavadas in the Boston organization are intriguing. However, the 2023 season should be very telling for each of them. Kavadas dominated in Lo-A and Hi-A, slashing .295/.460/.603 with 24 homers in 96 games. But once he was promoted to the Double-A level in August, Kavadas struggled mightily. It makes you wonder where the bat ends up longterm and how much of his Single-A dominance was due to him being a 23-year-old collegiate bat facing mostly younger competition. As for Jordan, the raw power has always impressed, but he struggled to translate that into game power in 2022, cranking only 12 in 120 games with a .156 ISO. On the other hand, Jordan also hit .289 including a .301 mark in Hi-A, and only struck out 18% of the time. He’s still a buy for me entering 2023.
- After a huge 2021 showing where he racked up 14 home runs and 15 steals in just 39 games with a .306/.444/.678 slash line, Anthony Garcia had a 2022 season to forget. He spent the entire season in Lo-A Tampa and slashed .195/.372/.369 with a disgusting 40.6% strikeout rate in 384 plate appearances. The power and athleticism might look intriguing on paper, but this is far from a Major League caliber bat given the immense deficiencies in the contact and strikeout departments. Garcia is falling down rankings in a hurry.
- Although he played plenty of 3rd base and outfield this season as well, I’m going to mention Jhonkensy Noel here as I believe this is where he winds up longterm. There are plenty of pros and cons with Noel along with a wide range of outcomes. The raw power is elite and reminds me a bit of Franmil Reyes. However, similarly to Reyes, Noel strikes out too often and struggles to make contact. The big question is if he can make enough contact to fully maximize his raw power and stick as an MLB regular. He’s still only 21, so there’s certainly time, but 2023 should be a very telling year for him one way or the other.
- FYPD Targets: Ivan Melendez (ARI), Xavier Isaac (TBR), Jacob Berry (MIA)
- Redraft Targets (In Order): Triston Casas (BOS), Matt Mervis (CHC), Michael Toglia (COL)
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2023 First Base Prospect Rankings
Other positions can be found here, along with our overall prospect rankings, dynasty rankings, and team prospect rankings.
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Media Credit: Red Sox, Fox Sports MLB