MLB Network continued their Top 10 Right Now! series on Saturday evening. Like most fans, I eagerly tuned in to see where Cody Bellinger would rank. Despite not receiving a big league call-up until late April, Bellinger had his name thrown in amongst the best of the best.
MLB Network’s Top 10 First Basemen:
1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
2. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
3. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona DiamondBacks
4. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
5. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
6. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
7. Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland Indians
8. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
9. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Carinals
10. Carlos Santana, Philadelphia Phillies
As a newcomer on the list, Cody Bellinger ranks as the fifth best first baseman in baseball. Not too shabby. The Dodgers “showstopper” rookie used his age-21 season to produce a .267/.352/.581 slash line with a 4.0 fWAR according to Fangraphs. He also set the National League rookie record with 39 home runs. Let’s take a look at the milestone shot.
Jim Thome was a co-host of the show with Brian Kenny. The recently inducted Hall of Famer (and former Dodger for a few games) had this to say:
“I think the pressure he had on him coming to the big leagues on a really good team. How he made the adjustments on the breaking balls, he’s got the launch-swing to produce. As much we want to reward the guys who have done it for years, you also have to reward these young guys. They’re wonderful talents, and his stock is only going to go upward.”
The Godfather of Sabermetrics – Bill James – ranks Bellinger fifth on his list. Bellinger appeared as high as third overall on Vince Gennaro’s list, with Gennaro referencing defensive ability as a major factor.
It’s incredible to have a 22-year old player who is one of the cornerstones of the Dodgers franchise getting this kind of recognition on the national stage. The list seems to have a fair degree of variance year to year, so the story will become where Bellinger ends up after 2018 is complete. You can read more about Bellinger and the rest of the members of the 2017 list here.
If you’re one the fans who buys a ticket to see Bellinger play live at Chavez Ravine, it’s nice to know that you’re getting your money’s worth.
What does your top-10 list of MLB first basemen look like? Would you have Bellinger higher or lower? Be sure to let us know below!
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