The First Basemen
Overview: Unlike at catcher, there’s not a ton of depth here. Josh Naylor is a bonafide prospect, but the lack of power production keeps him at something less than blue-chip status. Brad Zunica hit 18 home runs in about half a season’s worth of work at Fort Wayne, but that was his second tour of the league, plus he destroys entire ant colonies when he runs at full speed. After Zunica, there’s just not much out there.
That’s not necessarily a problem, however, because most teams aren’t all that keen on developing players at first base. Oftentimes first basemen end up being outfield or third base transplants, so there are plenty of potential eventual candidates spread throughout the system (not to mention Naylor and Zunica). Plus, in theory, an adequate first baseman should be easier to find on the free agent market or, perhaps, through another astute trade.
- Josh Naylor
It took former Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso nearly a full decade of professional baseball to tap into the power potential that he showed as a junior at the University of Miami. Alonso connected for 28 round-trippers this season, besting his previous big-league career-high by 19 home runs. He made a conscious effort to—get this—hit more home runs in 2017, and it worked. With the new strategy came more strikeouts, more walks, and an ISO nearly double his previous career mark. Despite a late-season power outage, Alonso emerged as a truly effective hitter for the first time in his career.
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