Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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2018 1B and DH Rankings

Friday, July 14, 2017

Time for some post-All-Star break fun: here are my very, very preliminary 2018 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options are likely to be exercised.

Along with the position rankings is a top 300 list for 2018. Click to see other preliminary 2018 rankings:
Top 300 | SP | RP | OF | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | C | DH


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2018 First Baseman and Designated Hitter Rankings


2018First BaseTeam2017July
1 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 1 1
2 Cody Bellinger Dodgers 43 5
3 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 4 2 2B
4 Edwin Encarnacion Indians 5 2
5 Joey Votto Reds 6 3
6 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 3 6
1 DH Nelson Cruz Mariners 4 OF 8 OF
7 Jose Abreu White Sox 7 8
8 Eric Thames Brewers 12 7
9 Wil Myers Padres 10 10
10 Hanley Ramirez Red Sox 8 9
11 Eric Hosmer   11 11
12 Chris Davis Orioles 9 13
13 Logan Morrison   26 19
14 Justin Bour Marlins 20 18
15 Matt Carpenter Cardinals 10 2B 12 2B
16 Brandon Belt Giants 15 12
2 DH Kendrys Morales Blue Jays 1 DH 16
17 Carlos Santana   13 17
18 Justin Smoak Blue Jays 34 14
19 Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 24 15
20 Greg Bird Yankees 17 31
21 Yulieski Gurriel Astros 19 3B 19 3B
3 DH Albert Pujols Angels 14 22
22 Rhys Hoskins Phillies 70 38
23 Lucas Duda   21 23
24 Josh Bell Pirates 27 25
25 Yonder Alonso   37 21
26 Mike Napoli   19 20
27 Matt Adams Braves 33 27
4 DH Victor Martinez Tigers 2 DH 1 DH
28 Dominic Smith Mets 64 NR
29 Tommy Joseph Phillies 18 28
30 C.J. Cron Angels 16 40
31 Mitch Moreland   29 26
5 DH Pedro Alvarez   3 DH 2 DH
32 Ronald Guzman Rangers 72 NR
33 Sam Travis Red Sox 40 34
34 Joe Mauer Twins 25 30
35 Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers 22 35
36 Chris Carter   30 33
37 A.J. Reed Astros 31 NR
38 Danny Valencia   25 3B 21 3B
39 Mark Reynolds   35 24
40 Jesus Aguilar Brewers 45 36


  • I don’t feel great about Cody Bellinger as my No. 2 first baseman, but my actual No. 2 first baseman, Freddie Freeman, is listed at third. I’m thinking of Bellinger and Anthony Rizzo as third-rounders in mixed leagues next year and then the next three as fourth-rounders.


  • Most of the free agents-to-be here come in a little lower for 2018 than they did in the July rankings, but Logan Morrison is an exception. I would have been higher on him this spring if he had left Tampa Bay last winter. Obviously, it’s working out well for him now, but he could find himself in a better situation next year.


  • It’s hard to say which first base prospects might have starting jobs on Opening Day. I have the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins highest, since I think he’ll get a chance to overtake Tommy Joseph in the second half of this year. Next up is the Mets’ Dominic Smith, who has made a nice case for replacing Lucas Duda next spring by hitting .330/.382/.500 at Triple-A Las Vegas. Still, it would be nice to see some additional power from him; he has just four homers in 50 games away from his paradise in Vegas (though to be fair, his average and OBP have held steady). He’s still going to be 22 on Opening Day next year, and since the Mets will want to contend, bringing in a one-year option for first base would make some sense.


  • Rangers prospect Ronald Guzman is another 22-year-old with an impressive average in Triple-A (.319/.385/.477 for Round Rock). He might be a better player than Mike Napoli right now. Sam Travis is up in Boston and holding his own (.275/.341/.375 in 40 AB) against left-handers, but it doesn’t seem likely that the Red Sox will settle for him as an Opening Day starter when so many modestly priced veterans will be available; they might even bring back Mitch Moreland.


  • Failing to make the cut were the Jays’ Rowdy Tellez, the Cardinals’ Luke Voit, the Yankee’ Garrett Cooper and the Indians’ Bobby Bradley. I thought Tellez might overtake Justin Smoak this summer, but he’s been a massive disappointment in his first go at Triple-A, hitting .204/.274/.327. I still think he’ll bounce back, but Smoak doesn’t seem as vulnerable at the moment. Voit’s upside is limited, but he could put up an .800ish OPS given the chance. Cooper, who was just acquired from the Brewers, is in a similar boat, but I don’t think his bat is quite as solid as Voit’s. Bradley is probably more of a 2019 guy, though he would have a path to the majors with Carlos Santana eligible for free agency this winter. He’s hitting .258/.346/.487 as a 21-year-old in Double-A.

Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @matthewpouliot.
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