Minor League First Basemen Lacking Depth, Starpower

Singleton, Jonathan

Positional prospect talent comes in waves – or so it seems. The minor league shortstop position is loaded with potential star power, with the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Javier Baez, Addison Russell, and Corey Seager leading the way into what could be the next golden era of offensive performers at the position.

Third base isn’t lacking for options either, not with Miguel Sano, Garin Cecchini, Joey Gallo and Kris Bryant (for now) manning the hot corner. Second base has Mookie Betts, speedster Delino Deshields Jr., and Rougned Odor. And, of course, there are plenty of options in the outfield as well.

But first base, long thought of as the elite position for offensive production, is noticeably thin.

This season much of the top production at the position belongs to the Quad-A types like Chris Colabello or older players dominating the younger competition in the lower levels of the minors.

Gregory Bird, who was a member of the Prospect Digest All Minor League Team, led the way with a .288/.428/.511 line in low Class A. Seattle’s Ji-Man Choi finished the regular season with a .295/.394/.535 line across three levels. But after that there’s a significant drop-off in production among actual prospects.

Sorting the qualified first baseman by Weighted Runs Created Plus, or wRC+, the next noteworthy player is the Mets’ most recent first rounder Dominic Smith, who batted .302/.401/.444 in rookie ball. Stetson Allie, the former flame-throwing right-hander who, well, flamed out, posted some gaudy numbers in low Class A (.324/.414/.607) but disappeared one level up (.229/.342/.356). Cubs MiLB’er Daniel Vogelbach has the potential to develop into an above-average regular, but is still several years away. And the position’s top prospect, Jonathan Singleton, all but disappeared upon his return from a 50-game suspension and looked lost for much of the season.

Make no mistake about it the class of minor league first basemen is incredibly thin, particularly in the upper minors.


Photo of  Jonathan Singleton Courtesy of Tom Priddy/MiLB.com.



After serving as a video scout/analyst for Baseball Info Solutions, Joe Werner began writing at his original site, ReleasePoints.com. He’s since transitioned into his current niche, prospect analysis, at ProspectDigest.com. He has been fortunate — and incredibly blessed — to have some of his work published and mentioned by several major media outlets, including: ESPN, Cleveland.com and the Baseball Research Journal. He can be reached at: JosephMWerner@yahoo.com.