Top 5 American League First Basemen

By Graham Anderson – Last Word On Baseball

The first base position has traditionally been where most MLB franchises turn to for the pop in their lineup. These American League first basemen certainly fit that bill, and will be key weapons for their respective teams in 2017.

Top 5 American League First Basemen

1. Miguel Cabrera – Detriot Tigers

The future Hall of Famer is what other first basemen aim to model themselves after, or at least they should. His .316 average and .956 OPS in 2016 are impressive in their own right; add in 38 home runs and 108 RBI, and the two-time MVP is showing that at 33 years old he has no plans of slowing down. Over his career, he has batted .321 with 446 homers and 1553 RBI.

2. Hanley Ramirez – Boston Red Sox

He is the same age as Cabrera and may not have the same career numbers (.295, 240 home runs, 818 RBI), but his 2016 season was certainly memorable. He hit 30 dingers with 111 RBI, while maintaining a more than respectable .286 average. One thing that may surprise some fans is his 276 career stolen bases. Few players put together careers with 300 home runs, 1000 RBI, and 300 stolen bases, but another couple solid seasons while see Hanley reach this feat.

3. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles

The 30-year-old is an imposing presence at the plate, making pitchers question how to approach him with each at-bat. His .221 average and .792 OPS last season were underwhelming, and if he did not hit 38 HR and drive in 84, his bat would have been more of a liability than a threat. He had the lowest batting average among all players on this list, by .045 points, so he’ll need to turn that around in 2017 while maintaining his power stroke.

4. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians

He slowly started transitioning from catcher to first base during the 2012 season, and has done so without much of a hiccup. He’ll likely split first base duties with recently-acquired free agent Edwin Encarnacion in 2017, and will DH when not at first. In 64 games at first last season, he committed a mere five errors, but it’s his bat that keeps him in the lineup. His 34 home runs and 87 RBI with a .259 average is a more than desirable stat line, and the dual threat of Santana and Encarnacion in the middle of the lineup should have all AL Central pitchers worried sick.

5. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox

The 2014 rookie of the year put together a solid 2016, with 25 home runs, 100 RBI, and a remarkable .293 average. Few players reach 100 homers and 400 RBI in their first four seasons at the big league level, but Abreu needs only nine homers and 92 RBI in 2017 to do so. He has also been good for 30 doubles each season, and gives the White Sox a much-desired power bat to have in the middle of their lineup.

Honorable mention: Eric Hosmer

The five players on this list combined for 165 home runs and 490 RBI in the 2016 season, and established themselves as the premier American League first basemen. They will all look to help their teams raise the division champs banners in 2017.

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