Baseball's Top 10 First Base Prospects

Chris Carter

First base has generally been a hot bed for the best prospects in baseball. While not as deep as previous seasons, there is considerable talent at the position. Find out if your team's prospects made the list. Also, three additional prospects made the watch list for 2010.

1. Justin SmoakTexas Rangers

An improving defensive player, Smoak is a line drive machine with developing power. The switch-hitter profiles as a high average hitter that will produce damage in the middle of the lineup. He may not have plus power today but could develop into that type of threat as he matures. His plate discipline is excellent, and he should benefit from seeing more breaking balls in 2009.

2. Chris Carter – Oakland A's

A mammoth power threat, Carter has immensely improved his stock by taking a more selective approach in each at-bat. Seeing 30-homer seasons on a perennial basis is not hard to fathom. Carter must improve defensively but has impact talent on the offensive side.

3. Ryan WheelerArizona Diamondbacks

Arizona's fifth-round pick this past summer, Wheeler has the offensive profile of a legitimate first base prospect. He already has above-average raw power that could blossom even further. His command of the strike zone is uncanny for a player his age.

4. Logan MorrisonFlorida Marlins

An on-base machine, Morrison uses excellent pitch recognition skills and a sound approach to each at-bat to put himself in hitter's counts on a regular basis. There are some questions about his ultimate power ceiling, but Morrison is a good bet to be an above-average first baseman, that at least gets on base consistently and finds the gaps with regularity.

5. Freddie FreemanAtlanta Braves

At just 19-years old, Freeman reached Double-A for a taste in 2009, after tearing through High-A. Freeman relishes big spots and has the bat control and power to be an outstanding run producer at the highest level. He has drawn Mark Grace comparisons, with scouts expecting more power than Grace in the end.

6. Yonder AlonsoCincinnati Reds

An average defender that lacks lateral movement, Alonso has all the offensive skills teams dream about for first base. He has exceptional power, patience, and the ability to recognize pitches and connect at a high contact rate. Finding a tad more consistency will be essential in his quest for a big league spot – one that could come sometime in 2010.

7. Eric HosmerKansas City Royals

A tremendously high ceiling with plus bat speed, Hosmer has a swing that profiles as one that will hit for power and average. It was an up-and-down season for Hosmer, as he would swing for the fences too often and get out of a comfort zone of working the count. When he is more selective, his natural power can take over. He didn't have the season he hoped, but the talent level remains.

8. Lars AndersonBoston Red Sox

A terrible season had a lot of people jumping ship on Anderson's potential. What was lost among the numbers is the approach, raw power, and overall toolset remain; he simply got into some bad habits mechanically. Ironing out those issues, Anderson can again be a premium offensive threat.

9. Ike Davis

Worries over a dismal professional debut are a distant memory after Davis crushed the Double-A Eastern League with a .309/.386/.565 line over 55 games. Davis has a wealth of offensive tools, including above-average power to all fields, good bat control, and a solid understanding of the strike zone. He could be ready to help the Mets by the second half of 2010.

10. Ryan StriebyDetroit Tigers

Wrist problems have shortened Strieby's last two seasons, but while on the field he has emphatically announced himself as a viable MLB prospect. Strieby has light tower power to all fields, an improved approach at the plate, and a newfound ability to hit for average. With Miguel Cabrera entrenched at first base, how Strieby takes to left field will determine how quickly he finds himself in Detroit.

Names to Watch in 2010:

Beau Mills

A rising player with power to all fields, Mills has the potential to be a top prospect at any position if he can cut down his strikeouts.

Anthony Rizzo

Rizzo surprised many by hitting .295/.371/.420 in 55 games at High-A as a 19-year-old, and he continues to close the gap on another Red Sox first base prospect; Lars Anderson.

Brandon Allen

Strong-bodied first baseman with a terrific frame. Has worked hard over the last year to become a more selective hitter and has benefitted.

Join Scout.com Senior Minor League Baseball Analyst Mark Anderson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TigsTownMark

Join Scout.com MiLB Senior Editor Denis Savage on Twitter at http://twitter.com/madfriars

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