MLB State of the Position 2022: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at First Base

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2022

MLB State of the Position 2022: Every Team's 5-Year Plan at First Base

0 of 30

    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    The first base position is always loaded with superstar talent, and this offseason two of the biggest names at the position changed teams as Freddie Freeman joined the Los Angeles Dodgers and Matt Olson replaced him on the Atlanta Braves.

    Meanwhile, there is an influx of young talent at the position as well, with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson headlining the next generation of standouts at the position.

    That said, some teams are better set up for current and future success at the position than others.

    We've broken down each team's present and future outlook at first base, highlighting its current starter and its top prospect, followed by a prediction of who will start for each of the next five seasons. Included with each top prospect is his tier ranking, based on where he slotted in Bleacher Report's latest farm system rankings article.

    Think of it as a team's five-year plan at the position.


    Other State of the Position articles: Catcher, Shortstop, Third Base

Arizona Diamondbacks

1 of 30

    Seth Beer
    Seth BeerRob Tringali/Getty Images

    Present: Christian Walker (Age: 31)

    Walker seized the starting first base job in 2019 when he posted a 111 OPS+ with 29 home runs and 73 RBI as a 28-year-old rookie, but after a similarly productive season during the shortened 2020 campaign, his production cratered last year. Now that he's arbitration-eligible with a $2.6 million salary in 2022, he'll be a non-tender candidate if he doesn't turn things around.


    Top Prospect: Seth Beer (Tier 3)

    Beer hit a walk-off home run on Opening Day serving as the D-backs' starting DH, and with limited defensive tools, that will be his role for the time being. That said, if the team decides to cut ties with Walker, he's the obvious in-house replacement at first base. The 25-year-old hit .292/.392/.509 over three minor league seasons following a terrific collegiate career at Clemson.


    Five-Year Prediction: Walker (2022), Beer (2023-26)

Atlanta Braves

2 of 30

    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    Present: Matt Olson (Age: 28)

    The Braves turned the page on the Freddie Freeman era when they acquired Olson from the Oakland Athletics in a blockbuster deal and then promptly signed him to an eight-year, $168 million extension. He is roughly four years younger than Freeman and coming off a season during which he posted a 153 OPS+ with 35 doubles, 39 home runs and 111 RBI to finish eighth in AL MVP balloting.


    Top Prospect: CJ Alexander (Tier 3)

    With a strong 6'5", 215-pound frame, Alexander probably fits best at first base long-term, though he has played third base for the majority of his pro career. The 25-year-old has some playable power but also a ton of swing-and-miss to his game as he posted a 31.8 percent strikeout rate at Double-A last year.


    Five-Year Prediction: Olson (2022-26)

Baltimore Orioles

3 of 30

    Ryan Mountcastle
    Ryan MountcastleGail Burton/Associated Press

    Present: Ryan Mountcastle (Age: 25)

    Originally drafted as a shortstop, Mountcastle slid down the defensive spectrum and eventually landed at first base where he is an average defender. He posted a 113 OPS+ with 33 home runs and 89 RBI in 144 games last season, though his .309 on-base percentage needs work. He could slide into the everyday DH role if Trey Mancini departs in free agency.


    Top Prospect: Coby Mayo (Tier 3)

    With Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg the favorites to play the left side of the infield long-term, Mayo could ultimately move across the diamond from his natural position of third base. A fourth-round pick in 2020, he hit .319/.426/.555 with 24 extra-base hits in 53 games in his pro debut, and he'll be one to watch as he tackles full-season ball this year.


    Five-Year Prediction: Mountcastle (2022-23), Mayo (2024-26)

Boston Red Sox

4 of 30

    Triston Casas
    Triston CasasKoji Watanabe/Getty Images

    Present: Bobby Dalbec (Age: 26)

    Dalbec posted a 1.053 OPS with 14 home runs and 38 RBI in 48 games over the final two months of the 2021 season, but he still finished the season with a 34.4 percent strikeout rate and something to prove. Regardless of whether he takes another step forward, he's just keeping the first base position warm for Triston Casas. If Dalbec hits, he'll likely replace free-agent-to-be J.D. Martinez as the primary DH in 2023.


    Top Prospect: Triston Casas (Tier 1)

    Casas hit .279/.394/.484 with 15 doubles, 14 home runs and 59 RBI in 86 games in the upper levels of the minors last year sandwiched around a star turn with Team USA in the Olympics. The 22-year-old followed that up with a stellar run in the Arizona Fall League, and he's off to a hot start at Triple-A with his MLB debut on the horizon.


    Five-Year Prediction: Dalbec (2022), Casas (2023-26)

Chicago Cubs

5 of 30

    Frank Schwindel
    Frank SchwindelMark Brown/Getty Images

    Present: Frank Schwindel (Age: 29)

    Schwindel saw his first extended MLB action last year after replacing Anthony Rizzo at first base following his trade to the New York Yankees. The late-bloomer hit .342/.389/.613 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 56 games with the North Siders, and he's controllable through the 2027 season as he looks to carve out a long-term role this year.


    Top Prospect: Alfonso Rivas (Tier 3)

    The Cubs acquired Rivas in the deal that sent Tony Kemp to the Oakland Athletics prior to the 2020 season, and after a hamstring injury sidelined him early in the 2021 season, he returned to hit .284/.405/.411 in 237 plate appearances at Triple-A. He has a hit-over-power profile but showed enough upside to win a spot on the Opening Day roster.


    Five-Year Prediction: Schwindel (2022-26)

Chicago White Sox

6 of 30

    Andrew Vaughn
    Andrew VaughnDiamond Images/Getty Images

    Present: Jose Abreu (Age: 35)

    Abreu is playing in the final season of a three-year, $50 million deal, and even if the White Sox decided to bring him back, a move to designated hitter makes sense for his age-36 season. That would clear a path for former top prospect Andrew Vaughn to return to his natural position of first base. The 24-year-old was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft, and he has a chance to be a foundational piece of the team's offense going forward.


    Top Prospect: Jake Burger (Tier 3)

    With Colson Montgomery and Wes Kath viewed as the future left side of the infield and Yoan Moncada signed through the 2024 season with a club option for 2025, Burger does not have a clear path to playing time at third base in the majors. The 26-year-old could fill a role on the bench and serve as a backup at the corner-infield spots while providing some power off the bench.


    Five-Year Prediction: Abreu (2022), Vaughn (2023-26)

Cincinnati Reds

7 of 30

    Joey Votto
    Joey VottoMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Present: Joey Votto (Age: 38)

    The Reds still owe Votto another $25 million in 2023 with a $20 million club option for 2024 that includes a $7 million buyout. The longtime Cincinnati first baseman posted a 136 OPS+ with 36 home runs to finish 16th in NL MVP voting last year, and while he's off to a slow start in 2022, the Reds could exercise the option to ensure he retires in a Reds uniform.


    Top Prospect: Rece Hinds (Tier 3)

    Hinds has some of the best raw power in the minors, but he's been slowed by a quad injury and a torn meniscus since he was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft. The 21-year-old has played third base and corner outfield, but shifting him to first base could help him stay healthy as he works to unlock his vast offensive potential.


    Five-Year Prediction: Votto (2022-23), Hinds (2024-26)

Cleveland Guardians

8 of 30

    Owen Miller
    Owen MillerIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Owen Miller (Age: 25)

    Slugger Bobby Bradley was the presumptive starting first baseman heading into the 2022 season, but a red-hot start from Miller has earned him a starting role. The former San Diego Padres prospect was acquired in the Mike Clevinger deal, and while he may ultimately fit best in a super-utility role, he's Cleveland's primary first baseman for the time being.


    Top Prospect: Jhonkensy Noel (Tier 3)

    With Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez, Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman, Brayan Rocchio and Nolan Jones all vying for future spots on the Cleveland infield and incumbent third baseman Jose Ramirez recently signed to an extension, it's tough to predict exactly who is going to line up where on the dirt. Noel added his name to the list of intriguing infield prospects last season when he hit .340/.390/.615 with 19 home runs and 66 RBI in 70 games over three minor league levels.


    Five-Year Prediction: Miller (2022-23), Noel (2024-26)

Colorado Rockies

9 of 30

    Michael Toglia
    Michael TogliaDiamond Images/Getty Images

    Present: C.J. Cron (Age: 32)

    Cron has bounced around in recent years as a low-cost power source, but he seems to have found a home with the Rockies. He hit .281/.375/.530 for a 131 OPS+ with 28 home runs and 92 RBI in a 3.4-WAR season last year on a one-year, $1 million deal, and the Rockies rewarded him with a two-year, $14.5 million extension last October.


    Top Prospect: Michael Toglia (Tier 2)

    Toglia posted a 1.016 OPS with 17 home runs and 65 RBI in 63 games during his junior season at UCLA before going No. 23 overall in the 2019 draft. The 23-year-old slugger had a 22-homer, 84-RBI season between High-A and Double-A last year, but he hit .228 with a 28.5 percent strikeout rate, so there's work to be done refining his approach.


    Five-Year Prediction: Cron (2022-23), Toglia (2024-26)

Detroit Tigers

10 of 30

    Spencer Torkelson
    Spencer TorkelsonCarlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Present: Spencer Torkelson (Age: 22)

    After a record-setting college career at Arizona State, Torkelson went No. 1 overall in the 2020 draft, and after one full season in the minors he broke camp as Detroit's starting first baseman. The 22-year-old has all the tools to be one of the game's premier middle-of-the-order run producers for the next decade, and he will almost certainly be a factor in the 2022 AL Rookie of the Year race.


    Top Prospect: Colt Keith (Tier 3)

    With a 50-hit, 50-power offensive profile, Keith will go as far as his offensive game carries him. The 20-year-old has a strong arm, but he's a fringy defender at third base, so a move across the diamond could come at some point in the future. He hit .286 with a .396 on-base percentage in 65 games in 2021 after going in the fifth round of the abbreviated 2020 draft.


    Five-Year Prediction: Torkelson (2022-26)

Houston Astros

11 of 30

    Yuli Gurriel
    Yuli GurrielIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Yuli Gurriel (Age: 37)

    Gurriel did not make his MLB debut until shortly after his 32nd birthday, and he has been a steady contributor throughout his time stateside. He hit .319/.383/.462 with 15 home runs and 81 RBI to win the AL batting title last year, and he's in the second season of a two-year, $14.5 million deal. The question is how much longer he will play, especially amid a 4-for-28 start to his age-38 season.


    Top Prospect: Joe Perez (Tier 3)

    Most clubs preferred Perez as a pitcher during the 2017 draft, but the Astros took him as a third baseman in the second round at No. 53 overall. The 22-year-old hit .291/.354/.495 with 34 doubles, 18 home runs and 61 RBI in 106 games during a breakout 2021 season, and he made his MLB debut on April 8. With Alex Bregman blocking his path at third base, a move to first base could be how he gets his bat in the MLB lineup.


    Five-Year Prediction: Gurriel (2022), Perez (2023-26)

Kansas City Royals

12 of 30

    Nick Pratto
    Nick PrattoIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Carlos Santana (Age: 36)

    Santana posted a career-low 80 OPS+ with 19 home runs and 69 RBI in his Royals debut, and he's off to an ugly 2-for-26 start in the second season of a two-year, $17.5 million deal with the team. Retirement could be awaiting next offseason if he doesn't pick up his production, and he has quietly racked up 31.3 WAR in 13 seasons.


    Top Prospect: Nick Pratto (Tier 1)

    The No. 14 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Pratto posted a .988 OPS with 36 home runs and 98 RBI during a breakout season last year. The 23-year-old will likely debut at some point in 2022, and that could come sooner than later if Santana continues to struggle. Vinnie Pasquantino is one of the game's most promising first base prospects in his own right after hitting .300/.394/.563 with 24 home runs and 84 RBI last year, but Pratto is the better defender, so he'll likely end up in the DH role.


    Five-Year Prediction: Santana (2022), Pratto (2023-26)

Los Angeles Angels

13 of 30

    Jared Walsh
    Jared WalshIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Jared Walsh (Age: 28)

    After a strong showing during the shortened 2020 season, Walsh played his way into the starting first base job last year and sent Albert Pujols packing in the process. Despite cooling off after the All-Star break, he still hit .277/.340/.509 with 29 home runs and 98 RBI, and he's controllable through the 2025 season. He could be an extension candidate if he keeps up his hot start this year.


    Top Prospect: Quentin Selma (Tier 3)

    The Angels don't have an obvious future MLB first baseman in the farm system, though former prospects Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward could see time there if needed. Selma is currently the starting first baseman at Single-A Inland Empire, and he hit .291/.368/.544 with 15 home runs and 47 RBI during his senior season at California before going undrafted in 2021.


    Five-Year Prediction: Walsh (2022-26)

Los Angeles Dodgers

14 of 30

    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanRobert Gauthier/Getty Images

    Present: Freddie Freeman (Age: 32)

    The Dodgers gave Freeman a six-year, $162 million contract in free agency, and the first base position will be his through the duration of that deal as he looks to put together a compelling Hall of Fame case in the coming years. Max Muncy can easily step into the starting role if Freeman misses time, and Cody Bellinger also has plenty of experience at first base.


    Top Prospect: Justin Yurchak (Tier 3)

    Top prospects Michael Busch and Miguel Vargas have both seen some time at first base in an effort to add to their defensive versatility, but they are more likely to land at second base and third base, respectively. With that in mind, Yurchak is the one to watch at first base after he hit .365/.443/.485 with 26 extra-base hits in 92 games between High-A and Double-A last year.


    Five-Year Prediction: Freeman (2022-26)

Miami Marlins

15 of 30

    Lewin Diaz
    Lewin DiazMark Brown/Getty Images

    Present: Jesus Aguilar (Age: 31)

    Aguilar has a mutual option for 2023, and his platoon partner, Garrett Cooper, is arbitration-eligible for only one more season as well, so neither looks like the long-term answer at first base. That will instead be Lewin Diaz, who played 40 games in the majors last year but is back at Triple-A continuing to refine his offensive game. The 25-year-old has significant power potential and plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.


    Top Prospect: Troy Johnston (Tier 3)

    A 17th-round pick in 2019 out of Gonzaga where he played primarily corner outfield, Johnston has shifted to first base since starting his pro career. The 24-year-old hit .300/.399/.468 with 27 doubles, 15 home runs and 85 RBI in 120 games at Single-A and High-A last year to put his name on the prospect radar.


    Five-Year Prediction: Aguilar/Cooper (2022), Diaz (2023-26)

Milwaukee Brewers

16 of 30

    Rowdy Tellez
    Rowdy TellezJohn Fisher/Getty Images

    Present: Rowdy Tellez (Age: 27)

    The Brewers acquired Tellez from the Blue Jays last summer, and he hit .272/.333/.481 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 56 games with Milwaukee to secure the starting first base job for the 2022 season. Keston Hiura also remains an option at first base as he continues to try to regain the form he showed as a top prospect and standout rookie in 2019. Tellez is controllable through 2024, while Hiura is arbitration-eligible through 2025.


    Top Prospect: Zavier Warren (Tier 3)

    Drafted as a catcher despite playing primarily shortstop at Central Michigan, Warren appears to be headed for a corner infield role. He caught just three times in his final 39 games last year and has played exclusively third base this year, but first base is also an option going forward. He may be most valuable in a utility role, but if he can develop into more of a power threat, he could be the first baseman of the future.


    Five-Year Prediction: Tellez (2022-24), Warren (2025-26)

Minnesota Twins

17 of 30

    Alex Kirilloff
    Alex KirilloffBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Present: Miguel Sano (Age: 28)

    The Twins hold a $14 million club option for 2023 on Sano that carries a $2.75 million buyout, and if his brutal 2-for-30 start is any indication, they'll be opting for the latter. With a pair of 30-homer seasons to his credit and some of the best raw power in the game, he still offers upside offensively, but he is too one-dimensional to command that type of money on the open market.


    Top Prospect: Aaron Sabato (Tier 3)

    Alex Kirilloff looks like the future at first base, provided he can stay healthy long enough to tap into his significant offensive potential. If he does seize the starting job, Sabato would then slot into the DH role once he's MLB-ready. The 6'2", 230-pound slugger offered some of the best power potential outside of Spencer Torkelson in the 2020 draft when he went No. 27 overall, but he has gotten off to a slow start in the minors.


    Five-Year Prediction: Sano (2022), Kirilloff (2023-26)

New York Mets

18 of 30

    Pete Alonso
    Pete AlonsoJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Present: Pete Alonso (Age: 27)

    Will the Mets approach Alonso about a potential extension in the coming years? The homegrown star is arbitration-eligible through the 2024 season, and since breaking into the big leagues with a 53-homer season in 2019, he has consistently been one of baseball's most productive sluggers. He is earning $7.4 million this year, and buying out his remaining arbitration years with an extension would bring cost certainty.


    Top Prospect: Mark Vientos (Tier 2)

    With Ronny Mauricio and Brett Baty vying for playing time at third base, it's unlikely Vientos will wind up there in the long term. He played left field for the first time last season, but first base is also an option if he doesn't become a trade chip. There's no clear MLB first baseman in the system, so he gets the nod.


    Five-Year Prediction: Alonso (2022-26)

New York Yankees

19 of 30

    Anthony Rizzo
    Anthony RizzoG Fiume/Getty Images

    Present: Anthony Rizzo (Age: 32)

    After a two-month stint with the Yankees last season, Rizzo re-upped with a one-year, $16 million contract that includes a matching player option for 2023. The 32-year-old could have a tough time matching that on the open market, so don't be surprised if he exercises the option and returns. After that, DJ LeMahieu could play out the final three seasons of his six-year, $90 million deal at first base.


    Top Prospect: Josh Breaux (Tier 3)

    A two-way player in college who touched 100 mph with his fastball, Breaux was drafted as a catcher, but he's still extremely raw behind the plate. His 55-grade power is his best present tool aside from his strong arm, and a full-time move to first base might be the best way to maximize his offensive upside and expedite his development through the system as he's already 24 years old.


    Five-Year Prediction: Rizzo (2022-23), LeMahieu (2024-26)

Oakland Athletics

20 of 30

    Seth Brown
    Seth BrownIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Seth Brown (Age: 29)

    In the wake of the Matt Olson trade, the Athletics have used Billy McKinney, Seth Brown, Christian Bethancourt, Sheldon Neuse, Stephen Vogt and Jed Lowrie at first base through just the first 11 games of the season. After a 20-homer rookie season last year, Brown is the one to watch from that group, and he's controllable through 2026.


    Top Prospect: Tyler Soderstrom (Tier 1)

    After acquiring catcher Shea Langeliers from the Atlanta Braves in the Olson trade, it now looks even more likely that Soderstrom will eventually shift out from behind the plate in an effort to maximize his elite offensive game. The 20-year-old has a 60-hit, 55-power offensive profile, and he hit .306/.390/.568 with 33 extra-base hits in 57 games at Single-A in his pro debut last year.


    Five-Year Prediction: Brown (2022-23), Soderstrom (2024-26)

Philadelphia Phillies

21 of 30

    Rhys Hoskins
    Rhys HoskinsRich Schultz/Getty Images

    Present: Rhys Hoskins (Age: 29)

    Hoskins has been a fixture in the Phillies lineup since he burst onto the scene with 18 home runs in 50 games as a rookie in 2017, and he has one year of salary arbitration remaining next year before he hits the open market for the first time. With Alec Bohm struggling defensively at third base, his long-term position could be first base if Hoskins walks.


    Top Prospect: Jordan Viars (Tier 3)

    A third-round pick out of high school in 2021, Viars had a .406 on-base percentage with three home runs and 18 RBI in 22 games in rookie ball. He split his time between first base and left field in his pro debut, and he'll be a prospect to watch in his first full season with room to grow into his 6'4", 215-pound frame.


    Five-Year Prediction: Hoskins (2022-23), Bohm (2024-26)

Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 30

    Yoshi Tsutsugo
    Yoshi TsutsugoJustin Berl/Getty Images

    Present: Yoshi Tsutsugo (Age: 30)

    Tsutsugo hit .268/.347/.535 with eight doubles, eight home runs and 25 RBI in 43 games with the Pirates last season after spending time with the Rays and Dodgers earlier in the year. The Pirates brought him back on a one-year, $4 million deal and he is controllable through the 2026 season via arbitration. Versatile slugger Michael Chavis is also an option at first base, though he can also play second base and third base.


    Top Prospect: Mason Martin (Tier 3)

    Martin turned heads with a 35-homer, 129-RBI season between Single-A and High-A in 2019, but he also struck out 168 times that year, and cutting down on his swing-and-miss will be the key to tapping into his plus-plus power. The 22-year-old hit .242 with a 34.3 percent strikeout rate in the upper minors last year, and his 60-grade power will be his ticket to the majors.


    Five-Year Prediction: Tsutsugo (2022-23), Martin (2024-26)

San Diego Padres

23 of 30

    Eric Hosmer
    Eric HosmerDenis Poroy/Getty Images

    Present: Eric Hosmer (Age: 32)

    Hosmer began the year with four years and $60 million remaining on his eight-year, $144 million contract, and he had a lackluster 101 OPS+ and 2.7 WAR through the first four years of the deal. The former Kansas City Royals star is hitting .378/.410/.514 with five doubles through his first 10 games this year after an offseason of trade rumors.


    Top Prospect: Daniel Montesino (Tier 3)

    The Padres are loaded with middle-infield talent, and that could eventually push Jake Cronenworth to first base. Otherwise, the team's best up-and-coming first base talent appears to be Montesino, who hit .316/.444/.490 with 21 extra-base hits in 56 games as a 17-year-old in rookie ball. Left field is still a possibility for him defensively, but first base looks like a better fit.


    Five-Year Prediction: Hosmer (2022-25), Montesino (2026)

San Francisco Giants

24 of 30

    Brandon Belt
    Brandon BeltRon Schwane/Getty Images

    Present: Brandon Belt (Age: 33)

    Belt accepted a one-year, $18.4 million qualifying offer during the offseason coming off a career year in 2021 when he hit .274/.378/.597 for a 161 OPS+ with 29 home runs and 2.7 WAR in 97 games. The current roster features a variety of other players who can handle first base, including Darin Ruf, Wilmer Flores and LaMonte Wade Jr., who is controllable through the 2025 season after a breakout 2021 campaign.


    Top Prospect: Luis Toribio (Tier 3)

    After a strong start to his pro career, Toribio hit a bump in 2021 when he batted .229/.351/.356 with 28 extra-base hits in 408 plate appearances in his full-season debut at Single-A San Jose. The 21-year-old has strong on-base skills, but he needs to solve left-handed pitching and find a way to tap into more of his raw power.


    Five-Year Prediction: Belt (2022), Wade Jr. (2023-25), Toribio (2026)

Seattle Mariners

25 of 30

    Ty France
    Ty FranceAlika Jenner/Getty Images

    Present: Ty France (Age: 27)

    An injury to Evan White opened the door for France last season, and he responded by hitting .291/.368/.445 with 32 doubles, 18 home runs and 73 RBI in a 4.3-WAR campaign. The Mariners signed White to a six-year, $24 million extension prior to his MLB debut in 2020, and he won a Gold Glove as a rookie. The job will be his once he returns from sports hernia surgery, at which point France will likely slide into the DH role.


    Top Prospect: Milkar Perez (Tier 3)

    With White signed long-term, the Mariners don't have a glaring need for a first baseman of the future. Perez is a promising low-level prospect who is currently playing third base, and he hit .308 with a .455 on-base percentage last year in 51 games between rookie ball and Single-A. He has a rocket arm but is somewhat lacking in athleticism, and there's enough power potential to believe he could handle a shift to first base.


    Five-Year Prediction: France (2022), White (2023-26)

St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 30

    Paul Goldschmidt
    Paul GoldschmidtIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Paul Goldschmidt (Age: 34)

    In his third season with the Cardinals, Goldschmidt hit .294/.365/.514 with 36 doubles, 31 home runs and 99 RBI in a 6.1-WAR season to finish sixth in NL MVP voting. He has two years and $52 million left on his contract after this season before he hits the open market following his age-36 season. How much longer will he perform at an elite level?


    Top Prospect: Juan Yepez (Tier 3)

    Yepez hit .286/.383/.586 with 29 doubles, 27 home runs and 77 RBI in the upper levels of the minors last year and then capped off his breakout season by posting a 1.028 OPS with seven home runs and 26 RBI in 23 games in the Arizona Fall League. The 24-year-old is back at Triple-A, but he could get a shot at the DH job before the 2022 season is over.


    Five-Year Prediction: Goldschmidt (2022-24), Yepez (2025-26)

Tampa Bay Rays

27 of 30

    Quinn Harris/Getty Images

    Present: Ji-Man Choi (Age: 30)

    Since joining the Rays midway through the 2018 season, Choi has quietly hit .254/.363/.456 with a 126 OPS+ and 5.3 WAR in 311 games. He's controllable through the 2023 season and could be a low-cost extension candidate for a team that values his on-base ability. It's worth wondering if the team might consider shifting Brandon Lowe to first base in a few years to free up middle-infield playing time.


    Top Prospect: Curtis Mead (Tier 3)

    Mead started playing professionally in Australia when he was 16 years old, and he was one of the breakout prospects of 2021 in his stateside debut when he hit .321/.378/.533 with 55 extra-base hits in 104 games while climbing three levels to close out the year at Triple-A. The 21-year-old could be ready to debut by next year, and he has the offensive potential to be an everyday player at a corner-infield spot.


    Five-Year Prediction: Choi (2022-23), Mead (2024-26)

Texas Rangers

28 of 30

    Nathaniel Lowe
    Nathaniel LoweTom Pennington/Getty Images

    Present: Nathaniel Lowe (Age: 26)

    The Rangers acquired Lowe from the Tampa Bay Rays in an under-the-radar deal prior to the 2021 season, and he hit .264/.357/.415 with 18 home runs and 72 RBI in a 2.4-WAR season in his first full season in the majors. With club control through the 2026 season, he has a chance to carve out a place as a long-term piece on the roster.


    Top Prospect: Dustin Harris (Tier 2)

    Acquired in the deal that sent Mike Minor to the Oakland Athletics in 2020, Harris hit .327/.401/.542 with 21 doubles, 20 home runs, 85 RBI and 20 steals between Single-A and High-A in his first season in the Texas organization. His prospect stock is on the rise, and with a 60-hit, 55-power offensive profile, he has a chance to be an impact offensive player. He has also seen time at third base and in left field, which should help get him on the field even if Lowe locks down first base.


    Five-Year Prediction: Lowe (2022-26)

Toronto Blue Jays

29 of 30

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    Present: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Age: 23)

    Will Guerrero be the next young superstar to sign a long-term extension? The Blue Jays are interested in discussing a new deal, but Guerrero has pushed off talks until this coming offseason, per Jon Heyman of the New York Post. After hitting .311/.401/.601 with 48 home runs and 111 RBI to finish runner-up in AL MVP voting a year ago, he is quickly becoming one of the faces of the league. For now, he's controllable through 2025.


    Top Prospect: Spencer Horwitz (Tier 3)

    Horwitz hit .294/.400/.462 with 30 doubles, 12 home runs and 66 RBI last season, and he is quickly outperforming his status as a 24th-round pick in the 2019 draft. The Blue Jays could also explore shifting Jordan Groshans or Orelvis Martinez with a crowded situation on the left side of the infield and Bo Bichette entrenched at shortstop.


    Five-Year Prediction: Guerrero (2022-26)

Washington Nationals

30 of 30

    Josh Bell
    Josh BellIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Present: Josh Bell (Age: 29)

    Bell posted a 124 OPS+ with 27 home runs and 88 RBI with the Nationals last season, and he is headed for free agency for the first time in his career this coming offseason. He had a 37-homer, 116-RBI season in 2019, and he could be the prize of this year's trade deadline if the Nationals fall out of contention once again this summer.


    Top Prospect: Branden Boissiere (Tier 3)

    A third-round pick out of the University of Arizona in 2021, Boissiere hit .369/.451/.506 with 21 extra-base hits and 63 RBI in 63 games during his junior season on campus. The 22-year-old got off to a slow start at Single-A in his pro debut, but he has solid offensive upside in a farm system that is lacking in impact bats.


    Five-Year Prediction: Bell (2022), Free Agent (2023-24), Boissiere (2025-26)


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.