Best MLB First Baseman: Paul Goldschmidt vs. Freddie Freeman


Mar 8, 2023

First basemen in Major League Baseball have notoriously been known for their power, leading us to debate the best player at the position in today’s game.

Two of the games best at the position play in the National League, which has orchestrated a comparison between Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals and Freddie Freeman of the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Which of these elite players should hold the crown? Let’s dive into that below. 

Goldschmidt and Freeman Boast Elite Tendencies 

If you want to know how closely contested Goldschmidt and Freeman are, look no further than their 2022 WAR. The pair of All-stars finished the season with an identical 7.1 WAR, highlighting the difficulty of deciding who should land on top.

The edge likely would have been given to the Cardinals’ first basemen when you factor in that he captured the first National League MVP of his career. Goldschmidt led the league in slugging and OPS while generating 35 home runs and 115 RBI. With an elite presence at the plate and Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, it’s hard to knock the former Diamondback off the pedestal of the best first basemen in baseball. 

In saying that, Freeman is most definitely no slouch, either. Like Goldschmidt, he brings excellent defense to the table, and although he doesn’t boast the same level of power at the moment, he still crushed 21 home runs and 100 RBI in his first season with his hometown Dodgers. If you wanted to look back at the 2021 campaign, Goldschmidt still had an edge in WAR and has found an advantage at the plate as a St. Louis Cardinal. It certainly took some time for Freeman to adjust in Dodger Blue, but you should see a more settled-in version this season and one that should be relied upon in a more prominent offensive role. 

With some talented youngsters expected to enter the fold in St. Louis, there should be more protection for a slugger like Goldschmidt, which would certainly give him more pitches to hit. Neither of these elite players appears to have a decline on the horizon, meaning they should be amongst the kings of the position entering 2023. 

No matter which side of the equation you land on, both have a real case to be made as the best first basemen in the game today. The recent MVP award for Goldschmidt is the trump card for him to take home the current honors, but that shouldn’t be seen as a slight for the high-level production that Freeman has also brought to the table. 

Thumbnail photo via Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

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