Prospect lists are a bit of a hip fad these days. I've determined this based on the roughly 50 lists that I've found purporting to rank the sport's best young players. I've also recognized that those 50 lists only sort the prospects in one way- by organization- when fans are often quite concerned with comparing prospects across different organizations. Why make a 51st list that sorts players in a similar manner? Here at MLBDD, we'll be rolling out prospect lists by position, rather than by organization, because we want the 51st prospect list that you read this month to be a little bit different.
MLB Daily Dish's Top 15 First Base Prospects For The 2012 Season
1. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
There isn't a player at this position that really stands out right now as a marquee prospect, but Rizzo managed to stick at the top here. Great power and strong plate discipline, not to mention that people overreact about his performance with San Diego last season.
2. Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros
The swing looks great, his approach as a hitter is impressive for a 20-year-old and there's legit potential for 30+ home runs here. He still needs another year or two in order add some polish and fix some issues that he has with left-handed pitchers.
3. Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres
Alonso has impressive hitting skills and good balance at the plate, but he doesn't have the kind of monster power that's often associated with elite prospects at the position. He improved some against lefty pitching in 2011, which leaves some optimism that he can become a top-level hitter while being limited to 20-25 homers annually, but it's even less likely while playing with the Padres.
4. Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals
For a while there, it seemed like Adams might be blocked for a very long time in St. Louis. But with Albert Pujols' departure, there's a pretty darn good chance that Adams ends up as the Cardinals' primary first baseman in 2013 after an extra year of seasoning with Lance Berkman around.
5. Matt Davidson, Arizona Diamondbacks
After being a third baseman early in his professional career, Davidson spent more time at first base in 2011, reflecting the increasing likeliness that he'll eventually need to move there permanently. He's a talented hitter with plus power, but he's got major contact issues that could be limiting if they're not addressed.
6. C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels
The Angels' first-round pick in 2011, Cron spent a limited amount of time playing professionally before undergoing surgery on his right knee. He impressed in that short period, though, hitting .308/.371/.629 with 13 homers in 159 plate appearances in short-season ball.
7. Neftali Soto, Cincinnati Reds
If he can ever figure out how to make a little more contact and improve his OBP, the 22-year-old Soto could emerge as a major power threat at first base. Over the past three years, he's increased his annual home run total from 11 to 21 to 31, hitting .278/.333/.576 overall in 106 games for Double-A Carolina in 2011. The walk/strikeout numbers still aren't quite there (26/98 BB/K ratio in 2011), but he continues to improve against tougher competition.
8. Chris Parmelee, Minnesota Twins
His potential is limited, but the former first-round pick is ready for the majors and he could quickly establish himself as a solid bat. He won't come close to hitting like he did in a short stint with the Twins last season, but he could make for an easy replacement for Jason Kubel.
9. Dan Vogelbach, Chicago Cubs
It's not pretty, but we've seen enough portly sluggers on the scene over the past few years to have some faith that the 19-year-old can keep his body in check. If that proves to be true, there's some massive potential (see what I did here?) given his stunning power potential and surprisingly solid hitting skills.
10. Aaron Westlake, Detroit Tigers
Like Vogelbach, his professional experience is limited at this point, but Westlake could emerge as an impressive hitting prospect with some at-bats under his belt. A star hitter at Vanderbilt, the 23-year-old was rated as the No. 59 prospect in the 2011 draft by Baseball America.
11. Chris Carter, Oakland Athletics
Once considered an elite prospect that would belong at or near the top of this kind of list, the 25-year-old Carter is still trying to break his way into the big leagues. He hasn't stopped hitting in the minors, though, posting a .278/.371/.544 line while primarily playing for Triple-A Sacramento in 2011. There's power and patience, but he's never cut back on the strikeouts.
12. Kyle Parker, Colorado Rockies
He's unusually raw for a player drafted out of college, but the 22-year-old Parker has big-time power and it could eventually play at the big league level. He's got major issues with strikeouts at this point (133 in 516 PA's in 2011), but the former first-round pick has the tools that you often look for in a young first baseman.
13. Telvin Nash, Houston Astros
He's not a big name, but the Astros' 2009 third-round pick is highly intriguing given his combination of power and patience. He's only played in 159 games since his full-season debut in 2010, but he's performed the entire time, hitting .271/.366/.506 with 27 home runs in 572 plate appearances.
14. Chris Marrero, Washington Nationals
Somewhat similar to Parmelee, but his hitting skills aren't quite as polished and he doesn't offer monster power, either. He's basically MLB-ready and he's a pretty solid all-around hitter, but he's not exceptional in any area and the bar is set so high for first basemen.
15. Alex Dickerson, Pittsburgh
Drafted by the Pirates in the third round in 2011, Dickerson was a star at Indiana and he could potentially move fairly quickly. He's another guy with somewhat limited potential, but there's a lot to like after he hit .313/.393/.493 in 173 PA's for Single-A State College.
OTHERS: David Cooper, Toronto; Jesus Aguilar, Cleveland; Nick Ramirez, Milwaukee; Hunter Morris, Milwaukee; Joey Terdoslavich, Atlanta; Lars Anderson, Boston; Rich Poythress, Seattle; Tyler Townsend, Baltimore; Joe Mahoney, Baltimore; Ricky Oropesa, San Francisco; Dennis Raben, Seattle; Miles Head, Oakland; Mark Canha, Miami; Clint Robinson, Kansas City; Ryan Strieby, Detroit
(Note: I consider Miami's Christian Yelich to be a left fielder at this point.)