Pittsburgh Pirates: Five Best First Base Free Agent Targets

A Look at the five best potential first base free agents for the Pirates.

Aug 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt (13) runs the
Aug 11, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Brandon Belt (13) runs the / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
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Number One - Rhys Hoskins

Rhys Hoskins is arguably the best first base option on the free agent market (assuming Cody Bellinger is considered an outfielder). Hoskins missed all of 2023 due to recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, despite his missing season, Hoskins has a long track record of being a consistently strong batter.

In his last season, Hoskins batted .246/.332/.462 with 30 dingers. Hoskins may have struck out about a quarter of the time (25.1% to be exact), he still had a 10.7% walk rate. Hoskins had a .345 wOBA, and 122 wRC+, which marks the fifth time in his career that he’s posted a wRC+ of at least 120. His lowest career wRC+ is 112, which was back in 2019. Hoskins is also a consistent power threat, having hit at least 27 home runs every year he’s played at least 100 games.

Hoskins is not much of a fielder, but 2022 was one of his better seasons with the leather. He had +3 DRS and a +0.8 UZR/150. Outs above average, however, did no like his glovework over at first base, pinning him at -6 OAA, and the worst number of his career thus far. Career wise, Hoskins has -7 DRS, -11 OAA, and a +1.3 UZR/150 while spending his time at first base.

However, despite his below-average defense at first base, you can’t deny his hitting prowess. Hoskins is always a threat to hit 30 home runs and 30 doubles while providing a league-average batting average and above-average OBP. There is a chance that Hoskins accepts a qualifying offer so he can rebuild some value before heading back into the free agent market, but seeing as 2024 will mark his age-31 campaign, he might be aiming for years over AAV.