Luke Voit has become a fixture of the Yankees lineup, as one of their most consistent and powerful hitters

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The top two players on our list are the reigning NL and AL MVPs, highlighting just how valuable First Base position can be.

When you think of a first basemen, what do you picture? A big, long, and, sometimes, chunky player, who doesn't exactly have wheels, but can provide a lot of pop at the plate? Congratulations! You nailed it. Because first basemen are such an archetype, and dole out such similar production, it can be rare that one or a few rise to the level of first round talent.

This year, much like the past few years, really only one *cough* Freeman *cough* might go that high. It's absolutely what I'd call a high floor position. In the third round, you might be just as likely to get a guy who's outpaced by a player in the twelfth round, but, even then, not by much. When you look at what an accomplished 1B can bring to your team, it's easy to see that there's no reason to skimp.


TOP FIVE

Freddie Freeman - ATL

Freeman isn't someone you'd describe as flashy or sexy, but the man rakes, and he rakes consistently. Out of his 10 full professional seasons, he has hit over .300 half of the time, and the rest of the time was within spitting distance.

He usually puts himself right around 20-25 homers, but he really shines as a guy who drives in runs. He's had over 100 RBIs twice, 90 thrice; and last season, if you prorated his number out to a full 162 games, he would've posted an astonishing 143.1 ribbies.

I don't even know how you'd notch a tenth of a run, which makes that feat more impressive. With only a couple seasons marred by injuries, you can pretty much count on the guy to be healthy and in the lineup everyday. He's twice played in all 162 and didn't miss a game last year either. All that being said, he'll be the only guy at this position anyone would consider at the end of the first round, so I'd say getting him at the top of Round Two is a steal.

Jose Abreu - CWS

Here's a deserving MVP after being the most steady hand on a team that went from the verge of greatness to actual greatness. He's a perennial favorite to lead his league in RBIs, SLG, total bases, and as a guy who just absolutely rakes. He's dealt with injuries for only one season in his career and only missed about 40 games. Unlike some of the guys below him, there's never been a down year to point to, and he represents a gun-to-your-head safe bet for 100 ribbies.

Pete Alonso - NYM

The only Polar Bear in Queens had himself a bit of a sophomore slump after an electric rookie season, in which he set the rookie HR record and led the league with 53 dingers. His average dropped nearly 30 points, showing a worrisome streakiness and a literal boom or bust potential.

But remember, you were never going to draft him for his average. If he can reach the high .240s, which seems more likely by the day, the homers and a decent chunk of the 120 RBIs from his rookie season should return to his stat sheet.

Luke Voit - NYY

The lumber-swinging farm boy, who seemed like a trade deadline flier and depth piece, has become a starting All-Star quality first baseman over his time in pinstripes. Voit managed to lead the league in homers last season, essentially hitting one every third game and putting up a .277 average, all while dealing with "foot stuff" to boot.

Entering this season fully healthy and with a dangerous team around him should only mean more opportunities to hit dingers and drive in runs.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - TOR

Like a fair number of players last year after the shutdown, Vlad Jr. started the season not quite in playing shape, and he didn't manage to reach the lofty expectations of his potential and bloodline. This was particularly difficult on the guy, who's notoriously and unfairly been maligned for battling to stay at his fighting weight.

Fast forward to 2021, and we enter the age of Slim Vaddy who looks a lot more like his daddy. Another thing to note: It probably didn't help his production that the Blue Jays were essentially brainstorming from Buffalo around the AL East, which was only settled weeks before Opening Day. Hopefully, having these two issues settled will led to increased powered numbers and the further ascension of Vlad.

THE NEXT TIER

I see the talent here as pretty interchangeable, so no reason to expound on anyone in too much detail. These all represent guys who will hit you DINGERS, then hover around the .240s or .230s or lower (except Goldschmidt, but that's why he's the top of this tier).

In last year's small sample size season, Olson and Muncy both slumped and went under .200, while Rhys and Rizzo managed to stay just above. None of that should bother you, because these guys could win you the HR cat every single week.

Paul Goldschmidt - STL

Matt Olson - OAK

Rhys Hoskins - PHI

Max Muncy - LAD

Anthony Rizzo - CHC

ALL THE REST

There's an interesting mix of guys in the group that land in different times, places, and points of their career. Some are looking for a comeback to previous success, some are old vets who have diminishing returns but bring leadership and other qualities to a team, and some are guys on the rise that could by season's end make us all look foolish for rating them so low.

Josh Bell - WSH

He suffered through a wonky 2020 after mashing 37 homers in his first All-Star season the prior year. As a Pirate who seemed to transcend their inherent Pirate-ness, he became the center of trade rumors on a team that offered little to no protection for their switch-hitting power hitter. A fresh start in Washington surrounded by a different class of talent can only help Bell return to form.

Is 30 dingers too high to reach for? Maybe, but I would have to imagine 20 should be a low bar to clear.

Eric Hosmer - SD

Miguel Sano - MIN

Ryan Mountcastle - BAL

One of the most intriguing names on the board from a pure mystery standpoint. He played around a third of a full major league season. There are players who slumped for the duration of their entire career up until now and still made the All Star team.

He's absolutely crushed baseballs at every level, so the odds of him forgetting how to now are slim. In fact, he originally started as a shortstop, but his lack of defensive value prompted the switch to first base as a way to get his bat through the system faster. We could look back and wonder how we all missed an utter breakout season that was right in front of our noses, or how we all thought this guy was worth this eating and never hear from him again.

Christian Walker - ARI

Joey Votto - CIN

Yuli Gurriel - HOU

Carlos Santana - KC

Jared Walsh - LAA

C.J. Cron - COL

The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

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The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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Julio Jones is trying to force his way out of Atlanta

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The NFL's all-time leader in receiving yardage per game is looking for a new home.

Five time all-pro, Julio Jones, stated on FS1's Undisputed earlier this week that he was "out" of Atlanta and that his only focus on where he wants to play next year includes winning. This corroborates with reports back in April as Ian Rapoport indicated the Falcons were receiving calls for their star receiver prior to the NFL Draft.

It's no surprise that Jones wants out considering the Falcons have only made the playoffs once since their Super Bowl appearance in 2016. Jones is 32 now and coming off a season where nagging injuries kept him off the field for all but nine games in 2020. In those games Jones caught 51 balls for 771 yards while adding three touchdowns. Having only reached double-digit touchdowns once in his career in 2012, the volume and yardage have always been Julio's strengths. A lack of availability would certainly hurt his chances to be a major contributor for any title-contender.

According to SportsLine, the teams with the best odds to land Jones are as follows as of May 28, 2021.

  • Patriots +200
  • 49ers +300
  • Titans +400
  • Raiders +600
  • Ravens +700
  • Chargers +900
  • Colts +1000
  • Packers +1200
  • Dolphins +1400
  • Jaguars +1500
  • Cowboys +2000

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The Nets big 3 are set for a finals run.

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The play-ins have been a short, but wild rollercoaster and the playoffs are getting ready to set off.

The seeds are finally set, and the first-round matchups are 76ers(1) vs Wizards(8), Nets(2) vs Celtics(7), Bucks(3) vs Heat(6), and Knicks(4) vs Hawks(5).



76ers vs Wizards:

The Russell Westbrook-Joel Embiid rivalry will continue during this year's playoffs and fans cannot wait. The Wizards finished the season with a 16-6 record, and after a lackluster start this season, they have made themselves a dangerous 8th seed. While the 76ers didn't finish the season hot, I'm sure with a team-full of veterans, rest was more of a priority. The 76ers beat the Wizards three times during the season, but two of those games were very close and came early in the season.

The Wizards can definitely make this series a challenging one for the 76ers. The Wizards have shooters all around with Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans. But the 76ers have a much deeper team with guys like Danny Green, Seth Curry, and Dwight Howard providing good veteran leadership. The Wizards are riding on the health of Bradley Beal, who has dealt with hamstring tightness in the past two weeks.



Nets vs Celtics:

The Nets finally seem to be healthy just in time for the playoffs, which is dangerous for Boston. Although the Nets big three only played eight games together, the Nets still finished with a 48-24. The Nets also have a great mix of reliable veterans like Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Jeff Green, and Joe Harris. These two teams meet three times during the regular season with Brooklyn taking all three games.

The Celtics have not lived up to expectations this year. After making a conference finals last year, it was expected to carry through the regular season, but they never found their stride. Jaylen Brown will continue to be sidelined with a broken wrist, so most of the load will be carried by Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. I see this series being an easy one for the Nets.



Bucks vs Heat:

A rematch of the heated second-round matchup last year, where the Heat upset Milwaukee, who had Giannis dealing with injuries. Interestingly enough, both of these come to the playoffs on the right side with an 8-2 record in their last 10 regular-season games. Giannis is back with more weapons on his sides like Jrue Holiday, PJ Tucker, and Jeff Teague, while also keeping their core from last year. Giannis had had another MVP-type season averaging 28 points and 11 rebounds.

The Miami Heat started the season off slow, probably because of the NBA finals hangover, but got hot after the all-star break. Miami also acquired many new weapons like Trevor Ariza and Dewayne Dedmon. The Jimmy Butler-Giannis Antetokounmpo matchup will be the most important aspect of this series.

Knicks vs Hawks

After what seems like a lifetime drought, the Knicks are finally back in the playoffs! We can all agree that when the Knicks are good, the league is in better spirits. Tom Thibodeau has turned this team around, and you can't forget about how Julius Randle has been playing this season. Possibly the most improved player, Julius Randle has proved all his doubters wrong and has taken the keys to this Knicks franchise. The Knicks have great veteran leadership with guys like Derrick Rose, and Taj Gibson who are familiar with Thibodeau. They also have great young talent with guys like RJ Barret, and Obi Toppin.

The Hawks on the other hand have turned it around since firing Lloyd Pierce and having Nate McMillan made this team do a complete 180. Trae Young and John Collins are one of the best duos in the league. With guys like Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, and Bogdan Bogdanovic who can get hot at any point of the game. This series can definitely go to 7 games, with last-second shots determining the outcome.