Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Basman By Age

The best way to analyze prospects is using their age in relation to the level they are playing at. Without taking too much of the level into account to start, I'll just be looking at age. I use a players age based on the date that MLB uses to define whether a player will be a draft eligible sophomore, because much of my analysis originates with a players drafted year. If a player is 26.01 on that date, he falls into the 26 year old age category. The age won't always match what is listed on Baseball Reference or FanGraphs but that is how I do it. If I don't have a players birthdate, I use the age listed on Baseball Reference.

First Baseman are some of the slower players to develop. The average time for a college first baseman to make it to the majors is 3.69 years. The average for a high school first baseman is 5.64 years. This time can be reduced if a player has a higher skill level. Elite players only take 2.8 years out of college and 4.28 out of high school. These are just averages. First Baseman don't really have skills that should take as long to develop as, say, a catcher, but they do. They need time to learn to identify pitches and utilize their power in ways that impact the game. A lot of times, they are stuck in the minors because veteran MLB players move from the other positions to first base and block their path.


On average, each MLB team carries two first baseman throughout the year. The starter usually plays in 144 games and the backup gets into 77. They are often used in the DH role as well intermittently. I'll lump in DH stats below as well, as AL teams carry a DH and if they do get into games, it's often as a 1B. Most teams carry a third corner bat type of player, whether taht is a 1B or a RF. They average just 21 games and 49 at bats but they do use a roster spot on this third corner bat above and beyond the DH.

First Baseman are typically slow, less athletic, have mediocre arms but can hit with power and for average. Average is less neccesary but the elite usually possess high end hitting and power.

Using stats from 2009-2013, here are the positional averages.

Position G AB PA H 2B 3B HR R RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG
Elite 1B 158 601 685 173 38 2 27 88 103 73 112 5 2 0.288 0.366 0.493
1B 144 514 587 139 30 1 23 71 81 63 111 3 2 0.270 0.353 0.467
BACKUP 1B 77 204 229 49 10 1 6 23 26 21 49 1 1 0.240 0.314 0.387
CORNER BAT 21 39 43 8 2 0 1 4 4 3 11 1 0 0.205 0.262 0.359
Elite DH 151 560 632 157 31 2 23 75 88 63 105 3 2 0.280 0.354 0.466
DH 89 305 345 81 17 1 13 38 47 35 64 1 1 0.266 0.345 0.459

This is to give perspective on how many MLB players come from each age group. I hope it shows how amazing even backup players are. You have to be a special player to make it to the majors and the best of the best to be good. Most ages only have 2 or 3 starter caliber players. It shows how much of a success it is for a team to develop a player to get them to the majors.

Age 25
Matt Adams
Hunter Morris
Joe Terdoslavich
Alex Liddi
Aaron Westlake
Brian Fletcher
Mike Mcdade
Neftali Soto
A.J. Kirby-Jones
Angelo Songco
Jonathan Griffin
Kevin Patterson
Corban Joseph

Age 24
Jesus Montero
Anthony Rizzo
Eric Hosmer
Freddie Freeman
C.J. Cron
Kyle Parker
Alex Dickerson
Cameron Seitzer
Jesus Aguilar
Travis Shaw
D.J. Hicks
Harold Riggins
Nick Ramirez
Ricky Oropesa

Age 23
Ji-Man Choi
Stetson Allie
Christian Walker
Kelly Dugan
Max Muncy
Michael Almanzar
Miles Head
Jayce Boyd
Kennys Vargas
Telvin Nash
William Beckwith
Bobby Borchering
Rudy Flores
L.B. Dantzler
Angel Villalona
Jeff Malm
Mason Katz

Age 22
Jonathan Singleton
Aderlin Rodriguez
Roderick Shoulders
Brian Ragira
Conrad Gregor
Ryon Healy
Felix Munoz
Jared King

Age 21

Daniel Vogelbach
Jose Osuna
Colin Moran
Kyle Schwarber
Greg Bird
Keon Barnum
Brandon Drury
J.D. Davis
Casey Gillaspie
Kevin Cron
Brandon Dulin
Ryan Ripken
Sikes Orvis
Richard Prigatano
Alexander Wiel
Hunter Melton

Age 20

Matt Olson
Nelson Rodriguez
A.J. Kubala
Ron Miller
Ariel Ovando
Chris Shaw
Cole Miller
Joe Purritano
Matt Dacey
Jackson Laumann

Age 19
Dominic Smith
Zack Collins
Ronald Guzman
Ryan Tellez
David Denson
Cody Bellinger
Bryce Harman
Joe Dudek
Gunnar McNeill
Pita Rona
Joseph Corrigan
Aubrey McCarty

Age 18
Jake Bauers
Justin Bellinger
Hunter Williams
Jeremy Vasquez
Josh Ockimey
Bradley Zunica
Blake Billinger

Age 17

Lewin Diaz
Leury Vargas
Isiah Gilliam
Brandt Stallings
Devin Davis
Dillon Paulson
Curtis Terry

Age 16

Will Benson
Logan Pouelsen
Grant Gambrell
John VanDeMark
Eric Monroe Moll
Gabriel Duffy, Jr
Hunter Seay
Justin Skeesick
Alex Kirilloff
Bryant Packard

Age 26-29

Brandon Belt
Paul Goldschmidt
Jose Abreu
Justin Smoak
Chris Carter
Ike Davis
Yonder Alonso
Mark Trumbo
Chris Davis
Mitch Moreland
Logan Morrison
Chris Parmelee
Ryan Wheeler
Brent Morel
Juan Francisco
Kyle Blanks
Tyler Moore
Japhet Amador
Lucas Duda
Shane Peterson
Joe Mahoney
Brett Wallace
David Cooper
Nate Freiman
Daric Barton
Darin Ruf
Mike Carp
Jim Adduci
Ben Paulsen
Chris McGuiness
Lars Anderson
Tommy Medica
Luis Jimenez
Jason Rogers
Kyle Roller
Cody Decker
Sean Halton
Efren Navarro
Jordan Lennerton
Yazy Arbelo
Brandon Laird
Brett Pill
Chris Marrero
Jerry Sands
Josh Satin
Matt Hague

Age 30-33

Allen Craig
Brandon Moss
James Loney
Mark Reynolds
Adam Lind
Edwin Encarnacion
Mike Napoli
Jesus Guzman
Chris Colabello
Justin Morneau
Nick Swisher
Casey Kotchman
Gaby Sanchez
Travis Ishikawa
Kevin Frandsen
Yuniesky Betancourt
Garrett Jones
Jeff Baker

Age 34+

Albert Pujols
Adam LaRoche
Mark Teixeira
Ryan Howard
Chad Tracy
Dan Johnson
Nick Green
Eric Hinske
Greg Dobbs
Carlos Pena
Lyle Overbay
Alex Gonzalez

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