2019 Draft: Top 10 College 1B
By Teddy Cahill
College first basemen historically have not fared well on draft day, as teams instead prefer to draft premier pitchers or players higher on the defensive spectrum. Only 12 college first basemen have been drafted in the first round this century, and last year the highest drafted college first baseman was Texas Christian’s Luken Baker, who went No. 75 overall to the Cardinals.
This year, however, will test those traditional notions. Andrew Vaughn, the 2018 Golden Spikes Winner, has a chance to be the first primarily first baseman from the college ranks to be drafted in the top five picks since San Diego State’s Travis Lee went second overall in 1996. A few other first basemen figure to follow Vaughn off the board early, making this a banner year for college first basemen.
This list is based on draft status and was composed of players who are expected to play most of their games this season at first base. It does not include players who are expected to move to first base as professionals but are not playing there in college.
Vaughn had a sensational sophomore season and won the Golden Spikes Award after hitting .402/.531/.819 with 23 home runs, 44 walks and just 18 strikeouts. He spent his summer burnishing his reputation as the best college hitter in the class both in the Cape Cod League and with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. A righthanded hitting first baseman at 5-foot-11, 215 pounds doesn’t scream top-five pick, but Vaughn’s hitting prowess is enough to get scouts to look past his unique profile.
- 2Louisville 1BNotes:
Wyatt had the unenviable task of replacing Brendan McKay at first base for the Cardinals. He handled the assignment well, hitting .339/.490/.522 during the spring and then carried that momentum into the summer on the Cape, where he led the league in walks. Wyatt is still learning to tap into his raw power but shows impressive hittability.
- 3UCLA 1BNotes:
Toglia was a well-regarded recruit coming out of the Washington prep ranks and he’s built a solid track record for hitting throughout his college career. A switch hitter, he’s listed at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and has a smooth swing that allows him to get to his raw power with ease.
- 4East Carolina 1BNotes:
Listed at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Brickhouse has the plus raw power to match his frame and he’s shown it off since arriving at East Carolina as a freshman. The lefthanded hitter can drive the ball out to all fields, though that also comes with a fair amount of swing and miss.
- 5Stanford 1BNotes:
Daschbach last spring hit 17 home runs, more than any Stanford player in a decade. He was an all-American tight end in high school and is built like a football player at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds. Daschbach has long stood out for his big righthanded power but still must convince he can get to it consistently.
- 6Mississippi State 1BNotes:
Drafted by the Cubs out of high school, Allen has been an everyday player for the Bulldogs since arriving on campus. The lefthanded hitter packs has solid power and a good feel for hitting. Allen, a draft-eligible sophomore, is working to cut down on his swing and miss after striking out in 20 percent of his plate appearances last year, which would help him get to his power even more consistently.
Cole ZabowskiOle Miss 1BNotes:
Listed at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, Zabowski has plenty of raw power in his lefthanded swing. That comes with a fair amount of swing and miss, but he showed better plate discipline during the summer in the Northwoods League. Zabowski is also a solid defender at first base.
Zach BiermanCoastal Carolina 1BNotes:
Bierman began his college career at Polk State (Fla.) JC before transferring to Coastal before the 2018 season. He mostly spent last year at DH in deference to Kevin Woodall but has taken over at first base this spring. Bierman, listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, has big lefthanded power, which he showed off last summer in the Cape Cod League, where he earned all-star honors.
Zach ZubiaTexas 1BNotes:
Zubia redshirted as a freshman at Texas in 2017 after transferring from Tulane and then broke out with 22 home runs that summer in the Northwoods League. He hit 11 home runs last year as a sophomore, second on the Longhorns to only Kody Clemens. Listed at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, the righthanded hitter has impressive raw power.
Connor CannonUC Riverside 1BNotes:
Cannon homered in his first game for Riverside and hasn’t looked back. Listed at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds, the righthanded hitter stands out for his raw power, though it comes with a lot of swing and miss and he has struck out in 27 percent of his career plate appearances.