Top 10 First Basemen in College Baseball
Some of the biggest bats in college baseball reside at the first base position, as this list of sluggers packs plenty of thump.
These are the sluggers. In the 2022 MLB Draft, 13 of the first 15 first basemen taken off the board were all college players. We have plenty of excellent 2023 draft candidates and top-of-the-line prospects who will hear their names called in 2024 and beyond.
Hunter Hines – Mississippi State: I feel bad leaving Hines off this list. I went back and forth with him and Kulasingam at number 10, and I ultimately went in a different direction. Hines destroyed baseballs last year, putting up 16 home runs with a .993 OPS. He should have a big season in 2023 and catapult himself up this list.
Kevin Sim – San Diego: Sim didn’t get much playing time in his freshman year at the University of San Diego, but he burst onto the scene in 2022. Sim does everything well. He has a nice glove, steals bases, hits for power, and consistently puts the bat on the ball. He put up a .913 OPS with almost as many walks as strikeouts.
Noah Ledford – Georgia Southern: Ledford flat-out rakes. He’s a career .300 hitter at Georgia Southern, but 2022 was his coming-out party. He put up a 1.109 OPS while hitting .348 with 17 home runs. He’s a run producer with excellent plate discipline, walking 37 times and only striking out 43 times. Expect another big year from Ledford.
10. Sam Kulasingam – Air Force
Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 190 lbs. | B/T: S/R | Class: Sophomore | Draft Yr: 2024
Kulasingam made a lot of noise in his second year at Air Force. He can mash from both sides of the plate resulting in a .411 batting average with a 1.170 OPS in 2022. The Mountain West Player of the Year has a smooth swing that churns out quality contact. He’s a doubles machine and rarely strikes out. He’s very athletic; Air Force occasionally uses him in the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup.
9. Chris Brito – Rutgers
Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 220 lbs. | B/T: R/R | Class: Senior | Draft Yr: 2023
Rutgers is one of the most underrated teams in college baseball this season, and Brito will be one of their key players. He set the single-season RBI record at Rutgers with 74 last year and also hit 16 home runs. He has a solid glove and can give you some value on the basepaths. He has so much pop and should be even better this season after putting up a .903 OPS in the Cape Cod League.
8. Joe Vetrano – Boston College
Ht: 6-4 | Wt: 230 lbs. | B/T: L/L | Class: Junior | Draft Yr: 2023
Vetrano should see his name called within the top 150 picks in next year’s draft. Vetrano has a powerful left-handed swing, resulting in elite exit velocities. He hit 13 home runs in his first entire season at Boston College and hit five at the Cape Cod League. He hit .309 with a .958 OPS last season, but I think he will blow those numbers out of the water in 2023.
7. Jack Moss – Texas A&M
Ht: 6-5 | Wt: 205 lbs. | B/T: L/R | Class: Junior | Draft Yr: 2023
Jack Moss, preseason All-SEC first-teamer, puts the bat on the ball. Moss hasn’t displayed as much power as most of the players on this list, but few have his contact ability. In his first year in the SEC, Moss hit .380 with a .957 OPS. He’s one of the most feared hitters in his conference, making him one of the scariest hitters in the country. He put up 24 extra-base hits last year and should put up even more in 2023.
6. Blake Burke – Tennesse
Ht: 6-3 | Wt: 240 lbs. | B/T: L/L | Class: Sophomore | Draft Yr: 2023
Burke’s name has been thrown around on social media lately as one of the players who could hit down the spy balloon. He has crazy pop and one of the smoothest left-handed swings in college baseball. He put up 14 home runs last year, but every one was spectacular. He wasn’t on the leaderboards because he only had 95 ABs last year. In those at-bats, he put up a 1.288 OPS. He could end up being the best in the country if he continues this level of success.
5. Garret Forrester – Oregon State
Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 205 lbs. | B/T: R/R | Class: Sophomore | Draft Yr: 2023
Forrester isn’t as big as most of the players on this list, but he can hit as well as any first basemen in the country. He didn’t put up crazy power numbers last year, but it’s understandable, considering he plays in the Pac-12. He still put up 20 extra-base hits last season while hitting .332 last year. He should see his name called in the first 100 picks of next year’s draft because he’s a straight-up hitting machine.
4. Tre’ Morgan – LSU
Ht: 6-1 | Wt: 215 lbs. | B/T: L/L | Class: Junior | Draft Yr: 2023
Morgan might be the most well-rounded first basemen in the country. For my money, he has the best glove at the position in the country. He’s got above-average speed with elite plate discipline. He only struck out 26 times last year and walked 25 times. He only hit five home runs last year, but the power is there. We saw 18 doubles last year as a 19-year-old. He’s one of the younger draft-eligible first basemen, but he could be one of the highest picks in the draft as a first baseman.
3. CJ Kayfus- Miami
Ht: 6-0 | Wt: 195 lbs. | B/T: L/L | Class: Junior | Draft Yr: 2023
Kayfus is getting a lot of draft buzz for his excellent batted-ball metrics this past season. After hitting .366 for the Miami Hurricanes this past year, he followed that up with a .302 batting average in his summer at the Cape Cod League. He makes a ton of contact while limiting the strikeouts. He walked more than he struck out last season and stole 16 bases. He hasn’t shown crazy power yet, but he should in 2023. Expect his name to be called within the first 100 picks on draft day.
2. Carter Graham – Stanford
Ht: 6-2 | Wt: 235 lbs. | B/T: R/R | Class: Junior | Draft Yr: 2023
Carter Graham is one of the most powerful college baseball players. He’s a big, burly first baseman who hits balls to the moon. In his first entire season at Stanford, he mashed 22 home runs while hitting .331 with a 1.041 OPS. He’s got some swing-and-miss in his game, but the power is so electric. He is a run-producer at his core, tallying 79 RBIs for Stanford last season. In his second full season, I expect 25 home runs from that smooth right-handed swing.
1. Nick Kurtz – Wake Forest
Ht: 6-6 | Wt: 230 lbs. | B/T: L/L | Class: Sophomore | Draft Yr: 2024
Nick Kurtz fan club, gather around. Kurtz might be the best hitter in his class after his performance at Wake Forest in his freshman season. He plays in a tough ACC conference, and it didn’t matter. Kurtz put up a 1.108 OPS while hitting .338 with 15 home runs at 19 years old. Wake Forest is my favorite team to win the College World Series in 2023, and he should be the leading force on offense.