NL East Preview: Freddie Freeman, Gaby Sanchez, or Ike Davis?

By dannarferrara

The National League East is filled with young talent, and the first base position is no exception. The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have established veterans in Ryan Howard and Adam LaRoche, but the other three teams in the division are all starting young players at first base.

The Atlanta Braves will start 21 year old Freddie Freeman at first base come Opening Day. Freeman was ranked the #32 prospect in baseball prior to last season and hit .319 with 18 HR and 87 RBI for AAA Gwinnett in 2010.  

The Florida Marlins are starting Gaby Sanchez at first base, who broke out last season and surprised a lot of people. Sanchez hit .273 with 19 HR and 85 RBI in 151 games for the Marlins last season. Sanchez is now 27 years old and many people are questioning whether he can repeat his breakout 2010 campaign. While Sanchez was in the major leagues for small stints in 2008 and 2009, he was considered a rookie last season and came in fourth place in Rookie of the Year voting. 

Ike Davis was called up a few weeks after the 2010 season began and immediately produced. When all was said and done, Davis hit .264 with 19 HR and 71 RBI in 147 games for the New York Mets. Ike, son of former-MLB player Ron Davis, finished seventh in Rookie of the Year voting. Davis is an excellent first baseman and can back that up with his 99.3 fielding percentage. Davis batted fourth in the order for the majority of the season last year and could very well clean up again, pending the status of an injured Carlos Beltran. 

You can not go wrong with any of these guys. Freeman is a highly regarded prospect and his 6’5 build suggests that when he fully develops, he could turn into a beast. Sanchez, although the oldest of the bunch, just had his breakout season as a rookie and certainly has a bright future. Davis, while he may not hit for a very high average, is without a doubt the slugger of the group. His brute strength will give him a high home run total, even though he plays in Citi Field. Who do you think is the best player out of these three first basemen?

-follow on Twitter: @ferrara34  

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