Blue Jays Top 5 First Basemen of All Time

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Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

1. Carlos Delgado

The Blue Jays signed Carlos Delgado as an amateur free agent in 1988. He was originally a catcher and appeared as such in his debut with the Jays in 1993. Delgado didn’t fit at the position and after an experiment with him in left field, he settled in at first base.

Carlos played 12 years in Toronto, he is the franchise leader in many offensive categories and is honoured on the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence. His MLB career began inauspiciously as he bounced around from position to position and didn’t have much success at the plate in brief stints from 1993 to 1995. In 1996, things clicked and Delgado took off offensively. By 1997 Delgado had eased in full-time at first.

His best season as a Jay came in 2000 when he hit 41 home runs, led the league with 57 doubles, had a 1.134 OPS and posted a 7.3 WAR. In 2003, he led the league in RBI (145), OPS (1.019) and hit 4 home runs in one game. He hit 30+ home runs in eight straight seasons and topped 40 three times. He had a .949 OPS as a Jay and racked up 36.7 WAR.

Defensively Delgado was similar to McGriff: Below average but good enough to stay in the field and avoid much DHing

After the 2004 season, Delgado became a free agent and the Blue Jays couldn’t scrape together the money to re-sign him. He signed with the Marlins and then was traded to the Mets in 2006. With injuries piling up, he retired after the 2009 season. Delgado is currently involved with baseball development in Puerto Rico and maintains a close relationship with the Blue Jays. He appeared on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot but didn’t receive enough votes to remain on.

Among Blue Jays’ first basemen all-time he ranks 1st in WAR, 1st in PAs, 1st in HRs, 1st in RBI, 1st in ISO, 2nd in wRC+ and 1st in offensive runs

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Honourable Mentions:

John Mayberry, Shea Hillenbrand, Justin Smoak (The drop off after the top 5 gets steep quickly)