First base: Ryan O’Hearn
One of the most surprising storylines of the 2018 season was first baseman Ryan O’Hearn emerging as a legitimate power threat in the lineup. The left-handed hitter managed to swat 12 balls out of the ballpark despite playing just 44 games at the MLB level. Expectations were high heading into the subsequent offseason.
To say O’Hearn came back down to earth last season would be an understatement. He crashed hard. In 105 games, he posted a .195/.281/.369 line with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs. Instead of taking the leap forward many expected in carrying his success into 2019, he regressed.
Matheny likes O’Hearn and will give him ample opportunity to win the starting job. He had a great spring training for the KC Royals, but so did his competition. Ryan McBroom came over from the New York Yankees last season and was respectable in 23 games. His power has shown up this spring and he could make things interesting.
For now, though, it’s O’Hearn’s job to lose. He’s got better raw power, the manager likes him and he’s got seniority over McBroom. A platoon swap between the two very well could be in play as the season unfolds, though.