Fantasy Baseball: First Base Rankings – Points

As a Christmas Present I gave you some Catcher rankings, and now for a New Years gift I give you the almost-as unexciting first base rankings! It’s just like getting any Christmas present post-30: unexciting but practically necessary.

The trouble with first base is there is a massive gulf opening between the top five and the rest of the field. When you add in that you are not playing Buster Posey anywhere but catcher, then that further weakens the field. Once you get past the top 10 it really does become quite scary. Fortunately, a lot of points leagues do not use corner infielders and only have three outfielders, so going deeper than 15-20 players isn’t necessary.

A couple of notes about these rankings:

  1. I have ranked it based on who I want as a starter, so I have taken into consideration 20-team leagues. In shallower leagues, if I want a late lottery play then I would look at the “intriguing group” tier before I would look at “No-Mans Land.”
  2. Many of these guys have dual eligibility, so you may find you use Davis, Posey, etc. At other positions and that further depletes this field.

As I go along I will point out where the DH-only eligible guys fit in this tiers system.

This year my hitter rankings and tiers will be based off my own projections, which I have produced this year and they are the only projections I will be using during my drafts (I also use ADP for the site I am drafting on to help make decisions).

Each position will not only be ranked, but will be split into tiers as if I was drafting tomorrow. If you haven’t used tiers before, it is a very helpful way of looking at how talent pools at that position and whether it is worth drafting a player right at the spot you are considering him. My general rule of thumb is I don’t want to take the first guy from a tier if I can avoid it (Unless there is only one guy in said tier!)

C

1B

2B 3B SS OF SP

RP

 

The Untouchable

  1. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

There isn’t a huge amount to say here because he is clearly the number one thanks to a great combination of power, useful speed and plate discipline. If Goldschmidt sits on the board anywhere after draft position three, then taking him is a no-brainer with the first base situation and lack of depth.

The Elite

  1. Miguel Cabrera, DET
  2. Anthony Rizzo, CHC
  3. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
  4. Joey Votto, CIN

Miggy has fallen down from god-like status a bit after his injury last season, but he is still an incredible player with a really nice line-up around him. His power and discipline matches Goldy, but obviously you aren’t getting the steals you would with Goldy. Rizzo is the person from this group I could see joining Goldy next year. He stole a few more bases last year and his power is undeniable, but there are still enough concerns to make him a late round one option. E5 is a bit of an enigma because he is among the most powerful at the position and could hit 45 homers if he could stay healthy all year. Encarnacion is worth the investment because per plate appearance he is Goldy quality but make sure you have a plan for when he takes a trip to the DL. Votto came back to the elite group after a good performance last year. He has the least power of the group but he is the best at drawing walks and getting on base. The depleted line-up around him could make me drop him a tier by draft day.

Prince Fielder drops in at the bottom of this tier: Should play every day and is a year further reoved from neck surgery. He’s really solid option who still has potential in front of him. Also he should gain 1B eligibility in the first couple of months.

The Solid Options

  1. Jose Abreu, CWS
  2. Buster Posey, SF
  3. Chris Davis, FA
  4. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD

Abreu had a down to earth season last year, but what he showed in his rookie campaign and his projected playing time is enough for me to keep him atop this group but a clear distance from Votto. Posey is a beast but his value at catcher is astronomically higher than it is at first base. Davis’ situation will become much clearer once he signs for a team. If it is Baltimore, then he possibly moves up a fraction but his strikeouts limit his upside in a points league. Gonzalez is the last sure bet for me at the position and could easily be over drafted in the late second round if a run happens at the position. He is a solid option who doesn’t excel anywhere but also doesn’t have any massive holes. He is almost a tier to himself as he doesn’t have the upside of the other five guys here but he doesn’t deserve to drop into the next one.

David Ortiz and Miguel Sano drop in after the bottom of this tier: A solid player who plays in a great park for his talents on a farewell tour all points towards a decent season and a good utility option. Sano has a ton of upside but he also strikes out a ton. He could easily strike out 200 times this year and he doesn’t have a guaranteed position entering the season. However, he has 30+ homer potential and will probably bat in the prime positions of that lineup.

The Question Marks with Massive Upside

  1. Freddie Freeman, ATL
  2. Albert Pujols, LAA
Can Pujols remain injury free in 2016?

Can Pujols remain injury free in 2016?

This pair really could go either way and is kind of a bigger tier with the group below but based on which direction they are most likely to go these two should be stand alone. Freeman was a top six option just a couple of years ago but he struggled a bit last year in a terrible line-up, which he has again, making him a tough choice any earlier than this. Pujols had another good season last year, but the injuries are catching up with him and scare me no end. He could easily be a 35-plus homer guy who contributes beautifully as a low end starter/high end utility guy but he could just as easily spend the season nursing his body through numerous injuries and be a liability to you.

Miguel Sano lands in this tier: Sano has all the upside in the world but there is a lot of concern over playing time with the arrival of Park. If left field doesn’t work then he could find himself stuck as the Twins debate the upside of Sano or the solidity of Plouffe.

The Question Marks with Limited Upside (and Scary Downside)

  1. Eric Hosmer, KC
  2. Mark Teixeira, NYY
  3. Carlos Santana, CLE

Hosmer is a solid player who is unlikely to be better than top 10-15 but could slip closer to 20 if he struggles, which is why he cannot be tiered with Freeman and Pujols. Teixeira is a good player but he is past his prime and a big injury candidate. The difference between Pujols and Tex is that Pujols could be top 5-10 if he stays healthy whereas Tex cannot realistically be better than 10th. Santana has lost nearly all fantasy value now that he is a first baseman only, but he still offers solid fantasy points in what is looking an interesting line-up. The addition of Mike Napoli means Santana should play as the DH so health shouldn’t be an issue. However, if they decide to try him at third again then that does worry me a little.

Kendrys Morales is among this tier: A lot of question marks here and Morales just adds to it. A solid points league option.

Platoon World?

  1. Brandon Belt, SF
  2. Adam Lind, SEA

This tier upsets me a little because I like both guys but they just are so limited by playing time. Belt is hurt by having Posey in the line-up because he is essentially in a platoon with Andrew Susac, as the Giants can shift Posey to first and bring in Susac when a lefty is on the mound, relegating Belt to the bench. Lind is in a clearer platoon in Seattle and actually his fantasy value may be helped by not facing lefties. Lind is not good against lefties and so at least if you pair him with a slightly above average everyday player from lower down this group you can get combined above league average at the position. Belt is risk/reward of the pair because if Posey shifts to first more then Belt is in big trouble but if Belt starts well then he could have the season we have all been waiting for.

No-Mans Land

  1. Lucas Duda, NYM
  2. Joe Mauer, MIN

I have very little love for Duda because while he does a solid job, he isn’t someone I get excited to draft. There have been rumours of Daniel Murphy coming back to the Mets which is likely to hamper Duda as Murphy could slide in at first with Neil Walker at second. If I am drafting now I am nervously taking Duda if I get him late but I might be tempted to tier him with the guys below and take whoever is last on the board. Mauer is just a really unexciting but yet solid option. If he was catcher eligible he would probably be in the top five to 10 range, but as a first baseman with limited power and speed he relies heavily on his average for value.

The Intriguing Group

  1. Wil Myers, SD
  2. Byung-ho Park, MIN
  3. Matt Adams, StL
Can Myers reach his fantasy potential in 2016?

Can Myers reach his fantasy potential in 2016?

This is a tier with massive upside but real risks as well. Myers has flashed in moments in his young career, but there have also been some worrying signs and injury issues than have lingered. Playing in San Diego doesn’t help his value, but as a young option who can man first or the outfield he is a useful bench option with tremendous upside to have.  I chucked Park in with Myers based on potential upside of the import. Park will be an everyday player for the Twins either at first or DH and could be a mid-level power option. There will be growing pains in his first season in America, but in the generally shallower format of points leagues the upside on the bench is something I want to look for and Park offers than unknown. Adams is full of potential that he has yet to quite achieve but I think we could see him take a big step in 2016. Brandon Moss has shown himself to be nothing special and I really feel Adams can be a solid first base option this year with potential upside on top of that

Evan Gattis, Billy Butler, Alex Rodriguez and Victor Martinez drop in below this tier: All of Gattis’ value was tied in with catcher eligibility, and now that he has lost that and is DH only he is a borderline un-ownable player in points leagues for me. Butler’s playing time could get a bit messy this year if Canha has a decent start to the season. For now I prefer him to Canha but that could switch quickly.  A-Rod offers something but you can’t help but wonder when the drop off is coming. V-Mart has fallen off a lot the last two seasons but is still a better util option than the hodge podge group coming behind him. I would probably still want the upside of this tier above him on my bench

The Leftovers

  1. Ryan Zimmerman, WSH
  2. Mark Trumbo, BAL
  3. Mark Canha, OAK
  4. Yangervis Solarte, SD
  5. Greg Bird, NYY
  6. CJ Cron, LAA
  7. Mitch Moreland, TEX
  8. Chris Collabello, TOR
  9. Stephen Vogt, OAK

Hard to be excited about this group as first baseman for various reasons; Zimmerman is injury prone and his hitting has been dropping off the last few years, Trumbo may rise for me this offseason depending on the destination of Chris Davis because an everyday first baseman/outfielder in Baltimore has a lot of value to me, Canha had a break out year last year but he doesn’t excite me in that cavernous park, Solarte is not someone who will be used at first but his utility potential makes me include him here, Bird is blocked by the old man brigade of Tex and A-Rod in New York, Cron is a big swing type guy who has power but also has downside, Moreland’s playing time is too spotty with Gallo, Fielder, Hamilton and Rua all floating around for the first base and DH spots. Collabello will likely become relevant thanks to injuries during the season but the lack of sure playing time makes him hard to put above the other guys in this tier who will have more regular playing time, Stephen Vogt rounds off the first base options but much like Posey there is no way you are utilising him here with his catcher eligibility.

 

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