Roto 1B Rankings – Fantasy Baseball

It is always a relief to move onto the 1B rankings after starting with the catcher rankings and this year is especially great because the position is so deep! There are 15 guys I could see being starters in most roto leagues and then another five or six guys I would be happy to use as plug and plays to cover any injuries. A couple of guys here will be drafted at weaker positions and so that thins the field a fraction but in general it is a pretty strong positional group.


C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | OF| SP | RP

The Elite

  1. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, ARI

It felt like last year was a down year for Goldschmidt but the final stat line was pretty immense especially when you consider he stole 32 bases to go with his 24 home runs. A combined 200 runs and RBI mixed with a close to 0.300 average and 20-25 homers and steals makes him the best all-around talent at the position.

The Studs

  1. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, ChC
  2. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, DET

When it comes to this tier it really just depends what you want from your first rounder. Rizzo will give you the 30+ homer power and could steal 5-10 bases but a mid-0.280 average is probably what you can expect. Cabrera will get you 25-30 homers as a floor but could go over 30 and whilst he won’t steal you many (or any) bases he will hit over 0.300. Both guys are going to net you roughly 200 runs and RBI but Rizzo gets the bump because he is in his prime whilst Miggy is entering his age 34 season.

The feel safe options

  1. Joey Votto, 1B, CIN
  2. Freddie Freeman, 1B, ATL
  3. Jose Abreu, 1B, CWS
  4. Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, NYM

I really like this tier and I will be happy with any of these guys in a draft but they aren’t quite the first-round talents of the guys above. Votto is always a guy I feel I overlook in draft prep because he doesn’t feel like an exciting option. However, he is a 0.310+ hitter who has hit 29 home runs each of the last two years. Add in the 5-10 steals he can offer and he is another really nice all around talent to fill your first base slot. Freeman entered last season on the back of two down years but last year he put all of the flashes of talent together to put up a 34 home run 0.300 average season with close to 200 combined runs and RBI. If he gets close to that again this year, he will be moving up a tier next season but there is just enough concern we may see the 2014-15 player that I can’t put him there right now. Abreu has had declining home run numbers since his first year in the league and that trend scares me when you combine it with the depleted batting talent around him this year. I still feel he is a safe 1B option who will be a top 10 guy end of year but top 5 I am not so sure. Murphy is unlikely to be drafted to play first this season for fantasy but he will be able to hold his own there if he is. I am not expecting another 25 home run, 0.347 batting average year but I think even if he consolidates to 20ish homers with a 0.300ish batting average he will be a more than useful option especially batting in a good line-up.

Indians Edwin Encarnacion

AP Photo

Power twins

  1. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, CLE
  2. Chris Davis, 1B, BAL

These two get tiered here because of the importance of power in roto. Encarnacion has averaged 38.6 home runs a season over the past five years whilst hitting 0.270ish and whilst there is the unknown of him adjusting to new surroundings he isn’t going to a pitcher’s park and therefore I think his power can transcend the park change. Davis has alternated decent power years with amazing power years over the last five season and 2017 is the turn of the amazing. If Davis matches last year’s numbers he will still be a solid first baseman but if he can put power and batting average together like he did in 2015 then this will be an absolute bargain for him.

The easy starters

  1. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, LAD
  2. Matt Carpenter, 1B/2B/3B, STL
  3. Hanley Ramirez, 1B, BOS
  4. Eric Hosmer, 1B, KC
  5. Wil Myers, 1B, SDP
  6. Albert Pujols, 1B, LAA

This is a tier I am more than happy to take my 2017 starter from as there are some really nice options here. Gonzalez does scare me a little given that he went from 28 to 18 home runs last season but he is a class hitter in a good team and I think he can bounce back into the mid-20s once again and be a solid first base contributor but his reputation may lead people to reach and that is something I definitely not willing to do with him. You aren’t drafting Carpenter as your first baseman and therefore I will cover him in another position. For anyone who gambled on Ramirez last year well done because he rewarded you with a 30 homer 0.286 average year with 190 combined runs and RBI. If he replicates that this year I may be doing him a disservice ranking below Gonzalez but there is just enough doubt about injuries, losing Ortiz’s bat from the line-up and little fall back in stats that I will stick him here for now. Hosmer is someone I will take if I am really stuck at the position but he really doesn’t interest me all that much. He had the best power year of his career last season and 7 extra homers cost us 30 points of batting average which is not a good enough trade. I think we see some levelling out of that and 20 at 0.275ish sounds right but not enough to interest me. He has real danger of slipping down my rankings. In his first full year Myers was a revelation with 28 bombs and 28 steals whilst scoring a combined 190 runs and RBI. Even if he doesn’t repeat that completely this season I still think he can put up strong enough numbers to be an everyday player in fantasy. Pujols still has some power in that body and whilst he can bust 30ish homers out of the park he will always be a borderline start in fantasy.

The awkward tier

  1. Carlos Santana, 1B/DH, CLE

Santana had a career season in 2016 and whilst I don’t know if he can repeat the power or the average he had last year I do think he can do enough to be close to an everyday starter at a corner infield spot. He has this spot to himself because he is too good to be ranked with mismatch power tier below but he isn’t quite good enough to be an easy starting option.

Angels CJ Cron

Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports

The last 20 homer tier

  1. Brandon Belt, 1B, SF
  2. Tommy Joseph, 1B, PHI
  3. Lucas Duda, 1B, NYM
  4. Steve Pearce, 1B, TOR

This tier is all about power and makes all of these guys rosterable to fill those corner infield and util spots. Cron, Belt and Pearce are 20 homer guys whose average won’t kill you. Pearce gets knocked down because he may struggle to hold down an everyday position all season. Joseph could hit 30 homers this year and his average may be fine but he is young and a decent risk because of that. Duda is a fair bet for 20 something homers but his average will be a little more damaging than the others. However, he should play most days.

The OMG Brad Miller is in this tier tier

  1. Brad Miller, 1B/SS, TB
  2. Justin Bour, 1B, MIA
  3. Josh Bell, 1B, PIT
  4. Travis Shaw, 1B/3B, MIL
  5. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B, WSH

This is a tier with a mix of potential and just meh players. Miller had a bit of a breakout last year and his main value is at the SS position but he can hit 15-20 home runs and that is worth a late draft pick. Bour and Shaw are platoon players with the upside to move up a tier if they become everyday guys. Shaw in Milwaukee is an interesting pick to see if his power develops. Bell is a young guy who may have to wait a little on his chance but when he gets it he should be a decent fantasy option. Zimmerman is on the downswing of his career but can still be a useful 15ish homer guy and is usable in deep leagues.

The tier below BRAD MILLER tier!

  1. Chris Carter, 1B, NYY
  2. C.J. Cron, 1B, LAA
  3. Kennys Vargas, 1B, MIN
  4. Mitch Moreland, 1B, BOS

Anytime you are in the tier below Brad Miller then life is pretty bad for you but these guys will both be fantasy relevant at some point. Cron could easily be a 20 homer guy but right now he is projected to be in a platoon with Valbuena and that harms his fantasy value a lot. I still think he gets enough ABs at some point given Pujols age and increasing injury proneness but unfortunately I just cannot be sure enough to rank him higher. Vargas will flash his unbelievable power and could be a 30 homer guy if could put it all together but for now you will just want him for his hot streak or two. Moreland has a nice landing spot in Boston and if he can work his way into the middle of that line-up on an everyday basis then he could have some relevant stretches for fantasy.

Free agents

Lind could have relevance but it depends where they sign and what role they walk into so they will be ranked as and when appropriate.


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