Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fantasy Focus: First Base Rankings

No position in MLB highlights the decline in power more than first base.  I just ain't what it used to be!  The top tier has come back to the pack to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible to find a player you can count on to hit more than 30 HR's.  The good news is there is still value down into the high teens here so you should still be able to use a first baseman or two to fill out your IF and Util positions for your fantasy team.  Here are my rankings for 2013:

1.  Prince Fielder, Tigers.  83 R, 30 HR, 108 RBI, .313 BA, 1 SB, 581 AB.  I paid $30 for Fielder in my auction league last year.  He paid off with solid, unspectacular season.  That is where I have him valued this year too.

2. Albert Pujols, Angels.  85 R, 30 HR, 105 RBI, .285 BA, 8 SB, 607 AB.  Now that Pujols is acclimated to his new home, I could see him having a monster season.  I was tempted to rank him #1 here.  He no longer deserves to be in the $40  club, but I would consider bidding him up into the upper 30's or taking him late first round in a snake draft.

3.  Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers.  75 R, 18 HR, 108 RBI, .299 BA, 2 SB, 629 AB. AGone has never really been the same since injuring his shoulder before the trade to Boston.  He's still a fairly reliable producer and I still look for a small rebound in production in 2013.

4.  Allen Craig, Cardinals.  76 R, 22 HR, 92 RBI, .307 BA, 2 SB, 469 AB.  If Craig can get to 600 AB, he'll be a top producer.  Still on the upswing of his career trajectory.

5.  Joey Votto, Reds.  59 R, 14 HR, 56 RBI, .337 BA, 5 SB, 374 AB.  Joey Votto's season was ruined by injuries. He's always a bit of a risk to miss time for one reason or another, but gives great production when he's in there.  Love, love, love the BA, a frequently overlooked fantasy stat!

6.  Paul Konerko, White Sox.  66 R, 26 HR, 75 RBI, .298 BA, 0 SB,  533 AB.  Konerko is slowly sliding down the backside of his career curve, but it's very hard to beat the consistency he's given for about 10 years.  Does he have another year left?

7.  Anthony Rizzo, Cubs.  44 R, 15 HR, 48 RBI, .285 BA, 3 SB, 337 AB.  If you are looking for a breakout candidate, look no further than Rizzo.  He's still getting established, though, so there is some risk.  Decent bet to get to 30+ HR's though.

8.  Adam LaRoche, Nationals.  76 R, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .271 BA, 1 SB, 571 AB.  LaRoche is a consistent producer over the course of a season, and takes advantage of the jetstream out to RF in Nationals Park.  He is still prone to slumps and I don't trust his BA.

9.  Chris Davis, Orioles.  75 R, 33 HR, 85 RBI, .270 BA, 2 SB, 515 AB.  Chris Davis finally had the season a lot of people have been waiting for.  Not sure I trust him to repeat it, though.

10.  Kendrys Morales, Mariners.  61 R, 22 HR, 73 RBI, .273 BA, 0 SB, 484 AB.  Morales should play every day in Seattle and since he'll be hitting from the left side about 3/4 of the time, the park won't hurt him as much as it does RH hitters.  I'm bargain hunting on him in my upcoming draft.

11.  Paul Goldschmidt, D'Backs.  82 R, 20 HR, 82 RBI, .286 BA, 18 SB!, 514 AB.  Goldschmidt is the rare 1B who gives you 20/20 potential.  I was surprised at how well his BA held up last year too.  Has potential to up his HR's into the 30+ range.

12.  Garrett Jones, Pirates.  68 R, 27 HR, 86 RBI, .274 BA, 2 SB, 475 AB.  Jones had a nice season last year and should get more AB's in 2013.

13.  Ryan Howard, Phillies.  28 R, 14 HR, 56 RBI, .219 BA, 0 SB, 260 AB.  Howard should be healthy for the whole season and should give top notch production in 3 categories.  BA will likely hurt, though.

14.  Adam Dunn, White Sox.  87 R, 41 HR, 96 RBI, .204 BA, 2 SB, 539 AB.  Adam Dunn singlehandedly ruined my 2011 fantasy season.  My friend drafted him last year and he loved the HR production.  He's as good a bet as any to hit another 40 HR's, but that BA is brutal!

15.  Corey Hart, Brewers.  91 R, 30 HR, 83 RBI, .270 BA, 5 SB, 562 AB.  Hart keeps a low profile but gives consistently good production.  He's become more of a power hitter than a 20/20 guy.

16.  Freddie Freeman, Braves.  91 R, 23 HR, 94 RBI, .259 SB, 2 SB, 540 AB.  Freeman demonstrates what hitting in the middle of a good lineup will do for you.  Even a small advance in HR and BA would make him a top notch producer.  Potential for a good value pick late in a draft.

17.  Justin Morneau, Twins.  63 R, 19 HR, 77 RBI, .267 BA, 1 SB, 505 AB.  Can Morneau stay healthy.  Definitely worth a late round flyer to find out if he drops that far.

18.  Mark Teixeira, Yankees.  66 R, 24 HR, 84 RBI, .251 BA, 2 SB, 451 AB.  Oh my!  How Mark Teixeira's stock has dropped!  Still worth a late round flyer, but somebody will probably still draft him a lot higher.

19.  Yonder Alonso, Padres.  47 R, 9 HR, 62 RBI, .273 BA, 3 SB, 549 AB.  I didn't realize Alonso had over 500 AB in 2012.  That is pretty poor production for that many AB's.  Petco is a beast and he's never really been an elite power hitter.  Still, production should improve once Grandal is back to back up Alonso and Headley in the lineup.

20.  Eric Hosmer, Royals.  65 R, 14 HR, 60 RBI, .232 BA, 16 SB, 535 AB.  Hos has a chance to improve on these numbers considerably. Joins Goldy with a chance to be a 20/20 first baseman.

21.  Ike Davis, Mets.  66 RBI, 32 HR, 90 RBI, .227 BA, 0 SB, 519 AB.  Davis is a guy you might roster as a utility guy for his HR's and Ribeyes.  I'd do it only if you are punting BA, though.

Breakout Watch:  Brandon Belt.  Another guy who I think could have a big jump in power and BA with a concomitant rise in R and RBI's.  Bonus is he's another potential 20/20 first baseman.

Chris Carter of Oakland could be hugely productive if Oakland ever puts him at 1B fulltime, but Billy Beane loves him platoons and why not?

Several other players have 1B eligibility like Buster Posey and Mike Napoli, but you will want them to be your catcher if you roster them on your fantasy team.


  1. Replies
    1. Ever since he joined the Yankees, he went from being a guy who hits for average and power to a guy who hits for power. He must have gotten pull happy when he's batting lefty.. trying to take advantage of that short porch in RF. The 2012 season was a down year for him as well.. the HR and RBI totals were lower than his previous seasons.

    2. I've always felt that guys who are driven like him by money, as evidenced by his Boras connection, won't have the internal fortitude to keep the career going deep into his 30's. You got the big contract, then he finally won a championship, hard to keep the motivation going when you are starting to feel the aches and pains of being older. There are some who can do it, of course, but usually they are SOBs like Barry Bonds, who used Boras to get his big contract then kicked him off Team Bonds soon afterward.

      Easier to do when you are young and still proving yourself. But then once they reach that pinnacle, they start slacking off, they got the money and don't feel the need to put out as much or to do as much.

  2. Also, do you see any chance that Brandon moss could be a good pick? Payed really well in limited time last season. I was going to wait and see if Oakland started him or not

    1. Either Brandon Moss or Chris Carter would be big fantasy assets if either won the full time starting job. I expect Oakland to continue their platoon though, which really kills their value do to lack of AB's.

  3. Doc, keep in mind that they are bringing in the fences at Petco. All Padre hitters may be steals if the other owners are not aware of this.

    1. Bringing in the fences at Petco and Safeco may help a little, but don't expect any offensive explosions.