Since I took over the first base beat a few weeks ago, I haven’t done rankings. Today, though, I’m going to attempt to do so.
First base has been a weird position this year: Paul Goldschmidt was awesome – less power than last year, but still awesome – and then he got hurt. Miguel Cabrera has looked more human than years past. Chris Davis has returned to being who we thought he was before he became an animal, I guess? Anthony Rizzo has been awesome, though, so that’s fun!
The last updated consensus rankings done by the team can be found here. Admittedly, I play solely in OBP leagues, so I’m going to do my best to strip out my thoughts on that because I know most of you probably play with batting average. I won’t be including guys like Todd Frazier, Jose Bautista, and Buster Posey, because you’re probably playing them elsewhere. I’ll use tiers. The names within them are pretty interchangeable, in my opinion.
I’m really tempted to throw Rizzo into this tier, but I’m holding off … for now.
Your choice, whom do you pick: Abreu or Cabrera? I’m taking Abreu. Miggy’s power just hasn’t quite been the same this year, which has brought his floor down, as well as his ceiling. And Abreu has been everything we hoped for, and then some.
If Encarnacion would have been able to stay off the DL, you have to wonder if he’d be leading the league in home runs. He’s been good for quite some time now, making us forget just how quickly he turned his career around, a remarkable feat. In an OBP league, I might choose him over Cabrera, too.
Feel free to flip Rizzo and Martinez, I’m not that committed. Unless Rizzo collapses down the stretch, it’s nearly impossible to not view him as a top five option next season.
Pujols’ bounceback season has been fun to watch. He’s clearly in decline, but he’s still been very productive. It helps when you get to hit behind Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, who are seemingly always on base, too.
Santana’s been a drag on your batting average all season; better put, he put you in a deep enough hole early on that it’s been difficult for him to claw out of it. I get that, but he’s been so good since May started that I don’t really care. He’s very good, and one of the reasons you should play use OBP instead of average. You’re probably playing him at catcher, but given his position change, it felt right to include him, especially if he’s on track to lose eligibility in your setup.
If David Ortiz has eligibility in your league, I’d probably slot him right alongside Gonzalez.
Davis hasn’t been very good over the past year, slashing .209/.313/.430. I wanted to drop him further, but that felt like an overreaction considering the 2012-2013. He’s probably never going to be as good as he was last year again, but it feels like he should at least be a little better than this.
Moss, on the other hand, has kind of been what we expected Davis would be, if he regressed a little. He’s slumped lately, but he’s done more than enough to earn some leeway. Napoli’s battled injuries, which is unfortunate, but he’s hit extremely well when he’s suited up.
I might be a little high on Duda, but oh well. His average leaves a little to be desired, but his power’s made up the difference thus far. And he’s seemingly on an upward trend, which is nice. Considering his platoon issues, slotting him into the tier below isn’t indefensible.
As far as Votto is concerned: he’s not healthy and, frankly, I’m not sure where I’d place him if he was. Over the past calendar year, when on the field, he hasn’t hit for any power, a death-knell at first. Sure, he’s a boon in AVG/OBP, usually, but is that enough? I honestly don’t know anymore. I do know that unless he’s much cheaper next year, he won’t get much consideration from me.
- Adam Laroche
- Matt Adams
- Justin Morneau
- Mark Teixeira
- Michael Morse
- Joe Mauer
- Chris Carter
- Adam Lind
- Mark Trumbo
Toss these names in a hat and draw them out. Each of them have concerns. Laroche has been solid all season, and you could easily slide him into the the tier above and not get much of a complaint out of me. Adams’ power has waned a little, but he’s performed pretty well all season. Platoon questions remain, though.
Morneau, like Freeman, began the season on a tear, but hasn’t hit for power since, last homering on June 24; Coors helps, but his power just isn’t what it used to be. Teixeira
is hurt right now (not sure what I was thinking on that line). He’s been a huge batting average liability, though. Morse has his issues staying on the field at times. Ditto for Lind and Mauer, who just haven’t been able to play much this season, but should factor into most lineups down the stretch, especially versus right handed pitching.
Carter’s surge has reminded us all what he’s owned for: dingers. He isn’t going to help you many places; when he’s hitting homers he’s valuable, when he isn’t he’s nearly unrosterable. And you can make the same case for Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds (listed below). If – and that’s a big if – Carter’s newfound patience sticks, he could become a monster, given the game’s lack of power, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
Trumbo’s interesting because he has the ability to go on a tear, smashing homer after homer, but between his approach and injury issues this season it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in him.
Belt is a wild card, because he has so much potential, but concussions are iffy. It’s impossible to know how well he’ll play once he comes back. He could be fine, or he could be like Morneau and struggle for some time to find his bearings. It’s not something I’m willing to bet heavily on.
McGehee is all average and context stats. It’s nearly impossible for that to continue; I didn’t expect it to last this long, though.
Lastly, we have two Royals, starting with Country Breakfast. Butler’s power is down again, which says about all we need to say about his ability to hold down a roster spot in shallow leagues. Hosmer’s just meh. He still has room for growth, but he reminds me a little of Nick Markakis. And that isn’t what you want at first base.
Hopefully those weren’t too bad, but feel free to rip me apart in the comments, anyways.
Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).