2016 End of Season Rankings: First Base

Last week, we kicked off our review of 2016 with the ever-exciting position of catcher. Somehow, we accidentally tagged Roberto Perez with a negative $8.10 price. That was supposed to be a positive $81. At least, that’s the case for your weird postseason fantasy league. Where did you even find a postseason league?

Today, let’s shift over to the cold corner for some real actually interesting players. If you missed the first post in this series, I recommend giving it a quick skim. It has notes on methodological changes between this season and last. You can also go straight into the calculator to tweak values for your league.

For these articles, I’m going to assume a 12 team, 5×5, standard deep roster with a pitching cap of 1475 innings (most leagues are 1450 or 1500, I split the difference). I set the batter split at 65% because that produces what I consider to be the most realistic position adjustments.

Here we go…

2016 End of Season Fantasy First Base Rankings
Rank Name G PA HR R RBI SB AVG $$
1 Paul Goldschmidt 158 705 24 106 95 32 0.297 $28.70
2 Joey Votto 158 677 29 101 97 8 0.326 $26.40
3 Miguel Cabrera 158 679 38 92 108 0 0.316 $26.40
4 Edwin Encarnacion 160 702 42 99 127 2 0.263 $25.10
5 Freddie Freeman 158 693 34 102 91 6 0.302 $24.00
6 Wil Myers 157 676 28 99 94 28 0.259 $22.50
7 Anthony Rizzo 155 676 32 94 109 3 0.292 $22.40
8 Hanley Ramirez 147 620 30 81 111 9 0.286 $21.00
9 Mike Napoli 150 645 34 92 101 5 0.239 $15.50
10 Carlos Santana 158 688 34 89 87 5 0.259 $15.40
11 Eric Hosmer 158 667 25 80 104 5 0.266 $14.40
12 Jose Abreu 159 695 25 67 100 0 0.293 $14.20
13 Chris Carter 160 644 41 84 94 3 0.222 $12.90
14 Chris Davis 157 665 38 99 84 1 0.221 $11.80
15 Adrian Gonzalez 156 633 18 69 90 0 0.285 $9.40
16 Brad Miller 152 601 30 73 81 6 0.243 $8.20
17 Brandon Belt 156 655 17 77 82 0 0.275 $7.80
18 Matt Carpenter 129 566 21 81 68 0 0.271 $7.20
19 Brandon Moss 128 464 28 66 67 1 0.225 $3.10
20 C.J. Cron 116 445 16 51 69 2 0.278 $2.40
21 Travis Shaw 145 530 16 63 71 5 0.242 $1.00
22 Mark Reynolds 118 441 14 61 53 1 0.282 $1.00
23 Sean Rodriguez 140 342 18 49 56 2 0.27 -$0.70
24 David Freese 141 492 13 63 55 0 0.27 -$0.70
25 Marwin Gonzalez 141 518 13 55 51 12 0.254 -$1.20
26 Joe Mauer 134 576 11 68 49 2 0.261 -$1.40
27 Tommy Joseph 107 347 21 47 47 1 0.257 -$1.70
28 Mitch Moreland 147 503 22 49 60 1 0.233 -$2.30
29 Adam Lind 126 430 20 48 58 0 0.239 -$2.50
30 Justin Bour 90 321 15 35 51 0 0.264 -$4.60
31 Matt Adams 118 327 16 37 54 0 0.249 -$4.60
32 Wilmer Flores 103 335 16 38 49 1 0.267 -$4.60
33 Yonder Alonso 156 532 7 52 56 3 0.253 -$5.20
34 Ryan Zimmerman 115 467 15 60 46 4 0.218 -$5.20
35 Ryan Howard 112 362 25 35 59 0 0.196 -$5.40
36 Logan Morrison 107 398 14 45 43 4 0.238 -$5.70
37 Jefry Marte 88 284 15 38 44 2 0.252 -$5.90
38 Steve Pearce 85 302 13 35 35 0 0.288 -$6.20
39 Dae-Ho Lee 104 317 14 33 49 0 0.253 -$6.30
40 John Jaso 132 432 8 45 42 0 0.268 -$6.60
41 Ryan Rua 99 269 8 40 22 9 0.258 -$8.10
42 Mark Teixeira 116 438 15 43 44 2 0.204 -$9.30
43 James Loney 100 366 9 30 34 0 0.265 -$10.00
44 Billy Butler 97 274 5 27 35 0 0.284 -$10.40
45 Justin Smoak 126 341 14 33 34 1 0.217 -$10.70
46 Kennys Vargas 47 177 10 27 20 0 0.23 -$13.00
47 Byung-ho Park 62 244 12 28 24 1 0.191 -$13.80
48 Tyler White 86 276 8 24 28 1 0.217 -$14.40
49 Andres Blanco 90 209 4 26 21 2 0.253 -$14.70
50 Lucas Duda 47 172 7 20 23 0 0.229 -$14.70
51 Josh Bell 45 152 3 18 19 0 0.273 -$15.40
52 Clint Robinson 104 225 5 16 26 0 0.234 -$15.70
53 Rob Refsnyder 58 175 0 25 12 2 0.25 -$16.50
54 Miguel Rojas 123 214 1 27 14 2 0.247 -$16.80
55 Chris Johnson 113 264 5 20 24 0 0.222 -$17.00
56 Tyler Austin 31 90 5 7 12 1 0.241 -$17.80
57 Brett Wallace 119 256 6 19 20 0 0.189 -$18.80
58 Brandon Snyder 37 47 4 8 9 0 0.239 -$18.90
59 Ji-Man Choi 54 129 5 9 12 2 0.17 -$19.20
60 Rob Segedin 40 83 2 9 12 0 0.233 -$19.30
61 Chris Parmelee 6 8 2 4 4 0 0.5 -$19.60
62 Darin Ruf 43 89 3 8 9 0 0.205 -$19.70
63 Ben Paulsen 39 97 1 8 11 0 0.217 -$19.90
64 Stephen Cardullo 27 59 2 5 6 0 0.214 -$20.40
65 Richie Shaffer 20 54 1 5 4 0 0.25 -$20.50
66 Eric Campbell 40 88 1 9 9 1 0.173 -$20.80

If you go into the actual calculator, you’ll notice Kris Bryant is the top rated first baseman at $28.90. Several other first base eligible players were also dropped from the list like Daniel Murphy, Mark Trumbo, Adam Duvall, Todd Frazier, Jonathan Lucroy, Buster Posey, and Javier Baez (to name a few).

I’d like to say I had a specific reason for removing them, but the decision was really made by FanGraphs. The calculator doesn’t list Roto values. Instead, it lists dollars above average for each category. To get the above table, I built a separate positional leaderboard then did some minor Excel gymnastics (i.e. a VLOOKUP). The dropped players simply weren’t included in this first baseman leaderboard.

And now, a few general comments

For leagues with a corner infield slot, replacement level was right between Sean Rodriguez and Mark Reynolds. Remember, several players were dropped from the above list. It doesn’t represent your full array of options. There were actually 36 first base eligible players with a positive dollar value.

If you head into the calculator, you’ll notice first basemen have an aPOS (position adjustment) of $9.50. Interestingly, shortstops eligible players like Brad Miller have a $8.60 position adjustment. The implication is that shortstop is deeper in a relative sense than first base. That jibes with my early look at 2017 positional depth.

Position adjustments are important to keep in mind when using the calculator. For example, Lucroy is the eighth ranked first baseman because his catcher eligibility was worth a $20.70 adjustment. If you’re thinking about drafting Lucroy as a first baseman (why would you do that?), remember to manually adjust his price. In this case, he drops from $22.90 to $11.70.

A few first basemen posted serious positive value in the stolen base category, namely Goldschmidt, Myers, and Hernan Perez (fyi, he was one of the dropped guys). If you manage to land a first baseman with over 25 steals, it’s a lot easier to roster a bat first shortstop like Corey Seager without suffering in the stolen base category. We’ll get into the importance of middle infield steals later in the offseason.

For now, the topic is power. First base is typically the most important source of bulk home runs. In this season when even second basemen nearly all popped 20 or more home runs, secondary skills like RBI, AVG, and those rare steals took on extra importance.

First base produced plenty of surprise performances. Freeman finally found his power stroke after suffering through a deep early-season funk. Myers was finally healthy, and he ran so much more than anyone could have possibly predicted. I wonder if his stolen base total will crater like Rizzo’s did this season. That certainly hurt owners who were counting on a repeat of 2015 on the bases.

Just because a player has a negative value, it doesn’t mean they weren’t useful. The Phillies had the poster children for a successful second half streaming platoon. Howard and Joseph bopped at a 40 homer pace. Howard annihilated righties while Joseph was quite good against lefties. Both were permanently free in most leagues. The right combination of Howard, Joseph, and a first half performer like Pearce could have been glued together for over $10 of production.

Of all the disappointments, my vote for the worst has to be Park. Or maybe it should be Zimmerman. While it still feels like Park has time to adjust to the majors, 2016 felt like a last chance for Zimmerman. The Nationals ran away with the NL East despite their former franchise star. He may be under contract through 2019, but it’s probably time to replace him with a real hitter.





You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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Pujols?