First Base Facts For The 2022 Season by Michael Simione January 3, 2022 My recent catcher facts article brought in some positive feedback so I am going to do the same format for each position. Moving on to the first base position I want to discuss a bit of strategy first. First base seems to be rather deep and it also holds a lot of late power options with the likes of Josh Bell and Joey Votto. If you decide to get someone early Paul Goldschmidt seems to be the only one who provides early speed and might be the best option. Whether you decide to grab one earl or late here are some fun facts and opinions I gathered while preparing for drafts. Miguel Sano I mentioned late-round power and there is one player who potentially could have the most power in the entire league. That player is Miguel Sano. Look I know his batting average is abysmal and has been for a long time now, but things might be changing. In my opinion, if you watched Miguel Sano he oddly seems like he doesn’t care. Sounds like an odd observation but it’s a weird feeling I always had with him. Suddenly Sano’s goal is to lose 30 pounds in the offseason pulling a Vlad Guerrero Jr. so perhaps things are changing? Last season amongst all first basemen he finished second in Max Exit Velocity, first in exit velocity per flyballs and line drives, and fifth in Barrel%. The power is there and it is undeniable the issue is his batting average and his bottom-of-the-barrel contact rate. But perhaps, as I mentioned earlier since he seems to be starting to “care” by changing his body maybe he will actually work on bettering his swing. Ty France A player you should be marking on your draft excel sheets is Ty France. In the second half compared to others at his position he was 5th in wRC+ (147), 4th in OBP (.393), and 9th in wOBA (.379). The best part about France is his advanced plate discipline where he makes a ton of contact and rarely strikes out. His underlying metrics are sustainable and he could beat out his Steamer Projections of hitting .272 with 23 home runs, 80 runs, and 83 RBI. Paul Goldschmidt vs Joey Votto In the second half of the season, only two first basemen had an OPS over 1.000 and a wRC+ over 165 that was Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt. Let’s compare these two players’ second halves. Goldschmidt Vs Votto Player ADP wRC+ OPS Barrel% Z-Contact% LD% Paul Goldschmidt 53 170 1.020 16.6% 80.9% 29.1% Joey Votto 158 165 1.057 21.2% 83.8% 25.1% Sure second halves aren’t everything but both of these hitters had second-half surges. Goldschmidt has less injury risk and a higher batting average floor, but does that make the 100 pick difference worthy? Why not wait for Votto 100 picks later and grab someone else in the third round? Do You Enjoy Splits? Darin Ruf is king when it comes to playing with splits. Versus left-handed pitchers Darin Ruf is king, here are his stats against them: 166 wRC+, .419 wOBA, .310 ISO, 1.007 OPS, and nine home runs in 140 plate appearances. If Ruf could face left-handed pitchers all year and get say 500 plate appearances against them he would have finished with 32 home runs. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest rostering him but he is a great streaming option if the Giants are going to face a bunch of left-handed pitchers throughout the week. Injury Risk In recent years I have learned that limiting injury risk is extremely important. You want players who will play, simple as that. Some injury risk players at this position include Max Muncy, Luke Voit, Brandon Belt, and Rhy Hoskins. In 2021 Max Muncy missed 11 days with an oblique injury but the actual worry with Muncy is his elbow as he dislocated it towards the end of the 2021 season. He is no longer wearing a brace but it has been reported that he is not recovering as quickly as they would like. There are a lot of questions surrounding Muncy and I would think elbow injuries are not great for power hitters. Luke Voit is a mess and an absolute do not draft for me. Here was his 2021: Knee injury (missed 41 days), oblique injury (missed 28 days), knee injury (missed 27 days), and a knee injury again (missed 4 days). He also missed 45 days in 2019 and a total of 145 days between 2019 and 2021. Brandon Belt also experienced several injuries in 2021 between his thumb, knee, and oblique missing a total of 64 days. In 2020 he missed nine games with a heel injury. The bright side is none of these injuries were repeating but he still should be labeled as injury prone which is a shame because he has a really solid skill set. Lastly, we have Rhy Hoskins a true power bat who has run into a string of injuries the past two seasons. In 2021 he missed 55 days and in 2020 he missed 15 days. Both IL stints in 2021 were the result of a nagging groin injury. Hoskins has a lot of power potential and based on where he goes in drafts he seems to be worth the injury risk.