Everyone knows Anthony Rizzo is one of the premier young first baseman in the league today, saying such is certainly not stepping out on any limbs. The question of how high he should be valued is a worthwhile discussion, however. As a first baseman, he is supposed to mash. A .280 average and .352 on base percentage are far from elite, but his home run prowess and sudden willingness to run may make Rizzo one of the top fantasy players in baseball this season.
Below is a list of first baseman who have a higher fantasy ranking in Yahoo! in terms of production to date.
As the current number 27 player in the whole league, it is arguable that Rizzo is the most valuable fantasy first baseman going forward. Prince Fielder will have a higher average and on base percentage, which probably will result in more RBI as well like he currently has. Where Rizzo takes the cake against a Fielder is in his stolen bases. He needs to steal at a higher rate in order for the team to keep running him, but the fact that he is willing to run seven times in 37 games is a very good sign at worst.
Only Goldschmidt matches Rizzo’s combination of power and speed, and in fact their seasons have been very similar to date – each has nine homers and four steals but Goldschmidt bests Rizzo in average, runs brought in, and runs. Going forward, ZiPS has Rizzo with 25 more homers and seven steals with a .279 average. ZiPS has Goldschmidt with 21 and 10 with a .266 average. ZiPs is far from perfect, but the system still has Rizzo finishing with a lead in every category aside from stolen bases – where he would be off by just three steals if ZiPS projected the season perfectly.
If there is one guy I am trading for, and I have actually already made this move in a keeper league, it is Anthony Rizzo. I have next to no doubt about him continuing to perform at a top notch level and I am not sure he is being valued as potentially the best option at first base in fantasy. Another quality target would be Freddie Freeman, considering now would be buying low on him after a small power outage and injury, but overall I am targeting Rizzo in every league I can. That is no joke, by the way, if you are not reaching out to owners and seeing what Rizzo would cost and getting down to a deal you either want to make or can’t make, you are not doing your team justice. There is almost always room to add a first baseman in fantasy, and Rizzo is the guy to go after even though this could be seen as “buying high.”
Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.