Early 2016 Fantasy First Base Rankings

Early 2016 Fantasy First Base Rankings

Last week, we took an early look at the Top 20 Fantasy Catchers as we head into the 2016 season. This week, we continue this process by taking a close look at the first base position. With that in mind, here are the Early 2016 Fantasy First Base Rankings:

Tier 1:

1) Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Arizona Diamondbacks

Goldschmidt is one of those rare creatures; he is a Fantasy Baseball unicorn. Yes, there are other players who hit over .300 while providing lots of power. Yes, some of those players steal lots of bases as well. However, it is very rare to see the stolen base side of this combination from somebody that plays at First Base.

Tier 2:

2) Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Detroit Tigers

While Cabrera has hit for less power over the last couple seasons (HR/FB rate has hovered closer to the 15% range the last two seasons compared to his 18.8% career total), he still holds plenty of fantasy value. He continues to hit well over .300 on a consistent basis, has strong R/RBI totals and assuming he stays healthy, should hit at least 25 HR.

3) Jose Abreu, 1B, Chicago White Sox

Compared to 2014, Abreu’s numbers took a step back last season. To date, Abreu’s “worst” still saw him hit .290 with 30 HR and 101 RBI. Even if the White Sox continue to be unimpressive, don’t blame Abreu.

4) Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds

Coming into this season, I was very skeptical at the chances of Votto staying healthy and having a strong season. He proved people such as me wrong as he had his highest wRC+ (172) since the 2010 season. As an added bonus, he also stole 11 bases as well.

Tier 3:

5) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

While Rizzo has comparable power numbers to the players ranked above him, his batting average (.278 last season) while not bad isn’t in the .300+ area that the top-4 players have. Either way, he is on track for his third straight 30+ HR season and is coming off a season where he stole a career high 17 bases.

6) Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays

Encarnacion is likely to put up similar numbers to Rizzo (hit .260+ with 30+ HR). The only difference between these two is Encarnacion is unlikely to give the same stolen base contributions as Rizzo.

7) Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers

Gonzalez is getting older (he turns 34 in May) but has continued to be a consistent hitter well into his 30’s. While he will provide batting average & RBI totals similar to Rizzo and Encarnacion, he’s likely to provide closer to 25 HR instead of 30.

8) Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves

Freeman is on track for a solid season in 2015. While his production in the AVG & HR categories is likely to be close to Gonzalez (assuming Freeman stays healthy), his ceiling for Runs & RBI will likely be lower due to playing on a weaker Braves team.

Tier 4:

9) Albert Pujols, 1B, Los Angeles Angels

Tier 4 could be nicknamed the aging slugger tier. It is indisputable that Pujols has shown signs of aging in his performance. While his batting average has been trending in the wrong direction, he still has plenty of power in his bat and hitting 30+ HR is realistic.

10) Prince Fielder, 1B, Texas Rangers

Fielder had a nice bounce back season with the Rangers. With that being said, it is becoming more and more likely that his days of hitting 35+ HR in a season have come and gone. He should still provide a decent batting average and give you 20-25 HR.

Tier 5:

11) Eric Hosmer, 1B, Kansas City Royals

While Hosmer was instrumental in helping the Royals win the World Series, his fantasy value is not off the charts. He is a solid above average hitter (125 wRC+ last season), who hit .297 this season but has never hit 20+ HR in a season (although he has come close a couple times).

12) Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

Very similar profile to Hosmer in that while he is a good hitter (135 wRC+) this season and has power in his bat, he has yet to demonstrate the ability to hit 20+ HR in a season. While his .280 AVG last season looks nice on paper, it was aided by a .363 BABIP which is 23 points above his career total.

13) Carlos Santana, 1B, Cleveland Indians

While Santana his more power upside than Hosmer & Belt, he is coming off two consecutive seasons where he hit .231. If your league is OBP based, Santana would have higher value as his OBP has been over .350 in all 6 of his seasons.

Tier 6:

14) Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees

While Teixeira is well past his peak, he is still capable of giving you at least 25-30 HR. However, it is likely that he will hit below .250 while doing so.

15) Adam Lind, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

While Lind was a substantial upgrade for the Brewers compared to some of the other players who had previously occupied First Base for the Brewers, his fantasy value is constrained by his inability to hit lefties (which will either impact his batting average and/or playing time) and his power ceiling appears to be around 20 HR.

16) Joe Mauer, 1B, Minnesota Twins

If nothing else, Mauer should at least hit for a decent batting average since he doesn’t hit for much power and his R/RBI totals are on track to be modest at best.

17) Lucas Duda, 1B, New York Mets

With Duda, you need to take the good along with the bad. The good is that he should give you around 25 HR. However, you will be lucky if he manages to hit .250 for you.

18) Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies

Howard is over the hill and at age 36 is not getting any better. While he is capable of hitting 20-25 HR, he has also hit below .230 in three out of the last four seasons.

19) Mitch Moreland, 1B, Texas Rangers

While Moreland’s surface numbers (.278 AVG, 23 HR) could justify a better ranking, there are a few concerns. He’s never really gotten consistent playing time as his 515 PA is only three shy of his career high. Also, his BABIP and HR/FB rates were above his career totals indicating that his numbers could regress in 2016.

20) Pedro Alvarez, 1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Alvarez is capable of providing elite HR totals but playing time (less than 500 PA in his last two seasons) and low batting averages (his .243 AVG last seasons was his best total since 2012) are both major concerns.

Other Players Considered (By Ranking):

Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Adams, Logan Morrison, Chris Carter, James Loney, Adam LaRoche, Justin Bour, Mike Napoli, C.J. Cron, Yonder Alonso, Justin Smoak, Kennys Vargas, Michael Morse

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