First Base: Home of the power hitter. Ten first basemen (or first base eligible) had 30 or more home runs last season; five of those are in the top seven – Joey Votto just missed the cut with 29. Outside of the big boppers you’ve got players like Gonzalez, Duda, Moreland, Trumbo and Lind who are good for home runs in the 25 range. Then you’ve got the Freeman/Hosmer/Belt type players who will flirt with 20 and deliver solid counting stats. Overall, there is no reason not to come away from the draft with a solid/stud first baseman, and if you act quick enough an adequate well-rounded corner infielder as insurance. Now on to what you came here for.
Taking part in our rankings will be Tommy Landseadel, Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Ron Vackar, Michael Zakhar and Neil (Mister DFS). Our six experts each ranked their top 30 First Basemen for the 2016 season. Players marked N/R were not ranked inside the top 30 by that particular person. We used a 10 games started minimum requirement for eligibility so you may need to check your league settings for some players.
If you feel we overlooked someone or would like to debate a player’s ranking, feel free to do so in the comment section below.
There were 11 players ranked that did not make the top 30 list. Justin Turner, Matt Adams, Trevor Plouffe, C.J. Cron, Ben Paulsen, Pedro Alvarez and Chris Carter each appeared on two out of six rankings. Turner and Plouffe will obviously be drafted much earlier than this at their natural position; the same goes for those multi-eligible players ranked from 24 to 30. Just because they are ranked low here does not make them worthless, they are just worthless for first base and should only be used there in case of an emergency.
Players that you would Reach for
Tommy: I always love getting an elite first baseman. I would consider taking Goldschmidt at #1 overall, and I would be extremely happy to land any of my guys ranked 2nd-5th. Joey Votto or Chris Davis (depending on where he signs) would make nice 2nd round consolation prizes.
Kevin: I’ve already said I’d take Goldy #1 overall. I’d also reach for any 1B that can also provide a high BA.
Jim: I don’t know if it is considered reaching, but I make it a priority to get a top first base option. Assuming I don’t go early and get Goldschmidt or Rizzo, I’ll probably take Jose Abreu a few spots early, even before Miguel Cabrera. I’m hesitant on taking an aging Encarnacion, Pujols or Gonzalez, don’t trust
Adam Dunn Chris Davis, and want someone better than Joey Votto or Prince Fielder. I know some will be happy with some of those guys, but I’m picky when it comes to my starting first baseman.
Ron: Hard to call a second/third rounder a reach but I want Jose Abreu in every league I can get him in this year. He did nothing but perform as expected, and he did it in a horrible White Sox lineup in 2015. With the added bats of Brett Lawrie and especially Todd Frazier, I expect a slight bump across the board for Jose Abreu in 2016. It’s a slight reach for me but I would take Abreu over the power bats of Edwin Encarnacion and Chris Davis.
Zak: If I miss out on the dependable power bats in the first few rounds, I would reach for Brandon Belt. He started off poorly last season and was hurt at the end of it, but in between he was extremely productive. He hits the ball hard, even runs a little bit, and you are getting a discount for the time he missed. With health, he could elbow his way into the top 10.
Neil: Freddie Freeman. Yes – Freeman’s OPS has declined the last 3 seasons, but he is a budding superstar entering his age 26 season and is poised for his breakout. I think he goes 310/375/525 this year with 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs.
Players you will avoid drafting
Tommy: Eric Hosmer and Freddie Freeman– First off, let me say that I think both men are outstanding hitters. I think the 2016 price tag may be a tad high for each. Freeman’s problem is an utter lack of lineup support around him. Pencil him in for .290 and 25 HR’s, just don’t count on more than 150 runs + RBI. Hosmer will give strong all around production, but he lacks power upside found in pretty much every other first baseman. I would consider Hosmer in round 5 or 6 after I have assembled a nice power base and grabbed an ace, but I don’t think he will ever last that long.
Kevin: I’m not sold on the story that Freddie Freeman will take another big step forward. He’s not a guarantee for a high batting average, and he isn’t likely to hit more than 25 home runs. He’s good, but in a crowded 1B field, he’s not worth the price.
Jim: Victor Martinez (showing signs of aging), Freddie Freeman (zero support), Carlos Santana (batting average risk), Brandon Belt (low run & RBI numbers – plus tired of waiting for the breakout), Hanley Ramirez (2 year decline scares me), Mark Teixeira (last year doesn’t erase decline of 3 previous seasons), Ryan Zimmerman (burned too many times), Ryan Howard (only as a waiver grab if I need homers). I told you, I’m picky when it comes to first.
Ron: Freddie Freeman is never appealing to me no matter what year it is or what the expected ADP is on him. Atlanta will challenge for the worst offense in baseball in 2016 and I want no part of it.
Zak: I expect Freddie Freeman‘s ADP to sink as we get closer to draft day – to the point that he might even feel like a good value. I encourage you to avoid pulling the trigger. The Braves lineup is a wasteland, and the opportunity is not there for Freeman to put up the numbers that put him in elite company. Plus his power is not in elite company in any context.
Neil: Joe Mauer. The guy is still an OK baseball player, but a first baseman with no power and declining rate stats in fantasy? No thanks.
Top CI target once your first base slot is filled
Tommy: I would love to grab 2 high-end options in the first 5 rounds if possible, but assuming that it isn’t, I really like Lucas Duda and Brandon Belt. They are both quality producers worthy of a mid round pick. If you have more pressing needs during those rounds, you can always take advantage of the 1B values available later in the draft.
Kevin: Any time you can double down on two top first baseman, you’ll have a good start to your offense. But assuming the top-10 are already gone, I’m happy with older guys like Teix and Pujols. Even farther down, I’m okay with Trevor Plouffe, maybe C.J. Cron dependent on playing time.
Jim: Just like I’m picky with my starting first baseman, I’m also anal about having a solid backup for my key corner man. Eric Hosmer isn’t a stud, but he will deliver above average numbers in runs, RBIs and batting average along with 18 or so homers. He’s one of the few guys outside the top 10 that I trust. Consistency goes a long way with me.
Ron: Brandon Belt just needs to stay on the field and he can be every bit as valuable as Eric Hosmer at a fraction of the draft day cost.
Zak: As much as I like Brandon Belt, I’d be much more comfortable slotting him in a CI spot rather than at first. First base drops off quickly and you will likely be left choosing between risky vets or players better slotted in other positions. While I don’t love the move to Seattle, Adam Lind‘s recent consistency stands out among his peers.
Neil: Adam Lind. Above average in every major offensive category except stolen bases. Players like this in corner spots will win you pools.
Late round picks that could make an impact
Tommy: So many here! Mark Trumbo won’t be super late, but I like his upside in Baltimore. 35+ HRs is a possibility. Wil Myers played extremely well last year when he was healthy and could be undervalued because he missed over 100 games. Adam Lind and Trevor Plouffe are better than people think. Moreland, Cron and Bour all have the ability to hit 20-25 HRs at a cheap price without killing your BA. Last, but not least, watch where Pedro Alvarez lands. If he winds up in a strong AL lineup where he can DH every day, he could post 30+ HRs with solid contributions everywhere except BA.
Kevin: Lucas Duda and his 30+ homers, Matt Adams and Wil Myers with health, and Mitch Moreland are nice options that may get overlooked. Mark Trumbo‘s home runs in Baltimore could be sweet.
Jim: He may get more hype as we get closer to the start of the season, but I’m liking Byung-Ho Park. Some will hesitate thinking the numbers won’t translate, but look at Shin-Soo Choo; look at the number of Japanese pitchers that have succeeded as of late, and at one time they were looked at with the same distrust. If he can hit 50 homers in Korea, I can easily see 25 here.
Ron: Mitch Moreland has a boring name. He gets no respect. If I am being bold I might go out on a limb and say he could outproduce Freddie Freeman.
Zak: I’ve been playing long enough to know not to write off Victor Martinez. I don’t expect him to cost much and he could easily equal the production of someone like Freeman. This is purely speculative on my part, but doesn’t Mark Trumbo seem like the type of guy who will put up 28 home runs for Baltimore? I’d probably feel ok watching that from the sidelines but wouldn’t fault you for taking a shot. In deeper leagues, Steve Pearce might be a good grab depending on where he lands.
Neil: Ben Paulsen. He is a guy with good power playing in Colorado. Could be the good side of a platoon with Mark Reynolds, so curb your enthusiasm, but could be an excellent cheap source for 20+ homers with a nice batting average to boot.
That Wraps up our First Base rankings. Check back next week as we bring you our top 25 Second Base options for the 2016 season.
Still need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose has been compiling rankings for the 2016 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.