2018 First Base Rankings: Top 30

We wrap up each week of positional coverage with our 2018 rankings. In addition to the rankings we will pose a number of questions to our panel covering topics such as reaches and targets, players to avoid and late round impact players.

Taking part in our rankings will be Kevin Jebens, Jim Finch, Kenny Garvey, Josh Coleman, Dan Marcus, Mike Sheehan and Mike (the cop) Levin. Our seven “experts” each ranked their top 30 first basemen for the 2018 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 if you don’t see someone they either do not qualify or were not worthy (or everyone missed him – it happens).

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.

Rank Player Team Jim Josh Kevin Mike S Kenny Dan Mike L
1 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 2 2 3 2 2 2 3
3 Joey Votto Reds 3 3 2 3 3 3 2
4 Freddie Freeman Braves 4 4 6 4 6 4 4
5 Jose Abreu White Sox 5 5 5 8 4 5 5
6 Cody Bellinger Dodgers 7 7 4 5 7 7 6
7 Edwin Encarnacion Indians 6 6 7 6 5 8 8
8 Eric Hosmer Royals 9 8 9 12 8 9 7
9 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 8 9 12 9 10 10 10
10 Wil Myers Padres 10 10 8 13 16 6 11
11 Rhys Hoskins Phillies 17 16 14 7 17 11 9
12 Matt Carpenter Cardinals 22 11 10 10 14 12 18
13 Carlos Santana Phillies 23 14 18 11 11 13 17
14 Justin Bour Marlins 19 20 11 17 19 18 13
15 Justin Smoak Blue Jays 15 15 13 22 21 14 21
16 Jay Bruce Mets 14 19 16 16 12 24 22
17 Ian Desmond Rockies 13 12 25 23 20 21 20
18 Ryan Zimmerman Nationals 16 29 17 21 13 25 14
19 Joey Gallo Rangers 12 18 24 18 15 22 N/R
20 Chris Davis Orioles 11 21 29 19 22 15 N/R
21 Eric Thames Brewers 25 22 21 24 18 29 23
22 Ryon Healy Mariners 21 N/R 15 29 25 23 25
23 Matt Olson Athletics N/R 30 22 15 30 16 28
24 Yuli Gurriel Astros 26 27 N/R 26 24 27 12
25 Brandon Belt Giants N/R 13 20 27 N/R 20 24
26 Greg Bird Yankees N/R N/R 27 14 23 26 15
27 Josh Bell Pirates 18 25 19 25 N/R 19 N/R
28 Buster Posey Giants N/R 17 N/R N/R 9 N/R 16
29 Trey Mancini Orioles 24 24 N/R N/R 27 N/R 19
30 Albert Pujols Angels 20 26 28 N/R 26 N/R N/R
Honorable Mentions: Marwin Gonzalez, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison (4 of 7), Hanley Ramirez (3 of 7), Wilmer Flores, Mark Reynolds (2 of 7, Jose Martinez, Dominic Smith (1 of 7)

First Basemen you will reach for if you don’t land Goldschmidt (or Rizzo) in round 1?

Kevin: If you’re going to reach, get Bellinger. There’s no question he has legit power. Maybe he suffers a bit of a sophomore slump, but on the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes .265/100/40/100/10.

Jim: Jose Abreu is rarely seen as a second round pick, but the consistency he has shown over the years makes him one in my eyes. I don’t like to play with first base so I’ll make sure I have someone in my top-six before round two is up.

Kenny: I’d be willing to reach for Jose Abreu. Yes, I’m a White Sox fan and this might be a homer pick, but he’s solid EVERY SINGLE YEAR! He’s probably not a first-round pick anywhere, but reaching for him at any given time doesn’t’ come as a high-risk play. You know you’re in for 25/100.

Dan: Wil Myers. The bottom half of the top 10 can be projected to provide relatively the same amount of fantasy production. However, Myers has now shown he will provide stolen bases, helping him stand out a bit from the rest.

Josh: Sure, everyone wants the best of the best, but I don’t mind having the leftovers at 1B. I’m comfortable going into the season with any of my Top-15 as my starting first baseman. Even if my rankings fall apart, enough depth exist to where 3-4 surprising options will emerge.

Mike S: I want top 6 first basemen. I view Votto and Freeman in the same tier as Goldy and Rizzo and ideally want one of those 4. Too much is made of the depth at IF positions considering the top handful or so at every IF position are much bigger difference makers. First base may go 30 deep, but do you really want to line Hosmer or Alonso up against Freeman or Votto?

Mike L: I wouldn’t reach for anyone. The depth here is crazy. Bird who is my 15th ranked 1B may end up with top 5 numbers. Dont reach at 1B.

Which first baseman do you plan on avoiding in the draft?

Kevin: I still refuse to put any trust in Zimmerman staying healthy. Carlos Santana may be tempting in Philly, but I’m not banking on more than 25 HR, and in non-OBP leagues he takes a hit.

Jim: Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland and Carlos Santana all have a similar baseline, 20 homers, 65 or so runs and RBI, and a mediocre batting average. There is zero upside (outside of a career year) and no reason to gamble on any of them.

Kenny: I was a Miguel Cabrera owner last year via a pre-draft trade – yikes. For that very reason, plus he’s on the wrong side of his career, I want nothing to do with him come draft day. He’s an aging superstar on a rebuilding team. That just sounds like another debacle of a season approaching.

Dan: Justin Smoak. Toronto has a way of fixing hitters, and Smoak could be the latest reclamation project.

Josh: I will not be a Rhys Hoskins owner this season. Early ADP has him firmly as a Top 10-option and I just don’t see it. Power is legit, but contact issues had been his biggest detractor prior to last season. September struggles has me thinking 2018 will feature a lengthy growing period with batting average concerns.

Mike S: I’ll say Justin Smoak. He has too much of track record of mediocrity for me to buy last year as the new normal. Know the Jays have done this before with guys like Bautista and Encarnacion, but I have to see more before I believe.

Mike L: I’m going to try and avoid Cody Bellinger as much as I can. Yeah, he hit 39 home runs last year, but I expect a lower average and more k’s. His postseason scared me (17 ks in 28 abs). The peripheral numbers aren’t the greatest, and maybe pitchers started to figure him out.

Who is your top CI target once your 1B slot is filled?

Kevin: As usual, it’s a deep position, so you can wait till someone like Bell or Desmond for later rounds. But I may double dip and go for CI early this year, targeting Bour (my #11 guy).

Jim: Once you venture outside the top-10 there are a lot of risk/reward type guys, but nobody you can point to that will give you guaranteed numbers. For that reason I’ll aim for upside players like Rhys Hoskins, Josh Bell, or maybe Justin Bour (who is consistently overlooked).

Kenny: I don’t see Carlos Santana going early in any drafts, so he’s going to be my “back up” once I fill my first base need. He’s always had a solid bat and I’d be comfortable if I had to deploy him as an everyday option.

Dan: Justin Bour. Started against lefties last year, hits for decent average and power, and will be the centerpiece of whatever production there is in Miami.

Josh: I suspect the trio of Matt Carpenter, Ian Desmond, and Brandon Belt will fill many of my CI spots among my leagues. I believe Carpenter will be better cast as a top of the lineup option this season, Desmond returns back to the 20/20 threat after an injury plagued 2017, and Belt finally is rewarded for all that plate discipline goodness he displayed in 2016, much like Moustakas last season.

Mike S: I’m between Miggy and Carpenter here, but will go Carpenter since he’s a bit younger. His batted ball and plate approach still looked excellent last year, and I’m betting that there’s a bit more devil magic in the tank here.

Mike L: Trey Mancini is legit. People forget he finished third behind Judge and Benny for AL ROY. He’s hit everywhere he’s been and I expect numbers around 280/25/80. Cant go wrong with that.

Late round pick that could make an impact?

Kevin: Jose Martinez may surprise if given playing time. Wilmer Flores is on the verge of a breakout. Even Pujols or Crush Davis should come cheap enough in 2018 that if they get back on track, you’ll earn a profit.

Jim: I mentioned Justin Bour above. He lost a lot of protection in the Marlins fire-sale, but he was hitting lefties last year prior to his injury.I also like Ryon Healy if he falls far enough – the duel 1B/3B eligibility is a nice insurance policy.

Kenny: I had trouble settling on just one, but if you twisted my arm I’d have to say Ryon Healy. He’s going to be undervalued come draft day. With the bat he’s displayed in his early career and the Seattle lineup that surrounds him, I think he’s going to have a big 2018.

Dan: Mitch Moreland. Not flashy, but reliable numbers in a strong lineup – and dirt cheap.

Josh: Wilmer Flores is a .265 hitter with 30 HR pop who could easily push his way into the Top-10. That is of course dependent on the much-needed playing time. Keeping that in mind, Jose Martinez could emerge as a top 15-20 option with solid work across the board. Ryan McMahon fits more the Flores mold with ability to play multiple positions. I’m not sure McMahon’s current bargain will hold up the deeper we get into the offseason.

Mike S: Since I’m sure the Greg Bird hype train will be alive and well come draft season, I will say Wil Myers. Myers is a former ROY with legit 30-30 potential and yet no one likes to draft him. I’m happy to take him later in the draft.

Mike L: My value pick at the position is Ryan McMahon. The Rockies #3 prospect on the MLB.com Pipeline, McMahon is one injury/roster move from getting his bat in the lineup. He struggled in his first cup of coffee, but his bat is for real. Hit .374 last year in AAA. You will be able to grab him late, and it might turn out to be your best draft pick.


That Wraps up our first base rankings. Check back next week as we bring you our Top 30 Second Base options for 2018.

CatcherSecond BaseThird Base ShortstopOutfield Starting PitcherRelieversTop 250


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2 thoughts on “2018 First Base Rankings: Top 30”

  1. On Rhys Hoskins “contact issues had been his biggest detractor prior to last season”….uh, really? He’s a .294 hitter in the minors outside of rookie ball, and owns an insane command of the strike zone for a 24-year-old. In that ballpark, adding Santana, I think you’re way off base.

    1. The concerns I mentioned more to do with projecting than what had been established. As Hoskins power had developed his K% had increased from 19.5 to 21.2. In the grand scheme of things no big deal. However if your projecting a MLE equivalent for that 21.2 rate you were likely looking at a 25% rate.

      Naturally Hoskins came out in 17 and managed a 15% rate and the fears of the past had all been forgotten. He was called up in August and managed to outplay his the lofty standards he had set in AAA.

      Then came Sept/Oct. over those 28 games the K% rose from 15.2 to 26.7 and all of a sudden that 16 forecast doesn’t seem all that out of whack.

      In his first 22 games he posted a .304/.402/.747 slash with a 13% BB rate and a 15.2 K%

      Last 28 games .220/.392/.505 with a BB rate of 20.8 and a K rate of 26.7.

      To your point seeing how the BB rate actually improved during struggles bolds well for future outcomes.

      The reality is I’m not a fan of Hoskins for 2018 because of his ADP. In turn I could be subconsciously lowering my ranking of him solely because of my ADP issues. Also I often find myself to be stubborn when it comes to players without established track records.

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