We wrap up each week of positional coverage with our 2019 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 Jim Finch, Hunter Denson, Seth Bias and Jake Blodgett. Our four “experts” each ranked their top 30 first basemen for the 2019 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. 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.
|T9||Jose Abreu||White Sox||8||11||13||8|
|23||Justin Smoak||Blue Jays||23||26||19||23|
|27||Yonder Alonso||White Sox||29||29||25||24|
|Honorable Mentions: Jake Bauers, Trey Mancini, Yuli Gurriel, Justin Bour, Ryan Zimmerman, Peter O’Brien|
Who is the top first baseman you’d be willing to reach for?
Hunter: I expect good things from Rhys Hoskins in 2019. Even after taking steps back from his brief unsustainable run in 2018, Hoskins managed to swat 34 home runs and post the 14th best ISO in MLB (.251). He walks at a good rate (13.2% BB%) and should benefit from the lineup additions of Segura and McCutchen (and perhaps more?).
Jim: They are not considered reached, but Goldy, Freeman and Rizzo are the guys I’m targeting – mostly due to the uncertainty that surrounds a number of other corner men. If for some reason I whiff on all three I’ll reach for Rhys Hoskins (next best thing in my book) and a round early on Matt Olson should someone snatch Hoskins on me.
Seth: Trick question. In a 20 or 30 team league, I don’t mind having my first baseman be my best player, so I’d take the highest ranked player available, even if it’s a 1b. In a 10, 12 or 15 team league, I’m looking Olson or Aguilar if he falls, though don’t count me out on Bellinger.
Jake: Anthony Rizzo may go through some hellish slumps, but somehow he always puts up stellar numbers when the dust settles. He has hit at least 25 HR the last 5 seasons and picked up 100+ RBI the last four years. I’m always willing to reach a bit above his auction value or ADP.
Which first basemen do you plan on avoiding in the draft?
Hunter: I am not as confident as others that Cody Bellinger is worth his current price tag (47.23 ADP) and plan to avoid him unless he falls a couple of rounds. The large differences between his actual and expected production are worrisome, and I think he could be more of a 25-30 HR bat instead of one flirting with 40 home runs like he did in his rookie year.
Jim: Bellinger will cost more (both in auction and drafts) than I’m willing to pay, and the same goes for Matt Carpenter (which I expect 2017 totals from, not 2018). Max Muncy has generated a lot of buzz – similar to Chris Taylor last year, and I’m not sure I buy it. And while I can’t say I’ll fully avoid E5 – he can be a useful CI player – I will not pay a starting 1B price for him.
Seth: Max Muncy, but if he is still platooned I don’t want him. I also can’t imagine ever taking Hosmer. More broadly, I’m avoiding guys with playing time concerns (Martinez, Cron, Peter Alonso, etc) and older, injury-prone guys (Braun, Miggy, Pujols).
Jake: Max Muncy had an amazing 2018 season, but I don’t like the odds of him repeating it. He should provide quality numbers, but not quite enough to justify the anticipated price.
Who is your top CI target once your 1B slot is filled?
Hunter: Once I fill my 1B slot, I am targeting potential to eclipse price paid more than anything. Peter Alonso offers just that, and an ADP that is low enough (248.01 ADP) for me to gamble on after filling 1B. If he wins the job with the Mets, he has the chance to hit many home runs and eclipse the production of several players ranked ahead of him at the position.
Jim: I love what Tyler White did in the second half, and now with Gattis gone, White could see an increase across the board. I’m also one of those that’s willing to forgive, and maybe reach a little, for a Miguel Cabrera bounceback.
Seth: Travis Shaw, who would slot above Desmond in my rankings, were he eligible. If we’re talking guaranteed 1b-eligibility, Jurickson Profar. The A’s will play him, and he’s got sneaky pop and speed, plus multi-positional eligibility.
Jake: Jose Martinez may not be the most exciting pick, but he has a high floor thanks to his batting average and decent power. Targeting him as a CI option provides some flexibility to take a risk on someone with big upside at another position.
Late round pick who could make an impact?
Hunter: Target Ryan O’Hearn as a late round selection who could surprise with his production. While he will not maintain the .336 ISO he showed in 170 PA’s with the Royals last year, he could provide sneaky power and a solid line without much investment on draft day (current 346.25 ADP).
Jim: With some mixed reviews on rankings and current ADP, Jose Martinez could be a late round pick in your league. A few true late rounders I’ll be considering in the final rounds are Josh Bell (man crush), Luke Voit (provided he’s the front-runner this spring), the above mentioned Tyler White, and Peter Alonso (if he wins the 1B job).
Seth: I played up C.J. Cron in my article, but if Peter O’Brien can win the Marlins job, that power is crazy tempting. Any of the avoids from question 2 (except Hosmer) also belong here. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t know how much they’ll play. If others share my concern and a guy like Martinez falls, I wouldn’t hesitate late.
Jake: Jake Bauers provides an interesting power and speed combo that could provide some nice value as a 1B or CI in deeper leagues. A .252 BABIP suggests that his .201 batting average and .316 OBP should be on the rise.