2015 First Base Dynasty/Keeper Rankings

Each week, the Assembly will put together their positional rankings for keeper/dynasty leagues. Players are ranked with the next five years of production in mind, so when you see Paul Goldschmidt ranked ahead of Miguel Cabrera that does not necessarily mean that we believe Goldschmidt will be the superior short-term option.

The first base position is absolutely loaded with impact fantasy players. As a result, we decided to rank the top 25 players instead of 20. Despite ranking extra players, talented youngsters like Kennys Vargas, 37 HR hitter Chris Carter, prospect Matt Olson and useful veterans like Steve Pearce and Mark Teixeira did not receive enough votes to make the cut. On this list, you will find some legitimate franchise cornerstone bats along with plenty of useful contributors capable of holding down your CI spots for years to come.

Our 6 experts, with over 100 years combined fantasy baseball experience, each ranked the first base position, and here are the results:

Rank Player Tommy Jim Paul Ron Will Kevin
1 Paul Goldschmidt 1 2 2 1 1 2
2 Miguel Cabrera 3 1 1 3 2 1
3 Jose Abreu 2 3 3 2 3 3
4 Anthony Rizzo 4 5 6 5 4 4
5 Edwin Encarnacion 5 4 4 6 5 5
6 Freddie Freeman 6 6 5 4 6 7
7 Joey Votto 7 9 7 7 8 13
8 Albert Pujols 9 12 9 10 10 6
9 Adrian Gonzalez 10 10 13 11 11 9
9 Chris Davis 11 7 14 9 15 8
9 Carlos Santana 12 15 10 8 7 12
12 Victor Martinez 8 17 11 12 9 15
13 Prince Fielder 14 8 16 13 17 10
14 Eric Hosmer 16 14 8 16 14 16
15 Matt Adams 15 11 18 15 13 14
16 Lucas Duda 13 19 12 17 16 11
17 Brandon Belt 17 16 17 14 22 19
18 Brandon Moss 20 N/R 19 18 12 N/R
19 Billy Butler 23 21 25 23 19 21
20 Jonathan Singleton N/R 13 15 N/R 18 N/R
21 Justin Morneau 18 N/R N/R 19 21 20
22 Joe Mauer N/R 23 20 24 20 23
22 Mike Napoli 25 24 N/A 20 23 18
24 C.J. Cron 24 18 21 N/R N/R N/R
25 Adam Laroche 19 N/R 24 N/R N/R 22

1. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

Kevin: Any player who can hit .300, reach 30 HR, and get double-digit SB is a cornerstone player. And despite netting only 400 AB in 2014, he was still in the top-70 players according to CBS’s 5×5 rankings.

Ron: A first rounder for the next five years.

2. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Jim: While numbers may slip some come 2018, he should remain on top for the next 3 years.

Tommy: I would confidently take Cabrera ahead of the other 1Bs in a redraft, but he is getting older and his recent injuries worry me about long-term decline. Goldschmidt and Abreu are too good and too young to pass on them in a keeper format.

3. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox

Paul: His contact rates don’t scream .315 hitter to me, but he has awesome power and should be able to continue hitting 30+ home runs per year. A 27-year-old rookie may not have as much “growth” to come, but 30/100/.285 with upside for even more home runs is exactly what you want at first base.

Ron: Apparently Cuba knows a thing or two about hitting. This is what a power corner bat looks like.

4. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

Kevin: I was confident he could bounce back from 2013, and he did. He’s a good bet for 25+ HR and a .280+ BA every year moving forward, and if the Cubs put together an offense, then his R and RBI totals could be high as well.

Will: If the Cubs lineup improves (as is expected with their other prospects starting to appear in Wrigleyville) start penciling Rizzo in for the 40 home run club. Mark it down.

5. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

Paul: EE missed close to six weeks of the season and still may finish with 35 home runs and 100 RBI. He’ll carry some risk heading into 2015 as he ages and is injury prone, but he measures up quite well with the top hitters in the game when he’s healthy.

Will: E5 is coming off his 3rd straight 30+ HR campaign and he missed at least 20 games in both ’13 and ’14. Look for at least 2-3 years of 30+ dingers if he stays healthy and should be good for at least 25, every season, for the next 5.

6. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

Kevin: I love his bat and his overall ability, but he hasn’t been amazing yet, with 2013 being his best year and 2014 dropping off. That being said, he’s still young enough to invest in as a future stable presence at 1B. Drop in HR from 2014 at least partly due to his lowest HR/FB and a three-year decline in FB%.

Ron: We have to remember that this guy just turned 25 in September. Expecting anything north of 25 HR from Freeman is foolish but he’s likely to remain a steady source of stats in four categories for years to come.

7. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

Paul: As disappointing a season as anyone in the majors in 2014, Votto has been impressing in batting practice of late. Likely one of the hardest players to project for next season, I’m going to be cautiously optimistic. 90/15/80/.300 with a .400 OBP. Not as valuable in 5×5 leagues, I’d move him down a couple of slots there.

Kevin: I respect his eye and his walks, but they only help in some formats. This year he sported a bad BA, and it’s hard to attribute that all to his quad injury. He’s not young anymore, but he’s not old, either, so if he can approach or surpass 20 HR and a .300 BA, then he still has keeper value. The risk is high on him moving forward, though.

8. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels

Jim: When healthy, Pujols can still deliver above average numbers runs and RBIs and can still hit 25 or more home runs. Problem is he will be 35 in 2015 and has a bum foot which acts up at times along with other injury concerns.

Tommy: Pujols is clearly on the downside of his career, but he still finished 2014 as the 4th best fantasy first baseman according to Y!’s player rater. Pujols bats in the middle of a great lineup and still possesses 25 HR power. Don’t let him slip too far.

9. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers

Kevin: If he were a bit younger, I’d rank him higher. Also, it’s hard to know what to expect from him. In 2012-13 his BA was good, but he hit fewer HR. In 2014 he got back above 25 HR, but at the expense of 20 points off his BA. The RBI will be good in LA’s loaded lineup, but I’d rather have a bit more consistency and youth in my dynasty 1B.

Paul: Gonzo keeps doing what he’s doing despite my best efforts to write him off the past two seasons. 20-25 home runs and 100+ RBI seasons keep mounting for this consistent 32-year-old first baseman.

9. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

Jim: I’ll give Davis a mulligan for 2014, but his Mark Reynolds approach at the plate should worry owners. I would trade him if I owned him.

Will: Should still be good for 30+ home runs going forward, but could hurt you in the AVG department.

9. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Jim: I have the same worry this year that I did last season, and that is Santana’s ability to hit for average. A .270 average moves him up, but a .230 puts him in the ranks with Chris Carter and Brandon Moss.

Ron: His catcher eligibility is gone but for now he has a nice 1b/3B combination and can be a healthy fixture in the Cleveland lineup for the foreseeable future.

12. Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers (Free Agent)

Jim: A career year in 2014 shouldn’t blind you to the fact that Martinez will be 36 in 2015. The soon to be free agent can still hit for average and power, but don’t expect anymore 30 home runs season (and be happy if you get 25).

Tommy: VMart was arguably the best hitter in baseball this season. His K rate was a ridiculous 6.6% and although his 16.2% HR/FB rate appears out of line with his career numbers, it is fully supported by his average fly ball distance. Victor may be old, but he has a couple years of elite production left in his bat.

13. Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers

Kevin: He’s a wild card for 2015, but I think we should give him a mulligan for his poor stats in 2014 before he went out with his injury. His body may not age well, but he’s in a hitter’s park. With health I don’t see why he can’t get back to 2013 level, but 2011-12 may be out of reach.

Will: Coming off the injury he suffered, with his body type, I expect we’re all about to be witness to the Decline of a Prince. Or he could end up being his old self and being the steal of 2015.

14. Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

Paul: In 4 seasons, Hosmer is averaging 70/15/70/.275 at just 24 years of age. Not the kind of numbers you need from the 1B slot, but he has youth and ability on his side. Hosmer has always shown flashes of brilliance; this year since July 1st he’s hit .342/.396/.542

Ron: Looks to be more James Loney than Freddie Freeman. Keeping him on the list is the fact that he’ll be just 25 years old in his 2015 season.

15. Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals

Jim: He needs to show he can hit for more power than he did in 2014, otherwise a solid first year for Adams who has a solid fantasy future.

Paul: Adams really can’t hit LHPs at all, and his power was disappointing as his ISO went from .220 in 2013 to .168 in 2014. The BB/K rate is disastrous and the only thing keeping him on this list is his youth.

16. Lucas Duda, New York Mets

Kevin: Between Duda and Ike Davis, one was bound to break out eventually. Duda claimed the throne and displayed his power, but in terms of long-term investment, he’s risky. Inconsistency in past plus his age when he broke out mean you won’t want to build a team around him, but he’d be a good CI or DH option.

Ron: Seems like a younger, healthier version of Mike Napoli who should continue to be available on the cheap.

17. Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

Ron: What would a healthy 2014 have looked like for Belt? It seemed like he was on the verge of a breakthrough but he’ll keep us on pins and needles until we see how he bounces back in 2015.

Will: April is looking more and more like a fluke.

18. Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics

Tommy: Moss is going to give you strong power numbers, but he is terrible against lefties and his K rate is going to lead to a poor average. Moss’ poor second half along with the presence of Matt Olson make me question how long he will be fantasy relevant for.

Will: You absolutely know what you get with Moss….a one-dimensional masher.

19. Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals (Free Agent)

Kevin: Don’t buy into a big rebound. His GB% is going up, and if you throw out his career year in 2012, his HR/FB and homer totals aren’t that great. If you can buy very low after his career worst season, he may be okay as a DH, but I don’t see any reason to invest more than a buck or two in him moving forward.

Will: You’ll need Doc Brown to fix your flux capacitor, because without seeing the future, you can’t predict Country Breakfast’s hot streaks.

20. Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros

Paul: I actually found someone who had a worse year than Chris Davis. Singleton struck out 37% of the time in his debut in 2014 with a batting average of .168. Just 23, there’s no denying the home run power as he hit 13 in just 300 at bats. Singleton will be given plenty of leash to grow for the Astros and I think there’s a couple 30 HR seasons in his future.

Tommy: Singleton has good power, but is he an elite power source? Unless he makes substantial improvements on his 37.3 K% and his batted ball profile, he will struggle to reach a .200 average. The potential is there, but I want to see some progression before I am willing to invest.

21. Justin Morneau, Colorado Rockies

Tommy: Morneau is a former MVP playing at Coor’s Field. He posted a career best 10.9% K rate in 2014, is only 33 years old and he absolutely crushed right handed pitching. He should have a couple more big seasons in him as long as he can stay healthy.

Will: Not just the thin Colorado air helping him, in ’14. Counting stats almost identical to 2012 and 2013

22. Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

Paul: Essentially he’s Alcides Escobar without the stolen bases, but he might surprise with a .320 year still.

Tommy: Mauer’s Ks are up, and his power has all but disappeared. If you seek a first baseman who can deliver a near .300 average with about 5 HRs, then be my guest and take Mauer. You will not find him on any of my rosters.

22. Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox

Jim: The Jeckel and Hyde of first basemen. Will he hit for a good or bad average? Will he have power this year or not? Can he play a full season? Too many questions for me to consider.

Ron: He’s falling apart like a guy who spent too many games behind the dish.

24. C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels

Jim: He has an all or nothing swing but is young enough to make corrections. The questions are, can he improve enough to matter in fantasy and will the Angels commit to him long-term?

Tommy: I am concerned with Cron’s lack of patience, but he has 25 HR power and is capable of hitting enough line drives to post a solid batting average. As long as he can get enough ABs, he will be useful.

25. Adam Laroche, Washington Nationals (Free Agent)

Kevin: He’ll catch on somewhere, and he has another few years of decent production in him. But for dynasty league formats, he’s more a rental if you can get him cheap and on a short contract.

Tommy: Laroche is a patient hitter with legitimate 25 homer power. Aside from one down year, he has been remarkably consistent and was arguably the Nationals’ best hitter in 2014. His value will depend on his landing spot, but do not forget about Laroche on draft day. Players like him usually get overlooked in keeper leagues.

Analysis

Each of the top three on this list are top half of the first round keeper league options and are a cut above the rest. The next three names complete the second tier, and again, there is a substantial dip in value from Freeman to Votto. Personally, I will try to get one of the top six bats on every one of my teams next season.

The next tier appears to be a lot bigger and is filled with seasoned veterans. This group goes all the way from Votto to Duda before there is another large drop off. While there is certainly a difference in ability between the top of this tier and the bottom, all of these players are strong bets to be fantasy assets for the next three to five years.

The final tier has a good mix of young players with potential to be the next breakout stud and productive vets on the downside of their career. Do not overlook the vets in this group, as they can all make excellent short-term assets for your squad.

Overall the quality and the depth of the first base position is outstanding. I recommend drafting from this pool early and often. First base is an excellent place to seek your CI and UTIL players.

2015 Dynasty/Keeper Rankings
CatcherSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopOutfieldStarting PitchersClosers – Top 200

Fantasy Rundown BannerStill need more rankings, head on over to Fantasy Rundown where Goose will be compiling rankings for the 2015 season as well as prospect rankings and the best baseball links available this off-season.

The Fantasy Assembly Team

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A combined effort of the greatest fantasy sports minds money can buy. Maybe that is an exaggeration..... but it sounds good.

8 thoughts on “2015 First Base Dynasty/Keeper Rankings”

  1. What kind of potential do you believe Olson and Vargas have? Also did you include Josh Bell in this set of rankings, if not where would he rank? Are there are any other prospects that you think could be solid? Thank you!

    Matthew

    1. Great questions Matthew!

      I actually had Vargas ranked 22nd and Olson was the first player left off my list at 26. Vargas has a high K rate and terrible plate discipline, but because of his ability to make hard contact, he might not totally kill your BA.

      As for Olson, I love his future upside. Not sure when we will see him, but he could be an elite power hitter if he is able to make enough contact.

      I would probably rank Bell just ahead of Olson. There are plenty of good options here for sure!

  2. Thanks Matthew for the questions.
    Josh Bell is an excellent point. I included Bell in my 1B prospect grid, but didn’t consider him for my contribution to this list. He’s likely the best 1B prospect (along with Olson) in the game, but he needs to really play first, first. I think we’re looking at 2016 for Bell. Add in a first season of so/so numbers and he’s two years behind every other 1B as far as accumulating stats over this 5 year ranking. The same thing goes for Olson. Olson profiles as a big power 1B, but I like Bell’s power/hit combo more. These will be the top 2 guys when my rankings come out in January. As for Vargas, he’s got some serious power too, but the swing and K rates, lack of BB, and the fact that he’s more of a DH guy limits his ceiling at 1B for me. 20-25 HR but a .250-.260 hitter (maybe .305 OBP) likely won’t hold up against better 1B options.
    As for other 1B prospects, Casey Gillaspie is a good one in Tampa, Vogelbach, Reed, Bird…there are some good talented players further away as well. Check out the grid today, but a more detailed ranking will come out in January.
    Thanks again!

  3. I am really scared of Votto. I don’t think he even makes my 8 keepers list and the league I am talking about includes Bases on Balls. My main concern, and it is not nice to say especially about a truly nice person, is his head. It seems he plays in fear of getting hurt. When his father died a couple of years ago it seemed as though he took a month off from his job. He might be too nice a guy to play MLB.

    1. I am not quite ready to write Votto off yet, but his days of being an elite keeper option are certainly behind him. That being said, I would need to have some pretty impressive alternatives for Votto to fall outside my top 8.

  4. Hi, what do you think about Kenys Vargas. I was surprised to not see him on the list. While he is not a five category guy, he is physically imposing and has a lot of power.

    Thanks!

    1. For 2015 Rankings you’ll probably see him, but for dynasty purposes I think there is a lot of question on what position he’ll play going forward. He’s worth a gamble in dynasty leagues for his bat, but don’t count on him as a first baseman.

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