2017 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: First Basemen (February)

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Welcome to our 2017 fantasy baseball first base rankings for February. Even though first basemen and designated hitter types have faced a tough free agent market this offseason, don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not valuable fantasy baseball commodities.

This round of rankings features picks from Kyle Bishop, Nick Mariano, Bill Dubiel, Brad Johnson, Harris Yudin and Jeff Kahntroff. Below I lay out RotoBaller’s tiered rankings, together with explanations of how my rankings diverge from my colleagues’.

Editor's note: Be sure to also check out our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. It's already loaded up with tons of great rankings articles and draft analysis. Aside from our tiered staff rankings for every position, we also go deep on MLB prospect rankings, impact rookies for 2017, and dynasty/keeper rankings as well. Bookmark the page, and win your drafts.

 

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen (February)

Ranking Tier Player Position Brad Kyle Nick Bill Harris Y Jeff Auction $
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 5 4 5 5 5 6 43
2 2 Miguel Cabrera 1B 9 9 11 11 10 14 37
3 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B 8 10 10 9 13 21 36
4 3 Joey Votto 1B 22 24 17 14 12 19 33
5 3 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 34 36 27 22 22 26 28
6 3 Freddie Freeman 1B 31 34 34 34 15 30 27
7 4 Wil Myers 1B 36 62 39 39 40 36 23
8 4 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 44 48 56 52 67 39 22
9 4 Jose Abreu 1B 42 54 41 42 53 78 21
10 4 Chris Davis 1B 49 53 68 68 52 38 21
11 4 Hanley Ramirez 1B 46 52 53 53 69 60 21
12 4 Carlos Santana 1B 79 117 69 69 109 81 17
13 5 Adrian Gonzalez 1B 102 118 121 122 110 146 10
14 5 Albert Pujols 1B 158 116 98 97 111 144 10
15 5 Eric Hosmer 1B 148 134 116 116 105 145 10
16 5 Kendrys Morales 1B 142 208 103 103 156 79 10
17 5 Victor Martinez 1B 153 143 113 113 155 232 9
18 5 Brandon Belt 1B 169 206 155 156 135 147 6
19 5 Matt Holliday 1B/OF 213 201 142 144 176 129 6
20 5 Greg Bird 1B 171 149 186 186 206 231 5
21 6 Mike Napoli 1B 233 216 225 225 181 233 3
22 6 Tommy Joseph 1B 217 218 201 202 240 285 3
23 6 Lucas Duda 1B 255 215 208 208 239 287 3
24 6 Eric Thames 1B 151 315 222 222 306 260 2
25 6 Chris Carter 1B 239 253 239 239 300 288 2
26 6 Justin Bour 1B 313 205 269 269 263 286 2
27 6 Joshua Bell 1B/OF 285 298 285 285 205 261 2
28 6 C.J. Cron 1B 294 256 271 271 299 289 2
29 7 Steve Pearce 1B/2B/OF 303 371 295 295 350 217 1
30 7 Mitch Moreland 1B 312 374 252 252 262 438 1
31 7 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 339 399 300 300 337 343 1
32 7 Danny Valencia 1B/3B/OF 377 296 365 365 351 345 1
33 7 Joe Mauer 1B 438 372 346 346 335 440 1
34 7 Travis Shaw 1B/3B 398 411 334 334 383 423 1
35 7 Adam Lind 1B 370 388 349 349 393 437 1
36 7 Wilmer Flores 1B/3B 413 394 417 414 352 393 1
37 7 Byung-ho Park 1B 359 376 368 468 500 402 1
38 7 Dan Vogelbach 1B 420 455 359 359 426 485 1
39 7 Matt Adams 1B 405 408 383 381 449 487 1
40 7 Jefry Marte 1B/OF 456 316 393 390 481 484 1
41 7 A.J. Reed 1B 387 446 367 367 490 490 1
42 7 David Freese 1B/3B 419 494 407 404 353 494 1
43 7 Kennys Vargas 1B 470 475 389 386 422 433 1
44 7 Tyler Austin 1B 498 391 388 452 1
45 7 Logan Morrison 1B 436 424 #N/A #N/A 450 1
46 7 Luis Valbuena 1B/3B 490 412 467 466 440 390 1
47 7 Justin Smoak 1B 501 #N/A #N/A #N/A 392 1
48 7 Sean Rodriguez 1B 455 454 473 1
49 7 Marwin Gonzalez 1B #N/A #N/A #N/A 498 1

 
 

First Base Rankings Analysis: The Tiers

Tier 1

Goldschmidt has been very steady. A .300/30/100/100/20 line seems reasonable. His stolen base track record separates him from the rest of the tier.

Tier 2

Miggy has done nothing but hit: .324, .328,.344, .330, .348, .313, .338, .316 are his batting averages since 2009. His power returned last year, and if he can get a full season from J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton adjusts to the league, his run production could increase as well. The batting average separates Cabrera and our #3 first basemen Rizzo for me. My fellow rankers are higher on Rizzo than I am (I have him at #21 overall). Although our composite rankings have Rizzo and Miggy in the same tier, Miggy is my clear number two.

Tier 3

During and after his down 2014 which was marred by injury, many questioned if Joey Votto’s days of eliteness were done. He returned with .314/29/95/80/11 and .326/29/101/97/8 lines. He’s back.

If it were solely up to me, I'd have Rizzo in this tier with Votto, Freeman and Encarnacion. Below are their numbers for the last two years, their 162-game averages, and their 2017 Steamer projections.

PLAYER (AGE) 2016 2015 2015-16 162 GM AVG STEAMER
Joey Votto (33) .326/29/101/97/8 .314/29/95/80/11 .320/30/101/88/10 .288/23/86/77/6
Freddie Freeman (27) .302/34/102/91/6 .276/18/62/66/3 .292/31/97/93/6 .275/26/84/86/4
Edwin Encarnacion (34) .263/42/99/127/2 .277/39/94/111/3 .269/43/103/126/3 .254/30/79/91/2
Anthony Rizzo (27) .292/32/94/109/3 .278/31/94/101/17 .285/33/97/108/11 .279/31/91/98/7

 

Viewing this chart, does Rizzo truly belong a tier ahead of the rest? I don’t think so. Rizzo has shown signs that he could have a power breakout beyond his low-thirty homer totals (32 homers in 140 games at age 24), but he could also stay in the low thirties. With his average never reaching .300, and his run production staying what it was despite last year’s lineup, I fail to see the separation from the others.

Freeman is the same age, and there were legitimate reasons why his power breakout could stick. Encarnacion is going to a stronger lineup (Cleveland scored 18 more runs than Toronto), and his spray chart data shows that he is unlikely to lose more than a couple homers due to park factors. What Votto is lacking slightly in other categories, he makes up for in batting average. While Rizzo certainly has the most breakout potential of any of these players, has shown the best health, and is the only one who could find a .300/40/100/120 line if he broke out, his past production is too similar to the others for me to spend the extra money on him rather than spend it elsewhere.

Tier 4

I have Wil Myers, Chris Davis, and Matt Carpenter as my favorite tier 4 hitters. Davis played a large portion of last season with a dislocated thumb. He has shifted back and forth between being brilliant and of marginal value, but his last two marginal years had clear explanations (i.e. oblique injury / no therapeutic use exemption, and dislocated thumb). If he can remain healthy, I see a bounceback. Myers is as high as he is for the speed/power combo: in his first full, healthy MLB season, he put up 28 homers and 28 steals. A player who can put up that many steals while contributing elsewhere is highly valuable. I only have Carpenter’s value auction this high due to his positional eligibility at 3B, 2B, and 1B.

I have Santana closer to Abreu than my colleagues. While Santana will lag in average, Abreu’s homers have declined for three straight years. Santana posted more homers, higher run production, and more steals. With Abreu losing Adam Eaton and possibly Todd Frazier at some point this year, and Santana upgrading from Napoli to Encarnacion, I do not see much difference in their values despite their composite auction values being $4 apart.

Tier 5

Kendrys Morales is easily my favorite target of this group. You can read about in my upcoming feature on him. With the exception of Greg Bird, the others are trying to hold onto their fantasy value at this point.

I do like Holliday more than my peers. However, I will be keeping an eye on his playing time as Opening Day approaches, but I think his bat will fit nicely in Yankee Stadium and that he is due a bounceback if he stays healthy and plays every day.

Tier 6+

I like Eric Thames in certain formats as an upside play with a lower floor, and I plan to move him up in future rankings. With Byung Ho Park being designated for assignment, Kennys Vargas’ value could rise, and I plan to swap their ranks. Steve Pearce could be a nice piece in daily leagues with deep benches, as outlined in my piece here.

Stay tuned to our rankings’ updates as the season approaches. As more information pours in, the rankings will adjust.



2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings