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 $|
First Base Rankings Analysis: The Tiers
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.