Welcome to this series of analyzing our site’s points league rankings, compiled by myself and Kyle Bishop. We’re good people, you should get to know us. Today we're taking a look at our tiered first base rankings for points leagues.
Points leagues abide by different rules, with walks and strikeouts usually being of notable importance compared to typical 5x5 leagues. It’s not as simple as that of course, but we’ll go off of ESPN’s default model. For hitters, it's one point per Total Base, Run Scored, Stolen Base, Walk and RBI, with a point deducted per strikeout. We looked at catchers first, and now we're off to first base.
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 Points Rankings: First Base
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First Base Points Rankings Analysis: The Tiers
None of these guys are going to let you down, as you have the five-category stud Paul Goldschmidt, the ever-consistent Miguel Cabrera and the prime-aged Anthony Rizzo. Goldy’s “down year” still yielded an extremely valuable season. Cabrera is only 34 and his skill set is allowing him to age very gracefully, so I’m not expecting any decline. Rizzo is in that cherished age-27 season while hitting smack dab in the middle of one of baseball’s most potent lineups.
Freddie Freeman and Edwin Encarnacion are just a hair below those bats in Tier One, but no one should ever feel bad having to “settle” for them. Freeman’s stock is a hot topic as people wonder whether last season is largely replicable, which this writer certainly does. Meanwhile, Encarnacion may not get to enjoy his parrot trots in Rogers Centre anymore, but Cleveland will treat him just fine. Only one of his homers last season wouldn’t have left the yard at Progressive Field, and he had 20 “no doubt” homers according to HitTrackerOnline. Second place had 15. Rest assured, he’ll be his usual self.
Hanley Ramirez, Jose Abreu, Matt Carpenter and Wil Myers are all capable of turning in powerful seasons alongside strong floors. Carp has the lowest ceiling here, but also offers a unique blend of positional versatility with his now-proven pop. Ramirez will look to fill Big Papi’s shoes, a task he appears up to after blasting 22 second-half homers last season. Sustained health is quite the weapon.
Wil Myers could also speak on that, as he turned his first full season into a wild 28/28 campaign. The steals are tough to bank on (just ask Anthony Rizzo), but the bat skills are definitely there. Jose Abreu bounced back from his first-half struggles last season and still posted his third-straight season of at least 25 homers, 100 RBI and a .290 average. He also brought his strikeout rate down from 21% to 18%, which points-leaguers can appreciate.
This one brings some volatility, which is the nature of tiers, I suppose. This is evidenced pretty handily by me and Kyle being so far apart on Carlos Santana. Santana’s solid 2016 was backed by steady metrics that saw him hit more like he did in 2015 – with more power – only his batted-ball rates were just a tad better. Mix in his ever-impressive walk rate and a reduced strikeout rate (18.3% to 14.4%), and you’ve got someone I want in points formats.
How about Victor Martinez? Some formats still support him as a first baseman (he started five games there in ’16), and since we’re not doing a DH piece we’ll include him here anyway. According to FantasyPros average ADP, he’s currently going off the board as the 1B25 at No. 217. This is egregious, but also makes for dynamite value. His first half was strong (.305/.353/.514) and then he battled through a hernia in a still-useful second half. He has 25 homer potential with a solid average in a plus-lineup spot. Mix in a strikeout rate that should sit between 11-14% and you’ve got a solid bargain!
It’s no secret that I enjoy targeting Kendrys Morales and Matt Holliday from my other writings, as both veterans find themselves in some truly hitter-friendly situations. Both still have plenty offer with their bat, and I expect Holliday’s walk rate to rebound to its usual double-digit percentage after he had to press a bit through injury last season.
Justin Bour becomes somewhat intriguing due to his no longer platooning, though this may end up burning those in points leagues disproportionately if he can’t conquer his southpaw woes (36 Ks in 110 PAs). I’d rather gamble on Tommy Joseph, who looked respectable against both LHP and RHP to the tune of 21 homers in only 347 PAs in his rookie season.
The Rest of the Field
Lucas Duda makes for an intriguing late-round flier with his 11.3% career walk rate and a swinging-strike rate that has decreased in each year since 2013, but don’t make him your starter. If so, perhaps you can pair with him with another bat that houses some sneaky value. No, we’re not talking about preseason darling Eric Thames. We’re talking about Steve Pearce.
Blue Jays’ reporter Shi Davidi reported that Pearce was now Toronto’s preferred option for left field. Pearce has been mired in platoon duty for years, but may now get a chance at consistent ABs. He has delivered respective ISOs of .204 and .205 in the last two seasons, with a healthy double-digit walk rate and a strikeout rate that should sit below 20%. He’s a real candidate for 25 homers in a powerful Toronto lineup.