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2018 First Base - Early Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings


We continue our fantasy baseball tiered rankings analysis with the first base position. RotoBaller writers Kyle Bishop, Jeff Kahntroff, and I have come up with our initial pre-draft rankings to give you a sense of player values as early as possible.

There are plenty of free agents yet to sign, so keep in mind that these rankings are sure to change quite a bit over the coming months. We'll re-do these rankings again and again, so keep checking back on our main 2018 fantasy baseball rankings homepage for the most current values - and keep it bookmarked.

If you didn't catch Kyle's analysis on the catcher position already, check it out here check it out after taking a gander at this one. Without any more delay, let's take a peek at the 2018 first base rankings for January.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Tiered Rankings: First Base (January)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Pierre Jeff
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 5 3 6
2 2 Joey Votto 1B 6 13 11
3 2 Freddie Freeman 1B/3B 16 17 10
4 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B/2B 20 21 19
5 3 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF 30 25 27
6 3 Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF 31 42 41
7 4 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 39 38 39
8 4 Jose Abreu 1B 56 32 37
9 4 Wil Myers 1B 61 61 62
10 4 Eric Hosmer 1B 95 41 54
11 4 Buster Posey C/1B 64 78 66
12 4 Justin Smoak 1B 73 65 128
13 5 Miguel Cabrera 1B 66 112 134
14 5 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 62 144 113
15 5 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 124 96 114
16 5 Matt Olson OF/1B 130 99 117
17 5 Justin Bour 1B 91 174 104
18 5 Ian Desmond OF/1B 176 138 82
19 5 Carlos Santana 1B 138 76 186
20 5 Josh Bell 1B 180 92 150
20 5 Jay Bruce OF/1B 195 140 111
21 5 Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF 141 130 191
22 6 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 142 221 129
23 6 Greg Bird 1B 238 115 162
24 6 Eric Thames 1B/OF 177 164 235
25 6 Trey Mancini 1B/OF 252 135 #N/A
26 6 Yuli Gurriel 1B 274 186 131
27 6 Ryon Healy 3B/1B 231 146 234
28 6 Chris Davis 1B 188 147 295
29 6 Mark Reynolds 1B #N/A 159 293
31 7 Albert Pujols 1B 207 229 255
32 7 Logan Morrison 1B 276 238 182
33 7 Hanley Ramirez 1B 262 205 233
34 7 Kendrys Morales 1B 269 212 236
35 7 Yonder Alonso 1B #N/A 210 298
36 7 C.J. Cron 1B #N/A 256 #N/A
37 7 Lucas Duda 1B #N/A 269 276
38 7 Brandon Belt 1B/OF #N/A 287 270
39 7 Jedd Gyorko 1B/3B 280 #N/A #N/A
40 7 Victor Martinez 1B #N/A 294 #N/A
41 7 Jose Martinez OF/1B 318 #N/A #N/A

 
 
Tier 1

Paul Goldschmidt is a tier unto himself. There's no disputing his five-category contributions, although his stolen base total dipped to 18 last year. For a man who finished third in MVP voting and hits in a favorable park, he is an automatic first-round pick. The only oddity is that the man who finished just ahead of him in the MVP race, Joey Votto, is not just as high. The difference, as mentioned already, is the lack of speed. If you're in a deeper points league that counts walks, Votto should be considered just as high, but in your typical 5x5 roto league, Goldy gets the nod.

Tier 2

Freddie Freeman has had back-to-back outstanding seasons, even though 2017 was interrupted by a lengthy DL stint. Somehow he gained even more value from that injury because the short-lived ascension of Matt Adams caused Freeman to play enough third base to gain eligibility there as well. His ADP doesn't shift too much because of this, since he's already a top CI option. In fact, Jeff was bullish enough to put him at #10 overall, ahead of Votto.

Anthony Rizzo is the consensus fourth pick among first basemen, as he brings a rock solid floor. He's hit 31 or 32 homers each of the past four seasons and drove in exactly 109 runs each of the last two seasons. His newfound eligibility at second base presents a much more interesting case study, as fantasy owners might be able to grab him and another elite first baseman to put in the same starting lineup. One can only imagine a drafter going Votto/Freeman/Rizzo in the first three rounds to fill out their infield base positions.

Tier 3

What a pair to put together in the third grouping. Bellinger and Hoskins may not last this long in many drafts, as someone will drool at the prospect of a Judge-like season for Hoskins or simply a repeat of last season for Bellinger. If you believe in sophomore slumps, then you may not view either one as a late-second or early-third rounder. The fact is that if you want either one, you'll have to pull the trigger early and hope the power justifies their cost.

Tier 4

Eric Hosmer's value is nearly impossible to ascertain at the moment, since we don't know if he'll be playing in Kansas City, San Diego, or somewhere else. It's hard to envision the Padres pushing Wil Myers back to the outfield, especially with all the young talent they have there. No matter where he plays, drafting Myers will require a minor leap of faith, as he regressed negatively in a big way over the second half of 2017. He wound up with a 30/20 season and, at 27 years old, is still in his prime. He will have to improve his contact rate and cut down on a terrible 27.7% K-rate if he's going to have a serviceable batting average.

Tiers 5 and 6

Seeing the great Miguel Cabrera ranked below Justin Smoak just makes my stomach churn. The sad reality is that Miggy fell off a cliff last season; injuries alone can't account for his mediocre hitting over 130 games. It was the first time in eight years he failed to make the All Star team and his .249 average wasn't just the worst of his career, it was the first time since his rookie season, back in 2003, that he failed to hit over .292. The Tigers got a whole lot worse around him, so don't treat Cabrera as starting first baseman unless you plan to back him up later with a young player capable of stepping in to take his place, like Greg Bird or Trey Mancini.

My esteemed colleagues have much more faith than me in Ryan Zimmerman repeating his career year, but that doesn't mean I'm a hater. He's always had the skill set to do what he did in 2017. We know this because he did it back in 2009 when he won his first Silver Slugger award by slashing .292/.364/.525 with 33 HR and 106 RBI. Last season, he outdid himself by slashing .303/.358/.573 with 36 HR and 108 RBI. Many will point to the fact he hit 61 points lower in the second half, but his power numbers were nearly identical and he had far less lineup support than expected. With a full season of Adam Eaton, Trea Turner, and Bryce Harper around him, Z-Man could be a bargain in mixed leagues. The question I have is all about health. It's hard for me to put complete trust in a guy who missed 215 games over the previous three years, especially when he's a 13-year vet. I'll gladly take Zimmerman if he falls past the eighth round, but can't put him as a top-10 player at such a deep position.

If you choose to wait on first base, which is definitely feasible given the wealth of potential 20+ HR hitters here, focus on budding young stars like Josh Bell and Matt Olson. Bell was a prized prospect in the Pirates' system who showed great plate discipline, but little power in the minors. That all changed as soon as he took over the starting job in 2017, as Bell set an NL record for most home runs by a switch-hitter in his rookie season, falling one short of the MLB record of 27. Olson simply crushed the ball the last two months of the season, smacking 20 homers in his last 35 games started. Either could be a perfectly fine substitute for the Hosmer/Myers/Smoak tier and should be available far later in most drafts.

For what it's worth, I now feel as if I've ranked Joey Gallo far too generously after looking at Kyle and Jeff's numbers. I will never have Gallo on one of my teams, as I refuse to hang a big albatross across the average category just for the sake of power I can find elsewhere.

Tier 7

Rounding out the bottom of our list, you can find an All Star, a Home Run Derby participant who went deep 38 times, and a future Hall of Famer that drove in 101 runs in 2017. Each comes with warts, naturally, which is why they will turn out to be bench depth rather than fantasy stars.

Pujols, a member of the 600-homer club, knocked out 23 long balls and drove in 100+ runs for the 14th time in his illustrious career, but his regression at the plate has been coming along much farther back than Miguel Cabrera. Phat Albert only managed a .241 average, but a .672 OPS is even more telling. At the age of 38, he is a tough player to start in roto leagues, but could still be helpful as a utility player in points leagues now that the Angels have bolstered their lineup.

Logan Morrison was a revelation in the first half, even though many were very skeptical of the power surge even into June. He kept swatting big flies, but began to lose playing time down the stretch and may not figure prominently into the Rays' plans as more than a platoon bat. Don't overpay for last year's totals.

Yonder Alonso is the player I'm not ready to dismiss quite so easily. He moves to a better situation in Cleveland and seemed to have made some adjustments last year that could sustain at least 20-HR power, in addition to a decent average. You may not want him as a starter, but he could be a high-end CI taken above his current ADP that sits in the high 300s.

 

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