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2018 First Base - Early Points League Rankings and Tiers

If you play in a head-to-head points league, or season long format, you already know how difficult it can be to find fantasy analysis tailored to the format. Not only are the traditional rotisserie and head-to-head arrangements more popular, but the very nature of points leagues makes them difficult to cover in a general sense because they carry significantly more variance in terms of settings.

Niche audience or no, there are still plenty of folks out there who love the format, and y’all deserve help from the experts just as much as those who stick to roto or H2H. That’s why we’re excited to unveil the first round of RotoBaller’s 2018 fantasy baseball points league rankings for first base and the month of January.

This round comes to you courtesy of Bill Dubiel, Nick Mariano, Chris Zolli and Kyle Richardson. For those of you scoring at home, that means I provided no input, but I’m happy to backseat drive through their first base rankings below.

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!

Editor's Note: Be sure to also check out more of our staff's initial 2018 fantasy baseball rankings and analysis columns for other formats including mixed leagues, dynasty leagues, 2018 prospects and more.

 

2018 Fantasy Baseball Points League Rankings: First Base (January)

Ranking Tier Player Name Pos Nick Bill Chris Kyle R.
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 3 4 3 7
2 2 Joey Votto 1B 20 9 10 13
3 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B/2B 28 19 16 19
4 3 Freddie Freeman 1B/3B 19 27 20 21
5 3 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF 24 34 26 30
6 3 Jose Abreu 1B 32 38 37 33
7 4 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 45 35 41 36
8 4 Rhys Hoskins 1B/OF 85 33 35 58
9 4 Wil Myers 1B 84 62 50 61
10 4 Buster Posey C/1B 77 71 48 62
11 4 Miguel Cabrera 1B 36 64 100 66
12 4 Eric Hosmer 1B 123 63 67 87
13 5 Justin Smoak 1B 74 84 83 101
14 5 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 61 92 106 89
15 5 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 119 102 104 97
16 5 Matt Olson OF/1B 140 107 96 115
17 5 Justin Bour 1B 149 117 129 127
18 5 Josh Bell 1B 175 134 127 128
19 5 Carlos Santana 1B 171 127 131 137
20 5 Ian Desmond OF/1B 184 125 122 139
21 6 Greg Bird 1B 112 170 172 140
22 6 Jay Bruce OF/1B 221 151 156 158
23 6 Chris Davis 1B 101 227 223 172
24 6 Joey Gallo 3B/1B/OF 249 165 152 181
25 6 Eric Thames 1B/OF 185 198 196 180
26 6 Hanley Ramirez 1B 104 254 251 196
27 6 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 273 182 170 213
28 6 Ryon Healy 3B/1B 226 217 212 226
29 7 Trey Mancini 1B/OF 295 199 191 232
30 7 Kendrys Morales 1B 195 258 260 244
31 7 Albert Pujols 1B 227 249 267 256
32 7 Logan Morrison 1B 252 248 264
33 7 Mark Reynolds 1B 302 239 238 270
34 7 Brandon Belt 1B/OF 159 317 314 262
35 7 C.J. Cron 1B 246 284 271 258
36 7 Yonder Alonso 1B 270 280 269 275
37 7 Lucas Duda 1B #N/A 310 312 308
38 7 Victor Martinez 1B 203 346 350 364
39 7 Jedd Gyorko 1B/3B #N/A 322 322 324
40 7 Mike Napoli 1B 305 #N/A 363 335
41 7 Jose Martinez OF/1B 309 344 369 345
42 7 Adrian Gonzalez 1B 325 #N/A 368 350
43 8 A.J. Reed 1B #N/A 351 382 367
44 8 Dan Vogelbach 1B #N/A 366 395 382
45 8 David Freese 1B/3B #N/A 376 411 397
46 8 Kennys Vargas 1B #N/A 379 414 394
47 8 Matt Holliday 1B/OF 385 #N/A 424 411
48 8 Matt Adams 1B 395 392 437 416
49 8 Jefry Marte 1B/OF #N/A 388 428 417
50 8 Joe Mauer 1B #N/A 389 429 418
51 8 Adam Lind 1B #N/A 399 444 431
52 8 Danny Valencia 1B/3B/OF #N/A 401 447 436

 

Tiers 1 and 2

Paul Goldschmidt stands alone in the top tier. He checks all the boxes for a points league stud – high average, lots of extra base hits, plenty of walks with a palatable strikeout rate, and great run production. But there’s a strong argument that Joey Votto deserves a spot right alongside him:

2015-17 R 1B 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB
Goldschmidt 326 314 105 8 93 325 322 448 71
Votto 302 331 101 5 94 277 385 338 24

Votto’s incredible plate discipline gives him a huge value boost in points leagues, and he more or less matches Goldschmidt in home runs and total bases. The Reds’ general ineptitude hurts Votto’s run production, but the only stat where Goldschmidt really blows him out of the water is stolen bases, which aren’t as valuable in points as they would be in roto or H2H.

I’d also argue that Freddie Freeman belongs in the second tier with Anthony Rizzo. Their production over the last two seasons has been almost identical in the counting stats despite Freeman missing a big chunk of 2017. Rizzo gets the edge due to a significantly lower strikeout rate, but that’s an area in which Freeman made strides last season.

Tier 3 

Freeman is joined in this tier by Cody Bellinger and Jose Abreu. For all the talk that Bellinger was exposed in the World Series after fading in the second half, it’s worth noting that he lopped over five percentage points from his strikeout rate after the break. Whether he can maintain that improvement will go a long way toward determining if this valuation is appropriate. As for Abreu, last season was an emphatic repudiation of anyone who looked askance at his falling ISO rates. He’s never failed to hit at least .290 or drive in at least 100 runs, and has averaged 31 homers and 36 doubles per year in his four MLB seasons.

Tier 4 

I’ve said this before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but Nick Mariano is outside his mind. Look at that disrespectful ranking of Rhys Hoskins! Small sample be damned, Hoskins displayed fantastic plate discipline (17.5 BB%, 21.5 K%) and is projected for close to 40 home runs. He’ll also be hitting the middle of a Phillies lineup that A) showed pronounced improvement in the second half last season and B) now includes OBP machine Carlos Santana. Bill and Chris both have him as a back-end third-rounder, which smells about right. That’s where Nick has Miguel Cabrera, which is a good bit more optimistic than his early ADP (95). I think Nick’s valuation is closer than the crowd’s – Miggy struggled through an injury-plagued 2017 and will turn 35 in April, but for the preceding decade-plus there was no better combo of durability and elite production.  At the current price, I’ll gladly bet on a rebound.

Tier 5

Carlos Santana (176 ADP) jumps out as a great value in this group. He’s one of the most consistent hitters around, he’s failed to play in 150 games just once in his MLB career, and his plate approach makes him even more appealing in this format. Santana strikes me as a more appealing, if less exciting, option than Matt Olson, whom all three of my colleagues ranked significantly higher. I don’t dislike Olson, but between the high strikeout rate and the inevitable regression in the power department (ain’t nobody running a 41.4 HR/FB% over a full season), it’s tough to see a lot of profit potential at the price you’ll need to pay for his services.

Tier 6

Understandably, at this point we’re talking about players with significant warts or question marks. In a points league, I’m staying far away from the likes of Chris Davis, Eric Thames, and Joey Gallo, particularly the former. Too many whiffs. How much does Hanley Ramirez have left in the tank? Can Marwin Gonzalez sustain his breakout performance from a year ago? Will Greg Bird manage to stay healthy this season? How the hell is Jay Bruce still only 30 years old?

Tiers 7 and 8

Most of the dudes in the bottom two tiers have more name recognition than actual fantasy value at this point, but let’s quickly highlight a few interesting players. Jose Martinez is currently penciled in as the starter for the Cardinals after putting up a .309/.379/.518 line in a half-season’s worth of plate appearances as a 28-year-old rookie. Yonder Alonso had a career year at age 30, and while he did fade as the year went on, his second-half production still exceeded the mediocre standard he’d set in years prior. Finally, Trey Mancini feels like the best bet in this group to outperform his lackluster ranking after acquitting himself well in his first season.

 

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