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2020 First Base Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Leagues


We're not far from the start of spring training and draft season is almost afoot! In re-draft leagues, a ton of preparation and research goes into building a new squad for 2020. Dynasty owners scoff at this because they already have their core players established. The question then becomes of relative value. Who is still worth their current price tag and when do you look to move on for a younger player?

First base has become a black hole of sorts recently, with a steep drop-off in production after the first couple of tiers. Breakout seasons by Pete Alonso and Josh Bell injected some life into the position last year but it's still tough to find anything resembling a sure thing after the top 10. Fortunately, our dynasty rankings go about 750 players deep, so you won't miss out on any potential assets when doing your evaluations.

All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our dynasty rankings for the first base position, put together by analysts Ellis Canady, Nicklaus Gaut, and Pierre Camus. Check out our analysis of all other positions as well, coming soon!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

First Base Dynasty League Rankings (January)

In case you missed it, our very own "Big Pick Nick" Mariano was named the #1 overall most accurate industry expert ranker for the 2018 season!

Ranking Tier Player Name Position
1 1 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF
2 1 Freddie Freeman 1B
3 1 Peter Alonso 1B
4 2 Josh Bell 1B
5 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B
6 2 Paul Goldschmidt 1B
7 2 Rhys Hoskins 1B
8 2 Matt Olson 1B
9 3 Jose Abreu 1B
10 3 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B
11 3 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B
12 3 Trey Mancini 1B/OF
13 3 Miguel Sano 1B/3B
14 4 Carlos Santana 1B
15 4 Luke Voit 1B
16 4 Hunter Dozier 1B/3B/OF
17 4 Danny Santana 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF
18 4 Andrew Vaughn 1B
19 4 Michael Chavis 1B/2B
20 4 Joc Pederson 1B/OF
21 4 Yuli Gurriel 1B/3B
22 5 Nathaniel Lowe 1B
23 5 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B
24 5 Christian Walker 1B
25 5 Eric Hosmer 1B
26 5 Edwin Encarnacion 1B
27 5 Daniel Vogelbach 1B
28 5 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B
29 5 Wil Myers 1B/OF
30 6 Renato Nunez 1B/3B
31 6 Evan White 1B
32 6 C.J. Cron 1B
33 6 Daniel Murphy 1B
34 6 Justin Smoak 1B
35 6 Grant Lavigne 1B
36 6 Jesus Aguilar 1B
37 6 Christian Vazquez C/1B
38 6 Joey Votto 1B
39 6 Mark Canha 1B
40 6 Bobby Bradley 1B
41 6 Niko Goodrum 1B/2B/SS/OF
42 7 Rowdy Tellez 1B
43 7 Willians Astudillo C/1B/3B
44 7 Ronald Guzman 1B
45 7 Nick Pratto 1B
46 7 Jay Bruce OF/1B
47 7 Jake Bauers 1B/OF
48 7 Josh VanMeter 1B/2B/OF
49 7 Matt Thaiss 1B
50 8 Garrett Cooper 1B
51 8 Jake Lamb 1B/3B
52 8 Brandon Belt 1B/OF
53 8 Kevin Cron 1B
54 8 Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B
55 8 Miguel Cabrera 1B
56 8 Travis D'Arnaud C/1B
57 8 Dominic Smith 1B/OF
58 8 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/3B/OF
59 8 Ryan O'Hearn 1B
60 8 Eric Thames 1B/OF
61 9 Brandon Dixon 1B/OF
62 9 Victor Caratini C/1B
63 9 Rio Ruiz 1B/3B
64 9 Michael Toglia 1B
65 9 A.J. Reed 1B
66 9 Albert Pujols 1B
67 9 Matt Beaty 1B/3B/OF
68 9 Mitch Moreland 1B
69 9 Ryan Zimmerman 1B
70 9 Brent Rooker 1B
71 9 Ryon Healy 1B/3B
72 9 Tyler White 1B
73 9 Colin Moran 3B/1B
74 9 Greg Bird 1B
75 9 Yonder Alonso 1B
76 9 Chris Davis 1B

 

Tier One

There's little doubt that Cody Bellinger is the top asset at this position. We may as well forget about his outfield eligibility because he is far more valuable in the infield for fantasy purposes. Hopefully that doesn't change, as he played all of 36 games at 1B last year and should man center field most of the year again. Still, there's little reason to think he won't see enough action at first base throughout the season and at age 24, he has a clear edge over Freeman. ATC projections have Bellinger going over 40 HR, 110 RBI, and 100 R again this year with a repeat of his 14 steals. That doesn't just make him the top option at first base, it makes him a top-five fantasy player at a thin position.

Freeman turned 30 toward the end of last season but he is getting better with age. In 2019, he posted career highs in HR (38), RBI (121), and R (113). His .295 average was a little disappointing though, as it was his lowest in the past four seasons. His xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA all ranked above the 90th percentile. He's the closest thing resembling a warm, fuzzy blanket that you can put on to embrace the warmth of a sure thing at first base.

Some dynasty owners may see Alonso as a better asset than Freeman, given his age and higher power totals. It is becoming a home run-driven league but he was the only one to break the 50-HR plateau last year and that was just the start of his MLB career. His excellent ability to turn on a fastball resulted in a .671 SLG on heaters and came with a reasonable chase rate of 31.9%, for a slugger at least. It would be hard to argue if you preferred him over Freeman but the uncertainty that comes with being part of the Mets organization puts him one spot lower.

 

Tier Two

If Josh Bell were in a better situation, there's no telling how much better his numbers might be. He posted a higher exit velocity than all but 12 players last year and had an xSLG in the 93rd percentile. He slashed .336/.455/.664 with runners in scoring position, which unfortunately didn't happen as frequently as it should. The recent trade of Starling Marte and dearth of offseason movement from the front office to bolster the offense could hurt Bell's counting stats in the short-term. With the likes of Colin Moran, Kevin Newman, and Jason Martin currently slated to hit behind him, Bell's already-high 12.1% walk rate could spike even higher. He's more of a sell-high/buy-later type in 2020 even though his long-term value should still hold together just fine.

Goldy has lost the wheels but his hit tool is still there. His once-elite fantasy status was predicated on five-cat production that included 71 steals over a three-year period from 2015-2017. Over the last two years, he has combined for 10 steals. His average also dipped down to .260, which is the lowest since his rookie season. There are still a couple of good years left in the tank but anyone not ready to compete for the throne should consider selling now.

Perhaps Matt Olson should be above Goldschmidt, since he's already outpaced him in multiple categories. Olson hit more homers and finished with a higher batting average, thanks to a spectacular 50.3% hard-hit rate that was among the best in the majors for a second straight year. He doesn't have the name recognition but he is a much younger hitter who is still one the rise. While the Oakland Coliseum doesn't favor sluggers, ranking 26th in HR Park Factor last year, it was one spot better than Busch Stadium. The only question is batting average and whether Olson can keep climbing in that regard. His improving plate discipline and contact rate on balls outside the zone say yes.

 

Tier Three

Jose Abreu had quite the bounce-back year, posting a career-best 123 RBI and ranking 24th in Hard-Hit rate. As a result, the White Sox locked him down for three more years at a cost of $50 million with a no-trade clause included. That job security plus the number of improvements the team made over the offseason to support its young talent already in hand should make him a steady contributor for the length of his contract.

Miguel Sano will be the regular first baseman in Minnesota now that Josh Donaldson has assumed the starting third base job. De-emphasizing his role on defense may help him concentrate on what he does best - punish the ball at ungodly levels, when he actually makes contact that is. It's true that he finished first in Hard-Hit rate at 57.2% and second in Barrels per Batted Ball Event at 21.2%, which has caused some fantasy managers to salivate at the thought of a full season hitting in the heart of Minnesota's lineup. Caution must be applied, however, since he's just one year removed from slashing .199/.281/.398 and hasn't exactly fixed his swing-and-miss issues. Sano ranked fifth-worst among all hitters with at least 200 plate appearances with a 36.2% strikeout rate. He is a volatile asset that may reap great reward or prove infuriating. Or both simultaneously.

 

Tier Four

The jury is still out on whether Luke Voit is the answer at first base for the Yanks. News that Miguel Andujar will start practicing at the position and Mike Ford's hot finish to last year should scare Voit owners into thinking a timeshare could be at play. He impressed in the first half of 2019 with a .280/17/50 triple-crown line before hitting the IL twice in July and seeing just 136 at-bats after the All-Star break. What we've seen so far indicates that he has the tools to succeed when healthy. It began with his Bronx debut in 2018 when he posted a 54% hard-hit rate and slugged .689. He obviously didn't sustain those levels in his follow-up season but he continued to improve his walk rate, up to 13.9%. His spot in a loaded Yankees lineup is a boost to his value. Those in win-now mode should hold onto Voit for the time being but the window may not stay open too long for him as a top-20 asset at 1B.

Hunter Dozier had a nice season, jacking 26 homers and tying for the league lead in triples, surprisingly, with 10. Despite his 6'4" frame, Dozier did record a Sprint Speed in the 80th percentile, although it only led to two stolen bases. Dozier's appeal will continue to be in the power department. Despite a spotty minor league track record, he showed flashes of his potential and finally capitalized. Unfortunately, he enters the year already at age 28 and may lose his 1B/3B eligibility if Maikel Franco holds down the hot corner while Ryan O'Hearn can make strides at first. Dozier is far better as a redraft asset than in dynasty.

Andrew Vaughn makes the top-20 in our rankings even though he is yet to take an at-bat in the majors... or Triple-A... or Double-A. The former University of California star is a former Golden Spikes award winner and one of the top hitting prospects at his position. In fact, he's been described as the best first base prospect since Cody Bellinger. He should make his way through the minors quickly, especially since the Chi Sox have shown they are not hesitant to bring up their young players as soon as they are deemed ready, sometimes too soon for their own good. As mentioned above, even though Jose Abreu is only 32, it can't be ignored that he will be a free agent by the time Vaughn is ready to take over. Vaughn should fit nicely with the young, free-swinging style of this ballclub and could be a stalwart at 1B for years to come.

 

Tier Five

The Nate Lowe breakout didn't quite happen last year but there were positive signs. He managed a 45.2% hard-hit rate and a solid 27.9% LD%, which resulted in a .432 xwOBACON. I prefer him over similarly-aged Michael Chavis because of better plate discipline and an easier path to regular playing time.

Is once-future top prospect Daniel Vogelbach already being replaced? The Evan White signing (see analysis in Tier Six below) might indicate so but there's always a DH spot waiting. That's likely where Vogelbach will reside this year if White is deemed ready for The Show. With precious little depth, Vogelbach is almost guaranteed regular at-bats. He'll have to perform better than his .228 xBA that was in the bottom 8 percentile last season though, even with the 30 home runs. A bigger problem might be the lack of RBI opportunities on a Mariners lineup that is projected to be among the youngest in the majors and now will be without Mitch Haniger for the first part of the year. By this time next year, he might slip out of the top 30 first basemen in our rankings.

Did anyone else notice that Christian Walker nearly had a 30-HR season? Just as soon as he was scooped up by fantasy owners in April, it wasn't long before he was being discarded in May and everyone suddenly had eyes for Kevin Cron. Walker came back with a solid second half though and should once again hold down first base for the snakes, batting either fourth or fifth. He may not bring up his average to Goldschmidtian levels but a hard-hit rate in the 94th percentile and increasing pull rate at least promise a potential repeat of his power numbers. He can be considered a value at the CI position.

 

Tier Six and Lower

Evan White is sure to be with the Mariners for the next few years, seeing as how he's been signed to a six-year deal worth $24 million. This may come as a surprise since he was still at the Double-A level all last year but based on what we saw starting with Scott Kingery in 2018, this is now becoming a trend to lock up players before they've even sniffed their first cup of coffee. It's not a guarantee that White will develop into a superior talent but obviously the M's think so. He's hit at every level so far and showed his developing power with 18 HR in 365 AB in the Texas League last year. His superior defensive ability should keep him at first base for the foreseeable future, making him a safer pick than most other prospects in the tier.

Bobby Bradley, by contrast, is the opposite of White. He's a pure slugger with swing-and-miss tendencies and an average fielder at best. He hit .224 across two levels in 2018 and raised it merely to .264 in Triple-A before getting his first taste of the majors last June. He may only see DH duty this year if called up but there's a potential opening at first base in 2021 if the team doesn't exercise Carlos Santana's team option.

Rowdy Tellez got his first extended Major League action in 2019 and was... OK. His 21 homers were a plus, especially this mammoth shot that was the longest-recorded distance for a HR in Fenway Park:


The addition of Travis Shaw could push Tellez to the bench or back to the minors but his raw power shouldn't be ignored.

Speaking of being ignored, poor Jake Lamb gets no respect. Shoulder and quad injuries have conspired to rob him of the majority of the last two seasons. If healthy, it's fair to wonder if he can regain the form he showed in his All-Star 2017 season when he hit 30 home runs and drove in 105 runs. After a down year where he finished with a slash line of .193/.323/.353 in 187 at-bats, he will cost next to nothing in dynasty leagues to take a flier on. If Christian Walker flops, Lamb could see time at first base this year and become relevant once again.

Remember when A.J. Reed was the next big prospect in Houston's system and Greg Bird was going to be the next Lou Gehrig? Reed has raked throughout the minors but his brief stints in the majors have resulted in a .149 average with four homers in 175 at-bats. If he can settle down and not press so much by swinging at fewer first pitches, good things could happen eventually. He's worth a stash in deep leagues if you have the space. Bird, not so much. Now a free agent, it doesn't seem like he'll ever recapture the magic of his Yankee debut. A variety of injuries have derailed a once-promising career. We'll always have the summer of '15 in our memories though.

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