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2020 Offseason First Base Rankings - Fantasy Baseball Mixed Leagues

It's never too early to start looking ahead to the next baseball season, so here we deliver our 2020 fantasy baseball rankings to those of you looking to scratch your fantasy itch. Whether you're already eliminated from fantasy football contention, or you're getting a head start on next year's keeper selections, RotoBaller has got you covered. We've assembled a collection of stout minds, including the #1 ranked expert from 2018, Nick Mariano, to help you get a jump start on your competition for the upcoming season.

With the Winter Meetings approaching and free-agency starting to materialize, there will be plenty of movement with these rankings before the draft season gets into full swing. Be sure to check in frequently during the offseason as we'll have updated rankings as soon as big names begin to change places.

Today, we'll analyze the first base position. This position provides serious pop, with 16 players within our top-130. However, it drops off pretty quickly after that, so tread carefully in deeper leagues with CI slots. Still, there's plenty of fun to be had here and you don't need to select a top-five bat to be okay. The world is our oyster and early ADP data is trickling in, so let's run down the line towards first for some 2020 rankings.

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!


First Base Tiered Ranks - 5x5 Mixed Leagues (December)

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 Position Nick Nick G Riley
1 1 Cody Bellinger 1B/OF 5 6 4
2 1 Freddie Freeman 1B 16 16 12
3 2 Pete Alonso 1B 38 38 22
4 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B 44 35 45
5 2 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 55 51 42
6 3 Matt Olson 1B 63 72 92
7 3 Jose Abreu 1B 97 85 61
8 3 DJ LeMahieu 1B/2B/3B 81 88 74
9 3 Josh Bell 1B 68 92 139
10 3 Max Muncy 1B/2B/3B 102 104 98
11 3 Trey Mancini 1B/OF 103 109 101
12 4 Carlos Santana 1B 107 94 140
13 4 Yuli Gurriel 1B/3B 118 119 107
14 4 Miguel Sano 1B/3B 124 111 121
15 4 Rhys Hoskins 1B 130 117 122
16 4 Danny Santana 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF 113 113 161
17 5 Ryan McMahon 1B/3B/2B 127 123 201
18 5 Hunter Dozier 1B/3B/OF 164 166 154
19 5 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 173 157 162
20 5 Christian Walker 1B 163 167 166
20 5 Luke Voit 1B 183 181 144
21 5 Joc Pederson 1B/OF 186 161 172
22 6 Mark Canha 1B 196 170 239
23 6 Joey Votto 1B 199 199 213
24 6 Eric Hosmer 1B 195 197 225
25 6 Renato Nunez 1B/3B 217 202 229
26 6 Michael Chavis 1B/2B 232 239 178
27 6 Daniel Vogelbach 1B 205 219 253
28 6 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B 230 242 221
29 6 C.J. Cron 1B 292 #N/A 197
30 6 Daniel Murphy 1B 257 226 292
31 6 Nate Lowe 1B 219 #N/A 312
32 6 Albert Pujols 1B 252 233 314
33 6 Wil Myers 1B/OF 222 258 357
34 7 Eric Thames 1B/OF 359 #N/A 241
35 7 Christian Vazquez C/1B 347 290 272
36 7 Howie Kendrick 1B/2B/3B 300 300 322
37 7 Miguel Cabrera 1B 303 #N/A 373
38 7 Mitch Moreland 1B 304 #N/A 378
39 7 Matt Beaty 1B/3B/OF 342 #N/A #N/A
40 7 Garrett Cooper 1B 330 #N/A 356
41 7 Brandon Belt 1B/OF 351 #N/A #N/A
42 7 Justin Smoak 1B 332 #N/A 371
43 7 Josh VanMeter 1B/2B/OF 366 #N/A 345
44 7 Travis D'Arnaud C/1B 420 #N/A 338
45 7 Marwin Gonzalez 1B/3B/OF 382 #N/A #N/A
46 8 Wilmer Flores 1B/2B 406 #N/A #N/A
47 8 Jesus Aguilar 1B 470 #N/A 367
48 8 Ji-Man Choi 1B 437 #N/A #N/A
49 8 Jeimer Candelario 1B/3B 472 #N/A #N/A
50 8 Rio Ruiz 1B/3B 487 #N/A #N/A
51 8 Ronny Rodriguez 1B/2B/SS 493 #N/A #N/A
52 8 Sam Travis 1B 494 #N/A #N/A
53 8 Brandon Dixon 1B/OF 497 #N/A #N/A
54 8 Neil Walker 1B/3B 498 #N/A #N/A


Tier One

Clearly we prefer Cody Bellinger to Freddie Freeman, but you’re getting a cornerstone in either. Bellinger shook off his sophomore slump with a wild .305/.406/.629 slash, 47 homers and 15 steals. A true five-category stud in his age-23 season, we can’t ignore that he destroyed April and then was simply “very good” rather than elite. You’re buying the composite player, one who may hit 14 homers with five steals and a .431 average in any given month.

Freeman’s lesser speed profile yields a lower ceiling, but Freddie has swiped at least six bags in the last four seasons. In true 2019 fashion, Freeman set career-highs in runs (113), homers (38) and RBI (121). His teammates make for an elite offense that should keep the counting stats high, even if that 23.6% HR/FB rate from ‘19 comes back towards his 16.7% career mark. He’d never been above 20% before! With at least 158 games played in three of his last four years, you can confidently buy into Freddie early.


Tier Two

This next crop brings two veterans in Anthony Rizzo and Paul Goldschmidt, as well as 2019’s N.L. Rookie of the Year, Pete Alonso.

Alonso obliterated the juiced ball, tagging 53 homers alongside a respectable .260 average and a Home Run Derby crown. His 9.5% Barrels per Plate Appearance (Brls/PA) mark was 13th among 406 hitters with at least 100 batted-ball events, but a 42.3% rate of 95+ MPH balls was only 97th. His swing seems tailor-made for those barrel swings, lining up the sweet spot with launch angle. This requires further digging on my part. Anticipate 35-40 homers in 2020 and note he hit .235 in the second half (.280 in the first,) so let’s hope he just tired as his first full season progressed.

Rizzo’s value fell with fewer steal attempts and a failure to crack 100 RBI for the first time since 2014, but he still turned 613 PAs into 27 homers and a career-best .293 average and .405 on-base percentage. Banking on a high average, 25-30 homers and ~175 R+RBI shouldn’t go sour. His production should be relatively protected from any offseason deals, as he's been a stud while Kris Bryant's been out already.

Note that each of us has a different order within this group. I follow the consensus, with Nick G going Rizzo-Alonso-Goldy and Riley going Alonso-Goldy-Rizzo. If you don’t know your draft room well, you may have to get aggressive to snag your preferred bat here.


Tier Three

Undeterred by a broken hamate bone, Matt Olson mashed 36 homers in just 127 games (547 PAs,) reminding us of his 24 HRs in 59 games (216 PAs) back in 2017. His 97.1 mph average exit velocity on flies and line drives ranked 10th out of 406 hitters (min. 100 BBEs) as he earned the results. Don’t blindly project 48 HRs based on last season, but 40 is viable in his age-26 campaign.

I feel better about Jose Abreu after his three-year, $50 million contract with the White Sox, as that above-average lineup could yield another 200+ R+RBI total in ‘20. He’d move up about 15-20 spots for me upon a re-roll, perhaps more. The ChiSox have been aggressive in building a potent offense and have been further tied to Marcell Ozuna, which would be a bit ridiculous to me. Abreu has yielded at least 550 PAs in each of his six seasons, topping 665 in four of his last five, with durability justifying an early draft slot for his age-33 season.

DJ LeMahieu blossomed into a New York superstar in ‘19, hitting .327 with 26 homers, 109 runs, 102 RBI and five steals from atop the Bronx lineup. His opposite-field approach played well at Yankee Stadium, as the 2016 NL Batting Champion was an RISP hero. LeMahieu hit a wild .392 over 144 PAs with runners in scoring position, the highest average among RISP leaders with at least 50 PAs. I can't expect that again, but it illustrates the opportunity granted to players the bat within upper-echelon offenses.

Josh Bell brings our first huge disagreement, as I have him at 68 and Riley sits at 139. This comes after his third full MLB season saw him bash 37 HRs with 210 R+RBI and a .277.367/.569 triple slash in 143 games. Bell’s line rises to .297/.387/.615 against righties, but his ceiling is limited due to a lesser .224/.313/.448 line against southpaws. PIT won’t press him into suboptimal at-bats, so plan accordingly. I’d rather own him and work around that, whereas Riley clearly doesn’t!

Max Muncy has crushed 35 homers in back-to-back seasons now, showing reliable power despite LAD’s playing-time shuffles. Trey Mancini’s low-average 2018 looks like a blip, as he’s hit above .290 in ‘17 and ‘19. He upped his zone-contact rate by two percentage points and shaved five percentage points off the soft-contact rate, which helped his ISO jump from .174 to .244. I'll buy after the 100 mark, though my RBI expectations are lower than his 97 in '18 without Jonathan Villar at the top.


Tier Four

We are mostly in agreement across the board here, though Nick G is more bullish on Carlos Santana, Miguel Sano and Rhys Hoskins. 

Santana enjoyed his return to Cleveland, turning his ninth straight season of 600 or more plate appearances while tying a career-high with 34 homers. He also turned in career-bests with 110 runs, 93 RBI and a .281 average. A points-league stud due to a gaudy walk rate, Santana solid contact rates play nicely with today’s "lively" ball that is totally just a product of inconsistent seams. Yeah.

Sano has yet to top 500 PAs in a season, but still generated a 50-homer pace with 34 dingers in 105 games. I'm not sure how Steamer projects over 600 PAs for the guy, but "caveat emptor," I suppose. His insane 36.3% career strikeout rate supplies a low floor, but 40-plus homers is quite real should his health hold up.

He outdid Hoskins, that's for sure, as Rhys only pieced together 29 homers on 705 PAs and saw his Z-Contact% drop from 87.4% to 84%. Swing big can work, but it's hard to absorb such a dropoff without towering results when contact is made. Hoskins posted the highest average launch angle out of hitters with at least 150 batted balls -- 24 degrees -- with an uninspiring 5.5% Brls/PA rate. We'll see if he can at least bring that down towards the 22.2 degrees that Mike Trout posted in '18, but I'm not paying a lot to find out.


Tier Five

Once again, we’re largely in agreement here. Myself and Nick G are much higher on Ryan McMahon, while Riley is buying Luke Voit. McMahon faces an uphill battle for playing time in Colorado, but we saw his potential in the second half. He hit .313 in July and then hit eight homers with 36 R+RBI in August. It's conceivable that Garrett Hampson leapfrogs him this spring, but I'll happily take a Coors Field lotto ticket around the 150 pick.

I imagine Voit’s draft stock will rise as the Yankees’ plan for 2020 falls into place, but he was dynamic prior to injury and the glut is more on the 3B/SS side for NYY. Gio Urshela is likely the odd man out, with Miguel Andujar, Gleyber Torres, DJ LeMahieu and Voit as the primary infield set. Andujar's been linked to trade rumors and Voit is trending towards everyday 1B duties, with additional clarity likely hiking his ADP. An interesting note on Voit: After posting a league-leading 12.4% Brls/PA rate in '18 (n>100), he posted a 7.5% mark in '19 with near-identical exit velocity on flies and liners (96.4 mph in '18, 95.4 mph in '19) but lost heat on grounders (87.8 mph to 82.6 mph.)

Perhaps that's tied to his core injury that he played through most of July with before shutting things down. He'd left one of the Yankees' London games after pulling up rounding first base, which stunk for us all in '19 but may yield massive profits for us in 2020. In 78 games, 349 PAs, prior to his injury, Voit had 17 homers with 53 runs scored, 50 RBI and a .280/.393/.509 slash line. When you go back to 8/24/18, when Voit became a regular starter in the Bronx, his slash goes up to .300/.402/.580 with 31 homers in just 478 PAs. Yes, his is a bat worth speculation. I don't want to believe that Aaron Boone would cap this upside with 4-5 starts per week, but I can't rule that out.


Tier Six

We lead off with Mark Canha, who took one of 2019’s bigger jumps in plate discipline. Not only did he boost 2018’s 8.3% walk rate to 13.5%, but he dropped the rate of swinging at balls outside the zone from 31.1% to 25%. He also lowered his zone-contact rate by three percentage points, with that increased selectivity yielding a .913 OPS with 26 homers in just 497 PAs. The A’s (rightfully) won’t lean on him against southpaws, but those with deeper benches should juggle Canha for those RHP matchups.

Both Joey Votto and Eric Hosmer are simply “over the hump” and out of my life. While I have to account for their accumulating stats as likely everyday players in 2020, I’m hunting upside past pick 200. Let’s see where C.J. Cron lands, if Wil Myers can recapture his power-speed prime, whether Daniel Vogelbach got figured out or tired out in the second half, or if Michael Chavis can trim that absurd 33.2% strikeout rate.

My favorite current value would be someone we agree on -- Yandy Diaz. Last season was his first year as a starter, and he flexed launch-angle enhancements with 14 homers in just 79 games. I realize a 30-homer season ain’t what it used to be, but that pace is still plenty valuable.


Tiers Seven & Eight

Largely thought of as a second baseman, Howie Kendrick made the majority of his 2019 starts covering for the injured Ryan Zimmerman at first base. He’d only logged 160 PAs in 2018, and was an afterthought heading into his age-35 campaign. Of course, his .344/.395/.572 slash line would blow away his previous career-best marks. His 17 homers in 370 PAs made for yet another 30-homer pace while he posted a career-low 13.2% strikeout rate. I can’t speak for the other rankers, but I know I’d buried him this low because his PT in 2020 was initially a huge unknown. Having re-signed with Washington, I feel confident he could nab 500+ PAs in ‘20.

The signing of Mike Moustakas pushes Josh VanMeter’s HR/SB upside further down the totem pole, but he’s not someone to forget about towards the end of deep drafts. As a rookie getting disjointed PT, VanMeter hit eight homers with nine steals over 260 PAs. A near-silent 20/20 seasonal pace is backed by the minor-league track record, with room for average improvement as well. Perhaps Aristides Aquino fizzles out or injuries strike and VanMeter finds 400 PAs and flirts with 15/15 in ‘20. The signing of Shogo Akiyama does dampen my enthusiasm, though.

I will point out that two names aren't present on the table as it ran in early December, but Seattle's Evan White and Baltimore's Ryan Mountcastle would intrigue me. We'll see if White can really stand out and not lose too much time to Dan Vogelbach or Austin Nola, while Mountcastle will reportedly come up after roughly two months -- when the Super Two deadline is in the rear-view mirror. As a general drafting rule, I try not to "stash" too many guys that are months away, but Mountcastle did hit .312 with 25 homers in 553 Triple-A PAs as a 22-year-old last year. With an early NFBC ADP of ~410, you're paying nothing to find out and that's still only in deep leagues with 400-plus picks available to them.

Oh, and Travis Shaw isn't on the table because he doesn't qualify at 1B yet, but Toronto likely plans to slide him there to take over for Justin Smoak. Shaw recently blamed 2019's struggles on a swing change that failed to take, and given his back-to-back seasons of 30-plus homers in 2017 and '18, I'm inclined to take a flyer.

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