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Dynasty First Basemen - Top MLB Prospects for Fantasy Baseball


Welcome back, RotoBallers. I'll be breaking down impact prospects in dynasty leagues by position over the next several weeks. I’ve already covered catchers. Today I'm bringing you my top 10 first basemen - dynasty prospect rankings for 2018 dynasty baseball leagues.

The group of first base prospects simultaneously lost its star-power and recovered. Cody Bellinger, Josh Bell and Rhys Hoskins, the top three first base prospects in baseball, all reached the majors and put together strong seasons in their rookie campaigns. But then the position saw four players from the 2017 MLB Draft class crack consensus top 10 prospect rankings. It should also receive a boost this upcoming season with players like Seth Beer, Luken Baker and Triston Casas likely heading to early selections in the 2018 MLB Draft.

So without any further ado, here is the dynasty positional prospect rankings for first basemen.

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Top First Base Prospects for 2018 Dynasty Baseball Leagues

1. Yordan Alvarez (HOU, A+)
Stats: 252 PA, .277/.329/.393, 3 HR, 6 SB, 7.5% BB%, 16.3% K%
ETA: 2019
There was probably no one who increased his value more in 2017 than Alvarez. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound first baseman slugged nine home runs and posted a .360/.468/.658 slash line in Class-A before being promoted to Advanced Class-A in June. He demonstrated above-average plate discipline while showing off a smooth swing that should be able to barrel up balls consistently in the majors. The power is raw right now and he has some swing-and-miss in his game, but given additional time to develop, he should grow into his frame more and generate 25-plus home run power and should cut down enough on the strikeouts to reach base at a high clip in the majors. He is certainly one of the top up-and-comers in dynasty baseball and should be viewed as a valuable sleeper to target in drafts.

2. Pavin Smith (ARI, A-)
Stats: 223 PA, .318/.401/.415, 0 HR, 2 SB, 12.1% BB%, 10.8% K%
ETA: 2020
The top first base prospect to come out of the 2017 MLB Draft class, Smith put together a strong season while at the University of Virginia. He struck out just 12 times in 228 at-bats while launching 13 home runs in one of the more pitcher-friendly ballparks in college baseball. He also walked 38 times and posted a .342/.427/.570 slash line. Smith’s power will remain the biggest question mark in his game, but his ability to make contact and well above-average plate discipline give him one of the highest floors of anyone on this list. If he develops power by the time he arrives in Arizona, which should not take long given his college experience, he could be a .300-plus hitter with 20-plus home runs on an annual basis.

3. Bobby Bradley (CLE, AA)
Stats: 532 PA, .251/.331/.465, 23 HR, 3 SB, 10.3% BB%, 22.9% K%
ETA: 2018
We go from one guy whose power is questionable to one whose power is undeniable. Bradley now has back-back-to-back seasons in which he has hit over 20 home runs despite now having played in more than 135 in any of the three seasons. The biggest concern with Bradley obviously comes in the strikeout department where he has continued to maintain a rate above 20 percent. On the promising side, he reduced that strikeout rate from 29.7 percent in 2016 to just 22.9 percent in 2017. As a result, the batting average went up 16 points to .251. Swinging and missing will always be a part of his game, it seems, but so long as he continues to produce some thunder, owners will gladly be happy to own him as a potential 30-plus home run bat at first base.

4. Peter Alonso (NYM, AA)
Stats: (from A+) 346 PA, .286/.361/.516, 16 HR, 3 SB, 7.2% BB%, 18.5% K%
ETA: 2018
A right-handed, power-hitting first baseman who doesn’t strike out much and hits for a nice average? No, I’m not talking about Rhys Hoskins, I’m talking about Alonso. The two have started to be compared to one another as Alonso continues to improve with each given season. The former Florida Gator needs to hit to have any value, and he has done just that. His power appears to be enough to be a 25-30 homer threat in the majors, and his ability to limit strikeouts and make plenty of contact last season helped him maintain a solid batting average. Though he is not yet the rising star Hoskins was viewed as, Alonso is a guy whose value is steadily rising and could sky-rocket if he replicates his success in the upper-minors again in 2018.

5. Chris Shaw (SF, AAA)
Stats: 360 PA, .289/.328/.530, 18 HR, 0 SB, 5.6% BB%, 29.4% K%
ETA: 2018
The 2017 season was a mixed bag for Shaw, but mostly it provided promising results. He crushed Double-A pitching in his brief time there before heading up to Sacramento for Triple-A. There his power surge continued as he slugged 18 homers in 88 games, but the strikeout rate exploded up from 16.9 percent to 29.4 percent while the walk rate dropped from 11.7 percent to 5.6 percent. The batting average did not take a tremendous hit from the .301 number he posted in Double-A, but he should not be expected to maintain such a high average if he continues to strike out. There are holes in his swing, but he should make up for it with the power. He might move to the outfield, which should boost his fantasy value as the positional versatility gives owners flexibility with him. He fits the mold of a typical power-first, contact-second first baseman who should be able to provide the Giants and dynasty owners with power at the expense of a poor batting average.

6. Brendan McKay (TB, A-)
Stats: 149 PA, .232/.349/.376, 4 HR, 2 SB, 14.1% BB%, 22.1% K%
ETA: 2021
For these lists, prospects who play multiple positions will only qualify at one position, the one they are more likely to play in the majors. McKay will be the lone exception to that as it is nearly impossible at this point to tell whether he will be a first baseman or a starting pitcher. The reason he is so low is because of that positional uncertainty remaining with McKay. He certainly has the tools to profile as a potent bat at first base, possessing plate discipline, a well above-average hit tool and plenty of raw power that has turned into real results when he was at Louisville and in the minors. If he sticks at first base, he has a chance to hit .280-plus with 20-plus home runs in the majors. But that is still a pretty big “if,” especially after he appeared rock-solid on the mound and a little shakier at the plate.

7. Evan White (SEA, A-)
Stats: 55 PA, .277/.345/.532, 3 HR, 1 SB, 10.9% BB%, 10.9% K%
ETA: 2020
Deemed by many to be a right-handed batting Cody Bellinger, White joins the Seattle Mariners with an incredibly high floor and tons of athleticism. He is probably the most athletic player on this list, and has a chance to start in the outfield if the Mariners wanted to move him off first base. But for now, that appears his position. His bat profiles well there as he has received plenty of praise for his bat-to-ball skills and patience. He still has raw power left to develop, but he makes up for that by providing far more speed and stolen base upside than nearly any other first baseman in the game. His impeccable defensive skills and advanced approach should make him a fast riser through the minors. What will ultimately determine his fantasy value is how much power he hits for. Should he reach his full potential, his name could be featured atop similar lists as this in one or two years.

8. Ronald Guzman (TEX, AAA)
Stats: 527 PA, .298/.372/.434, 12 HR, 4 SB, 8.9% BB%, 16.1% K%
ETA: 2018
The middle-ground for White between his full ceiling and his floor is probably something similar to what Guzman will provide fantasy owners. Guzman makes a ton of contact and has an incredibly patient approach, which should help him routinely hit for a high average. But his lack of power has frequently frustrated fantasy owners waiting for the 6-foot-5, 205-pound lefty to develop the pop many have expected out of him. With that said, Guzman still has 15-homer pop in his bat and should hit for a .280-plus batting average every year, which is still valuable for owners in keeper leagues.

9. Nick Pratto (KC, ROK)
Stats: 230 PA, .247/.330/.414, 4 HR, 10 SB, 10.4% BB%, 25.2% K%
ETA: 2022
The youngest prospect on this list, Pratto has not made it for any explosive tools that jump off the page. Rather his careful eye at the plate and bat-to-ball mentality have helped give him an advanced profile in the opinions of many evaluators. The power, like many on this list, is still yet to come, but it is rare for someone as young as Pratto to already be viewed as a guy with such a highly regarded hit-tool. His smooth swing and patient approach should push him through the minors at a faster rate than most high school draft picks, and his budding power could make him an elite first baseman by the time he fully develops.

10. Sam Travis (BOS, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 342 PA, .270/.351/.375, 6 HR, 6 SB, 10.8% BB%, 16.7% K%
ETA: 2018
With looking at many of the past prospects, a lot of the evaluation comes down to projecting future skills. There is not a lot of projecting with Travis. Though he is only 24 years old, Travis has pretty much done everything expected of him. He is an excellent hitter who limits strikeouts and puts the ball in play. His walk rate was also quite high in 2017 at Triple-A. But at this point, it is probably too late to expect much out of him from a power perspective. He does not have a ton of raw pop and is appears to be only a .290-plus hitter with 10 homers at the most. He is far from the most exciting prospect out there, but he has already spent time in the majors and could fight for a starting spot in 2018 if the Boston Red Sox don’t add a first baseman over the offseason.

 

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