Top 25 First Basemen (1B) - 2014 Fantasy Baseball Rankings
It comes as no surprise that first base is once again one of the deepest positions in Fantasy Baseball for 2014. The depth of the position extends into the middle and lower tiers, where you can find serviceable first basemen in the later rounds of your draft. As for the elite options at the position, as many as five first basemen will be selected in the first round of fantasy drafts this season. Personally, I'd be comfortable starting anyone from my Top 11 below (though not all will go off the board in the first round). Beginning with Albert Pujols at #12, there are a handful of risk/reward picks at first base that could either payoff huge or hurt your team depending on where the player is drafted. After Mike Napoli at #21, there's a slight drop-off in talent, but a surplus of viable first basemen remain.
Before I get to the rankings, I'll leave you with a simple disclaimer:
If you're looking for certain players with multi-position eligibility like Buster Posey or Carlos Santana, you won't find them listed here. As is the case with all of my rankings, I choose to list players at the position they would most likely start in a standard fantasy league. Posey and Santana should slot into ALL fantasy lineups at catcher. Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera, both of whom will be making the transition to first base this season, should keep their place in 2014 lineups at catcher and third base respectively. You'll have to (re)visit my Top 20 Catchers to find my rankings for Posey, Mauer and Santana.
Once again, I used Mike Podhorzer's Projecting X system to forecast player projections. Here are my Top 25 First Basemen for 2014 Fantasy Baseball with Tier and Player commentary below:
Similar to my catcher rankings, I've listed four players in Tier 1 who can realistically finish the 2014 season as the top overall ranked first baseman. Paul Goldschmidt, who set career high marks in 2013 for games played (160), home runs (36), runs (103) and RBI (125) whilst increasing his walk percentage (13.9%) and lowering his strikeout percentage (20.4%), is the consensus #1 first baseman. He adds an element of speed to his game unlike any other player at this position, which attributes to him being drafted third overall in most NFBC leagues thus far. Chris Davis, who smashed an MLB-leading 53 home runs last year, falls a bit behind "Goldy," simply because he's due for some regression after posting such incredible numbers. Prince Fielder should rebound in Texas after a "down" season, while Edwin Encarnacion is not far behind him despite some uncertainty surrounding his health and status after offseason wrist surgery.
I went back-and-forth on Freddie Freeman and Joey Votto. Obviously, both have the upside to be ranked in Tier 1, but my gut said not to include them with the four players ranked ahead of them. My fellow RotoBaller, Billy Bruce, covered Eric Hosmer and Anthony Rizzo in his recent Five Under the Radar First Basemen piece. I have a feeling I'll end up with one or the other on most of my teams this year. I especially like Rizzo to have a much better season than he did last. You all know what you're getting with Mark Trumbo, but Allen Craig and Albert Pujols are your classic risk/reward options due to their injury past.
Two very intriguing players highlight this tier that is mostly comprised of home run hitters. Jose Abreu and Matt Adams possess great power potential but they carry some risk as well. We've heard great things about Abreu's recent success in Cuba -- 37 home runs in each of the past two seasons -- but he has yet to log a single at-bat against major league pitching. Even still, he could easily surpass the 25 long balls that I have him projected for. Adams, on the other hand, was very successful in the minors and has shown flashes of greatness over 410 major league plate appearances. On the downside, he has yet to lock down a full-time role with the Cardinals and he has trouble at the plate against lefties. I'll be targeting Brandon Moss and Chris Carter often as cheap power sources in drafts. Brandon Belt is the "oddball" of this tier. He's not known for his power, but he's a solid all-around player who could continue to improve in 2014.
None of the players in this tier are terribly exciting. It was nice to see Adam Lind bounce back in 2013. Justin Morneau could do the same this season in Colorado -- health permitting, of course -- while Adam LaRoche will attempt to rebound after offseason surgery to remove loose bodies in his left elbow.
Ryan Rufe booked his first fantasy sports win at age eleven. He’s a RotoBaller through and through and also contributes as an MLB Beat Writer for RotoWire.com. For more from him, follow him on Twitter @RyanRufe.