In this piece, I'll lay out some first basemen who are shaping up as great values in fantasy drafts and also a few who are not worth their current prices. All ADP data can be found using our awesome rankings wizard.
The first base position is an interesting one in fantasy. There's a clear top-three at the position in Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Cabrera, and Anthony Rizzo. The second wave, which includes Joey Votto, Edwin Encarnacion, Freddie Freeman is also very solid. Once that group is off the board things thin out relatively quickly, with many question marks out there at the position. The goal here is to make sense of the position once we get past the previously mentioned top-six fantasy first basemen.
Here are some players who may far exceed or fall way short of their current draft slots.Editor's note: Get 50% off any MLB Premium Pass. Draft guide, cheat sheets, 200 days of DFS access, and over 20 premium tools. Dominate your leagues all year long! Sign Up Now!
Undervalued First Basemen
Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
ADP: 54, 1B7
Wil Myers was finally able to stay healthy for an entire season and the results were spectacular. Myers was able to make good on his previous top prospect billing, slashing .259/.336/.461 with 28 homers, 99 runs, 94 RBI, and 28 stolen bases. The stolen bases are the most enticing part of Myers' game as only mega-stud Paul Goldschmidt swiped more bags as a first baseman. Don't expect much, if any, regression as Myers' batted ball profiles in 2016 were in line with his career marks, he was just able to remain on the field and off the trainer's table for the first time. There's no reason to believe he can't post another 20-20 season in 2017, which makes him the top available option to target once the big six are off the draft board.
Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
ADP: 170, 1B12
Santana posted a huge 2016 season, slugging a career-high 34 home runs while also posting career-best marks in runs scored (89) and RBI (87). Look for more of the same out of Santana heading into 2017. Santana spent much of the 2016 season batting leadoff when the Indians faced right-handed starting pitchers and longtime Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes expects Santana to resume the role against righties this season. Many projection sources have Santana's homers dropping back into the mid-20s, but his 16.9% HR/FB rate in 2016 is now the third time he's topped 16% in that category. Santana has a good chance to reach 30 homers again and with him hitting atop the Indians lineup most games he should be good for around 180 to 190 combined RBI and runs scored. This makes him a fine target at the position if you miss out on the top six. I much prefer him at his price over Hanley Ramirez and Jose Abreu, who are going three to four rounds earlier in drafts.
Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox
ADP: 333, 1B25
Moreland saw his stock take a hit in 2016 after posting a .233 batting average, the second-lowest total of his career. Much of Moreland's struggles in the batting average category can be attributed to bad luck as he saw his BABIP dip to .266, well below his .287 career mark. While Moreland suffered from bad luck in 2016, most of his batted ball statistics fell in line with his career norms. The veteran first baseman should enjoy hitting in an absolutely stacked Red Sox lineup which will afford him ample run-producing opportunities in 2017. He can't be counted on as a starting first baseman in standard leagues, but with an uptick in luck, he will far outperform his current draft position in fantasy leagues.
ByungHo Park, Minnesota Twins
ADP: 499, 1B37
Park is one of my favorite deep sleepers at the position heading into the 2017 season. The former Korean Baseball Organization star had some struggles in his first season in the United States, but he also suffered from a wrist injury for most of the year. The injury became bad enough that he eventually opted for season-ending surgery in August. Park is now fully healthy and primed to make up for his lost season. Park's power in 2016 was as advertised as he was able to sock 12 homers in 62 games, but he did struggle with contact as he struck out at a 32.8% rate. In order to become a viable big league asset Park is going to need to cut down on his whiffs without sacrificing his elite power. In Korea, Park sported a 24.5% strikeout rate, showing that he is unlikely to fully kick the problem, but at least that rate would be a much more palatable number for fantasy owners. Either way, he has been hitting well this spring and is worth taking a flier on in deep leagues.
Overvalued First Basemen
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
ADP: 61, 1B8
Abreu's struggles from 2016 are well-documented. He rode a hot streak in the second half to finish with respectable numbers, but overall his homers and RBI have now declined in all three of his major league seasons. If you dig deeper into the advanced stats, Abreu's ISO, hard hit rate, and HR/FB rate have also all dipped every year since his debut. Making matters worse for Abreu, if you check out the park factors at Fangraphs, U.S. Cellular Field has been a top-five park for home runs for right-handed hitters with a few first place finishes in 2010 and 2011. This makes Abreu's steady power decline even more concerning from a fantasy perspective. Abreu is still coming off the board as a starting first baseman in 12-team leagues, but I would much rather hold off on the Cuban slugger and get Carlos Santana 60 picks later or Kendrys Morales (if he's first base eligible) 100 picks later.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
ADP: 81, 1B10
Major league baseball saw a huge power surge this past season. In 2016 we saw an average of 1.16 home runs per game, the second-highest total in history and way up from the 1.01 we saw in 2015 or the 0.86 in 2014. All this goes to say that a hitter like Davis, who is known for providing exceptional home run totals, is seeing his number one asset being made less scarce. To compound issues, Davis hurts your batting average and has only reached a combined 200 runs scored and RBI twice in his career. 2016's power league-wide power explosion may be an outlier but the reality is fantasy owners don't need to spend a relatively early pick on a one-dimensional player like Davis. Hanley Ramirez is coming off boards right around Davis and serves as a much better fantasy option. He won't provide the power that Davis does, but he will provide more well-rounded fantasy production.
Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
ADP: 175, 1B15
Gonzalez, now entering his age-35 season, turned in the worst statistical season of his career in 2016. He slashed .285/.349/.435 with just 18 home runs, 69 runs scored, and 90 RBI. Add in ongoing struggles with his elbow and Gonzalez's days as an elite fantasy first baseman are over. His ISO dipped all the way to .150 last year, the lowest mark he's posted since becoming an everyday player. Add in a 32.8% hard hit rate, 2.5% lower than his career average, and Gonzalez's chances at posting one last big season look slim. He's still the 15th first baseman coming off the board, a number which is likely bolstered by his name value alone. He's a player to avoid in fantasy drafts at his current prices.