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First Base Draft Sleepers for Fantasy Baseball

First base is one of the interesting positions when it comes to fantasy baseball. Of course, there are the stars who always jump off the board early in drafts. Then, there are also the middle-tier guys who aren’t as consistent but are still productive.

And next of course, the fantasy baseball sleepers. This is one of my favorite groups in drafts, there’s no better feeling than hitting on a sleeper.

There’s a handful of interesting names to keep an eye on at first base this season, here are five of my favorites.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

Belt is arguably one of the more underrated first basemen in the game. When he’s on the field, he’s a solid defender and reliable with his power and on-base ability.

Belt’s biggest issue to this point in his career, however, has been staying on the field. He’s appeared in 130+ games just five times over his career. That was again the case this past season as he played in just 97 games.

When he was on the field, however, Belt had one of his more productive campaigns. The slugger posted a .975 OPS, .378 OBP, and hit a career-high 29 home runs. While his strikeout rate stayed high, so did his walk rate, which finished in the 90th percentile.

Belt also saw his barrel and hard-hit percentages stay around his 2020 mark. He posted career numbers during the shortened season, hitting .309 with a .425 OBP and 1.015 OPS.

Coming off back-to-back breakout seasons, Belt accepted the Giants’ qualifying offer. He figures to play every day and slot back into the middle of their order. If he can just stay healthy, Belt could be a solid sleeper option this season. 

 

Jesus Aguilar, Miami Marlins

Aguilar built off his success in the shortened season and enjoyed another strong campaign in his first full year with the Marlins. The slugger hit 23 doubles and 22 homers while posting a .788 OPS.

He also recorded a .329 OBP and struck out just 93 times over 131 games. While Aguilar saw his walk rate drop, his strikeout rate stayed around his career average with a mark of 18.2%.

Aguilar is looking more like the power bat and run producer he was back in 2018. This season he saw his launch angle, exit velocity, barrel percentage, and hard-hit percentage increase. He also drove in 93 runs in a weak Marlins lineup.

Miami went out and added some help this offseason, and there could be more on the way. One would figure Aguilar could see an uptick in the RBI department. With his production and this Marlins lineup on the rise, Aguilar could be looking at a monster season.

 

Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox

Dalbec’s first full season in the big leagues was a tale of two halves. In the first half, he looked overmatched at the plate. The slugger struck out 95 times over 72 games and posted a .264 OBP and .673 OPS.

Following the All-Star break, Dalbec made some adjustments and began to look more like himself.

Over the last 61 games, he hit 15 homers and 11 doubles while posting a .344 OBP and .955 OPS and striking out just 61 times. He cut his strikeout rate down to 5.5% and increased his walk rate up to 8.8%.

Dalbec finally settling in at the big league level should give the Sox the confidence they need to play him every day. While Dalbec may never hit for a high average, he should produce a ton of runs, get on-base at a decent clip, and has 30+ homer pop.

 

Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs

The biggest surprise of the second half last season was the emergence of 29-year old Frank Schwindel. He was picked up by the Cubs and was finally given a shot at everyday playing time.

Schwindel took full advantage of the opportunity as he finished sixth in NL Rookie of the Year voting and took home a pair of Rookie of the Month awards and a Rookie of the Week award.

Schwindel very quickly became one of the bright spots in what was an otherwise lost season for the Cubs. In 56 games, he posted a 1.002 OPS, .389 OBP, and hit .342 with 19 doubles, 13 home runs, and 40 RBI. 

Schwindel hit his way into playing time for this season. With the uncertainty of Anthony Rizzo in free agency, the righty just might get his shot to again be an everyday guy for the Cubs.

While he doesn’t have a very strong major league track record, Schwindel’s minor league numbers certainly back up his 2021 success. As he showed, he doesn’t strike out very much, knows how to find his way on-base, and has sneaky pop.

 

Luke Voit, New York Yankees

Voit was climbing his way up the rankings not too long ago. During the pandemic shortened season, he finished ninth in AL MVP voting after leading the league with 22 home runs and a 157 OPS+ and .948 OPS over 56 games.

Heading into last season, he was looking like one of the biggest risers. Now fast forward to this season, and he may be one of the biggest fallers and potential sleepers.

Voit was hampered by injuries all year long and was never able to get settled into his groove. He appeared in just 68 games and hit .239 with a .764 OPS and just eleven home runs and seven doubles.

The slugger's value figures to have taken a significant hit after another injury-plagued season. With Anthony Rizzo still in free agency, Voit still has the chance to open the season as the everyday man at first base.

If that does indeed end up being the case, Voit could be looking at a monster bounce-back season at the plate. He is definitely an interesting buy-low and potential sleeper candidate to watch this season. 



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