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Nick Mariano's 2023 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings

Triston Casas - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB Injury News

We're motoring down the basepaths and headed for first base in my fantasy baseball rankings series. Whether you're ponying up for a superstar or comfortable waiting on later value, there is much to discuss!

Some of you play with corner-infield slots, or maybe just an overall infielder, on top of the usual "1B" position. We've got you covered no matter the contest. And in case you missed any, you can see the rest of the positional rankings articles here:

Traditionally, this position was filled with big boppers who weren't going to steal a bag. That's still true for some, but the landscape is far broader now. Alright, let's continue this ranking series with the scoopers at first and proceed with the tiered table and analysis.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


First Base Fantasy Baseball Rankings - Roto Leagues

Rank Tier Name Team Positions
1 1 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR 1B
2 1 Freddie Freeman LAD 1B
3 2 Pete Alonso NYM 1B
4 2 Paul Goldschmidt STL 1B
5 3 Matt Olson ATL 1B
6 4 Jose Abreu HOU 1B
7 4 Vinnie Pasquantino KC 1B
8 4 C.J. Cron COL 1B
9 4 Rhys Hoskins PHI 1B
10 4 Nathaniel Lowe TEX 1B
11 4 Christian Walker ARI 1B
12 5 Ryan Mountcastle BAL 1B
13 5 Andrew Vaughn CWS 1B/OF
14 5 Jake Cronenworth SD 1B/2B/SS
15 5 Anthony Rizzo NYY 1B
16 5 Alec Bohm PHI 1B/3B
17 5 Rowdy Tellez MIL 1B
18 5 Ty France SEA 1B/3B
19 5 Jose Miranda MIN 1B/3B
20 5 Josh Bell CLE 1B
21 6 Triston Casas BOS 1B
22 6 Seth Brown OAK 1B/OF
24 6 Joey Meneses WSH 1B/OF
25 6 Luis Arraez MIA 1B/2B
26 6 Brandon Drury LAA 1B/2B/3B
27 6 Josh Naylor CLE 1B/OF
28 6 Wil Myers CIN 1B/OF
29 6 Juan Yepez STL 1B/OF
30 6 Jared Walsh LAA 1B
31 6 Spencer Torkelson DET 1B
32 6 Yandy Diaz TB 1B/3B
33 6 Brandon Belt TOR 1B
34 6 Trey Mancini CHC 1B/OF
35 6 Brendan Donovan STL 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF
36 6 DJ LeMahieu NYY 1B/2B/3B
37 6 Carlos Santana PIT 1B
38 6 Wilmer Flores SF 1B/2B/3B
39 7 Christian Vazquez MIN C/1B
40 7 Joey Votto CIN 1B
41 7 Isaac Paredes TB 1B/2B/3B
42 7 Matt Mervis CHC 1B
43 7 Miguel Rojas LAD 1B/SS
44 7 Spencer Steer CIN 1B/3B
45 7 LaMonte Wade Jr. SF 1B/OF
46 7 Alex Kirilloff MIN 1B/OF
47 7 Harold Ramirez TB 1B/OF
48 7 Garrett Cooper MIA 1B
49 8 Luke Voit MIL 1B
50 8 J.D. Davis SF 1B/3B
51 8 Gavin Sheets CWS 1B/OF
53 8 Patrick Wisdom CHC 1B/3B/OF
54 8 Hunter Dozier KC 1B/3B/OF
55 8 Jesus Aguilar OAK 1B
56 8 Ji-Man Choi PIT 1B
57 8 David Villar SF 1B/3B
59 8 Nick Pratto KC 1B/OF
60 8 Dominic Smith WSH 1B
61 8 Christian Arroyo BOS 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF
62 8 Elehuris Montero COL 1B/3B
63 8 Yulieski Gurriel MIA 1B
64 8 Michael Toglia COL 1B/OF


Tier One - First Base Rankings

I’m a big Vladdy man to start with, but Toronto’s team environment for 2023 is a promising one. We know Guerrero can swing the stick, even if we have a few groundball rate questions to answer. But if he can chip in nearly 10 swipes, then suddenly his ceiling approaches that of Aaron Judge.

I wouldn’t weigh John Schneider’s comments about being aggressive on the basepaths much if it were another offseason quote, but there’s evidence in all eight of Guerrero’s 2022 steals coming after Schneider took over. I believe! And while Freddie Freeman may not have Guerrero’s power ceiling, the elite average and sneaky 10-steal range on a potent Dodger team keep him squarely in the top tier.


Tier Two - First Base Rankings

Don’t cry if you miss out on the top two, as Tier Two supplies elite, Home Run Derby-winning power in Pete Alonso and the reigning NL MVP in Paul Goldschmidt. If your first-round pick has some speed or you went ace, then getting a true 40-50 homer pop in Alonso forms a strong build.

Goldy’s power ceiling is lower, but he’s a perfect 19-for-19 on steal attempts in the last two seasons and casually sniffs a .300 or higher average. Pete did chip in five steals in ‘22, so he’s getting more comfortable on the basepaths, too. Enjoy!


Tier Three - First Base Rankings

Some may have Matt Olson in the second tier but his power tends to come with a lower average and he attempted zero steals in ‘22 after going 4-of-5 in ‘21. Perhaps the new rules will let him stretch his legs a bit, but I can’t project much there.

One of the bigger questions I have is whether we see any of 2021’s plate discipline gains again. Did he tighten up in a contract year? That 16.8% strikeout rate was beautiful, but he’s never been below 24% outside of ‘21. But he did play in all 162 games last year, something he also did in 2018, so the reliable volume in the heart of Atlanta’s order is still worthy of a top slot. And there's always optimism for lefty swingers in 2023!


Tier Four - First Base Rankings

Here’s where things open up and I typically won’t leave a draft without one of these fellas. These six bats all fit a similar build in that you’ll get some combination of power and batting average. Assuming a healthy build before this tier comes up, I’m not leaping any one of them and seeing which one falls for value. That has typically been Nathaniel Lowe.

This can’t be surprising given the age-26 breakout after doing poorly in limited duty for Tampa Bay in 2019-20. He found new life in Texas with 18 home runs, eight steals, and a .264/.357/.415 slash over 157 games in ‘21. Good, but not terribly notable. Then ‘22 starts with a .381 average over his first 16 games, but only one homer limited the appeal before a slump that lasted until mid-May.

His final 125 games: 26 home runs with a .319/.376/.543 line (.919 OPS).  His aggressiveness in the box has risen but his zone-contact rate remains healthy around 86%. I’m happy to snag someone in the heart of the Rangers’ order. Again, play your draft as it comes to you with this.


Tier Five - First Base Rankings

You don’t feel bad about rostering these players, but likely want them at CI rather than starting 1B. There’s just another layer of questions to be answered here. Do we get the power breakouts for Andrew Vaughn, Alec Bohm, and Jose Miranda? Will Anthony Rizzo’s back hold up? Will Milwaukee give Rowdy Tellez more chances against left-handers? How much pre-injury Ty France do we see in 2023? Will Cleveland have Josh Bell swinging aggressively?

Most of this is simply a matter of risk tolerance and being honest about your roster build’s needs. If you can gamble on batting average, then banking on a Rizzo or Tellez BABIP rebound is worthwhile. Both had fly ball rates around 45-50%, so low isn’t surprising, but respective marks of .216 and .215 were well below career norms. Otherwise, you’re likely targeting Vaughn, Bohm, France, Miranda, or Bell.


Tier Six - First Base Rankings

I was awfully tempted to put Triston Casas above this but we’ve only seen 95 MLB plate appearances thus far. He was crushed by bad luck with that .197 average (.208 BABIP) but slugged five home runs and posted a 20% walk rate. The great prospect’s momentum was stunted by an ankle injury at Triple-A early on in ‘22 but still flashed his incredible power and a disciplined eye for us. Mix in hitter-friendly Fenway, and I’m there.

Josh Naylor is probably my last “I’m comfortable with this” option in 15-teamers for my starting first baseman. Reliable pop in a plus lineup is nice, but if he starts losing work to a platoon with Gabriel Arias, then we're in trouble.

Joey Meneses started the draft season well within the top 200 but had started to slide as folks grew wary of the small-sample production. But then he smashed two longballs against Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and the hype could be back. Debuting as a 30-year-old makes anyone suspicious, but coming up with a .371 BABIP and 25.5% HR/FB rate creates high expectations. He could crush 30 homers or be back down at Triple-A, so gambling around pick 200 as a CI or fifth outfielder/UTIL type is reasonable.

Brandon Drury had a .855 OPS with 20 home runs and 24 doubles/triples over 92 games as a Cincinnati Red to earn a trade to the Angels in early August. He then posted a .724 OPS with eight home runs and nine doubles in 46 games for the Halos. Statcast Park Factors have Great American Ball Park with a 110 factor for right-handed hitters, the second-best in the league, but Angel Stadium is fifth at 103.

But the HR factor is 145 (!) against 112. Having 45% more homers observed at GABP versus 12% is no small gap. I haven’t been targeting Drury but if the Angels stay healthy (big if), then a consistent spot within it yields tons of R+RBI opportunities, though hitting sixth isn’t ideal. Perhaps you’re more interested in Wil Myers, who suddenly gets to enjoy said GABP benefits?

There are many others here that make nice bench stashes in the early going. The target formula for those is a high upside that you can realistically identify early. If they flop, then you’ve got a drop in the early waiver-wire gold rush. This mold particularly fits Juan Yepez (will he get playing time?), Jared Walsh (does he rebound following TOC surgery?), Spencer Torkelson (does he make good on prospect outlook?), and Brendan Donovan (new power swing displayed this Spring).


Tier Seven and Below - First Base Rankings

These are the lower tiers for a reason (or three). The excitement is typically capped for one or more very good reasons. Maybe that's age decline (Joey Votto), big health concerns (Alex Kirilloff), or simple Eric Hosmer blockades (Matt Mervis).

Part of the ranking process is playing against ADP trends and looking to make efficient profits on draft day. You are likely in “get your guys” mode this late, so don’t read as much into granular ranks versus general tier plateaus. The players I’ve drafted the most from this group when seeking simple volume are LaMonte Wade Jr., Garrett Cooper, Hunter Dozier, Jesus Aguilar, and Dominic Smith.

I try not to talk as much about players who technically qualify at 1B on some sites but are likely used elsewhere. Trust me, I am about that Spencer Steer life.

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