Midseason Rankings and Tiers: First Base (1B)

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With the first half of the season in the books, it’s time for one last RotoBaller rankings update. As with our May edition, these rest-of-season rankings come from myself and the ever-so-suave Kyle Bishop. We’ll tackle each position individually, with one column from each of us today through Sunday. Alongside the catcher breakdown, Day One bears the first base breakdown.

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen (Midseason Update)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 3 2 2.5
2 2 Joey Votto 1B 8 13 10.5
3 2 Freddie Freeman 1B 21 12 16.5
4 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B 19 17 18
5 3 Miguel Cabrera 1B 32 19 25.5
6 3 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 37 48 42.5
7 4 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 66 54 60
8 4 Justin Bour 1B 61 60 60.5
9 4 Jose Abreu 1B 83 43 63
10 4 Justin Smoak 1B 80 51 65.5
11 4 Wil Myers 1B 86 46 66
12 4 Eric Thames 1B 70 70 70
13 5 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 125 74 99.5
14 5 Yonder Alonso 1B 143 71 107
15 5 Hanley Ramirez 1B 142 81 111.5
16 5 Chris Davis 1B 88 138 113
17 5 Travis Shaw 1B/3B 44 185 114.5
18 5 Logan Morrison 1B 158 72 115
19 5 Matt Holliday 1B/OF 99 140 119.5
20 5 Marwin Gonzalez 1B 102 142 122
21 5 Eric Hosmer 1B 94 168 131
22 6 Carlos Santana 1B 139 170 154.5
23 6 Kendrys Morales 1B 277 131 204
24 6 Lucas Duda 1B 239 191 215
25 6 Albert Pujols 1B 234 202 218
26 6 Brandon Belt 1B 232 219 225.5
27 6 Victor Martinez 1B #N/A 231 231
28 6 Joshua Bell 1B/OF 299 173 236
29 6 Matt Adams 1B 255 236 245.5
30 7 Mike Napoli 1B 290 216 253
31 7 Mitch Moreland 1B 278 246 262
32 7 Adrian Gonzalez 1B #N/A 269 269
33 7 Tommy Joseph 1B 262 294 278
34 7 Danny Valencia 1B/3B/OF 293 #N/A 293
35 7 David Freese 1B/3B #N/A 295 295
36 7 Greg Bird 1B #N/A 350 350

 

Midseason First Base Rankings Analysis

Tier 1

It’s Paul Goldschmidt or nothing baby, as the consensus top-three bat has carried all five traditional fantasy categories with extraordinary marks. The humidor is no longer coming in to even threaten his power -- his 35-homer power, that is -- as he’s easily on pace to shatter his career high in runs scored (106) and while he likely won’t top 2013’s 125 RBI, the 25 bags and average in the .310s just makes it all okay. That said, it’s worth noting that his career batting average is 30 points lower in the second half and his career OPS goes down 100 points (.971 to .871). So, there’s your precedent if you were to feel an itch to trade him.

Tier 2

While we have a different order, Kyle and I agree that Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman and Anthony Rizzo are the next three to choose from. I think that Freddie’s ridiculous stretch from last season’s spike through the All-Star break here gives him the nod, but I can see the argument for Votto’s floor (he is still my No. 13 overall pick, after all). Even with Freeman’s missed time, his 25.9 offensive runs above average according to Fangraphs is third-best at the position -- trailing Votto (28.7) and Goldy (31.4) by a relatively slim margin.

Rizzo is only 10th at the position, but we can’t just throw away his potential given that he’s still on pace to crank 35 round-trippers. His low .259 average is wilting under a career-worst .242 BABIP, a mark that sat at .309 last season. His batted-ball metrics aren’t far enough off for that to continue from a statistical point of view, so keep some faith.

Tier 3 

Two aging veterans that are trending downward in Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion reside here, but at least EE gave us a powerful June with seven homers, 24 runs scored and 20 RBI with a .322 average. He’s historically been cold in April, so those struggles weren’t all too surprising. In fact, his career OPS by month paints him as right on track: bad in April (.756), improving but still not there in May (.818), red-hot in June (.948), and then steady between .834-.891 per month in the second half. He should be okay.

Miggy, on the other hand, looks to be slogging through some injuries and is getting no love in the luck department with his .418 xwOBA sitting 67 points above his .351 wOBA. That disparity is the highest in the league, though not terribly unexpected for a slow hitter that calls Detroit home (five Tigers populate the top 15 on that leaderboard). I do not feel comfortable leaning on him in the second half, legend that he is.

Tier 4

While I have several of the names inside this tier higher overall than Kyle, we seem to agree on the overall structure of the party. I think that while Wil Myers has certainly slipped, he’s still on the warpath toward an 85/30/80/18/.255 season and I’m a sucker for power/speed guys. The 26-year-old validating last season’s speed spike in the first half warms my heart so I still prefer him to first-year phenoms like Justin Smoak, Justin Bour and Yonder Alonso.

Jose Abreu is another guy I’m more bullish on (though that’s been the story of my ranking career, I think) as his second-half .902 OPS blows his .858 OPS out of the water even though the 30-year-old has already crushed 16 homers with 58 RBI and 53 runs scored (14 fewer than his whole 2016) with a .299 average. The White Sox may sell some pieces around him to dampen things, but I like his bat to trend upward if Yoan Moncada joins the party and sparks things.

Tier 5

Might as well get this out of the way: I still love Hanley Ramirez and I think he could have a second half like 2016. You know, when he smashed 22 homers in just 66 games. HanRam’s last 18 games heading into the break saw him deliver a .319 average with four homers and a 39.7 percent hard-hit rate, and while his supporting cast isn’t performing as well as 2016’s did, I’m a believer in his bat when hot and healthy. I admit that Travis Shaw is way too low for me, so I’ll rectify that by explaining how he’s hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games with five homers in that span. While he still can’t really hit lefties all that well, his eight-homer June put him back on the map and hopefully he doesn’t plummet below the Mendoza line in the second half like last season (I don’t think he will).

Tiers 6 & 7

Kendrys Morales, why have you betrayed me?! The 34-year-old is still flirting with a 30-homer season, but that doesn’t mean as much this season as it did in ’16 and his .252 average holds him back. Well, the defense that he slaps the ball into as a lefty hitter holds him back. He’s hitting .320 as a righty (in 75 at-bats) against a .231 mark as a lefty (242 ABs), but overall he pulls the ball half of the time when hitting a grounder -- and only with a 25.6 hard-hit rate compared to a HH-rate over 50 percent on liners and fly balls -- which combines with his speed to really ding his average when the shift comes into play. I still hold out some hope here that the whole of Toronto will turn it around and his counting stats will bounce a bit as a result, but I accept being out on a limb with that.

Other than that, Kyle and I seem to be in agreement on both things -- except I errantly left Adrian Gonzalez and Victor Martinez in my rankings (scouring through 350 names can drive one mad). I think leaning on guys like Brandon Belt and Matt Adams will leave most people in 12-teamers okay to stay afloat if their other positions are performing well. A guy like Lucas Duda should be able to turn in healthy pop from say, a corner-infield slot in an OBP league, but boy would his value spike with a trade to the Yankees if this round of Greg Bird therapy falls through.

 

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