Updated May Rankings and Tiers: First Base (1B)

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The comedian Lewis Black has a fantastic bit about the dumbest thing he’s ever heard in his life. After relaying the thing in question, he cautions the audience, “Don’t think about that sentence for more than three minutes, or blood will shoot out your nose.” This is more or less how it felt trying to make heads or tails of 2017’s weird and wild first month and produce updated rankings. It’s why, unlike my esteemed colleague Nick Mariano, I went only 300 players deep as opposed to 500. Had I pressed on, it might have broken my brain.

All of which is to say, if you disagree strongly with any particular ranking, know that there’s a decent chance you could talk me into adjusting mine. The sheer number of injuries and surprise performances (in both directions) made putting this update together a stiff challenge. Over the next week, Nick and I will look at each position individually and try to suss out the way forward. He kicked things off with catcher yesterday, so today we’re covering first base.

You can find our full, updated rankings here. Note that they’re based on a standard 12-teamer, so you should make adjustment based on your specific league settings. Tiers, auction values, prospects, news and more. It's all free.

Editor's note: Purchase an NFL Premium Pass (including Draft Kit + DFS), and get MLB Premium for free! Whoa. Check out our NFL and MLB Premium tools, and crush your leagues. Sign Up Now!

 

2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Base (May Updates)

Ranking Tier Player Position Kyle Nick Composite
1 1 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 5 5 5
2 2 Anthony Rizzo 1B 12 10 11
3 2 Miguel Cabrera 1B 13 16 14.5
4 2 Freddie Freeman 1B 21 12 16.5
5 3 Joey Votto 1B 16 24 20
6 3 Eric Thames 1B 31 33 32
7 4 Wil Myers 1B 59 36 47.5
8 4 Hanley Ramirez 1B 51 60 55.5
9 4 Edwin Encarnacion 1B 69 49 59
10 4 Matt Carpenter 1B/2B/3B 47 75 61
11 4 Chris Davis 1B 52 98 75
12 4 Jose Abreu 1B 95 57 76
13 5 Carlos Santana 1B 106 111 108.5
14 5 Albert Pujols 1B 116 115 115.5
15 5 Ryan Zimmerman 1B 182 56 119
16 5 Matt Holliday 1B/OF 173 124 148.5
17 5 Victor Martinez 1B 191 139 165
18 5 Travis Shaw 1B/3B 193 150 171.5
19 5 Kendrys Morales 1B 256 102 179
20 5 Eric Hosmer 1B 174 193 183.5
21 6 Adrian Gonzalez 1B 164 215 189.5
22 6 Greg Bird 1B 176 208 192
23 6 Brandon Belt 1B 209 186 197.5
24 6 Justin Bour 1B 208 257 232.5
25 6 Mike Napoli 1B 233 245 239
26 6 Tommy Joseph 1B #N/A 240 240
27 6 Mitch Moreland 1B 251 230 240.5
28 6 Joshua Bell 1B/OF 266 #N/A 266
29 7 Lucas Duda 1B #N/A 268 268
30 7 C.J. Cron 1B #N/A 269 269
31 7 David Freese 1B/3B #N/A 316 316
32 7 Justin Smoak 1B #N/A 327 327
33 7 Joe Mauer 1B #N/A 347 347
34 7 Logan Morrison 1B #N/A 359 359
35 7 Chris Carter 1B #N/A 368 368
36 7 Steve Pearce 1B/2B/OF #N/A 371 371
37 7 Adam Lind 1B #N/A 373 373
38 7 Danny Valencia 1B/3B/OF #N/A 374 374
39 7 Kennys Vargas 1B #N/A 384 384
40 7 A.J. Reed 1B #N/A 386 386
41 7 Matt Adams 1B #N/A 393 393
42 7 Byung-ho Park 1B #N/A 394 394
43 7 Wilmer Flores 1B/3B #N/A 404 404
44 7 Dan Vogelbach 1B #N/A 420 420
45 7 Tyler Austin 1B #N/A 426 426
46 7 Luis Valbuena 1B/3B #N/A 431 431
47 7 Jefry Marte 1B/OF #N/A 449 449

 

First Base Rankings Analysis: May

The top five at this position are all familiar names, a blessed oasis of continuity in a bizarre opening to the year. One of the biggest stories of the young season, of course, has been the play of the guy ranked sixth. Eric Thames has blown away his optimistic preseason projections, slashing an absurd .331/.436/.737 with 13 home runs and 58 R+RBI in 33 games. Any concerns about Thames needing to adjust to MLB after spending the last few seasons in Korea have been as obliterated as the baseballs he’s routinely sent into orbit. Some regression is inevitable, but there’s little doubt that he’s for real.

I was more lukewarm on Wil Myers than most coming into the year, and I haven’t budged much. The results have certainly been there – he’s hit .299 with eight homers, 43 R+RBI, and three steals so far – but the process gives me pause. Myers’ swinging strike and pop-up rates have spiked while his walk rate has cratered, and he’s not running as much as he did last season. There’s also the fact that due to injury, he’s only played more than 88 games in a season once. That was last season, when he faded badly down the stretch.

In hindsight, I should have given Ryan Zimmerman a much larger boost in the rankings. He’s been even more productive than Thames, after all. On the other hand, that success is built on completely unsustainable marks in BABIP and HR/FB%. And like Myers, he’s played sparingly over the last few years due to myriad physical ailments. Nick’s totally bought in; I remain more reluctant, prior admission notwithstanding.

Given another crack at this, it’s likely that I would revise downward on a couple of struggling veterans – Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez. It’s important not to overreact to one bad month, especially since we’ve seen both players get off to slow starts before. But they’re both entering the twilight of their careers, and dealing with the kind of chronic injuries that can hasten one’s end.

As Nick mentioned yesterday, we compiled these rankings around the end of April. I stuck to my guns with my optimistic preseason valuation on Matt Carpenter, and he’s rewarded that faith by hitting .323/.523/.806 with four homers so far in May. Carp was having a stellar season in 2016 before an oblique injury sapped his power, and looks well on his way to a repeat performance.

A few quick hits to close things out:

  • I remain relatively pessimistic about Edwin Encarnacion. He’s striking out a ton and not elevating the ball as much as he once did.
  • Is this finally the end for Victor Martinez? Probably not, but one homer in 31 games merits some concern.
  • You can go ahead and flip my rankings of Eric Hosmer and Travis Shaw.
  • Don’t give up on, or forget about, Greg Bird.

 

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