UPDATE: So, it turns out that my mathings weren’t quite right when I started writing this. So, much to the chagrin of all DyNasty owners everywhere, I’ve updated the first base rankings, left the old blurbs, and wrote new ones for the new top three. Light your torches and grab your pitchforks! Personally, I think the most telling part about this is that the bottom five teams kept their original ranking. Take that for what you will.
First base has always been a fantasy gold mine. In 2014, 9 of the top 25 offensive players in the DFBL carried first base eligibilty, showing how much offense comes from a fantasy position that only has one slot available. In fact, 20 first basemen with more than 100 games played averaged better than 5 points per game. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You can’t afford to have a bad first base core if you want to compete. On the flip side, it’s also the place where many catchers and ‘old guys’ go to lose their fantasy value (see: Joe Mauer). If you go into a season with a player that isn’t necessarily a first baseman and your main guy goes down, your backup may not be as satisfactory as you once thought. Depth at the position is a must.
One other thing to mention is that the minor leagues are completely barren of “first base talent”. MLB.com’s top first baseman, Josh Bell, isn’t considered a first baseman by Fantrax and ranks #35 in the MLB.com Top 100. Matt Olson of the A’s is at least a year away and ranks #74. And that’s it. Where have all the first basemen gone? As the season goes on, more players will pick up the eligibility, but it isn’t necessarily something you can count on.
The following is an Organizational Positional Power Ranking for the first base position for the 2015 season. Disclaimer: These rankings are done as of the date of this post, March 25th, 2015. Any roster changes afterwards are not accounted for. The position is being evaluated by all players in the organization, how much they are likely to contribute and ranked against the other teams in the league. This ranking ignores the utility spot and as well as other eligible positions, only considering what is the most a team can expect get out of a single position their roster.
1. Beach Bum (Pre-Re-Rank: 3)
Options: Jose Bautista, Albert Pujols, Chris Davis, Mark Teixeira, Christian Walker
For the sake of this exercise, Bautista starts at first base over Pujols. Pujols starts over Davis. Davis Starts of Teixeira. Dan has a lineup of mashers that, in the event of an injury, he can say NEXT! and still get quality production….assuming you buy into the Chris Davis stuff. Albert Pujols is fine (I have him ranked as the #13 first baseman for 2015), but given that there are sixteen teams, Dan just happens to have two starts. Share?
2. Cheating Brew Crew (Pre-Re-Rank: 5)
Options: Anthony Rizzo, Carlos Santana, Victor Martinez, Kendrys Morales
That Anthony Rizzo character is probably going to be 30 HRs with a near .400 wOBA. If that doesn’t work, that Carlos Santana character is probably going to be 25 HRs with a .360 wOBA. And if that doesn’t work, they just happen to have Victor Martinez, the highest scoring first baseman of 2014.
3. Clown Question Bros. (Pre-Re-Rank: 1)
Options: Jose Abreu, Brandon Belt, Michael Cuddyer
“The Cuban Missle Crisis”, or Jose Abreu, made a huge impact on the league last year, mashing 36 HRs en route to a .964 OPS. While there might be a bit of an adjustment period this year, that’s okay. I don’t expect him to his .300 again this year, but a .400 wOBA isn’t out of the question. If the CQB need to break the glass in an emergency, they have Brandon Belt and Michael Cuddyer backing him up. Belt only played in 61 games last year and Cuddyer is in New York, but if push comes to shove, I Cuddyer starts over Belt. In fact, yuck Brandon belt.
4. Homerun Mafia (Pre-Re-Rank: 6)
Options: Joey Votto, Jonathan Lucroy, Adam LaRoche, Todd Frazier, Nick Swisher
5. Gardner Variety (Pre-Re-Rank: 2)
Options: Miguel Cabrera, Brian McCann, Mark Reynolds, Matt Olson
Gardner Variety finds themselves so highly on this list because, well, he’s still Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera, by all accounts, is still the best first baseman in the league and the team needs to be ranked as such. The reason they find themselves at number two is because if Cabrera gets injured, the fall to Brian McCann is going to hurt a lot more than Miggy’s ailment. Mark Reynolds is fine crapshoot if you want to go for the big 15 point HR, but his -5 days are going to come more often than the bombs.
6. Fighting Banana Slugs (Pre-Re-Rank: 4)
Options: Paul Goldschmidt, Billy Butler, Greg Bird
7. Who’s Your Haddy? (Pre-Re-Rank: 8)
Options: Buster Posey, Adam Lind, Justin Morneau, Allen Craig, Bobby Bradley
8. You Down with OBP? (Pre-Re-Rank: 9)
Options: Edwin Encarnacion, Joe Mauer, Yasmani Grandal, Kennys Vargas
9. Lafayette Hill Haters (Pre-Re-Rank: 7)
Options: Freddie Freeman, Mark Trumbo, Casey Gillaspie
10. Quad City DJs (Pre-Re-Rank: 11)
Options: Prince Fielder, Mike Napoli, Matt Adams
11. Capital City Impalers (Pre-Re-Rank: 10)
Options: Steve Pearce, Adrian Gonzalez, Daniel Vogelbach
12. E-Ville Kodiaks
Options: Brandon Moss, Logan Morrison, Michael Morse
13. Pottstown Ironmen
Options: Lucas Duda, AJ Reed
14. Philadelphia Flartners
Options: Chris Carter, Lonnie Chisenhall, James Loney, Hunter Morris, Dominic Smith
It’s a good thing we don’t count strikeouts in the league, because Chris Carter’s value would plummet. In 2014, he his 37 HRs while hitting .227 (still had a .799) OPS. Very Adam Dunn like, eh? Would you be happy starting Adam Dunn? I didn’t think so.
15. Unicorns & Glitter
Options: Eric Hosmer, Jon Singleton
Is THIS the year that Eric Hosmer breaks out? We’ve been saying it for years, but the man is still only 25. Sadly though, a career .747 OPS (.716 in 2014) just isn’t going to cut it though for first base. All of the projection system hs have him back up around .780 for 2015, so U&G have to hope that’s the case. Meanwhile, Jon Singleton has his 37% whiff rate in 362 major league appearances doesn’t offer much of a secondary option to the two-faced Hosmer.
16. Rocky Mountain Oysters
Options: CJ Cron, Stephen Vogt, Ryan Howard, Sam Travis
As I list out the player on any team, I’m listing them by how much value I feel like the player is going to offer for the season. If CJ Cron is your best first baseman, you may need to make a trade. As I mentioned in the catchers article, Vogt is an okay guy to have on your squad, but you can’t be expecting him to repeat last years performance to get you out of the woods if Cron doesn’t hit. There is a 15% chance that Ryan Howard offers you the most value on this squad, but he is very Mark Reynolds-y at this point. Has an opportunity to make splash and win you a week, but only because you started him on Sunday and he doesn’t K 5 times.