In my first positional ranking article, I want to lay out that all rankings (unless otherwise stated) are based on a standard 5×5 league. Players qualify at any position where they played 20+ games in 2017. It’s important that you understand your league’s scoring, roster size, transaction process, and any other important settings.
Whether drafting for fantasy football or baseball, I’ve had the most success building tiers of players by position. As the draft goes on, I can see by position when a “tier” of players with similar projections are getting thin. Then a decision is to be made if I pounce on the last one of a tier, or if I need to focus on a larger positional need. This approach helps you to have a few players to target before your draft pick comes up. Don’t be that guy at the draft who’s constantly late with their picks and annoying everyone else. On to the rankings…
First base is a deep position and there are sleepers and value late. Make sure you get power numbers from this position. If you don’t, you’ll be behind the league in this day and age of power bats.
Scorching Hot (Top Tier)
This is my top tier for first basemen; and it’s deeeeeep. I want one of these top 8 guys on my roster. If I miss out, then I’m going to wait in the draft to find value. Rhys Hoskins just made the top tier as of this writing. Position rank is in (#).
(1) Paul Goldschmidt – He’s at the top, but falling in some drafts to the middle/late 1st round. Snag him up and don’t worry about the “humidor” effect.
(2) Joey Votto – Just keeps ticking.
(3) Freddie Freeman – Looking to be a consensus top 3 1B. He’ll do fine; even with that Braves lineup.
(4) Anthony Rizzo – Consistently produces; and I like consistency!
(5) Cody Bellinger – He had a fantastic rookie campaign, but will he see a sophomore slump?
(6) Edwin Encarnacion – This guy will be a DH, but still eligible at 1B in many leagues. He may be 35, but he’s averaged over 38 HRs over the past six years and got 42 twice!
(7) Jose Abreu – Another consistent producer. He’s not the biggest masher, but he’ll get you about 30 HRs and is a career .301 hitter which gets overlooked.
(8) Rhys Hoskins – I like Hoskins and expect around 35 HRs, but I typically like to see more of a track record before putting a player in the top tier. How will the revamped lineup play out in Philly?
Fire Bombs (Power Tier)
These guys may have deficiencies, but they can flat out mash the ball. That often comes with a low batting average, but 40+ HRs for any of these guys is possible.
(12) Matt Olson – This guy is undervalued and should be at the 35 HR range. Cheap version of Cody Bellinger / Rhys Hoskins.
(13) Joey Gallo – If you can stomach his low batting average (career .201), his HRs will make you happy.
(16) Justin Smoak – Was the 38 HRs from 2017 all “smoak” and mirrors? It was his first year over 30 HRs, but also his first year with 500+ at bats.
(24) Chris Davis – In the past 5 years, he has seasons of 53, 47, and 38 HRs. The two other years he only got 450 at bats and blasted only 26 in down years. He’s averaged 37 over the past 3 years. For how late you get him, it’s worth a shot.
Warm Embers (Middle Tier)
This group of guys aren’t the most exciting, but they fall outside of the top tier, are veterans, and will provide value.
(9) Eric Hosmer – He’s not going to get you the HRs you need, but fills out other categories.
(10) Wil Myers – He may flirt with 30 HRs and he’s one of the few 1B eligible players who will get double digit steals.
(11) Miguel Cabrera – This perennial first round pick has fallen, probably too far. Expect a bounce back to about 30 HRs and a .300+ batting average with better health.
(14) Carlos Santana – The new Philly brings his veteran presence to the young lineup and should flirt with 30 dingers.
(15) Ryan Zimmerman – He resurrected his career last year, will he repeat after 3 down years?
(17) Matt Carpenter – Another veteran coming off of a down year. Don’t let him slip too far.
Lottery Tickets (I Like With Potential)
This is a group of players that I like in the later rounds; let’s see what they can do…
- Justin Bour
- Josh Bell
- Ryan McMahon
- Trey Mancini
- Logan Morrison
- Ryon Healy
- Greg Bird
- J. Cron
Cold As Ice (Likely Won’t Draft)
- Eric Thames
- Yonder Alonso
- Brandon Belt
- Danny Valencia