As you prepare for your Fantasy Baseball drafts, the SCFE crew will be a great resource, providing in-depth analysis to help get you ready. This week we are rolling out our rankings for the 2016 campaign and today we unveil our first base rankings.
First base is where you will find the sluggers, not the fleet of foot. Last year, 16 first basemen hit 20 or more home runs, which ranked second amongst all positions next to the 25 hit by outfielders. On the other end of the scale, only four first sackers notched double digits in steals.
When you take a look at the rankings, there was great consensus amongst the rankers throughout the position, especially within the Top 20. The consensus number one is Paul Goldschmidt, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since he is being selected as the first player overall in some early drafts.
The position is relatively deep, but not overly deep once you consider most leagues have both corner infielder and utility slots that need to be filled in addition to first base. The position is quite top heavy, with the top nine ranked all likely to go in the first three rounds in 12-team leagues. The big drop-off occurs right after Albert Pujols, and ideally you have your starter by that point. The question marks start to get larger once you start relying on the likes of Belt, Duda, and Teixeira.
Overall, there were not many surprises. There were no major battleground players with large, divergent opinions. For the most part, the ranking of the first base position looks like an orderly and calm process. Before we get to the rankings, let’s look at some first basemen with new homes, a couple high risk players, and finally a few late, value picks.
New Area Codes
There are few players of note that find themselves in new homes for the 2016 season.
Adam Lind will take his batting split extremes out West with the Mariners. It will be interesting how many at-bats he will see against southpaws, given his career long issues. This will also be the first time he has called a pitcher-friendly park his home stadium after previous stops in Toronto and Milwaukee.
Todd Frazier, now a member of the White Sox, will spend the lion’s share of his time at the hot corner. He should continue to provide his Fantasy owners will strong power and speed production.
Mark Trumbo looks to get his career back on track in Baltimore after being the victim of a salary dump courtesy of the Mariners. Now in a good hitting lineup and with a favourable home park, it will not be surprising to see Trumbo rebound with a strong season.
High Risk High Reward
There are a couple of players that enter next year with a large dispersion of potential outcomes; however, both players are in completely different situations.
Byung-ho Park of the Minnesota Twins, fresh off back-to-back 50 home run seasons in Korea, looks to translate his power in the United States. There is some degree of optimism given the 2015 season from fellow Korean slugger and Pittsburgh Pirate Jung Ho Kang. It seems like 25 home runs and a weak batting average is the expectation given Park’s ranking, which feels about right.
Victor Martinez battled injuries and limped through a disappointing season last year. Much more was expected of him after his power binge in 2014. We will likely never see another 30-homer season out of Martinez, but he should bounce back and post a near .300 batting average along with solid run production numbers.
Late Round Upside
Once you get to the later rounds, your focus should be all about upside.
Greg Bird, who filled in for an injured Mark Teixeira, impressed last year in his brief stint with the Yankees. As of now, Bird has a questionable path to at-bats as long as Teixeira and ARod are healthy; however, it seems likely that one or both of them will miss some time in 2016, opening the door once again for Bird.
Pedro Alvarez, who will never be confused with Tony Gwynn, still finds himself without a home, despite coming off a year where he hit 27 home runs in less than 450 at-bats. Finding a hitter with 30-homer upside late in drafts is Fantasy gold.
C.J. Cron appears set to see everyday work in 2016 for the first time in his career. With 27 home runs over 620 career at-bats, it is clear the power potential is there. Add in the fact that his batting average won’t kill you and you have the makings of a quality, late round sleeper
Now, let’s see the rankings.
*Editors note: Before we move on, Prince Fielder, is surprisingly not a candidate at First Base. He only played 18 games there and is therefore only eligible at DH. You can find him and all the other DH-only eligible players in the Overall Top 300.
The first base landscape has not changed too dramatically as we barrel towards Opening Day. However, there are a few notable situations to keep your eye on.
Pedro Alvarez, Baltimore Orioles
Finally found a home as he landed in Baltimore and that will give his Fantasy prospects a boost. He should have a regular role at first or DH, at least versus righties. Camden Yards is a power friendly environment; therefore, it should be safe to expect the usual 25-plus home runs to go along with a subpar batting average.
There are few injuries that bear monitoring. However, none of these ailments have had a significant impact on the player’s ranking, yet. Freddie Freeman’s wrist issues keep surfacing, but he has hit the ball extremely well this spring. Edwin Encarnacion has been sidelined by an oblique problem, but he still appears set for Opening Day. Finally, Ryan Zimmerman is still battling plantar fasciitis, which raises a high degree of doubt is he will play a full season in 2016.
There are also a couple of position battles still going on in both St. Louis and Houston. As of now, the consensus seems to agree on taking Brandon Moss over Matt Adams for the Cards. In terms of the Astros, all of the rankers agree that A.J. Reed is the one to own.
2016 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings
These Fantasy rankings are mainly for Rotisserie leagues that use home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases and batting averages.
[su_box title=”SCFE 2016 Fantasy Baseball Position Rankings” box_color=”#d75c37″] Overall Top 300 | Catcher | First Base | Second Base | Shortstop | Third Base | Outfield | Starting Pitchers | Relief Pitchers[/su_box]
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