Alan HarrisonFantasy Baseball

2013 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings: Middle Round and Mixed League Options

Eric Hosmer
Eric Hosmer

Over the next week or so we will be releasing teasers of our staff consensus rankings with the hopes that you will break the bank and purchase our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit to see the full versions, and more importantly, show us your support.

Thanks in advance.

Here are the first basemen we have ranked 11-15, guys who will be 1B options in the middle rounds of your mixed league drafts.

11. Eric Hosmer | 1B | KC

Fantasy baseball owners were salivating over Hosmer during the 2012 draft season — reaching for the first baseman entering his sophomore season as high as the second round in some instances — based on his impressive finish to twenty-eleven. Unfortunately, Hosmer never met the expectations that fantasy analysts established for him, seemingly falling into the “sophomore slump” black hole shortly after the Royals broke camp.

Hosmer came out of the gate a little sluggish, slashing .188/.274/.388 with five homers and 13 RBIs in 95 March/April plate appearances. And despite an inconsistent spike in batting average as the season progressed, the young Royal failed to match his opening month longball total for the remainder of the season and eclipsed March/April’s RBI total just once, leaving him tagged as a bust come season’s end.

Hosmer’s struggles seem to be attributed to his inability to hit southpaws (.220/.284/.308 vs. LHP) parlayed with some bad luck on balls in play (.255 BABIP) and a late-season rotator cuff injury. Hosmer’s 2012 batted ball profile and plate discipline appear in-line with 2011’s efforts — and he actually drew more free passes (9.4% BB% up from 6.0%) — causing me to point the blame at the bad luck once again.

Somehow, Hosmer managed to scrape together 14 homers and 16 stolen bases in 2012. If he is able to make some adjustments in his approach against lefties and have the ball bounce his way a bit more than it did last season, Hosmer could be in line to rebound with a real shot at 20/20.

12. Ike Davis | 1B | NYM

Like Hosmer, Ike Davis struggled out of the gate last season for the Metropolitans. He now attributes the poor start to the Valley Fever diagnosis in addition to a bum wheel that never fully healed from an injury suffered during the 2011 campaign.

Davis triple slashed .201/.271/.288 in the first half with 12 moonshots and 49 RBIs. He was striking out and pounding the ball into the dirt more than usual, while taking fewer walks.

But the second half of twenty-twelve tells a different story for the left-hander. His batting average jumped to .255 and Davis managed to hit 20 bombs while knocking in 41 runs to finish off the year. Davis also took more walks and struck out less in the second half, resulting in 75 point spike in his on base percentage.

Some may let Davis slide in this year’s draft unwilling to absorb the .227 average he gave us in 2012, but he is unlikely to repeat that average, as Davis was a victim of a .246 average on balls in play. Ground ball and line drive rates have been trending in the right direction over the past three years for Davis, and with an improvement in the aforementioned BABIP, Davis could be in store for a special 2013 season. Davis is not a bad middle round target for a position that appears to be on the thinner side this year.

13. Mark Teixeira | 1B | NYY

In 2012, Teixiera failed to reach the 30 homer, 100 RBI plateau for the first time since his 2003 season with the Texas Rangers. It’s fair to say that Tex would have likely met that mark — he needed just six more long balls and 16 RBIs — should he have remained healthy the entire season.

Owners not afraid to absorb Teixeira’s .250ish batting average will benefit from his consistent production in three of the other four traditional categories.

14. Adam LaRoche | 1B | WAS

LaRoche is definitely not the sexiest name on this list, or any other for that matter, but consistency is king. Since 2005, LaRoche has accounted for at least 20 home runs and 78 RBIs per season while hitting in the .270 range. Peak seasons have LaRoche eclipsing the 30 homer mark and reaching the 100 RBI plateau on two occasions respectively.

LaRoche’s plate discipline indicates he was swinging at more pitches than usual outside of the strike zone last season, potentially resulting in a dip of the walk rate and a slight spike in the swinging strike and strikeout rates. The aggressive approach at the plate could have been an effort to pad his stats considering he was in the midst of a contract year.

Now that the Nationals’ first baseman’s contract situation is behind him, look for LaRoche to return to his consistent self. With an early ADP of 120, LaRoche appears to be a great value play in the tenth round of a twelve team league.

15. Anthony Rizzo | 1B | CHC

Last season, Anthony Rizzo blessed us with an 86 game glimpse as to why he was once the Padres’ top organizational prospect — and one of MLB’s top first base prospects overall.
Rizzo peeled off a .285/.342/.463 slash line in 368 plate appearances while clubbing 15 long balls and knocking in 48 runs. Project those numbers across a full season in the league and you have yourself a potential All-Star candidate.

It appears there is just one major hole in his swing, though, and it rears it’s ugly head when southpaws are on the hill. Rizzo triple slashed .208/.243/.356 versus left-handers in his twenty-twelve effort, which falls right in line with his (very short) career .200/.250/.354 triple slash. It’s truly amazing the young lefty was able to finish the season with the numbers he did, considering the evident struggles with the splits.

Rizzo’s stock is clearly on the rise as evidenced by his early average draft position of 53. If you too are inclined to plunge into the season with Rizzo anchoring your first base slot, you may have to reach into the fourth or early fifth round to acquire him.

As usual, thanks to FanGraphs for the statistical data and MockDraftCentral for their ADP data.

You can follow Alan’s nonsense on Twitter @TheFantasyFix

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