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2017 Fantasy Baseball: First Base Rankings M-Z

As we continue with our first base series we have to address one of the problems with evaluating first base in general. First base happens to have the most designated hitters assigned to it and we will see an example right off the top of the bat. Some platforms relegate pure designated hitters to the utility slot. I refuse to separately look at designated hitters. So, most of them are assigned here.

For those just joining us, we are ranking the top 24 first baseman (or designated hitters) depending on how they rank in five or six category leagues and over three and five year averages. You will see their rankings in all of those scenarios along with a ranking we will assign to them given their current situations. We have already profiled the first basemen A-L, so we will focus on M-Z this time.

Victor Martinez—Detroit Tigers (.293, 21.0 HR, 64.8 Runs, 84.0 RBI, 0.8 SB, 51.3 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 14

3 Year 6 Category- 15

5 Year 5 Category- 13

5 Year 6 Category- 14

Ultimately, Martinez represents one of the few instances where a former catcher was removed from behind the plate at the right time. It has extended his career going on a decade and some might even consider him a Hall of Fame candidate. I wouldn’t go that far, but he is a very useful hitter and great depth for your fantasy team. Rank: 14th

Joe Mauer—Minnesota Twins (.268, 8.3 HR, 65.7 Runs, 56.7 RBI, 2.3 SB, 68.7 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 19

3 Year 6 Category- 18

5 Year 5 Category- 15

5 Year 6 Category- 15

Mauer represents the downside of moving a player out from behind the dish. He was a plus defender as a catcher, but merely an average one as a first baseman. Meanwhile, he is being paid handsomely to produce very average numbers as a first baseman. As a catcher, these would be top ten numbers. They barely register at first. Rank: 19th

Kendrys Morales—Toronto Blue Jays (.264, 21.0 HR, 59.8 Runs, 78.8 RBI, 0.0 SB, 41.6 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 20

3 Year 6 Category- 20

5 Year 5 Category- 20

5 Year 6 Category- 20

This is a situation that bears watching. If the Blue Jays simply substitute Morales for Edwin Encarnacion then Morales’ profile should increase considerably. However, Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders are also free agents and if they both leave then you have a considerably weaker offense in Toronto. I’m guessing at least one leaves which makes him roughly the same hitter as was in Kansas City. Rank: 20th

Mitch Moreland—Texas Rangers (.252, 15.7 HR, 39.3 Runs, 56.0 RBI, 0.7 SB, 26.3 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 23

3 Year 6 Category- 23

5 Year 5 Category- 23

5 Year 6 Category- 24

Moreland is an interesting guy. His numbers clearly show a guy that has been a platoon option to this point, but with the surprising retirement of Prince Fielder, he is penciled in as the guy at first base. As usually happens with these guys, there’s a reason why they were platooned in the first place. So, there will be trade-offs with the additional home runs, runs, and RBI. The ranking may or may not be appropriate. Rank: 23rd

Wil Myers—San Diego Padres (.247, 14.0 HR, 58.7 Runs, 52.7 RBI, 13.0 SB, 43.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 18

3 Year 6 Category- 19

5 Year 5 Category- 21

5 Year 6 Category- 21

Last seson was a breakout year for Myers, so any draft prognosis has to balance the bulk of his big league career with the recent performance. If healthy, he will hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases. That’s a unique profile for a first baseman and one that could be a winning formula if you wait long enough to draft him. Last season was the first time he has ever been healthy for a majority of the season. Rank: 17th

Mike Napoli—Free Agent (.237, 23.0 HR, 62.3 Runs, 68.7 RBI, 3.7 SB, 71.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 16

3 Year 6 Category- 16

5 Year 5 Category- 17

5 Year 6 Category- 16

Napoli is another alumni of the former catcher club. He has extended his career by moving to first base, but until last season he really hadn’t distinguished himself. Is he the mediocre bat that offers some walks in six category leagues or the guy that exploded for more than 100 RBI last season? That depends largely on where he lands and how much he has left in the tank. Both are guesses at this point. Rank: 15th

Albert Pujols—Los Angeles Angels (.261, 33.0 HR, 81.7 Runs, 106.3 RBI, 4.7 SB, 49.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 4

3 Year 6 Category- 7

5 Year 5 Category- 9

5 Year 6 Category- 10

Pujols could have a fantasy article all to himself. He is a very interesting player that has a number of profiles. First, we notice the sizeable difference between five and six category rankings. Secondly, we notice how much better he fares over the last three years than over the last five. In short, the lack of patience suppresses his overall value in real baseball, but in five category leagues doesn’t really impact him at all. We’ll rank him according to five category leagues and allow you to adjust accordingly. Rank: 7th

Hanley Ramirez—Boston Red Sox (.284, 21.2 HR, 69.0 Runs, 76.8 RBI, 12.0 SB, 43.6 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 12

3 Year 6 Category- 13

5 Year 5 Category- 7

5 Year 6 Category- 12

Last year was a magical season offensively for the entire Red Sox team. David Ortiz finished on a great note and Mookie Betts emerged as a true MVP candidate. Predictably, the effects of this trickled down to the rest of the lineup. Ramirez drove in more than 100 RBI in the process. Will this happen again? That depends on how they replace Ortiz. I would bet on the under. Rank: 11th

Anthony Rizzo—Chicago Cubs (.285, 31.7 HR, 92.3 Runs, 96.0 RBI, 8.3 SB, 75.0 BB) 

3 Year 5 Category- 2

3 Year 6 Category- 2

5 Year 5 Category- 5

5 Year 6 Category- 5

The Cubs juggernaut has been released and Rizzo was definitely a big part of that. He wasn’t an MVP finalists, but he was likely in the top five. Moving forward, they will likely go as far as Rizzo and Kris Bryant can take them. The key stat that people will sleep on are the stolen bases. They don’t jump off the page, but they are enough to give your team that extra boost. Rank: 2nd

Carlos Santana—Cleveland Indians (.240, 26.7 HR, 76.3 Runs, 85.7 RBI, 7.0 SB, 106.7 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 9

3 Year 6 Category- 6

5 Year 5 Category- 12

5 Year 6 Category- 9

We have yet another former catcher. Santana is a very valuable six category product, but his profile changes dramatically in five category leagues. If you ignore the batting average he is still valuable in the other categories, but some people will be frightened off because of that. Adjust accordingly. Rank: 9th

Joey Votto—Cincinnatti Reds (.307, 20.4 HR, 76.2 Runs, 65.8 RBI, 6.2 SB, 105.4 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 11

3 Year 6 Category- 9

5 Year 5 Category- 10

5 Year 6 Category- 6

No player represents the difference between real baseball and fantasy baseball more than Joey Votto. In real baseball there might not be a better overall hitter on the planet. His OBP is off the charts and he brings plenty of power to match. In fantasy baseball, he’s underwhelming simply because he doesn’t get enough opportunities to score or drive in runs. As great as he is, that’s difficult to ignore. Rank: 10th 

Ryan Zimmerman– Washington Nationals (.261, 17.4 HR, 61.2 Runs, 66.2 RBI, 3.2 SB, 40.2 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 24

3 Year 6 Category- 24

5 Year 5 Category- 18

5 Year 6 Category- 19

If a bear takes a dump in the woods and no one is there will it still stink? If Zimmerman is healthy he is a productive hitter. The trouble is that he is never healthy. So, it is highly likely that he will be dumped from the top 24 as soon as we add in our knocking on the door candidates. If he is by some miracle healthy he will make for a terrific waiver wire add. Rank: 22nd

 

 

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2017 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen: A-L

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Knocking on the Door: First Basemen

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