Fantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen: A-L

As we continue into the offseason, we move to first base. This time, we will be profiling first basemen between Jose Abreu and Adam Lind. Just like with the catchers, we are profiling the top 24 guys. Naturally, there are some young players that should be in the top 24, but we will get to them later.

As with the catchers, we have ranked the catchers based on both five and six category formats. The rankings are also broken down according to three and five year averages. Each player will also see their averages in all of the six categories displayed. A ranking for each player will also be assigned. As you might suspect, a player’s ranking could change depending on changing circumstances over the winter, so everyone should stay tuned.

Jose Abreu—Chicago White Sox (.300, 30.3 HR, 76.3 Runs, 102.7 RBI, 1.0 SB, 45.7 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 6

3 Year 6 Category- 8

5 Year 5 Category- 4

5 Year 6 Category- 7

Abreu has been an all-star level performer since he’s been here, but each season has been a little worse than the one before. He surged late in the season to reach the 100 RBI mark, but we can see chinks in the armor. Abreu has not shown a whole lot of growth in the patience department (which shows in his six category rankings). He is easily a top ten first basemen now, but if he continues to slip he could fall outside the top ten. Ranking: 6th

Brandon Belt—San Francisco Giants (.266, 15.7 HR, 60.0 Runs, 59.0 RBI, 4.0 SB, 59.3 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 17

3 Year 6 Category- 17

5 Year 5 Category- 19

5 Year 6 Category- 17 

Belt actually took a step forward this season statistically. He went from a .834 OPS to a .868 OPS, but the average fantasy fan really wasn’t that enthused about the improvement. The main reason is because the home run production hasn’t improved all that much. Much of the improvement has come in the form of patience. He walked 104 times this past season to lift his OBP to .394. That makes him pretty attractive in six category leagues. Ranking: 17th

Miguel Cabrera—Detroit Tigers (.329, 33.8 HR, 93.8 Runs, 113.8 RBI, 1.8 SB, 73.6 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 5

3 Year 6 Category- 4

5 Year 5 Category- 2

5 Year 6 Category- 2 

Cabrera has been a consistent force when healthy for the past decade plus. Unfortunately, he has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons. Mind you, it hasn’t been anything major, but a week here and a week there kind of takes its toll. Given him 50 to 75 more plate appearances every year and you would be looking at the top first baseman on the board. Rumors have him on the trade block, so it will be interesting to see if he stays in Detroit. Ranking: 4th

Chris Carter—Milwaukee Brewers (.216, 34.0 HR, 67.3 Runs, 82.0 RBI, 3.0 SB, 63.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 15

3 Year 6 Category- 14

5 Year 5 Category- 16

5 Year 6 Category- 17

One of the dilemmas of fantasy baseball is how much stock to put in a single category. On the positive end, you have the prodigious power. On the negative end, you have the really low batting average. The remainder are fairly pedestrian performance on the other three major categories. If you add in the walks you have an above average fantasy performer. In the end, it depends on what you need on draft day. Ranking: 16th

Chris Davis—Baltimore Orioles (.226, 37.0 HR, 88.0 Runs, 91.0 RBI, 1.7 SB, 77.3 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 8

3 Year 6 Category- 10

5 Year 5 Category- 8

5 Year 6 Category- 8

Davis has had only one down season over the past five years. In the meantime, he’s settled in as a supped up version of Chris Carter. He has been more prolific with the dingers and a little more prolific with the run production, but they are essentially the same player otherwise. If Mark Trumbo leaves Baltimore their offense could take a hit, so that is a situation that bears watching. Ranking: 8th

Edwin Encarnacion—Free Agent (.272, 38.6 HR, 90.2 Runs, 110.0 RBI, 5.4 SB, 78.4 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 3

3 Year 6 Category- 3

5 Year 5 Category- 3

5 Year 6 Category- 3

The Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista stories are very similar. They were middling performers before coming to Toronto and absolutely flourished north of the border. As of this writing, he has declined the qualifying offer, so he is free to sign anywhere. The question is how portable those numbers will end up being. He seems a good bet to hit 30 home runs again, but how many runs and RBI will depend on where he lands. Ranking: 3rd

Freddie Freeman—Atlanta Braves (.289, 23.2 HR, 87.4 Runs, 87.6 RBI, 3.0 SB, 73.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 7

3 Year 6 Category- 5

5 Year 5 Category- 6

5 Year 6 Category- 4

Freeman is the product of being on a bad offense. When the Braves added Matt Kemp to their lineup his production started to flourish. Dansby Swanson also gave the offense a lift when he got called up. The Braves are moving into a new stadium, so the Braves are amping up to be competitive in the NL East. They may be one more season away, but we should see an uptick in the run producing numbers if he remains healthy. Ranking: 5th

Paul Goldschmidt—Arizona Dbacks (.306, 25.3 HR, 94.7 Runs, 91.3 RBI, 20.7 SB, 97.3 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 1

3 Year 6 Category- 1

5 Year 5 Category- 1

5 Year 6 Category- 1

Goldschmidt’s speed and patience make him the top first baseman on the board by a considerable margin. However, in real production he suffers for the same reason Freeman struggles. The Dbacks may be going through a miniature rebuilding process and that could affect the offense overall. He is still worth the top slot because of those steals. Verdict: 1st

Adrian Gonzalez—Los Angeles Dodgers (.279, 24.3 HR, 76.0, 98.7 RBI, 0.3 SB, 57.7 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 10

3 Year 6 Category- 11

5 Year 5 Category- 11

5 Year 6 Category- 11

Gonzalez is what we would call an accumulator in the industry. He is not a gifted offensive performer anymore, but he manages to accumulate RBI at a nearly all-star pace. Part of that is due to ability and part is due to the fact that the Dodgers are an above average offensive attack. Yet, he has been slipping a little each season. Ranking: 13th

Eric Hosmer—Kansas City Royals (.277, 17.3 HR, 77.3 Runs, 85.0 RBI, 3.3 SB, 51.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 13

3 Year 6 Category- 12

5 Year 5 Category- 14

5 Year 6 Category- 13

A large part of fantasy sports is following trends. Adrian Gonzalez is better than Hosmer when you look at past numbers, but the future is likely to look different. Hosmer is beginning to come into his own whereas Gonzalez is on the way down. So, even though Gonzalez outperformed him over the past three seasons, Hosmer is more likely to be the better player moving forward. Ranking: 12th

Ryan Howard—Free Agent (.227, 19.2 HR, 43.0 Runs, 66.0 RBI, 0.0 SB, 33.8)

3 Year 5 Category- 22

3 Year 6 Category- 22

5 Year 5 Category- 24

5 Year 6 Category- 23

It’s hard to believe that Howard has been a better player recently than over the past five years, but it is true. He almost certainly will be outside the top 24 once we add in the younger players that didn’t make the list. If he signs with someone and gets regular time he will certainly hit 20 or more home runs. The chance of that happening is probably slim. Ranking: 24th

Adam Lind—Free Agent (.279, 15.3 HR, 52.7 Runs, 61.7 RBI, 0.0 SB, 40.0 BB)

3 Year 5 Category- 21

3 Year 6 Category- 21

5 Year 5 Category- 22

5 Year 6 Category- 22

Lind is becoming a platoon type of player. That means he should get 400 or so at bats for someone, but that’s not enough to be much of a fantasy player. He had a penchant for the dramatic as he hit a pair of walk off home runs for the Mariners last season. That should be enough to get someone to go after him.

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