2017 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2017 Fantasy Baseball: Positional Power Rankings– First Base

Ranking players at this point in the season might seem like a fun exercise and it is, but there are real advantages to looking at the data. First, there is always the remote chance that one of these players might be available in your league. A reader last week noticed that Brian McCann (the number two catcher) was available in his league. Sometimes weird things happen. More importantly though, seeing a list based on a carefully crafted criteria demonstrates that some players are overvalued and some are undervalued. Being armed with this information can be really helpful when trade offers start flying around.

The rankings are based on a crude metric I call adjusted offensive value (AOV). It is calculated by averging a player’s batting average with their secondary average. Secondary average was a statistic invented by Bill James to calculate everything a player does outside of batting average. That includes power, patience, and speed. When you average that with batting average you are essentially encompassing everything a player does.

(Statistics accurate through Sunday June 18th)

1. Paul Goldschmidt— Arizona Diamondbacks

AOV: .410

Slash: .324/16/60/57/13

Goldschmidt is the silent assassin. He is a fantasy player’s dream because he absolutely fills out every category and he may be the frontrunner for the NL MVP award this season. His Dbacks are on pace to advance to the postseason and that is largely on his back. He should only be dealt if someone is willing to offer a king’s ransom.

2. Eric Thames— Milwaukee Brewers

AOV: .409

Slash: .265/20/50/38/2

Thames is the feel good story of the year, but if you’ve been watching closely, his production has begun to taper off a bit. Still, he leads the NL with 20 home runs as of this writing and he has shown good patience at the plate as well. Still, he would be an ideal sell high candidate if you own him. As you will see, there are numerous productive first sackers to choose from and he could help you fill other holes.

3. Joey Votto— Cincinatti Reds

AOV: .395

Slash: .304/19/49/51/2

Sadly, most leagues don’t count the area where Votto helps you the most. He has led the league in walks several times and could have done it a couple more times if it weren’t for injuries. Couple that with a .300 average and you have an on base machine. He’s actually producing more of the conventional numbers this season, so it is hard to consider giving someone like him up.

4. Yonder Alonso— Oakland Athletics

AOV: .394

Slash: .302/17/37/37/1

You would think a team that had Alonso, Khris Davis, and Ryon Healy would be more competitive than what they are. He is definitely a sell high candidate, but the wild card of the real trade deadline also looms. Will he be dealt to a contender for prospects or will they deal others to try to build around him? He says he is open to extension talks, so they may keep him. That unfortunately diminishes his fantasy value.

5. Ryan Zimmerman— Washington Nationals

AOV: .374

Slash: .349/19/45/54/1

Last season, Daniel Murphy was in Zimmerman’s shoes. He got off to a ridiculously good start and managed to sustain it through the end of the season. Maybe Zimmerman will be that guy too, but the track record says no. Mind you, Zimmerman is perfectly acceptable when healthy, but acceptable is not top five material. I’d deal him even at 75 cents on the dollar.

6. Logan Morrison— Tampa Bay Rays

AOV: .371

Slash: .245/21/40/47/1

Anyone noticing a trend? Draft day is important, but championships are won and lost based on how you handle the waiver wire throughout the season. Can you identify the diamonds in the rough before everyone else? I hate to say anything negative about Morrison because the talent has always been there. If you own him you are better off sticking with him. If someone else does you can try to undersell him and fool the other guy into giving him up.

7. Justin Bour— Miami Marlins

AOV: .361

Slash: .303/17/28/44/1

I saw this guy play in a AAA game in New Orleans. That was last season. He may be the most unsung guy up here and that is saying something with some of these names. The track record says he is good, but nothing special. That being said, he is so under the radar that I doubt that anyone would beat down your door for him if you owned him. Yet, he may be the guy on this list that is most likely to be available in your league.

8. Anthony Rizzo— Chicago Cubs

AOV: .348

Slash: .263/16/42/45/5

Rizzo may have been the second or third best player in the NL last season. He has been good this season, but not quite at 2016 levels. That’s normally how these things happen. World Champions have guys play just a little above of their paygrade. Out of all of the guys on the list, he is the one that has the greatest potential for growth.

9. Mark Reynolds— Colorado Rockies

AOV: .341

Slash: .302/17/40/55/1

Speaking of playing above your paygrade, Reynolds has never done anything close to this in a career that has spanned around a decade. Chris Carter is the only thing standing between him and the ML record for strikeouts. His 834 strikeouts between 2008 and 2011 will likely never be eclipsed. Still, he has always had the power, but I doubt he ends the season hitting .300.

10. Edwin Encarnacion— Cleveland Indians

AOV: .337

Slash: .261/16/38/36/1

As much as I enjoy gaudy counting numbers (HR, Runs, RBI), they really don’t reveal a great deal about a player’s geniune value. People will look at Encarnacion’s RBI total and convince themselves he’s a bust. Sure, April was an ugly month for him, but the rest of his numbers have been right around where they have always been. That means he is due a correction and you want to be there when that correction comes.

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