2018 Fantasy Baseball: 5 and 6 Category Rankings– First Base A-H
Total points are the newest craze in fantasy baseball, but five and six category leagues are still the foundation of the industry. Still, if you would like a comparison across the first base universe, please feel free to check out the total points version. Included in that version is the contract status of each player. Here, we will rank players according to their aggregate rankings in the five and six categories. The sixth category will be walks for our purposes.
Just like with the total points articles, we will look at not only the averages for each player, but what they have done in each of the past five seasons. Often, we see players have uncharacteristically good or bad seasons that skew the findings. So, take everything as it is intended and adapt accordingly.
Jose Abreu—Chicago White Sox
5 Category: 6
6 Category: 9
As noted in the other article, Abreu is arbitration eligible following his initial four-year contract. MLBTR estimates the deal would come to around 16 million if the White Sox go through with that. Does it make sense for them to pay him that amount of money given their situation? His numbers look gaudy, but he doesn’t walk enough to be an elite offensive player. So, is there a team out there willing to pay him AND give the White Sox something of value for him?
Yonder Alonso—Free agent
5 Category: 25
6 Category: 26
How much credence do you put in one season? His home run per fly ball rate skyrocketed to 19.4 percent last year after never surpassing 7.8 percent (in seasons with more than 100 PA). How much does a team want to invest in that happening again? He has the feel a platoon player at this point. He could land with a team that needs a left-handed 1B/DH option. Those jobs are few and far between.
Josh Bell—Pittsburgh Pirates
5 Category: 28
6 Category: 27
Like many others, we have to look at the season by season results in lieu of the aggregate. Bell started to put things together in the second half last season, so he will likely be better than last season’s numbers, but how much better. If he puts up .270/30/80/90/2/70 numbers is that enough to be a fantasy starter?
Cody Bellinger—Los Angeles Dodgers
5 Category: 2
6 Category: 3
It’s impossible to know what to do with guys like Bellinger. Every few years someone like him comes along (this year there are two with him and Aaron Judge). Do they become superstars or does the league figure them out? Both have holes in their approach that could be closed or lead them to take a giant step back. Bellinger is eligible as a left fielder in outfield specific leagues or as an outfielder in generic leagues. So, he has some added utility.
Brandon Belt—San Francisco Giants
5 Category: 17
6 Category: 16
Some players do better with total points and others do better in traditional formats. Belt doesn’t hit enough home runs to be a big time fantasy player in standard formats. He can still be a valuable member of a fantasy roster, but you can wait until closer to the end of the draft to add him. In leagues that utilize a 1B/3B slot, he could end up starting for you. Otherwise, he is a valuable bench piece.
Justin Bour—Miami Marlins
5 Category: 22
6 Category: 23
The Marlins are definitely trading Giancarlo Stanton and might trade Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich as well. If that is the case then Bour could become their most experienced and talented offensive player. That doesn’t bode well for Bour or for the Marlins in the short term. Some players are prime time players and others produce when they are surrounded by prime- time players. Bour is the latter kind.
Miguel Cabrera—Detroit Tigers
5 Category: 8
6 Category: 7
It’s too bad for Cabrera that he played at the same time as Albert Pujols. If he remains relatively healthy he could end up with more than 2000 RBIs as well. The memory of great players will get you burned in fantasy baseball. No one really knows how much he has left in the tank, but it is clear he is closer to the end than he is to his prime.
Chris Davis—Baltimore Orioles
5 Category: 10
6 Category: 10
Two obviously brilliant campaigns are bringing the entire average up. 2016 might represent the midpoint of what we can expect when Davis is healthy. Those are pretty good numbers when you ignore the batting average. This is especially true when we add the sixth category. So, in his case the aggregate actually works out.
Lucas Duda—Free Agent
5 Category: 24
6 Category: 22
In a way, Duda demonstrates the depth the first base position. If you remove 2016 he comes off even better. Still, the aggregate probably represents where we should expect him moving into the future. We probably won’t see any everyday jobs for him this winter, but if he goes to the right team he could end up being the lefty side of a really good platoon at either first base or designated hitter.
Edwin Encarnacion—Cleveland Indians
5 Category: 4
6 Category: 3
It is always interesting comparing formats. Encarnacion was first in the total points, but suffers a little here when we move to more traditional formats. What is also interesting is that when you compare him to the other top first basemen he ends up trailing in the sabermetric numbers like WAR. Clearly, he hits in the right moments so he can produce all of those RBI. Maybe he is a clutch performer or maybe he’s just a vulture. Either way, he should never be ignored.
Freddie Freeman—Atlanta Braves
5 Category: 7
6 Category: 6
Freeman is a prime time performer that is only a little luck away from being a top five performer. He has missed significant time in two out of the last three seasons. If you take the 162 game average for his career you’d see that Freeman would average .290/26/93/93/4/76. That includes the early part of his career where he struggled a little. He easily could end up being a .300/30/100/100/5/80 guy.
Paul Goldschmidt—Arizona Diamondbacks
5 Category: 1
6 Category: 1
Goldschmidt is the perfect fantasy baseball package for traditional formats. He even adds 20 steals at a position that doesn’t traditionally add it. He hits home runs, hits for average, and draws walks. There are others that do each individual skill better, but no one has the combination of skills that Goldschmidt has.
Adrian Gonzalez— Los Angeles Dodgers
5 Category: 15
6 Category: 15
Gonzalez will turn 36 next season. It’s hard to determine at this point whether 2017 was just an injury riddled season or the beginning of the end. The Dodgers would love to unload him on someone and it would be easy to see him succeeding in the right spot, but goodness knows where that spot is at this point. If healthy, he could be a nice bench piece for an industrious fantasy owner, but that’s a lot to gamble on.
Yulieski Gurriel—Houston Astros
5 Category: 26
6 Category: 29
Gurriel had a nice “rookie” campaign last season and it helped the Astros advance to the World Series. He had an .864 OPS in the postseason including two home runs in the World Series. It is clear he has arrived as a player, but without patience at the plate he is not much of a fantasy player in traditional terms. His 43 doubles make him a much more appealing total points player than five or six category guy.
Eric Hosmer—Free Agent
5 Category: 10
6 Category: 8
If Gurriel drew more walks he would essentially be Eric Hosmer. Gurriel is signed a five year, 47.5 million-dollar deal in 2016. Hosmer hopes to sign for around 200 million (at least that’s what his agent, Scott Boras, hopes he will sign for). Either someone is going to significantly overpay or someone is going to come away disappointed. The same is true in fantasy circles. Anyone investing a high draft pick or high auction value in him is going to come away disappointed.