2016 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

Post-Trade Deadline Position Rankings: First Base

The fantasy draft is the single most important event in fantasy sports. The trajectory of your team is set on that day and there is no getting around that. However, that doesn’t mean that leagues are won or lost on draft day. As we have passed the non-waiver deadline and approach the fantasy trade deadline, you can see that pre-season rankings and current rankings at first base are not necessarily one and the same.

  1. Paul Goldschmidt—Arizona Diamondbacks (Preseason #1)
  • AVG: .296
  • HR: 17
  • Runs: 63
  • RBI: 69
  • BB: 74
  • SB: 14

Simply put, Goldy fills up the stat sheet like no other first sacker in the business. Wil Myers probably comes closest with his speed, but Goldschmidt brings power, speed, and patience to the game like no other first baseman in the game. When you look up the numbers, there will be guys that best him in every category, but no one is as well-rounded.

  1. Anthony Rizzo—Chicago Cubs (Preseason #3)
  • AVG: .286
  • HR: 24
  • Runs: 66
  • RBI: 79
  • BB: 58
  • SB: 3

A significant part of the consideration for ranking fantasy players is who they are surrounded with. It is the primary difference between ranking players in terms of fantasy and real life. In real life we want to separate them from their surroundings as much as possible. Rizzo is superior to Goldy in every respect except speed.

  1. Joey Votto—Cincinnati Reds (Preseason #7)
  • AVG: .290
  • HR: 18
  • Runs: 66
  • RBI: 54
  • BB: 79
  • SB: 7

Admittedly, Votto’s lower ranking is dependent on the five category paradigm. Equally relevant is his placement on one of the worst teams in the National League. Still, a guy that routinely wins the league’s OBP crown is valuable. This year, he’s even added the occasional steal to elevate his profile.

  1. David Ortiz—Boston Red Sox (Preseason #14)
  • AVG: .311
  • HR: 25
  • Runs: 50
  • RBI: 87
  • BB: 54
  • SB: 2

I’m not exactly sure why Ortiz ranked so low coming into the season. I suppose people have been betting that he would fall off the table at some point, but if he follows through on his pledge to retire after the season, he will definitely finish on top.

  1. Edwin Encarnacion—Toronto Blue Jays (Preseason #4)
  • AVG: .265
  • HR: 30
  • Runs: 68
  • RBI: 91
  • BB: 54
  • SB: 2

Encarnacion has been what everyone thought he would be. I’m not sure where he would be in the history of the game, but he should eclipse 100 RBI before the end of the month. He certainly is positioning himself to get a huge payday in the offseason.

  1. Wil Myers—San Diego Padres (Preseason #39)
  • AVG: .279
  • HR: 21
  • Runs: 71
  • RBI: 67
  • BB: 50
  • SB: 21

Keep in mind that when you look at a preseason ranking that they rank every player that is eligible at the position. As many as half will not play at first base but a few times during the season, so people weren’t that low on Myers, but his frequent battles with injury had him in the lower third amongst declared first basemen.

  1. Miguel Cabrera—Detroit Tigers (Preseason #2)
  • AVG: .310
  • HR: 25
  • Runs: 64
  • RBI: 71
  • BB: 50
  • SB: 0

Back in the 1970s, there was one of those posters that would be a motivational poster today of the Pittsburgh Pirates sitting around the batting cage drinking coffee. The idea was that they rolled out of bed ready to hit. The same could be said for Cabrera as he continues to plug along every season.

  1. Mike Napoli—Cleveland Indians (Preseason #44)
  • AVG: .253
  • HR: 27
  • Runs: 70
  • RBI: 78
  • BB: 50
  • SB: 4

In most standard 5×5 leagues, Napoli went undrafted. He is probably the best example of how a player can win if he pays careful attention to the waiver wire throughout the season. Every position has one or two guys that come out of nowhere to have brilliant seasons and Napoli is that guy at first base.

  1. Carlos Santana—Cleveland Indians (Preseason #26)
  • AVG: .245
  • HR: 24
  • Runs: 60
  • RBI: 61
  • BB: 61
  • SB: 4

Unfortunately, Santana’s only elite skill is his ability to draw walks. Walks aren’t counted in most leagues, but they still help you because it allows you to score more runs. He is having a better season than anticipated, but his ranking is still predicated on a six category setup.

  1. Chris Davis—Baltimore Orioles (Preseason #8)
  • AVG: .218
  • HR: 22
  • Runs: 67
  • RBI: 60
  • BB: 59
  • SB: 1

Davis is essentially a more powerful version of Santana. He won’t ever hit for average, but when he is going he can hit 40+ home runs easily. That hasn’t happened this season, but he also hasn’t enjoyed the hot streaks that power hitters typically enjoy. He still should end the season with 30 or more home runs and 90 RBI.

  1. Albert Pujols—Los Angeles Angels (Preseason #15)
  • AVG: .259
  • HR: 21
  • Runs: 47
  • RBI: 83
  • BB: 43
  • SB: 4

There are a number of players listed at first base that will never be played as first basemen in fantasy. Therefore, Pujols’ pre-season ranking is just about on the money. He has seen slight upticks in batting average and on base percentage. His run production has been surprising, but that always fluctuates depending on opportunities.

  1. Hanley Ramirez—Boston Red Sox (Preseason #18)
  • AVG: .275
  • HR: 14
  • Runs: 54
  • RBI: 62
  • BB: 39
  • SB: 7

Like Pujols, Ramirez’ ranking is pretty close to appropriate. He has seen an overall improvement offensively, but that was to be expected. Overall, he has not been what the Red Sox hoped he would be, but he is certainly a useful player.

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