(Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire)
Next verse same as the first a little bit louder and a whole lot…better? Yesterday the first of our positional dynasty rankings went up for catchers. Following the diamond, today we’ll be covering first basemen. As the cornerstone of a democratic government is a free press, the cornerstone of any fantasy team is its first basemen. Honestly, I don’t know if that is true — but it certainly sounds like a fun comparison, eh?
I do not like first base prospects. They’re unstable and frequently are designated to other positions because teams want to slide their aging stars over to the corner. It’s for this reason that despite their rankings, I don’t hold much (if any) stock in first base prospects. Their spot in the farm system in my mind is better spent on a position of need or a flyer on a guy you think could start breaking out.
Tier One: Goldmine
1. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI, 30)
2. Freddie Freeman (ATL, 28)
3. Cody Bellinger (LAD, 22)
Tier Two: The Best is Yet to Come
4. Anthony Rizzo (CHI, 28)
5. Rhys Hoskins (PHI, 25)
6. Wil Myers (SD, 27)
Tier Three: Old Man River
7. Joey Votto (CIN, 34)
8. Jose Abreu (CWS, 31)
9. Eric Hosmer (SD, 28)
10. Edwin Encarnacion (CLE, 35)
11. Miguel Cabrera (DET, 34)
12. Justin Smoak (TOR, 31)
Tier Four: The Best of the Rest
13. Matt Olson (OAK, 24)
14. Josh Bell (PIT, 25)
15. Ian Desmond (COL, 32)
16. Trey Mancini (BAL, 26)
17. Justin Bour (MIA, 29)
Tier Five: Dire Times are These
18. Joey Gallo (TEX, 24)
19. Ryan McMahon (COL, 23)
20. Ryan Zimmermann (WAS, 33)
21. Greg Bird (NYY, 25)
22. Bobby Bradley (CLE, 23)
23. Pavin Smith (ARI, 22)
24. Jake Bauers (TB, 22)
25. Peter Alonso (NYM, 23)
Tier Six: So, You Really Waited a While, Didn’t Ya?
26. Ryon Healy (OAK, 26)
27. Yuli Gurriel (HOU, 33)
28. Matt Carpenter (STL, 32)
29. Carlos Santana (PHI, 31)
30. Edwin Rios (LAD, 23)
Way Too Deep Prospects
In keeping with three rookie level players that I don’t own, but choose to keep an eye on — look toward Justin Yurchak, Mason Martin, and Trevor Craport. These three would not make any of my lists this year, but could very well climb up quickly when I do my end of the year rankings.
- I kept a lot of aging 1B near the top of the list because I think they constantly justify their position. As I mentioned in my intro, I think 1B inherently are meant to be older and this is the one position in fantasy baseball that age should not matter so long as results are produced. As soon as this crop of 30+ y/o players starts to decline or retire, there will be another wave of 30 y/o OF/3B that teams move over to first base.
- I am keeping Wil Myers on my list because I think he gets enough 1B reps to justify a 1B designation in dynasty rankings.
- Miguel Cabrera may be ranked high at 11 — but I believe last year was a result of a back injury he sustained in the World Baseball Classic (that eventually sidelined him in September). I’ll be paying close attention to Miggy throughout Spring Training — if the Miggy of old isn’t there, expect to see him drop as quickly as his decline would represent.
- I hate that I sort of like Matt Olson. He represents everything I avoid in fantasy baseball and he is so clearly in line for a regression with this HR/2B splits, his home stadium, and current lack of talent around him — but still, I own shares of him because something is clearly there. Like Rhys Hoskins, but better, Olson his an absurd 24 HR in 49 games — nobody does that anymore. The power is legit, if he can maintain a semblance of an average, but hit for power like Joey Gallo — this ranking is earned and Olson will be in line for a move up.
- Similar to Myers, I am keeping Ian Desmond on this list because I still think he gets enough 1B reps this year to justify a 1B designation. His speed may even push him higher than I have him ranked coupled with the boon of Coors, but at 32 I have a slight preference in age for the two above him.
- I kept Yordan Alvarez off this list despite being listed as a 1B/OF — it sounds as though his future is less a first baseman and more tucked away somewhere in the Olympian ranks of current outfield prospects. Had I ranked him as a 1B, he would have slotted in at 20 below Ryan McMahon. I think he has more potential than McMahon, but given McMahon is a) in Colorado and b) will be playing asap — I gave McMahon the benefit of the doubt in these rankings.
- If Bobby Bradley continues to cut his strikeout rate this year and Pavin Smith discovers any amount of power — I’d expect to see these two higher as the year progresses.
- I am a sucker for speed in places speed should not be (catcher, first base, third base) — that is my justification for having Jake Bauers as my number 23 first baseman and fourth overall first base prospect. Bauers has shown stable improvements every step along the way. While he may never have an above average hit tool — I see him as a poor man’s Wil Myers. He may well make the Opening Day roster too, so ya know, that helps.
- Edwin Rios, you poor poor man. An embarrassment of riches, the Dodgers do not have a clear path for Rios. I would have him ranked much higher, but his future is so uncertain it is difficult to place him. He has done nothing but hit for power and average in the minors and is about as complete as the minors can mold a player to be (hitting .309/.362/.533 and 24 HR between AA/AAA last year). If Cody Bellinger goes back to OF or Rios is traded, his value should rocket up.
- If you have Buster Posey, he should not be played here. When he loses catcher eligibility eventually, I’m not entirely convinced he should be rostered. I left him off my list to make this point.
I’ll be making notes in each of my rankings for players/situations/choices worth noting — if there is something specific you wish to discuss regarding the ranks — drop a comment.