The first base position has traditionally been loaded with talent and a primary source of power for fantasy players. With overall HR totals increasing for four straight seasons, and perceived depth at the position, some fantasy managers may put off selecting a first baseman until the later rounds of their drafts. That used to be a good strategy but in 2018 it may expose you to risk.
There’s quality talent at the position in the later rounds, but if you wait too long, you might end up with a first baseman better qualified to be your corner infielder.
If you want to roster one of the top bats at the position, grab your first baseman by the fifth round of a 12 team rotisserie league. Here’s what you can expect with regards to the first base position in National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC) drafts:
Paul Goldschmidt is a mid to late first round pick. No, the humidor will not be his kryptonite. He’ll still hit approximately 30 HRs. He is one of the few first basemen who can steal 20 plus bases.
Votto provides an elite batting average and power, but he’s especially valuable in leagues that utilize on base percentage (.449 OBP last three seasons).
Freeman has produced a .304/.401/.576 slash line, and stolen 14 bases over the past two seasons. Depending on your league’s rules, his 16 games at third base may make him multi-position eligible.
Rizzo doesn’t hit for high average (.268 lifetime), but he’s provided 32 HRs three of the last four seasons, and driven in 109 runs in two straight.
Bellinger (1B/OF eligible) hit 39 HRs, and stole 10 bases as a rookie in 2017. His consistent season long production alleviates fears for a potential sophomore slump.
Jose Abreu could return good fantasy value as a third- or fourth-round pick. In his four year career he’s compiled a .301 batting average, posted four straight 100 plus RBI seasons, and averaged 33 HRs.
Encarnacion is the most appealing. He’s averaged 38 HRs and 110 RBI over the past seven seasons.
Posey hits for average, but declining power numbers make him more valuable as a catcher.
Hoskins (1B/OF eligible) set an MLB record by hitting 18 HRs in the first 34 games of his career. If his last season’s BABIP (.241) normalizes, his .259 batting average should improve.
Wil Myers is being selected in the sixth round of NFBC leagues. His career .254 batting average is mediocre, but he’s hit 58 HRs and stolen 48 bases over the past two seasons. He’ll also be multi-position eligible (1B/OF) because.
Miguel Cabrera is often available in the eighth round of a 12 team draft. Injuries derailed his 2017 season. If healthy, he could be a draft day bargain.
On the subject of bargains, these first base eligible players could outplay their ADPs this season:
Trey Mancini (1B/OF eligible), hit 24 HRs and batted .293 last season. He’s going in the 13th round of 12 team NFBC drafts.
Josh Bell hit 26 HRs, drove in 90 runs and his second half batting average was 35 points higher than his first half average. Take him in the 16th round.
TOP 20 FIRST BASEMEN
1.Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
2.Joey Votto, Reds
3.Freddie Freeman, Braves
4.Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
5.Jose Abreu, White Sox
6.Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
7.Wil Myers, Padres
8.Rhys Hoskins, Phillies
9.Edwin Encarnacion, Indians
10.Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com