To help prepare for the upcoming MLB season, I’ll be providing analysis of each fantasy baseball position. To stay consistent I’ll be referencing the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking from FantasyPros. I’ve found from experience that the consensus rankings give a better overall picture of positional rankings. This particular ranking provides the aggregate ADP (Average Draft Position) from Yahoo! Sports, ESPN, CBS, NFBC and RT Sports.
In this edition we’ll be looking at the Top First Basemen, the Best Value, Sleeper Pick and Potential Bust. Position rank, ADP and projected stats are based off FantasyPros First Base consensus rankings.
Top Three First Basemen:
- Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks (1st First Baseman, 2.3 ADP)
Analysis: Goldschmidt is arguably the top overall player in all of Fantasy Baseball for the 2016 season, CBS Sports Fantasy Analyst Chris Towers even goes as far as making a case for Goldschmidt to be picked first overall. He fills it up in all six standard fantasy categories and barring injury is in line for another big season. Of the top overall picks he’s likely the safest pick and most consistent across all categories. There’s not many first basemen that reach 20+ steals and have a chance to also reach 40 homers. The former 2nd baseman hitting 9th in the lineup in 8th grade is a worthy top 3 pick in all formats. GTD Suggested Round: 1st Round- Top 3 Pick
- Anthony Rizzo, Cubs (2nd First Baseman, 12.8 ADP)
Analysis: I’ve been a Rizzo fan for quite some time, I even own an “A to the Rizzo” t-shirt and had him on my team back in his Padres days. He projects as the 3 hitter in what should be a prolific Cubs offense and will have the protection of Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber behind him in the lineup. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein even recently talked of Rizzo as a “Sneaky MVP candidate”. At 26 years old and in the prime of his career, he’s in line for a monster season and I would not be surprised to see him reach 40 homers and could top 100 runs scored. GTD Suggested Round: Late 1st Round
- Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays (4th First Baseman, 21.0 ADP)
Analysis: When you think Edwin Encarnacion, you think power or maybe you’re thinking of the gif with a parrot on his arm… to each his own. The guy can hit the ball a mile and as shown in the video below the ball may have actually traveled a mile. Over the past 4 years Edwin has averaged 38 homers and 106 RBI per season and those numbers would be even higher without the season ending wrist injury in 2014 which limited him to 128 games. E’s in a contract year and is scheduled to have Jose Bautista batting in front of him and Troy Tulowitzki batting behind him. There should be plenty opportunity in that lineup and is a safe 2nd round pick. GTD Suggested Round: 2nd Round
Best Value Pick: Victor Martinez, Tigers (28th First Baseman, ADP 231.8)
Analysis: Coming off an injury plagued season, Martinez is a bit of a forgotten player and a strong bounce back candidate. Early reports from Spring Training have been glowing about V-Mart appear, he seems to be back healthy and appearing “noticeably stronger”. It was just two years ago that he surprised with 32 homers, 103 RBI and a .335 batting average. The career .302 hitter over 13 seasons appears to be locked into the 4 hole spot in the order with Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton and Miguel Cabrera ahead of him in the lineup. If he’s truly back to 100%, there should be opportunity for Martinez to knock in runs with those three in front. With an ADP of 231.8, that would put him in the 19th round of standard 12 team drafts, I think his value could be higher. GTD Suggested Round: 15th round
Sleeper Pick: Byung Ho Park, Twins (24th First Baseman, ADP 197.3)Analysis: Park signed a 4 year deal for $12 million with the Twins this past December. He comes over from the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) where he put up some monster numbers the past 2 years. In the past 2 years Park has hit a combined 105 homers with 270 RBIs in 268 games. Last year alone he hit 53 homers with 146 RBI and a .343 batting average. He obviously won’t be putting up those kind of insane numbers in MLB but is worth a look in the middle rounds. As a comparison for the difference in quality of competition, in 2014 Jung-ho Kang batted .356 with 40 homers and 117 RBI in the KBO and in his rookie year with the Pirates batted .287 with 15 homers and 58 RBI. The transition to new pitching in MLB may take some time, but theres upside with Park and his massive bat flips. GTD Suggested Round: 12th Round
Potential Bust: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers (9th First Baseman, ADP 57.8)Analysis: With close to 10 first basemen projected to go in the first 5 rounds, Adrian Gonzalez is my pick to be a potential bust. He’s already dealing with a bulging disk on the right side of his neck, which is enough of a red flag for me along with a Dodger lineup that could go in any direction. With an ADP of 57.8 that has him going in the 4th round of 12 team leagues, I’d pass as there’s other higher upside first baseman you can target a bit later in the draft. GTD Suggested Round: Wait Until 6th Round
Check back this week as I’ll be releasing a new baseball position preview daily.