First Base is a position that is an intricate part of any fantasy baseball championship. It is a position that should yield a good deal of home run totals, runs batted in, and not hurt your batting average if you are selecting one early. Historically, first base has been a very deep position, but not this year, as it is more top heavy so waiting on this position is a little more risky this season.
There are three players we feel carry little to no risk and over the past few seasons there was no debate who was the overall number 1st baseman in fantasy baseball but things have changed. Albert Pujols started the year terribly slow but came around to have a monster second half in Pujols fashion. With that said it was still not enough for us to take away his top billing to Joey Votto. Barring an injury we truly believe Votto could win a triple crown this season, he is a pure hitter with a ton of power. Mix in Prince Fielder and you have yourself a clear cut top three.
After these elite players things get a little less clear cut. Personally, we like Billy Butler as he came into his own last year in terms of power (the average was always there) but Gonzalez, Encarnacion, or even the young Goldschmidt could prove the best out of the rest. Ranking Encarnacion and his 42 homers sixth overall at this position was a tough decision but we believe he will regress this season.
Once these top players are off the board the risk really starts to come in. Sure, players like Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira have been fantasy monsters in the past but both are dealing with injury issues as Howard is still coming back for his ACL injury and Teixeira already had an injury in spring training that might sideline him for up to 10 weeks. Personally, if I miss out I am not going after these older players and hoping some young players to really breakout.
Players with upside such as Ike Davis (as Dustin says he has a real chance to league the league in home runs – I think he might be Adam Dunn 2.0….I see a bet coming), Hosmer, or Rizzo could have a true breakout campaign this season. Hosmer is a perfect example of a post hype sleeper. Last season, everyone loved Hosmer and all the upside he had but he did not pan out and week by week his average draft position is slipping. If he puts it together not only will you get the power numbers but he has enough speed to make a difference for your fantasy team as 20 bags is not out of the question for him.
There are a few late round values that we like but Brandon Moss is top of the class when it comes to that. In only 265 at bats Moss had 21 home runs while batting over 290. Be sure to check out all of our sleepers and deep sleepers because we highlight many players to target later.
Draft Day Advice
Since first base is a little more top heavy we have no issues locking up one of the elite guys earlier than you would have in prior years. Now, we are never a fan of reaching and there is enough talent from top to bottom not to have to do that but if you miss on the top guys be sure to grab at least two first basemen. I love the idea of pairing a young upside guy with an aging player. If I come out of my draft with Howard and Hosmer and only having to spend late middle round picks on them I will be extremely happy.