In a league that is suddenly starved for HR power, the first base position ranks supreme. Did you know there are 14 first basemen being drafted inside the first 60 picks, and 18 inside the top 100 picks? You’ll be taking a first baseman early in your fantasy draft and will be counting on him all season. Let’s take a look at several over/underrated players, breakout candidates, and our top sleeper picks at the first base position.
I’ve had my issues with Rizzo over the years, namely that he couldn’t hit lefties and was stuck in the middle of a crappy Cubs lineup. The bell has been answered on both – Rizzo batted .300 against southpaws during the 2014 campaign, and the Cubs have drastically improved their lineup for the 2015 season. His BABIP wasn’t crazy in 2014, and his BB % was a career high at 11.9 %. Best yet, he’s only 24 and his power stroke is still improving. He’s worth every penny of his freight and more.
Look, I drafted him last year and got screwed too. It’s a sunk cost at this point, and we just have to move on. He’s had successful surgery, and by all accounts should be 100% (or close to it) by the time meaningful 2015 games are played. I’m going to put his 500 AB floor at 23 HR / 75 RBI / 70 R / .275. I think he has the potential for much, much more especially in the Texas summer heat as the season progresses. Albert Pujols is going 7 picks earlier, but I’d much rather have Prince. Remember, despite his long MLB history, he’s still only 30 years old.
You’ve got to be kidding me? ADP 299? Wow. Vargas was an unvarnished monster for the Twins toward the end of last season, putting together 9 HR and 38 RBI in only 234 AB. If you add his AA numbers to that, he put up 26 HR and 101 RBI in 639 AB total. He’s in line to be the primary DH for the Twins, and you have to see this 289-pound switch-hitting monster in action to believe him. If he gets 500 AB, he’s going to find his way to 20+ HR. I don’t care if you don’t draft him for your primary 1B slot, just remember to grab him late and plug him in at UTIL. You’ll thank me later.
One of the principal tenets of fantasy baseball is to not overpay for previous results – we’re looking for number that will be accrued this year, not in years past. In 2015, folks drafting VMart will be paying for his 2014 numbers, not his potential. At age 35, he set career highs in HR, BA, and randomly, SB. He was also near his peak in RBI and R as well. Basically, he’s never done that before, and with his age currently at 36 and coming off a meniscus tear, he’s unlikely to do so again. If he qualified at C, that’s one thing, but in most leagues he’s a 1B only, making his ADP much too high for my tastes.
This is less about Freeman, who I believe to be an extremely consistent performer, and more about the dumpster-fire of a lineup that Atlanta is planning on putting on the field. They kept the terrible Upton, lost the good one, traded Gattis, and signed only mediocre Nick Markakis to help you. He has no protection, and nobody is going to be on base in front of him. Freeman will be passable and probably hit for a decent average, but I simply can’t see a way he will finish inside the top 30 overall. It looks like a year of frustration for Atlanta fans is on the way.
He’s been so good, for so long. One of the most reliable HR guys in the game, the soul of Boston, etc. I like him, and I’d want him on my real life team, but not on my fantasy squad. Fact is, he’s going to bottom out one of these years. He’s 39 years old right now, and we know that when big guys go, they go quickly. I’d be more interested if his ADP was 90-100, inside the top 60 I’m looking for youth and upside.
Left for dead by fantasy owners in Minnesota, Morneau experienced a rebirth in Colorado in 2014. He hit .319 with 17 HR and 82 RBI for a Rockies team that experienced multiple critical injuries to key players. I think he shows up again in 2015, and if CarGo, Tulo, Dickerson, Arenado and Blackmon manage to stay relatively healthy, he could turn in the kind of unnoticed year that wins fantasy teams championships. With a super low ADP, it won’t cost you much to speculate and the rewards could be great.
I’m not a huge fan of Napoli’s skill set, but at this ADP, color me interested. Prior to 2014, he’d never been below 20 HR. His BB % actually improved while his K % declined, and while I don’t know how much sleep apnea that requires reconstructive facial surgery could affect a player, he’s now got that behind him as well. He also gets to hit in the lower part of the loaded Boston lineup, and should get heaps of both pitches to hit and RBI opportunities. If you were to get 20 / 70 / 70 out of him (which I think is entirely reasonable) he’d beat his ADP handily.
Average draft position (ADP) information is courtesy of FantasyPros and is aggregated from Yahoo, CBS, and ESPN draft data.