Deep League Drafting: First Base

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Continuing my analysis of durability and offensive production, we'll see if 1b is still as deep as it always has been. Or is the well finally drying up?

This is a continuation of a series entitled "Deep League Drafting" where we are looking at players from the 2011-13 seasons and looking specifically at positional durability and offensive productivity. Again, the goal is to determine which positions you should draft first and which positions on which you should wait. Read more about the overall philosophy and methodology from the first installment about catchers.

Today, we look at 1b (with qualified PAs, according to Fangraphs). It is no secret that this has traditionally been the position with the most depth, and my research continues to validate that notion. There are, of course, reasons to draft a 1b early in a draft if he is an elite bat or if some unexpected value falls into your lap on draft day. However, as a general rule I tend to wait on 1b and so should you. Remember, I'm not predicting value for next year but I am describing the trend of the league the last three years to give you some insight on the overall state of the position as a whole.

As in the last article, I will offer some observations after the data.

2011 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 161 688 30 111 105 2 15.70% 12.90% 0.241 0.365 0.344 0.448 0.586 0.437 177
2 Prince Fielder Brewers 162 692 38 95 120 1 15.50% 15.30% 0.267 0.306 0.299 0.415 0.566 0.41 160
3 Adrian Gonzalez Red Sox 159 715 27 108 117 1 10.30% 16.60% 0.21 0.38 0.338 0.41 0.548 0.407 155
4 Joey Votto Reds 161 719 29 101 103 8 15.30% 17.90% 0.222 0.349 0.309 0.416 0.531 0.406 157
5 Michael Morse Nationals 146 575 31 73 95 2 6.30% 21.90% 0.247 0.344 0.303 0.36 0.55 0.39 148
6 Albert Pujols Cardinals 147 651 37 105 99 9 9.40% 8.90% 0.242 0.277 0.299 0.366 0.541 0.384 147
7 Paul Konerko White Sox 149 639 31 69 105 1 12.10% 13.90% 0.217 0.304 0.3 0.388 0.517 0.384 139
8 Mark Teixeira Yankees 156 684 39 90 111 4 11.10% 16.10% 0.246 0.239 0.248 0.341 0.494 0.361 124
9 Carlos Pena Cubs 153 606 28 72 80 2 16.70% 26.60% 0.237 0.267 0.225 0.357 0.462 0.356 121
10 Ryan Howard Phillies 152 644 33 81 116 1 11.60% 26.70% 0.235 0.303 0.253 0.346 0.488 0.355 124
11 Casey Kotchman Rays 146 563 10 44 48 2 8.50% 11.70% 0.116 0.335 0.306 0.378 0.422 0.354 127
12 Carlos Santana Indians 155 658 27 84 79 5 14.70% 20.20% 0.217 0.263 0.239 0.351 0.457 0.351 124
13 Michael Cuddyer Twins 139 584 20 70 70 11 8.20% 16.30% 0.176 0.312 0.284 0.346 0.459 0.351 121
14 Mark Reynolds Orioles 155 620 37 84 86 6 12.10% 31.60% 0.262 0.266 0.221 0.323 0.483 0.35 116
15 Freddie Freeman Braves 157 635 21 67 76 4 8.30% 22.40% 0.166 0.339 0.282 0.346 0.448 0.348 120
16 Eric Hosmer Royals 128 563 19 66 78 11 6.00% 14.60% 0.172 0.314 0.293 0.334 0.465 0.343 113
17 Gaby Sanchez Marlins 159 661 19 72 78 3 11.20% 14.70% 0.161 0.287 0.266 0.352 0.427 0.342 114
18 Carlos Lee Astros 155 653 18 66 94 4 9.00% 9.20% 0.171 0.279 0.275 0.342 0.446 0.341 115
19 James Loney Dodgers 158 582 12 56 65 4 7.20% 11.50% 0.128 0.309 0.288 0.339 0.416 0.328 110
20 Mark Trumbo Angels 149 573 29 65 87 9 4.40% 20.90% 0.223 0.274 0.254 0.291 0.477 0.328 109
21 Mitch Moreland Rangers 134 512 16 60 51 2 7.60% 18.00% 0.155 0.29 0.259 0.32 0.414 0.319 93
22 Adam Lind Blue Jays 125 542 26 56 87 1 5.90% 19.70% 0.188 0.265 0.251 0.295 0.439 0.316 95

2012 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Prince Fielder Tigers 162 690 30 83 108 1 12.30% 12.20% 0.215 0.321 0.313 0.412 0.528 0.398 153
2 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 151 644 42 93 110 13 13.00% 14.60% 0.277 0.266 0.280 0.384 0.557 0.396 151
3 Allen Craig Cardinals 119 514 22 76 92 2 7.20% 17.30% 0.215 0.334 0.307 0.354 0.522 0.374 138
4 Paul Konerko White Sox 144 598 26 66 75 9.40% 13.90% 0.188 0.312 0.298 0.371 0.486 0.371 132
5 Nick Swisher Yankees 148 624 24 75 93 2 12.30% 22.60% 0.201 0.324 0.272 0.364 0.473 0.363 128
6 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 145 587 20 82 82 18 10.20% 22.10% 0.204 0.340 0.286 0.359 0.490 0.363 124
7 Adam LaRoche Nationals 154 647 33 76 100 1 10.40% 21.30% 0.238 0.298 0.271 0.343 0.510 0.361 127
8 Albert Pujols Angels 154 670 30 85 105 8 7.80% 11.30% 0.231 0.282 0.285 0.343 0.516 0.360 132
9 Corey Hart Brewers 149 622 30 91 83 5 7.10% 24.30% 0.237 0.318 0.270 0.334 0.507 0.358 124
10 Garrett Jones Pirates 145 515 27 68 86 2 6.40% 20.00% 0.242 0.293 0.274 0.317 0.516 0.352 123
11 Chris Davis Orioles 139 562 33 75 85 2 6.60% 30.10% 0.231 0.335 0.270 0.326 0.501 0.352 120
12 Adrian Gonzalez - - - 159 684 18 75 108 2 6.10% 16.10% 0.164 0.334 0.299 0.344 0.463 0.346 116
13 Adam Dunn White Sox 151 649 41 87 96 2 16.20% 34.20% 0.263 0.246 0.204 0.333 0.468 0.346 115
14 Mark Teixeira Yankees 123 524 24 66 84 2 10.30% 15.80% 0.224 0.250 0.251 0.332 0.475 0.345 116
15 Freddie Freeman Braves 147 620 23 91 94 2 10.30% 20.80% 0.196 0.295 0.259 0.340 0.456 0.342 116
16 Mark Reynolds Orioles 135 538 23 65 69 1 13.60% 29.60% 0.208 0.282 0.221 0.335 0.429 0.335 108
17 Ike Davis Mets 156 584 32 66 90 10.40% 24.10% 0.235 0.246 0.227 0.308 0.462 0.331 111
18 Justin Morneau Twins 134 570 19 63 77 1 8.60% 17.90% 0.172 0.294 0.267 0.333 0.440 0.330 108
19 Jordan Pacheco Rockies 132 505 5 51 54 7 4.40% 12.10% 0.112 0.344 0.309 0.341 0.421 0.330 92
20 Yonder Alonso Padres 155 619 9 47 62 3 10.00% 16.30% 0.120 0.318 0.273 0.348 0.393 0.323 108

2013 Stats

Name Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
1 Chris Davis Orioles 160 673 53 103 138 4 10.70% 29.60% 0.348 0.336 0.286 0.370 0.634 0.421 167
2 Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks 160 710 36 103 125 15 13.90% 20.40% 0.249 0.343 0.302 0.401 0.551 0.404 156
3 Joey Votto Reds 162 726 24 101 73 6 18.60% 19.00% 0.186 0.360 0.305 0.435 0.491 0.400 156
4 Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays 142 621 36 90 104 7 13.20% 10.00% 0.262 0.247 0.272 0.370 0.534 0.388 145
5 Freddie Freeman Braves 147 629 23 89 109 1 10.50% 19.20% 0.181 0.371 0.319 0.396 0.501 0.387 150
6 Brandon Moss Athletics 145 505 30 73 87 4 9.90% 27.70% 0.267 0.301 0.256 0.337 0.522 0.369 137
7 Adam Lind Blue Jays 143 521 23 67 67 1 9.80% 19.80% 0.209 0.324 0.288 0.357 0.497 0.368 132
8 Mike Napoli Red Sox 139 578 23 79 92 1 12.60% 32.40% 0.223 0.367 0.259 0.360 0.482 0.367 129
9 Brandon Belt Giants 150 571 17 76 67 5 9.10% 21.90% 0.193 0.351 0.289 0.360 0.481 0.365 139
10 Allen Craig Cardinals 134 563 13 71 97 2 7.10% 17.80% 0.142 0.368 0.315 0.373 0.457 0.363 135
11 Prince Fielder Tigers 162 712 25 82 106 1 10.50% 16.40% 0.178 0.307 0.279 0.362 0.457 0.358 125
12 Eric Hosmer Royals 159 680 17 86 79 11 7.50% 14.70% 0.146 0.335 0.302 0.353 0.448 0.350 119
13 Adrian Gonzalez Dodgers 157 641 22 69 100 1 7.30% 15.30% 0.168 0.315 0.293 0.342 0.461 0.346 124
14 James Loney Rays 158 598 13 54 75 3 7.40% 12.90% 0.131 0.326 0.299 0.348 0.430 0.339 118
15 Chris Carter Astros 148 585 29 64 82 2 12.00% 36.20% 0.227 0.311 0.223 0.320 0.451 0.337 113
16 Nick Swisher Indians 145 634 22 74 63 1 12.10% 21.80% 0.177 0.288 0.246 0.341 0.423 0.336 116
17 Justin Smoak Mariners 131 521 20 53 50 12.30% 22.80% 0.174 0.278 0.238 0.334 0.412 0.331 109
18 Adam Dunn White Sox 149 607 34 60 86 1 12.50% 31.10% 0.223 0.266 0.219 0.320 0.442 0.331 105
19 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 160 690 23 71 80 6 11.00% 18.40% 0.186 0.258 0.233 0.323 0.419 0.325 102
20 Mark Trumbo Angels 159 678 34 85 100 5 8.00% 27.10% 0.219 0.273 0.234 0.294 0.453 0.322 106
21 Adam LaRoche Nationals 152 590 20 70 62 4 12.20% 22.20% 0.166 0.277 0.237 0.332 0.403 0.321 103
22 Justin Morneau - - - 152 635 17 62 77 7.90% 17.30% 0.152 0.290 0.259 0.323 0.411 0.321 102
23 Mitch Moreland Rangers 147 518 23 60 60 8.70% 22.60% 0.206 0.255 0.232 0.299 0.437 0.320 95
24 Mark Reynolds - - - 135 504 21 55 67 3 10.10% 30.60% 0.173 0.282 0.220 0.306 0.393 0.310 96

Observations:

1. Although the position by nature is deep (2013 was the deepest yet w/ 25 total players), did you know only 4 players made all three lists? Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Freddie Freeman, and...Mark Reynolds.

2. Despite sporting an unbelievable .438 wOBA in 2012, Joey Votto didn't qualify because he only had 475 PAs (see also Albert Pujols, 443 PAs in 2013).

3. Likewise Mark Trumbo would have made it all three years, but he played most of 2012 in the OF.

4. As most of you are already aware, Miguel Cabrera will be playing 1b this year for the Tigers. If he had played there in 2012-13 he would have undoubtedly been at the top of each list.

5. Freddie Freeman made a serious jump from 2012 to 2013. It will be interesting to see how his .371 BABIP will prop up his value come draft day this year.

Target:

Chris Carter. Look I'm not saying he's not a flawed player. However, just because he strikes out a lot doesn't mean he cannot be valuable for your team. Really, everyone's talking about how great a deal it is for Arizona to get Mark Trumbo (and in fantasy circles he'll get hyped because he's moving to a hitter's park), but let me propose this for 2014: Chris Carter will be more valuable in 20 14 than Mark Trumbo. If Houston happens to land Shin Soo Choo, then watch this: Altuve, Fowler, Choo, Carter, Springer, Castro...uh, you get the idea.

Avoid:

Miguel Cabrera (just kidding). The aforementioned Freddie Freeman. A lesser manager won't be looking at Freeman's BABIP from last year, so his ADP will be too high. I just don't see him hitting over .300 again. Then someone else will say something about Freeman entering his prime, to which I'll retort with Jeff Zimmerman's brilliant work on aging curve changes (which you need to read anyway). Let someone else reach for him in, what is, the deepest hitting position on the board.

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