When preparing for your fantasy baseball drafts, it is a must to have a draft strategy, and yesterday, Zack Smith broke things down for you to assist you in your fantasy first baseman draft strategy. We have also provided you with our Top 30 first baseman rankings for 2014:
Included in the rankings above, we provided 2014 projections for almost every first baseman ranked, courtesy of Daniel Schwartz from Fake Teams and Rotobanter.
In addition, Daniel Kelley provided you his first baseman breakdown using his new fantasy stat called Equivalent Fantasy Average, or EFA.
Now that we have provided you all these tools you need to prepare for your drafts, your fantasy draft preparation would be incomplete without some first basemen to target, which we provide you today, and some first basemen to avoid, which publishes tomorrow. We asked each of the fantasy baseball writers to provide you with the first baseman they would target in fantasy drafts this season, and below you will find the targets, along with reasons why you should target said first baseman.
I wrote about Fielder in part 1 of the Top 30 first baseman rankings on Monday, but will repeat some of my thoughts here. Fielder is the one first baseman I would target in drafts this season as some will undervalue him on draft day due to his "down" year at the plate. Sure, he "only" hit 25 home runs and hit "just" .279 last season with the Tigers. Now with the offseason trade to the Rangers, Fielder has a hitters park to call home. Fielder doesn't turn 30 till early May, and he still possesses the skills to hit .290-.300, hit 35 home runs and drive in 110+ runs in 2014. In his eight MLB seasons, Fielder has averaged 35 home runs and 108 RBI per season and he could easily meet that average in 2014.
The Cubs' first baseman had a disappointing first full season in the majors. After most of the Cubs' offense underperformed in 2013, Dale Sveum was quickly jettisoned after the season. It was noted that the coaching staff was tinkering with Rizzo's swing during the early part of the season, something that could have led to his struggles. Hopefully, Rick Renteria will have better success developing the teams' young core of players. I give Rizzo a semi-pass for what happened in 2013, especially after we saw his 30 HR power on display after his call-up in 2012. The 24 year-old could still develop into one of the top power hitters in baseball over the next few seasons, with a chance of delivering excellent fantasy value in 2014.
This guy's stock has fallen too far. People keep wanting to talk about his regression, but what they don't realize is that this is Albert Pujols we're talking about here. His regression is the same as other players' ceilings. Yes, his power numbers, and other metrics are trending downward (from elite, superhuman levels) but that means he can still hit .280 with 25+ home runs this year and have good counting stats across the board. Is he Sir Albert circa 2008? No. But trust me when I say he'll finish easily in the top 10 1b this year.
We all know RBI's are fluky on a year-over-year basis and even though Votto saw the absolute worst of it in 2013, he still returned the 7th best value of 1B in 5x5 leagues. The counting stats are a solid bet to rebound, and the .310+ AVG allows you to gamble on power-only guys later in the draft. Even if walks don't count in your league, his approach makes him almost slump-proof. Votto is still an elite option at the 1B position.
Prince Fielder, Rangers - Brian Creagh (@BrianCreagh)
In a park for left-handed HR power, Fielder could go off this year. Like 40 HRs-screw-your-fat-guy-aging-curve off. I think the move to Texas is over-played a bit as far as how much value it actually adds to Fielder, but I'm buying more due to him being a legit bounce back candidate. I think the AVG and HR return to previous levels, somewhere between his Tigers days and Brewers days.
Chris Carter, Astros - Brian Creagh (@BrianCreagh)
I caution against truly targeting Chris Carter in drafts, because if you're counting on his power late in the draft, and someone else grabs him, you're SOL because the cupboards are empty after Carter. I am buying Carter in leagues where I can reach a few picks to get him. He should be able to make adjustments and cut into the K's while bumping the average up to a respectable level. But I'll take almost anything AVG with the 30 HR potential Carter offers in the middle rounds of a draft.
Along with Ray and Daniel, I ranked Hosmer the highest at No. 7, sandwiched between Prince Fielder (No. 6) and Freddie Freeman (No. 8). The Hos just completed his best season, slashing .302/.353/.448 with 17 home runs, 86 runs, 79 RBI and 11 steals. Outside of Goldschmidt, Hosmer can give you something not many first basemen can: double-digit steals. He's averaged 12 over the last three years and that number should remain constant as his power continues to grow. Hosmer's big second half included a .323 BA and .852 OPS, and I think his 2014 numbers will be closer to that than his first half numbers of .285 and .760, respectively. Despite his ground ball tendencies, I remain hopeful that Hosmer can turn into a 20-25-HR bat, but Kauffman Stadium makes 20 a lot more likely than 25. A .300-plus BA, 20 home runs, 85 runs and 80 RBI is my floor for the Royals first baseman. When you add in 10-15 steals, you get a five-category contributor at first base -- that's quite rare in today's game.
Trumbo was traded this offseason, and while there are concerns about his real-life value (specifically his defense and OBP), I think this will be a nice opportunity for fantasy owners to get excellent production at a discount. He is a player who is leaving a home park that depresses offense somewhat, to one of the better hitters' parks in the majors. While I would caution not to pay for additional production, I think it's reasonable to think he could approach 40 home runs this year, while getting him later than you would expect to for that level of production.
If you are looking for more position rankings, or plain old fantasy baseball goodness, make sure you check out Fantasy Rundown, your one place to get all things fantasy.
- ADP Rankings Analysis: First Base
- 2014 First Base Draft Strategy
- 2014 MLB Prospect Review: Dominic Smith, New York Mets
- Does C.J. Cron Make the Grade?
- Consensus Position Rankings/Projections: Top 30 First Baseman for 2014, Part 2
- Joey Votto: Ready for Another MVP Season
- Freddie Freeman: Ready to take the next step?
- First Baseman Profile: Eric Hosmer
- 2014 MLB Prospect Review: Jonathan Singleton, Houston Astros
- First Baseman Profile: Jose Abreu