Today, I continue the task of looking back at our 2014 position rankings in an effort to see what we got right and what we got wrong. Ranking players in the offseason involves plenty of analysis, all of which may mean nothing once the season starts and they start playing the games. One step that is a must is to project who you think could break out, and who could be in for a bad season. But with that step, you must (should) factor those into your rankings. Ranking a player higher than the consensus is not an easy task, as many readers will question you on your optimism, and why. Having statistical support for your ranking is a requirement, but sometimes they don't tell us all we need to know about a player, or how a team is planning on using said player in the coming year. That makes ranking players at each position a task that usually results in you being more wrong than right. But,we rank anyway, because rankings is the last step in your preparation for the many drafts you participate in each season.
Today, I take a look at our preseason first base rankings, and will look at which players exceeded our expectations and which players underperformed. I will complete this review for each position over the next few weeks, in an effort to learn from my (our) mistakes so we can improve our rankings for 2015 and the years ahead.
Below you will find our 2014 rankings for first baseman ranked 1-15:
Below you will find our 2014 rankings for first baseman ranked 16-30:
What we got right
Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
Well, we knew Miggy could keep hitting like he did in 2012 and 2013, but we did expect him to hit more than 25 home runs. With that said, Miggy did hit .313-.371-.514 with 25 home runs, 101 runs scored and 109 RBI. But, his triple slash line was his worst since 2008, and his 25 home runs were his lowest since 2006. This might be the start of a slow decline for Cabrera, but it wouldn't surprise me to see him return to the 30+ home run level in 2015, but he will fall a few spots in my overall rankings.
Others we were right on: Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion
What we got wrong
Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Who saw this kind of season from Jose Abreu this season? I liked him coming into the season, and moved him up my overall rankings that published after our consensus rankings were published, but I didn't see him going 30-100-.300 in his rookie season. I recall reading back in spring training someone comparing Abreu to Miguel Cabrera, and another well-known writer said he would be a top 25 hitter in MLB this season.
Abreu hit .317-.383-.581 with 36 home runs, 80 runs scored and 107 RBI and is a virtual lock to win the American League Rookie of the Year award. He led all first baseman in home runs, ranked second in batting average and third in RBI, so he could be a first round pick in 2015. Actually, I think he will be a first round pick next season.
Joey Votto, Cincinnati
We, along with many other fantasy writers, ranked Reds first baseman Joey Votto in our top 5 fantasy first baseman coming into the season, but a nagging leg injury limited him to 62 games this season, where he hit just .255-.390-.409 with 6 home runs, 32 runs scored and 23 RBI.
I recently tweeted that Votto will fall in my 2015 first base rankings, and I could see dropping him out of my top 10 pretty easily, with the following first baseman ranked ahead of him:
Thoughts? Would you draft Votto before any of the first baseman listed above?
Chris Davis, Baltimore
We ranked Orioles first baseman Chris Davis as our third ranked fantasy first baseman this season, but he ended up being one of the biggest busts of the 2014 season, even before his suspension. On the season, Davis hit just .106-.300-.404 with 26 home runs, 65 runs scored and 72 RBI in 127 games.
His power potential makes him valuable on draft day, but he will have to improve upon his .242 BABIP and his 33% strikeout rate in 2015. His .242 BABIP is about 80 points below his career BABIP, so his batting average, and home run total, should rise next season.
Others we were wrong on: Justin Morneau, Mark Trumbo
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