We are approaching the conclusion of First Base Week at Fake Teams, and we couldn't end the week without offering some first base sleepers for the 2015 season. This list will include some first baseman that may not be drafted in 12 team mixed leagues, and maybe even deeper leagues, but who could outperform expectations in 2015.
Here is a look at a few first baseman who will be available late in drafts, or on your league waiver wire, who could outperform their draft day value in 2015:
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Teixeira was once one of the first first baseman off draft board, but age, injury and a big drop in power has relegated him to being a late round or waiver wire add in case of injury. He is now three years removed from a 39 home run, 111 RBI season, and hits in a stadium that is very friendly to left handed hitters. One hot month could vault him into the 30 home run range once again in 2015.
Ike Davis, Athletics
Davis is two years removed from a 32 home run, 90 RBI season in New York. After some time with the Pirates, he now calls Oakland home and has the power to hit 25 home runs with regular playing time, even in O.co Stadium. Davis wouldn't be the first hitter to turn his career around in Oakland, and if you look real close at his peripheral stats, you see a hitter who walks quite a bit, so he has value in OBP leagues, and has cut his strikeout rate as well.
Allen Craig, Red Sox
Craig has not been the same since injuring his ankle a few seasons ago, but will probably need a trade to see more playing time in 2015, as he is a bench player in the stacked Red Sox lineup. When healthy, Craig is a very good hitter, just not one who will hit for much power.
Kennys Vargas, Twins
Vargas had a terrific major league debut hitting .274-.316-.456 with 9 home runs, 26 runs scored and 38 RBI in just 234 plate appearances last season, so he offers owners some late round power. He played just 13 games at first base last season, so he may not be eligible there in all leagues (check your league and site eligibility rules). He was drafted in the 22nd round of the recent FSTA Experts league, so that gives you an idea as to where he will come off the board in mixed leagues this season. He has the power to hit 20-25 home runs and drive in 80+ runs, but may struggle to hit for average.
Ryan Howard, Phillies
Speaking of the FSTA league, Howard wasn't even drafted in that 13 team, 29 round draft, so that tells you how far he has fallen off the radar in 2015. Yet he is coming off a season where he hit 23 home runs and drove in 95 runs. There is talk that the Phillies may end up waiving him and eating his contract, but I don't think that will happen until they deem the next hitter on this list is ready to be called up from AAA. Even if he is waived, I could see some team picking him up once he clears waivers as he could help some teams in the American League, including the Rays, Orioles and a few others.
Maikel Franco, Phillies
Franco is the Phillies third baseman of the future, but with Cory Asche manning the hot corner, he may see more time at first base this season. Recent report indicate that Asche is already taking fly balls in the outfield, so there is a chance Franco becomes eligible at third base as well. Franco offers owners a solid hit and power tool, but he struggled in his cup of coffee last season. Steamer projects him to hit 19 home runs and drive in 63 runs in a full season of at bats.
Adam Lind, Brewers
Lind is one of my favorite sleepers in 2015, as he gets a chance to play full time in Milwaukee, and is coming off a season where he hit just 6 home runs. There is more power in his bat, and that should be on display in the hitter friendly Miller Park. He should hit in the 5 or 6 hole in the Brewers lineup, so he has a good chance to drive in 80+ runs this season. He owns a career 14.9% HR/FB percentage, so I look at his 7.6 HR/FB% in 2014 as an aberration and expect a bounce back to the 20 home run range in 2015.
For a look at some first base prospects who could get the call in 2015, check out our prospect teams' Top 15 first base prospects for 2015:
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