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2015 Midseason First Base Rankings: Ranked by wRC+

Ray offers his midseason first base rankings using an advanced metric to rank the first baseman through the first three months of the season.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I am taking a break from the Roto Roundup for a few days, so I will focus on midseason rankings. These rankings aren't my regular rankings. I am taking a different approach to the rankings for this version using the weighted runs created stat from FanGraphs. wRC+ is a good measure of how well a hitter has performed relative to his peers as well as the league, and is league and park adjusted.

Below is how FanGraphs defines wRC+:

Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is an improved version of Bill James' Runs Created (RC) statistic, which attempted to quantify a player's total offensive value and measure it by runs.  In Runs Created, instead of looking at a player's line and listing out all the details (e.g. 23 2B, 15 HR, 55 BB, 110 K, 19 SB, 5 CS), the information is synthesized into one metric in order to say, "Player X was worth 24 runs to his team last year."  While the idea was sound, James' formula has since been superseded by Tom Tango's wRC , which is based off Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA).

Similar to OPS+Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) measures how a player's wRC compares with league average after controlling for park effects.  League average for position players is 100, and every point above 100 is a percentage point above league average. For example, a 125 wRC+ means a player created 25% more runs than a league average hitter would have in the same number of plate appearances. Similarly, every point below 100 is a percentage point below league average, so a 80 wRC+ means a player created 20% fewer runs than league average.

wRC+ is park and league-adjusted, allowing one to to compare players who played in different years, parks, and leagues.

More from FanGraphs on how to use the stat:

But as a general breakdown, this distribution works fine with wRC listed per 600 plate appearances. League average wRC+ will always be 100.

Ratings wRC wRC+
Excellent 105 160
Great 90 140
Above Average 75 115
Average 65 100
Below Average 60 80
Poor 50 75
Awful 40 60

So, let's take a look at the first baseman ranked according to wRC+ through the first three months of the 2015 season:

Rank

Name

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

ISO

BABIP

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

1

Paul Goldschmidt

75

330

20

54

62

13

0.290

0.392

0.349

0.465

0.639

0.458

193

2

Miguel Cabrera

73

315

15

42

53

1

0.240

0.393

0.350

0.454

0.589

0.439

186

3

Anthony Rizzo

74

329

15

42

44

11

0.264

0.306

0.304

0.413

0.568

0.418

167

4

Adrian Gonzalez

76

315

13

40

48

0

0.221

0.326

0.302

0.375

0.523

0.383

149

5

Albert Pujols

73

305

23

47

47

1

0.287

0.223

0.265

0.334

0.553

0.375

148

6

Joey Votto

73

317

14

39

36

5

0.220

0.320

0.284

0.394

0.504

0.388

147

7

Freddie Freeman

66

283

12

43

41

3

0.220

0.356

0.299

0.367

0.520

0.381

144

8

Buster Posey

73

303

11

39

53

1

0.172

0.297

0.300

0.376

0.472

0.368

141

9

Mark Teixeira

70

291

18

34

53

1

0.283

0.225

0.246

0.354

0.529

0.373

139

10

Yonder Alonso

51

204

2

22

20

2

0.097

0.360

0.318

0.407

0.415

0.363

137

11

Adam Lind

72

276

11

28

39

0

0.202

0.330

0.291

0.362

0.494

0.369

133

12

Mitch Moreland

56

223

10

22

36

1

0.210

0.345

0.298

0.345

0.507

0.368

132

13

Lucas Duda

74

313

10

37

33

0

0.188

0.317

0.259

0.364

0.447

0.354

131

14

Brandon Belt

70

275

9

34

32

2

0.207

0.346

0.264

0.338

0.472

0.349

129

15

Jose Abreu

70

297

13

43

41

0

0.204

0.327

0.291

0.343

0.495

0.361

129

16

Eric Hosmer

72

303

8

40

40

4

0.154

0.333

0.290

0.354

0.445

0.346

122

17

Chris Davis

74

303

16

39

45

0

0.238

0.292

0.234

0.327

0.471

0.346

120

18

Edwin Encarnacion

72

299

16

43

47

1

0.232

0.247

0.243

0.328

0.475

0.347

120

19

Carlos Santana

67

297

9

34

36

3

0.161

0.225

0.211

0.347

0.372

0.322

108

20

Adam LaRoche

70

281

9

28

31

0

0.167

0.313

0.233

0.338

0.400

0.328

106

21

Mark Canha

53

198

8

27

26

5

0.169

0.265

0.242

0.308

0.410

0.315

104

22

Pedro Alvarez

70

245

10

30

34

1

0.192

0.281

0.242

0.314

0.434

0.318

104

23

Chris Carter

75

301

13

31

37

1

0.198

0.262

0.198

0.316

0.395

0.315

101

24

Logan Morrison

74

299

9

27

25

5

0.141

0.265

0.244

0.318

0.385

0.307

98

25

Ryan Howard

70

275

13

25

36

0

0.225

0.275

0.229

0.270

0.453

0.311

96

26

Mark Reynolds

65

210

5

15

26

2

0.137

0.328

0.237

0.305

0.374

0.300

91

27

Joe Mauer

74

307

4

30

37

1

0.110

0.298

0.260

0.332

0.370

0.300

90

28

Mike Napoli

70

273

10

29

29

2

0.177

0.241

0.203

0.304

0.380

0.303

89

29

Yangervis Solarte

70

240

2

17

28

1

0.094

0.270

0.246

0.296

0.339

0.282

82

30

Steve Pearce

50

164

6

20

22

1

0.155

0.245

0.216

0.287

0.372

0.290

81

Quick Thoughts

Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

Goldschmidt is having a monster season at the plate with 20 home runs, 54 runs scored, 62 RBI and 13 stolen bases (updated - 64 RBI and 15 stolen bases). He is on pace to hit 42 home runs and steal 32 bases at this point, and is my choice as the #1 fantasy hitter and should be the hands down #1 pick next season. Others will include Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the overall #1 pick conversation, but Goldschmidt does it all, hitting for a high average, hitting for power and stealing bases. Harper and Trout aren't running as much as they use to, so they aren't in the conversation for me.

Mark Teixeira, Yankees

Well, Teixeira is making a lot of us fantasy writers look bad for not ranking him higher in our preseason rankings back in March. He currently ranks ninth in wRC+ among first baseman and that should rise after his 19th home run last night in Anaheim. He was a league average first baseman last season, but this season, he is not only hitting for more power, but his plate discipline has improved dramatically as well.

Jose Abreu, White Sox

Abreu is coming off a fantastic rookie season so expectations were high for a repeat of his .317-36-107 stat line. While he isn't a huge disappointment through the first three months, his power, hard hit % and plate discipline is down across the board. While he could put up a strong second half, he will be hard pressed to repeat the 36 home runs he hit last season.

Mitch Moreland, Rangers

Moreland is another surprise in the top 12 in these rankings, and he will probably move up after hitting two more home runs last night, giving him four in the last two days. After a down year in 2014, Moreland's power is back to the levels we saw from him in 2013, and he is on pace for career highs in home runs and RBI this season.

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