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Top 20 First Baseman for 2016: Votto bounces back, Pujols in decline

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Ray publishes his early 2016 top 20 first base rankings and compares Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard to a former #1 at the position.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past week I have published some of my early position rankings, and you can find them in the links below:

Early 2016 Rankings

Second Base

Shortstop

Third Base

I have to admit that I had a hard time deciding who to rank as my #1 fantasy first baseman for 2016. Deciding between Paul Goldschmidt and Anthony Rizzo is not easy as they both fill up all five categories, and their stats are so close, but I leaned toward Goldy as he has the ranks higher in four of the five categories, and is only one home run behind Rizzo. Both are the complete package and first round picks in 2016.

After the top two, the decision for #3 was not easy either, but I went with Reds first baseman Joey Votto who I was very down on coming into the season, but like so many times before, I was proven wrong. The power returned to Votto's game and he was the best player in the game in the second half this season. Those of you in auction keeper leagues probably have Votto at a cheap price for the 2016 season and beyond.

Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera follows Votto at #4 in my rankings, and I see him bouncing back from his worst season since 2003. The rest of my rankings come with no surprises.

Except for one. Albert Pujols has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time. Despite the 35 home runs, his batting average and on base percentage are at career lows. He has turned into Ryan Howard with more power. Don't believe me? Here are their stats:

Piujols: .236-.299-.459, 35 HRs, 74 runs, 86 RBI

Howard: .229-.277-.443, 23 HRs, 53 runs, 77 RBI

Ouch.

I nearly ranked Eric Hosmer and Kendrys Morales ahead of Pujols, but elected not to.

Actually, both Morales and Prince Fielder have not played 20 games at first base this season, and Morales has yet to play 10 games, so he won't be first base eligible in most leagues next season. I will adjust my rankings if he doesn't meet the 10 game minimum by the end of the season.

After the top 10-12, the first base position is filled with guys who are up one year and down the next….every single one of them, so if you don't get a first baseman early, I suggest waiting till the middle rounds to fill the first base position.

My early Top 20 First Base Rankings:

Rank

Name

G

PA

HR

R

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

SLG

wRC+

WAR

1

Paul Goldschmidt

147

651

29

93

101

21

0.316

0.435

0.555

160

6.8

2

Anthony Rizzo

149

653

30

89

95

17

0.286

0.397

0.530

151

5.3

3

Joey Votto

146

643

28

92

75

11

0.313

0.462

0.555

175

7.4

4

Miguel Cabrera

112

483

17

61

73

1

0.337

0.439

0.537

165

4.1

5

Edwin Encarnacion

136

579

34

84

104

2

0.278

0.371

0.547

148

4

6

Jose Abreu

144

624

29

87

96

0

0.295

0.353

0.517

135

3.4

7

Freddie Freeman

108

458

16

57

59

3

0.277

0.369

0.463

129

3.1

8

Adrian Gonzalez

145

606

28

74

87

0

0.281

0.357

0.499

134

3.4

9

Buster Posey

140

579

19

71

93

2

0.327

0.390

0.488

145

5.8

10

Prince Fielder

145

634

21

73

84

0

0.307

0.380

0.466

125

1.5

11

Chris Davis

147

614

43

91

109

2

0.264

0.360

0.558

147

5

12

Albert Pujols

145

609

35

74

86

4

0.236

0.299

0.459

109

1.2

13

Kendrys Morales

148

608

21

75

105

0

0.293

0.355

0.490

131

2.1

14

Eric Hosmer

146

614

15

91

85

6

0.302

0.365

0.452

124

3.1

15

Brandon Belt

137

556

18

73

68

9

0.280

0.356

0.478

134

4.2

16

Mark Teixeira

111

462

31

57

79

2

0.255

0.357

0.548

143

2.9

17

Adam Lind

139

534

20

68

86

0

0.291

0.375

0.486

129

2.8

18

Mitch Moreland

119

466

22

47

79

1

0.280

0.330

0.491

118

2.2

19

Carlos Santana

141

611

16

67

72

11

0.236

0.362

0.389

110

2.1

20

Ryan Zimmerman

95

390

16

43

73

1

0.249

0.308

0.465

106

0.6

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