Brian Creagh opened first base week here at Fake Teams with the landscape of the position for fantasy purposes earlier this morning. Today we bring you the second half of our consensus fantasy first base rankings for 2016. We used a points system for each of the 30 first basemen ranked by each of the Fake Teams writers who participated in the consensus rankings series.
The writers who participated in this series are the following:
We feel that by providing you our consensus position rankings, you get an average ranking from the Fake Teams writers, rather than one writers' opinion, which inherently may include some bias. You will see some players ranked higher by one Fake Teams writer than the others, so this helps the reader see both sides of the argument for/against a certain player who might be getting too much love this offseason.
Each of the position rankings will be split into two parts, rankings and player profiles for first basemen ranked 1 - 15 in part 1, and rankings and player profiles for first basemen ranked 16 - 30 in part 2 to be published on Tuesday morning. Consensus rankings should bring about discussion amongst you, our readers, and the Fake Teams writers who participated in this series.
We are dedicating a week to each position, but since there are so few designated hitters, we have decided to include them in our first base rankings. Most DH's play SOME first base, and rarely play the outfield, so first base seemed to be the most logical position to slot them in. That said, you will see the following DH's ranked: David Ortiz, Kendrys Morales, Prince Fielder, Alex Rodriguez and Victor Martinez.
In addition, our rankings are based on the standard 5 x 5 fantasy/roto baseball league scoring, including: batting average, runs scored, home runs, RBI and stolen bases for the hitters, and wins, saves, ERA, WHIP and strikeouts for the pitchers, relievers and closers.
Finally, we are using 20 games as our eligibility requirements to be ranked at a particular position, with the exception of first base. Your leagues may have fewer games played requirements to be eligible at a position, so keep that in mind when viewing our rankings.
16. Brandon Belt, Giants
Belt's 2015 season ended early due to a concussion, and as of this writing, he is still dealing with post concussion symptoms. If he is cleared to play in 2016, and is 100% healthy, he is my candidate for a power breakout, as his hard hit rate was just under 40% last season. Belt hit .280-.356-.478 with 18 home runs, 73 runs scored, 68 RBI and 9 stolen bases in 556 plate appearances. To put up a power breakout season, he will have to get his fly ball rate over 40%, as he did in 2013-2014.
17. Kendrys Morales, Royals
Heading into the 2015 season, fantasy owners did not know what to expect from Morales, as he was coming off an injury-shortened and disappointing 2014 season. Morales exceeded expectations in 2015 hitting .290-.362-485 with 22 home runs, 81 runs scored and 106 RBI hitting in the middle of the World Series champion Royals lineup. His power returned last season, as he hit 41 doubles to go with the 22 home runs, made more hard contact, and his HR/FB rate returned to norms. Expect more of the same from Morales in 2016.
18. Lucas Duda, Mets
Duda will be remembered for his errant throw to home plate in the World Series, but he once again had another solid season in the power department. The problem with Duda is that he is so damn streaky. He is the Jay Bruce of fantasy first baseman, as he truly hits his home runs in bunches. Here is a monthly breakdown of his home runs in 2015:
April - 2
May - 7
June - 1
July - 8
August - 3
September - 6
If you can deal with the up and down production from Duda, feel free to wait to draft your first baseman in 2016.
19. Carlos Santana, Indians
The Indians may move Santana to full time designated hitter duties in 2016, but that all depends on what they do this offseason. By now, we know what Santana is as a fantasy hitter. He is a low batting average, high on base percentage, decent power and....hey, he stole 11 bases last season. He had more value as a catcher, but is more of a late round fantasy first baseman at this point. He has hit exactly 27 home runs in two of the last five seasons, and owners can count on him to hit 20 home runs with 75 RBI in 2016. He has more value in OBP leagues due to his excellent walk rates.
Teixeira is another injury prone fantasy first baseman who is on the wrong side of 30. He turns 36 years of age in early April, is coming off a season where he hit 31 home runs in just 111 games, and was on a 45 home run pace for 162 games. He hit more fly balls last season and his HR/FB% jumped as well, so I am not sure we should expect a 30 home run season from him in 2016, but he should come close. He is typically a very slow starter, so fantasy owners will have to be patient with him in the first months of the season.
21. Mitch Moreland, Rangers
When healthy, Moreland is a solid, yet unspectacular, fantasy first baseman. In 2015, he hit .278-.330-.482 with 23 home runs, 51 runs scored and 85 RBI in 515 plate appearances. He tied a career high in home runs and set a career high in RBI last season. If you can live with a 20 home run, 75 RBI guy at first base, you can probably get him pretty cheap in 2016 drafts. He is a utility or bench guy in shallower leagues, but a starter in deeper mixed and AL only leagues.
22. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Who saw this kind of power from Rodriguez in 2015? After missing most of the 2014 season due to suspension, ARod returned to play in 151 games, hitting .250-.356-.486 with 33 home runs, 83 runs scored, and 86 RBI. He hits 38% of his batted balls in the air, but his HR/FB% jumped to 22% from the 16-17% range, so I don't see a return to 30+ home runs again in 2016. After hitting .278 in the first half, he slumped to .216 in the second half, so he comes with risk on draft day.
23. Wil Myers, Padres
Myers was once of the top prospects in the game, but injuries have limited him to just 235 games over the last three seasons, and he has never played more than 88 games in a season since his call up in 2013. Myers has the potential to move up these rankings at the end of the season if he can stay healthy all season, yet hitting at Petco Park may depress his power totals a bit. While he may not hit 30 home runs in 2016, he could steal double digit bags after stealing 5 bases in 60 games last season.
24. Adam Lind, Mariners
Lind moves from an excellent hitters park to a pitchers park in Seattle in 2016. Lind is a solid first baseman who won't hurt you in any category. Last season, Lind put up a .277-.360-.460 slash line with 20 home runs, 72 runs scored and 87 RBI in 572 plate appearances. He is an asset in regular and OBP leagues, and can be had in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts in 2016. His production will be depressed in Safeco Park this year and I can see him in a platoon at first base in the Mariners lineup.
25. Byung-ho Park, Twins
I was aggressive with my ranking of Park, as I think his power numbers can translate to major league baseball. In the Korean Baseball Organization last season, Park hit .343-.436-.714 with 53 home runs, 129 runs scored, and 146 RBI playing for Nexen. He certainly won't hit 50+ home runs in MLB, but I could see anywhere from 25-35. I know it's a wide range, but we don't know much about him other than the fact that he tore up the KBO. With the success that Jung-ho Kang had in his rookie season in MLB with Pittsburgh, I think Park can have similar success.
26. Victor Martinez, Indians
Well, it looks like VMart's 2014 season was not a sign of a new production level, as he slumped to hit just .245-.301-.366 with 11 home runs, 39 runs scored and 64 RBI in 120 games last season. There might be a little more power left in his bat, but a return to the 20 home run, .300 batting average appears to be at risk.
27. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
I used to be a big fan of Zimmerman, but the injury bug seemed to find him every season, and still does. In 2015, Zimm hit just .249-.308-.465 with 16 home runs, 43 runs scored and 73 RBI in 390 plate appearances. He was productive when healthy, and I can see him being a solid bounce back candidate, but he does come with the injury risk. He has missed 60 or more games in three of the last five seasons, so he should be available in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts in 2016.
28. Mark Trumbo, Orioles
Trump's value increases with the move out of Safeco Park and into Camden Yards in 2016. How much and where he plays is more of the question, but he starts the 2016 season with a full time role in the Orioles outfield, and he has the potential to hit 30+ home runs with regular playing time.
29. Brian McCann, Yankees
I wrote about McCann in our Top 15 Consensus Catcher Rankings last week, and here is what I wrote about him:
Like Posey, McCann saw time at first base and DH in 2015, and while the batting average was low (.235), he hit 26 home runs, scored 68 runs and drove in 94, setting or matching career highs in each of those categories. His hard hit rate stayed relatively the same this season, but he took advantage of the short porch at Yankee Stadium, hitting more fly balls (47%) than ever, with just under 15% of them landing in the seats. With Mark Teixeira healthy and young power hitter Greg Bird ready to play every day, McCann may see fewer opportunities to play first base in 2016, which could result in fewer at bats as well.
30. Daniel Murphy, Nationals
Murphy moves from the Mets to the Nationals in 2016, and is coming off a post season for the ages where he homered in six consecutive games. Tim Finnegan thinks the power is here to stay, and here is an excerpt from that article:
Murphy also moved closer to the plate in late April, which Adam Rubin wrote about:
Murphy had made a weekend adjustment. With encouragement from hitting coach Kevin Long, Murphy moved closer to the plate so pitchers could not exploit him with pitches away.
Murphy didn't run that much last season, but the move to Washington under new manager Dusty Baker and new first base coach Davey Lopes could result in a return to double digit stolen bases for him in 2016.
Could Murphy put up a 20 home run, 10 stolen base season in 2016? If the power is really here to stay, it is a possibility, and he will be extremely valuable at first and second base,
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