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Fantasy Baseball: Tiered First Base Rankings for 2016

Ray offers up his tiered rankings for the first base position for 2016.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

You've been there before. The first baseman you were targeting in the 5th round goes off the board, and you are scrambling for one who could put up similar or better stats this season. You are looking at the names and no one jumps out at you. No one. Nyet.

So, you grab your first closer instead and forget about the position as you are building your rotation and infield. By the 14th round, you still don't have a first baseman and are left to pick from a list that includes Ryan Zimmerman, Mitch Moreland and Pedro Alvarez. It isn't pretty.

No one wants to leave a draft with one of those guys are your #1 first baseman. This is where tiered position rankings can help you on draft day. I usually have an idea of which cluster of first baseman I want to target in case my main target is drafted before I am ready to pick him. I don't write them down, I just have them in what is left of my brain.

But the distractions that can occur during a draft is reason enough to use tiered rankings. You've attended an in-person draft. The beers are flowing, the games are on, and you are thinking about whether to have that third slice of pizza or moving back to the chips and having another beer. Owners are yelling at the one guy who is taking 5 minutes to make his next pick. You are thinking to yourself "did this guy not prepare for the draft like I did?" You need tiered rankings to keep you focused. Or, if you lose focus, something to use when it is your turn to make a pick.

Quick Thoughts

I have included a column for the NFBC average draft position (ADP) to reflect where each catcher is being drafted in the 15 team, mixed leagues drafts over at NFBC.

  • Even though he doesn't qualify at first base, Red Sox DH David Ortiz is very undervalued and should be drafted ahead of some of the first baseman being drafted ahead of him including Freddie Freeman and Eric Hosmer.
  • Buster Posey's ADP reflects his value as a catcher and not a first baseman, so consider that when reviewing the rankings below.
  • Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera could easily be the #1 fantasy first baseman by the end of the season, but the drop in power over the last two seasons is a concern for me.
  • I ranked Goldschmidt as my #1 overall fantasy player off draft boards this season, as I don't think we have seen his power ceiling yet. He squares up the ball better than most on this list, as his hard hit rate (40%) is bettered by only Orioles first baseman Chris Davis. A 40 home run season is possible.
  • I am hoping Votto's bounce back season in 2015 is not a one year thing. Fantasy owners need the improved power to return in 2016.
  • If you want t a top 7 first baseman this season, you will have to grab one within the first two rounds of 15 team mixed drafts, or by the third round in 12 team mixed league drafts.
  • Sleeper Alert: I think we could see a power breakout from Giants first baseman Brandon Belt this season. His 39.5% hard hit rate ranked in the top 10 among all qualified hitters last season.
  • Sleeper Alert 2: Twins first baseman Byung-ho Park hit 50+ home runs in Korea last season. ZiPS projects him to hit .266-.333-.463 with 27 home runs and 84 RBI this season and you can draft him in the 13th round of drafts this season.

Tiered First Base Rankings for 2016

Rank

Tier

NFBC ADP

Name

Team

1

1

2.26

Paul Goldschmidt

Diamondbacks

2

1

11.19

Anthony Rizzo

Cubs

3

1

15.60

Miguel Cabrera

Tigers

4

2

35.45

Joey Votto

Reds

5

2

22.47

Jose Abreu

White Sox

6

2

25.64

Chris Davis

Orioles

7

2

22.40

Edwin Encarnacion

Blue Jays

8

3

82.70

Freddie Freeman

Braves

9

3

68.30

Adrian Gonzalez

Dodgers

10

2

112.81

David Ortiz

Red Sox

11

3

82.89

Prince Fielder

Rangers

12

4

73.00

Eric Hosmer

Royals

13

3

92.11

Albert Pujols

Angels

14

3

21.04

Buster Posey

Giants

15

4

138.15

Hanley Ramirez

Red Sox

16

4

156.77

Brandon Belt

Giants

17

4

156.83

Kendrys Morales

Royals

18

4

151.83

Lucas Duda

Mets

19

4

183.68

Carlos Santana

Indians

20

5

177.06

Mark Teixeira

Yankees

21

5

260.72

Alex Rodriguez

Yankees

22

5

210.74

Wil Myers

Padres

23

5

250.34

Adam Lind

Mariners

24

5

232.68

Mitch Moreland

Rangers

25

5

226.81

Ryan Zimmerman

Nationals

26

5

186.84

Byung-Ho Park

Twins

27

6

258.32

Victor Martinez

Tigers

28

6

182.06

Mark Trumbo

Orioles

29

6

112.15

Brian McCann

Yankees

30

7

540.36

Jon Singleton

Astros

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