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2017 Fantasy Baseball: First Base - NL Only - Rankings

It's time to turn our attention towards the only league managers with specific positional rankings for AL & NL only formats. Today we will discuss first basemen in the National League.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back only leaguers. Yesterday we covered the American League First Base Rankings and today we'll continue on with the National League. Unlike the AL, the NL first base player pool feels a little deeper to me. For example, in the AL we have players such as Byung Ho Park and A.J. Reed around the 20th mark in batting average ranks. Sitting around that same area in the National League we find players such as Brandon Moss (possibly) and Lucas Duda.

What comes below will be both 5x5 (batting average) & 5x5 (on-base percentage) rankings, along with a player I am targeting and avoiding. We'll continue this process through both the American League & National League, going position-by-position. I hope you enjoy it.

Reminder: For the purpose of these posts, we are using the traditional 20-games played the prior season to determine draft-day eligibility.

5x5 BA Rankings | 5x5 OBP Rankings

Rank Player Team Rank Player Team
1 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 1 Paul Goldschmidt ARI
2 Joey Votto CIN 2 Joey Votto CIN
3 Anthony Rizzo CHC 3 Freddie Freeman ATL
4 Daniel Murphy NYM 4 Anthony Rizzo CHC
5 Freddie Freeman ATL 5 Matt Carpenter STL
6 Matt Carpenter STL 6 Daniel Murphy NYM
7 Wil Myers SD 7 Brandon Belt SF
8 Eric Thames MIL 8 Eric Thames MIL
9 Brandon Belt SF 9 Wil Myers SD
10 Adrian Gonzalez LAD 10 Mike Napoli F/A
11 Tommy Joseph PHI 11 Adrian Gonzalez LAD
12 Mike Napoli F/A 12 Chris Carter F/A
13 Josh Bell PIT 13 Josh Bell PIT
14 Justin Bour MIA 14 Justin Bour MIA
15 Wilmer Flores NYM 15 Adam Lind F/A
16 Adam Lind F/A 16 Tommy Joseph PHI
17 Chris Carter F/A 17 Lucas Duda NYM
18 Ryan Zimmerman WAS 18 Brandon Moss F/A
19 Brandon Moss F/A 19 John Jaso PIT
20 Lucas Duda NYM 20 Wilmer Flores NYM
21 Sean Rodriguez ATL 21 Ryan Zimmerman WAS
22 John Jaso PIT 22 Sean Rodriguez ATL
23 Matt Adams STL 23 David Freese PIT
24 David Freese PIT 24 Travis Shaw MIL
25 Logan Morrison F/A 25 Matt Adams STL

Like with the American League, there are a number of potentially ranked players that are currently free agents. This means the rankings could change when some of these players sign with American League teams. That said, the AL only list had seven free agents ranked in the top-25 (batting average ranks), while the NL has only five in the same set of rankings. This further shows the depth available in the National League format.


Matt Carpenter: To say that I'm all in on Carpenter this year would be an understatement. In my recently concluded 50-round Draft & Hold League, I bumped Carpenter two full rounds up from his ADP. The league format (no moves in season), along with his multi-position eligibility played a role in this decision, but so did the fact that I believe a huge season could be in store in 2017. Among all hitters with at least 550 plate appearances, Carpenter ranked 3rd in Hard% according to FanGraphs, with a 41.9% rate. Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera ranked 4th and 5th for perspective. Furthermore, using Statcast data we can see that Carpenter has an ideal launch angle for power with a 17.86 degree Average Launch Angle (league average angle is 9.97). A run at 35 home runs is not out of the question if this continues for Carpenter. Pay-up.

Honorable mentions: Eric Thames; Brandon Belt & Tommy Joseph


Josh Bell: As a former top-prospect, I suspect there will be at least one person in every NL only league that is willing to pay up for Josh Bell. The bat-to-ball profile and batting-eye were elite in his 128 at-bat MLB sample in 2016, however, it is what happens after Bell makes contact that has me down on his 2017 fantasy baseball production. Even with a .368 OBP last season, Bell was only able to muster up a .775 OPS, as the slugging was severely lacking, especially for a corner infielder. Statcast confirms his inability to drive the ball with an Average Generated Velocity rate of 0.85 MPH (1.45 league average), Average Distance of 196.34 feet (218.07 feet league average) and a horrible Average Launch Angle of 5.27 degrees (9.97 degrees league average). The launch angle is also shown in a 50% ground ball rate in 2016. With a strong batting eye, there's a chance that Bell takes a larger than normal step forward in the power department this season, however, his minor league track record confirms the power outage has been consistent throughout his pro career. Let someone else speculate here.

"Honorable" mentions: Adrian Gonzalez & David Freese

That does it for National League first basemen. Next up we will move back to the American League and discuss/rank second basemen. Please leave any questions, comments or other fantasy baseball related banter in the comments below. You can also follow me on Twitter using the icon at the top of the article and feel free to ask questions there as well.