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Staff Post: First Basemen to Target

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The Fake Teams writers give you their top choices at the position.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a newcomer here at Fake Teams, you’ve missed Catcher Week and you’ve arrived at the tail end of First Base Week. But you can catch up quickly. These links will take you to the last two weeks of content:

Catcher Week

First Base Week

Next up is the keystone, beginning on Monday. For now, let’s hop into some targets (with our avoids coming later today). Yes, I chose Goldy. But it was for good reason...

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldy is now a St. Louis Cardinal.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 19.76

Even the top guy gets some love, okay? I know this is obvious to many, but there are also plenty of people who seem willing to write Goldschmidt off too soon. I agree that his stolen base upside is now in the 7-10 range, instead of the 20-30 that we’ve become accustomed to. However, Goldy’s 46.2% hard contact rate placed him ninth among qualified hitters a season ago. Matt Olson and Matt Carpenter were ahead of him, but neither comes with the potential for a .300 batting average. In fact, Olson is nearly guaranteed to bat .240 or .250. Carpenter, a “professional hitter,” could potentially alter his approach for more average but would sacrifice some power. In Goldschmidt we get the entire package, a guy who is still only 31 years old with one year left on his current contract. He’s the premier talent at this position, the one guy who could finish top five overall—and you can land him in the middle of the second round. If he falls to me, I’m biting.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Joey Votto, Reds (Matt Williams)

NFBC ADP: 74.71

Joey Votto may be the steal of the draft, especially in points leagues. The Cincinnati on-base machine (.417 OBP) had a “down year” in which he still managed a 131 wRC+ and .370 wOBA. The knock on Votto was a lack of power output, which can be easily explained by a 9.5% HR/FB ratio. He averaged over a 20% HR/FB% the previous three seasons, so it’s safe to say he is due for a bounce-back campaign in 2019. Add that into the revamped Reds offense, which added Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, and he should be in for some great RBI opportunities and lineup protection. Joey Votto is a great value that can be a league winner.

MLB: ALCS-Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Yuli Gurriel, Astros (Punk is Dead)

NFBC ADP: 197.80

The deeper the roster or league, the better value Yuli Gurriel offers. He is a .295 hitter over the past two seasons, and last season he finished with 85 RBIs. I see absolutely no reason why he can’t meet those numbers again. He is as safe as safe gets.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers
Bauers is now a Cleveland Indian.
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Jake Bauers, Indians (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 257.94

There are three players at first base who I am bullish on this year: Miguel Cabrera will give you value and Luke Voit is the up-and-comer on a great Yankee team, but I will narrow in on Jake Bauers. The batting average (.201) was not ideal last year, but on an annualized basis he would have had 80 runs, 80 RBIs and 20 home runs. I think he will improve this year on a team who cultivates first basemen well.

MLB: Miami Marlins at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Peter O’Brien, Marlins (Joe Gentile)

NFBC ADP: 518.57

Peter O’Brien is an easy target for me. He has tremendous power, which will likely lead to his Statcast hard contact rate being abOve 50.0%. He does have a lot of swing and miss, but his peripherals last season were actually quite similar to a guy named Aaron Judge. With an ADP that is basically nonexistent, there isn’t much risk to drafting him, either.

Be sure to circle back around later today for guys we think you should avoid. And let us know in the comments if you think we missed anyone!