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Staff Post: First Basemen to Avoid in 2019

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The Fake Teams writers tell you who to avoid in your fantasy baseball leagues in 2019.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Alas, all good things come to an end. Catcher Week is behind us, and now First Base Week is too. The silver lining is that we move into the keystone next week, which gets us one step closer to the epic shortstop position—and one step closer to Opening Day.

For now, soak up some guys you should avoid at the first base position.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves
I’d look angry if Heath listed me as an “avoid,” too.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Freddie Freeman, Braves (Heath Capps)

NFBC ADP: 22.65

This is so painful for me to write. But all my digging thus far leads me to this conclusion... Paul Goldschmidt’s ADP is around 19, a mere three picks ahead of Freeman. Goldy still offers me top five upside, while Freeman gives me a super-solid floor but I lose some power potential. If I’m taking a first baseman in that range, give me Goldy. If I’m not, I’m completely buying into a Joey Votto rebound, who could offer me Freeman-like numbers (or even surpass Freeman).

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals (Mark Abell)

NFBC ADP: 76.75

Three red flags with Carpenter. He zigs when you zag, and by that I mean: when everyone counts on him he falters, when they count him out he flourishes. He is viewed rather highly right now and I think he will struggle. Second, his average ebbs and flows every other year, and I think he is sub .250 this year. Third, he is 33 years old and I’m wondering if we see a continued decline in his power and RBI numbers this year.

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Jesus Aguilar, Brewers (Punk Is Dead)

NFBC ADP: 81.65

A couple of bonus busts before we get to Jesus Aguilar. Miguel Cabrera is done! I hate to see it but it’s true. Luke Voit is not going to return value if you draft him Top 15, let alone Top 10, at the position. Now, on to Aguilar. Jesus Aguilar was great last season, up until the end. He posted a .744 OPS over his final 40 games. This, after having a .951 OPS coming into that stretch. This points as a red flag for a player in the Top 80 overall.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays
Encarnacion is now a Seattle Mariner.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Edwin Encarnacion, Mariners (Joe Gentile)

NFBC ADP: 126.12

Edwin Encarnacion was my avoid last season, and I will be avoiding him again in 2019. With an aging player like Edwin, I find it very concerning when certain skill sets begin to decline. Ever since 2013 his contact rate has been on a steady decline, and his chase rate was the worst of his career. With a low BABIP player like Encarnacion, an increasing strikeout rate could lead to him being more of an anchor rather than an asset.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hosmer, Padres (Matt Williams)

NFBC ADP: 170.96

Avoid Eric Hosmer like the plague. He may not be going early in many drafts, but he should probably be going even later. His 60.4% GB rate and 23.5% soft contact rate are the things of nightmares for a fantasy first baseman. If you are looking for a flier in the latter half of the draft, look elsewhere (Gurriel, Voit, Alonso, Bell).