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2022 Fantasy Baseball: 5 First Basemen to Target

Garrett takes a look at who to target at the first base position in fantasy baseball this season.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer via Imagn Content Services, LLC

First base may be one of the most consistently-ranked positions this season. This is evident by our rankings here at Fake Teams. We essentially have a consensus top 7. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Freddie Freeman are the top 2. Then you have Matt Olson, Paul Goldschmidt, and Pete Alonso, before rounding out the top 7 with Jose Abreu and Ryan Mountcastle. It's the names after those that have the widest variability amongst rankers. It's in that range where you can find value at the position or fill a corner infield spot in deeper roto leagues.

Here are a few names I’m targeting in drafts at first base.

Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

My Rank: 10
ECR: 15
NFBC ADP: 156.39

Steamer projection: .248, 31 HR, 93 RBI, 89 R, 2 SB, 150 games

Talk about a career resurgence! Votto became a power hitter in 2021, posting 36 home runs in just 129 games. This was one shy of his career mark of 37 home runs in 2010. It also tied his 2017 tally, in which he played all 162 games. This had much do with the fact that he hit the ball a lot harder and barreled it more, too. His 92.9 MPH average exit velocity was 93rd percentile. His 53.2% hard hit rate was 96th percentile. His 17.2% barrel rate was 95th percentile. All this saw Votto finish the year as the #8 first baseman in standard roto leagues. Why can't he do it again? I'm thinking he can.

Ty France, Seattle Mariners

My Rank: 13
ECR: 18
NFBC ADP: 138.40

Steamer projection: .272, 23 HR, 83 RBI, 80 R, 1 SB, 150 games

One of the better sleepers for batting average, Ty France could unlock a new level in 2022. He already impressed with a .291 average in 2021. This was complemented by a low 16.3% K-rate. France slumped a bit in May after suffering a wrist injury. He was placed on the injured list. After returning on May 24th, France finished the season hitting .309 with a .847 OPS over his final 115 games. I'm buying in, especially considering the growth the Mariners lineup around him is expected to make in the coming season.

Chicago Cubs v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Frank Schwindel, Chicago Cubs

My Rank: 18
ECR: 20
NFBC ADP: 231.58

Steamer projection: .268, 26 HR, 78 RBI, 78 R, 3 SB, 128 games

If you had Frank Schwindel on your radar prior to last season then can I get the lottery numbers? Schwindel had a breakout run over the last few months of 2021. He hit .342 with 13 home runs and a 1.002 OPS over 56 games. All of this at the age of 29. Can he repeat it? His low K-rate of 15.8% will certainly help. He's not just an all or nothing type player that you might expect to have a late career breakout. He also has guaranteed playing time on a Cubs team with little playoff aspirations in 2022. I'm taking a chance on him at his current cost.

Jonathan Schoop, Detroit Tigers

My Rank: 22
ECR: 28
NFBC ADP: 200.21

Steamer projection: .263, 23 HR, 77 RBI, 76 R, 1 SB, 141 games

Sometimes the unsexy pick is the best pick. No one in your league will ooo and ahh at a selection of Jonathan Schoop. But maybe they should. During his time with the Tigers, Schoop is hitting .278 with a 162-game pace of 24 home runs, 87 RBI, and 90 runs. That's pretty solid production you can virtually lock in going right around pick 200 overall.

Luke Voit, New York Yankees

My Rank: 23
ECR: 22
NFBC ADP: 275.36

Steamer projection: .249, 28 HR, 79 RBI, 78 R, 2 SB, 134 games

Voit has been a rollercoaster to rank the past two seasons. He's a sleeper for 2020 and he leads the league in home runs. Last season, he had an ADP inside the top 75 of most sites. He played just 68 games and was a major bust. Entering early drafts this year, Voit is a huge question mark. His ADP outside the top 250 seems like overkill. Even in a down season, Voit had a .498 xSLG and a .360 xwOBA. Both those marks would be in the top 50 for hitters last season had he qualified. And one can assume Voit would have picked up his production had he been healthy for a longer period. Then there's the question of his role in 2022. Most analysts fear his playing time with the Yankees is in jeopardy. I think he either plays primary first baseman for New York or he gets traded. A trade should see him as a starter as well.