by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
First base is generally viewed as the deepest position in fantasy baseball, though you can make the argument that’s no longer the case. There are ample good options, but once you get past the first few names are there any guarantees? There’s potential, but the names start to become a bit more interchangeable (especially once you get past the Top 8). Who are the players to target? Where is the upside after the top few names? Let’s take a look:
1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
2. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
3. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
4. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
5. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
6. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
7. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles
8. Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians
9. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
10. Wil Myers – San Diego Padres
11. Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals
12. Hanley Ramirez – Boston Red Sox
13. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
14. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants
15. C.J. Cron – Los Angeles Angels
- The biggest complaint will likely be slotting Jose Abreu as a Top 5 option. While there were struggles during 2016 he still finished the year hitting .293 with 25 HR and 100 RBI and an 18.4% HR/FB in the second half (14 HR over the final two months) while improving his strikeout rate (20.3% to 15.2%) shows just how good he can be. He needs to find consistency, but there’s a lot to like. We previously took an in-depth look at him, which you can read by clicking here.
- Matt Carpenter appears primed to open the season as the St. Louis Cardinals’ starter at 1B, though his bat will be more valuable at 2B (he’ll also have eligibility at 3B). He proved last season that the power was for real, with 21 HR (along with 36 doubles and 6 triples), and we all know his ability to hit for a strong average. The versatility and upside makes him one of the better players to own.
- It was a fantastic season for Daniel Murphy, but does anyone believe that he can maintain a .347 average (he benefited from a .348 BABIP)? How about his 25 HR pace (he regressed to 9 HR in the second half)? Don’t pay for last season’s numbers, but that doesn’t mean don’t buy.
- It’ll be easy to overlook C.J. Cron, but he appears primed to spend significant time at first base after Albert Pujols was forced to undergo another surgery on his foot. A quietly productive ’16 (.278 with 16 HR) and entering his age 27 season, there’s a lot working in his favor.
- Wil Myers is coming off a 28/28 season, but don’t assume he’s going to be able to replicate that success. We recently published our 2017 projection, which includes a regression, which you can read by clicking here.
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Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings: