Update Rankings (April 26): Top 15 First Basemen: Abreu Plummeting, Where Does Thames Fit & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We are three weeks into the season so there have obviously been changes to our preseason rankings.  Who has shown signs of improving?  Who has struggled and thus has a cloudier outlook?  Let’s take a look at how things currently stand (Note: The number in parenthesis represents the player’s ranking in our final draft guide update):

1. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks (1)
2. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs (3)
3. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves (4)
4. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds (6)
5. Eric Thames – Milwaukee Brewers (NR)
6. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles (7)
7. Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians (8)
8. Wil Myers – San Diego Padres (10)
9. Daniel Murphy – Washington Nationals (11)
10. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals (9)
11. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians (13)
12. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox (5)
13. Hanley Ramirez – Boston Red Sox (12)
14. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants (14)
15. Ryon Healy – Oakland A’s (NR)


Currently Injured

  • Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers (2)


  • Eric Thames has been one of the biggest stories of ’17, hitting .373 with 10 HR, 17 RBI and 24 R over his first 81 PA. Obviously he’s not this good (.385 BABIP, 52.6% HR/FB), but he’s also shown some extremely good signs (8.9% SwStr%, 20.4% O-Swing%).  Expect him to regress, especially as team’s change their approach, but he should remain one of the better options in the league.  Could you justify selling extremely high on him?  Absolutely, but at the same time he’s hardly a must sell.
  • There were questions whether or not Wil Myers’ 2016 breakout was for real, but in the early going he’s backing it up and then some. That’s not to say that there aren’t “warning signs”, like a 2.4% walk rate or a .421 BABIP, but he’s hitting the ball hard (33.3% line drive rate) and showing that last year’s power was for real (5 HR, 12 total extra base hits).  He needs to stop chasing outside the zone (38.2% O-Swing%), but given his career mark of 27.2% it’s fair to assume it’s coming.
  • Is it time to give up on Jose Abreu? It’s too early to completely cut bait, but it’s getting difficult as he’s opened hitting .203 with 0 HR.  You have to think that he’s going to improve upon his 12.5% line drive rate and we all know there’s some power in his bat.  Maybe he doesn’t live up to the hope we had for him entering the season, but at the same time now isn’t the time to cut bait either.  Stick it out and hopefully catch the rebound.
  • The question with Carlos Santana has always been his average, but thus far he’s posted a 4.6% SwStr%, 20.0% line drive rate and .254 BABIP. There’s significant upside, which we’ll talk about in detail in the near future.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:

Top 50 Prospects1-50
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Third Base1-10
Right Handed Pitchers:1-1011-20
Left Handed Pitchers:1-10


  1. Carlito says:

    Still like Davis that much huh? Seems like he’s on fast track to join Gonzalez and Trumpo.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Maybe he does fall off, but he’s hitting the ball hard (28.6% line drive rate) and his SwStr% is actually down thus far (11.0%).

  2. Chris Lenhard says:

    where would you rank Moreland and Gurriel? trying to decide which one i want for ROS

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Neither are too enticing, but Moreland has at least been an extra base machine. I’d lean him for now

  3. Ryan says:

    What are your thoughts on a Hosmer rebound?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It should come, though he’s always been more name than production. That said, don’t give up on him

  4. Gern says:

    Hey Prof,
    What are your thoughts on Bellinger? Should I stash him on the bench? Thanks!

  5. TBone baseball says:

    Hi Professor. Thanks for the great work.
    what are your thoughts on Ryan Zimmerman this year?

  6. DEAN L WHITE says:

    Now that Miggy is back, where do you think you would you slot him in?

    I said this on the Third Base comments, but it’s worth repeating. Your updates are amazing. I put them among the best out there, ahead of some pay-sites. You really seem to grab the value of guys who have made legit and possibly permanent improvements without rewarding a Chris Shelton type too much.

    Thames as an example. Will he cool off? Obviously, but you don’t mash this hard this long without skills, as Fangraphs proved the other day. He’s not on top, but he earned – and will earn – that ranking bump. Just wish I had him in more leagues than one!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Again, thanks for the support!

      As for Miggy he’d be a lock into the Top 4, and would probably be either #3 or 4. He’s not above Goldschmidt and probably Rizzo, but after that it’s real close.

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