by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
We all know that first base is among the deepest positions in baseball, but that doesn’t mean you can simply close your eyes and assume your selection will deliver. Even towards the top of the rankings there is some obvious risk, so making assumptions or not spending the requisite time researching the position could ultimately prove costly. With that in mind here are how our rankings look as of today:
1) Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
2) Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
3) Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
4) Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
5) Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
6) Rhys Hoskins – Philadelphia Phillies
7) Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians
8) Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
9) Wil Myers – San Diego Padres
10) Carlos Santana – Philadelphia Phillies
11) Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
12) Eric Hosmer – Free Agent
13) Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates
14) Justin Bour – Miami Marlins
15) Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
- Many are going to have Cody Bellinger slotted in the Top 5 of their rankings, and after hitting .267 with 39 HR last season it makes sense. We’ll dive into why he fell short of those rankings in the next few weeks, but he’s one of the prime overpays we are expecting heading into ’18. Part of it is a potential power regression (19.4% HR/FB in the second half may be more realistic, which would make him more of a 30-35 HR threat as opposed to 40+) and his average may be capped due to the risk of strikeouts as well as a propensity for fly balls. Could you argue him up a few spots? Absolutely, but keep the risks in mind.
- Wil Myers was a “disappointment” in ’17, though that term should be used loosely. The only issue was in his batting average (.243), considering he still kicked in 30 HR and 20 SB. It came from a rise in strikeouts (27.7%), though his overall approach remained solid (10.6% SwStr%, 29.0% O-Swing%) and he hit .255 in the first half. In other words, the upside is there to be among the best at the position once again.
- We took an in-depth look at Carlos Santana at the upside he brings now that he’ll call Philadelphia home. Make sure to check out the article by clicking here.
- Josh Bell was heavily hyped entering ’17, and while he hit .255 (which was supposed to be his strongest asset) he did start tapping into his power (26 HR). Considering his approach (8.8% SwStr%, 26.7% O-Swing%) and solid Hard% (32.6%), he should significantly improve on his AVG in ’18. Couple that with believable power (19.1% HR/FB) and you get a Top 10 option. You won’t have to draft him at that type of level, so keep that in mind but be ready to reap the rewards.
- There have been some rumors as to where Eric Hosmer will ultimately land, though for now we are still waiting for some clarity. When that happens we’ll get a better idea of his true value, but it’s easy to imagine him being overvalued based on last year’s production (a .351 BABIP supported his .318 average and the 25 HR may be his ceiling). For now we’ll have to wait and see, but he could easily move up or down a few spots depending on his new locale.
- Just to show how deep the position is, consider that names like Trey Mancini, Justin Smoak and Ian Desmond fell short, and there are other serviceable options as well (especially if your sole goal is power). While having one of the elite is nice, you could easily wait on the position and find a solid option in the later rounds.
Source – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings: