2019 Preseason Rankings: Top 10 First Basemen: Surprising Names Find Way Into Top 10 (And Top 5) & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As you look through these rankings please keep a few things in mind:

  • We are still extremely early in the process so player movement, among other factors, will have an impact on these rankings as we get closer to the start of the season
  • Just because a player his ranked #3 doesn’t mean you should draft him in that spot. In most cases you shouldn’t have to, it just shows the potential value they hold
  • These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019

For a position that’s generally viewed as being deep, there are some surprising rankings in our first run.  How does it shake out?  Let’s take an early look:

1. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
2. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
4. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
5. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
6. Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians
7. Matt Olson – Oakland A’s
8. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
9. Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates
10. Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers

Thoughts:

  • Cody Bellinger’s spot may be the biggest surprise, and as we said in the introduction don’t take it to mean that he should be the third first baseman off the board on draft day. We’ll take a deeper dive into his outlook as the offseason progresses but what is important, despite his disappointing 2018, is that he hit the ball extremely hard (40.1%), stayed within the strike zone (28.3% O-Swing%) and his improvement in making consistent contact against breaking balls and offspeed pitches should go a long way.  With just a little rebound in his power, which should come, it’s going to be a monster season.
  • Another one of the surprising names is likely Josh Bell, after he hit just 12 HR in ’18. He hit half of his home runs over the final two months, showing signs of a rebound, and his approach remained strong.  He screams of an ideal post-hype sleeper, doesn’t he?  He’s ultimately going to be a late round flier in the majority of leagues, so consider his ranking here a sign that he’s well worth the gamble as he should be similar to Carlos Santana (who just missed the rankings) but with significantly more upside.
  • There are a lot of rumors swirling about Paul Goldschmidt and his future in Arizona, so we’ll have to monitor that throughout the offseason. If he’s traded it could have a significant impact on his outlook.
  • Matt Carpenter posted an MVP-like season in 2018, but can he come close to replicating those numbers? It seems hard to imagine, though that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to be a viable option.
  • If Joey Gallo could ever figure out how to hit for a decent average he’d be a no-brainer Top 10 option.  The problem is the underlying numbers just don’t back it up, and that’s going to consistently suppress his value.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2019 projections:

Player
Date Posted
Dylan Bundy10/22/18
Foltynewicz, Mike10/09/18
Gibson, Kyle10/29/18
Hoskins, Rhys10/16/18
Hosmer, Eric11/05/18
Wheeler, Zack10/02/18

10 comments

  1. bbboston says:

    Can you share your thoughts on why Tyler White, Houston wasn’t included on the list? Seems like a guy who will deliver solid stats (.250+ Avg, 25+ HR) on a great team, so can be expected to get solid counting stats.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      White is on the list of those who didn’t miss by much, at least for now, I just don’t see him as having more of an upside that these guys. It’s very possible he creeps in at some point but it’s a deeper position and I like others upside more

  2. bbboston says:

    PS: On Gallo, local news claims his BA issue ties directly to a particularly anemic 2-strike approach . I suspect that can lead to the conclusion that he just can’t hit anything with bend, and SP’s are toying with him once they get ahead.

  3. Pat's Bat says:

    Where would Hoskins be? He’s eligible in a lot of leagues.

  4. Ak says:

    Hoskins has to be top 5, no?

  5. Rotoprofessor says:

    Hoskins was left off because he only played 17 games at 1B last season (I used the 20 game cutoff). If he’s eligible in your league he’d come in just ahead of Rizzo at #4.

  6. A says:

    No Brandon belt? He was breaking out before he got hurt.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      The consistent injuries is part of the problem, but he’s one of the guys right on the border of the Top 10. Wouldn’t surprise me if he moved inside it by the end of the offseason

  7. Dane says:

    Where would Aguilar be?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      He definitely falls short, and I’m not sure he’ll be in my Top 15. I’ll do a full writeup on him later in the offseason, but the power did slow in the second half and there’s a real chance the strikeouts inflate.

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