Late Round Draft Day Targets: First Basemen

A late round first base option?  Is that really necessary?  Well, for those in deeper leagues, or for those who want to wait and take advantage of the depth of the position, it certainly is does.  Let’s take a look at a few of the options that should be available after Round 18:

Ike Davis – New York Mets
Davis opened 2010 at Triple-A, but when an injury to Daniel Murphy opened the door he never relinquished the opportunity.  He finished the year hitting .264 with 18 HR, 71 RBI and 73 R in 523 AB.

While he spent significant time hitting fourth (.262, 11 HR, 40 RBI in 229 AB) and fifth (.256, 3 HR, 15 RBI in 156 AB), that isn’t likely going to be the case in 2011.  The return to health of Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay will ticket Davis for the sixth spot in the lineup, but that should still offer significant RBI opportunities.

While CitiField scares many people off, Davis showed that he has the power to hit the ball out of any ballpark.  Of his 19 HR, eight of them came at home.  He also posted a modest 12.0% HR/FB rate meaning that, at just 24-years old, the potential is there for him to continue to develop his power stroke.  While it shouldn’t be expected to see him jump into the 30 HR range, approaching 25 over a full season is likely.

He also has the potential to improve on his average.  While the BABIP (.321) is realistic, seeing him improve on his 26.4% strikeout rate would not be surprising.  A decrease there should mean an improved average. 

Davis should be viewed as a hitter that easily could hit .275 with 20-24 HR and 80+ RBI.  While that may not be an ideal first baseman, would anyone shy away from those numbers from a corner infielder?  Not to mention, he has the potential to significantly out produce them.

Davis’ current ADP is around 260 according to Mock Draft Central

Gaby Sanchez – Florida Marlins
He took over as the Marlins regular first baseman in 2010 and responded by hitting .273 with 19 HR, 85 RBI and 72 R over 572 AB.  He showed an impressive contact rate (17.7%) and easily brings the potential for a significantly better average (.299 BABIP).

The problem with Sanchez is that, at 27-years old, can we really anticipate a significant boost in the power production?  Over 1,753 minor league at bats he hit just 62 HR.  In the Pacific Coast League in 2009 he hit just 16 HR over 318 AB.  Unfortunately, that is one major knock against his potential.

Still, with the average upside and a spot in the middle of the Marlins lineup, he should have plenty of opportunities to produce.  Think .280+ average with low-20s home run potential.  Those are fine numbers when you will be able to draft him.

Sanchez’ current ADP is about 232 according to Mock Draft Central

Matt LaPorta – Cleveland Indians
I discussed him recently as part of a Wild Prediction saying that he would hit at least 30 HR in 2011 (click here to view http://rotoprofessor.com/baseball/?p=8413).  While that type of number may be a bit of a stretch, we should be in store for improved production from LaPorta.

The 2007 first round draft pick has shown power in the past, hitting 20 HR in 302 AB at Double-A in 2008, though injuries and adjustment appear to have slowed his progress.  In 376 AB for the Indians in 2010 he hit .221 with 12 HR and 41 RBI.

Of course, we cannot overlook his .250 BABIP.  Yes, he may have been trying a little too hard to hit home runs (45.3% fly ball rate), but with a full-time job his entering 2011 one has to think that, maybe, he won’t press quite as hard.  He has experience and this easily could be the year that he puts it all together.

Is he worth a high round draft choice?  Absolutely not, but in the later rounds he certainly is worth the flier given his tremendous upside.

LaPorta’s ADP is currently around 396 according to Mock Draft Central

What are your thoughts of these three players?  Which would you target at the tail end of your draft?  Is there another option that you are eyeing?

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Make sure to check out our previous late round articles:

7 comments

  1. TY says:

    a good tip: dont wait until the late rounds on 1B.

  2. Merlin says:

    Laporta I think has the most upside, and I’ll be targeting him as my CI

  3. will.overton says:

    Yeah I think that’s the moral of the story here TY. These guys are potentially good CI’s though as Merlin points out.

    And I actually like Davis as a breakout candiate.

  4. GT says:

    I’m in a 10 team NL-only league and I think this season is one of the shallowest as far as 1B goes. A-Gone is gone, Derrek Lee is out, Fielder is about to leave for the Rangers, and guys like James Loney (and, gulp, Xavier Nady) are bonafide starters. Guaranteed – Davis and Sanchez will be top 10 1b pick on draft day.

  5. carlito says:

    holy cow….

    no justin smoak who will be the clean up hitter on seattle and has more upside then alllllllllllllllllll those guys?

    next article please.

  6. potter says:

    Ill be targeting Freeman late at age 21 if and when he is Atl’s 1b he’ll be in a solid lineup and have very avg pitching to face with plenty of men on base for him. Again not as a starter but ill use him as a U.

  7. Johnny Ballgame says:

    I agree. I’d much rather have Smoak or Freeman over LaPorta and Sanchez.

    Also, Mitch Moreland just needs playing time. He’s already shown that he can get the job done with everything on the line.

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