First base has always been viewed as a deep position, and one that you can target in the later rounds of your draft. While that’s still true, to an extent, it also isn’t quite as deep as it may be perceived so waiting may no longer be the best path to take.
With that being said, here are a few things to remember as you review the rankings (and if you want to see even deeper rankings, make sure to order our 2019 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide that includes a Top 30, by clicking here):
- A player being 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 that he holds.
- These rankings are based on our projections and expected production for 2019.
Without further ado, let’s get to the rankings:
- Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
- Paul Goldschmidt – St. Louis Cardinals
- Cody Bellinger – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs
- Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox
- Matt Olson – Oakland A’s
- Edwin Encarnacion – Seattle Mariners
- Josh Bell – Pittsburgh Pirates
- Max Muncy – Los Angeles Dodgers
- Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
- Jurickson Profar – Oakland A’s
- Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals
- Justin Smoak – Toronto Blue Jays
- Trey Mancini – Baltimore Orioles
- Joey Gallo – Texas Rangers
- We recently took a look at Cody Bellinger, why he’s leapfrogged Rhys Hoskins and why he is a must target player for ’19. Make sure to check it out by clicking here.
- Anthony Rizzo was a perceived disappointment in 2018, though hitting .283 with 25 HR and 101 RBI is hardly a “terrible” season. The drop in power was the biggest “issue”, and it stemmed from struggles against left-handed pitchers (.369 SLG in ’18). That hadn’t been an issue previously and there’s reason to believe that he’ll return to prominence in ’19 (15.7% HR/FB in the second half of ’18).
- Jurickson Profar was deployed as a utility player in ’18, which will work as a bonus for fantasy owners in ’19. He enters the year with eligibility at 1B, 3B and SS (and for those who only require 10 games for eligibility, 2B as well though he should gain that early in ‘19) and should see full-time AB as a member of the A’s. He’s coming off a year where he hit .254 with 20 HR and 10 SB, the power appears to be for real (11 HR in 215 AB in the second half) and the average should grow moving to the vast expanses of Oakland (44.6% Hard%, 27.3% Oppo%). He may be a better fit at other positions, but don’t overlook him.
- Surprised to see Josh Bell and Max Muncy in the Top 10? That helps to show the “lack” of depth at the spot, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t believe in the upside. Bell has a strong approach and should see his average rise (.261 AVG, .305 BABIP). He showed signs that his power returned, at least a little bit, towards the end of the season (HR/FB of 13.3% and 16.7% over the final two months). The potential is there to be a .280 hitter with 20+ HR.
- As for Muncy, it’s easy to assume that last year’s breakout wasn’t for real (.263 with 35 HR). There are concerns about his strikeout rate (27.2%), but the underlying numbers support a better mark (a 32.7% strikeout rate in the second half skews the number). He may not quite match last year’s power pace, but a 30 HR campaign isn’t unrealistic given how consistent he was.
- There are alternatives that you can argue for the final few spots, including Jesus Aguilar, Eric Hosmer and Joey Votto. Votto’s omission may be the biggest surprise, but he’s been showing a decline in power over the past year and a half (12 HR in ’18). Maybe he rebounds a little, but fewer than 20 HR and a .290ish average isn’t ideal for first base.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball