Saturday, February 8, 2014

MLB Position Rankings: First Base

2014 looks to be a deep year for many positions, but 1B is not one of them. Traditionally a position filled with elite hitters, the quality of talent at first base drops off alarmingly quickly. That being said, there is some good value to be found in the talent pool. Here are the top 10 rankings for first base in 2014. Make sure to check back soon for second base rankings!

Sleeper Picks- Jose Abreu, Ryan Howard, Logan Morrison, Brandon Moss

10- Eric Hosmer
After Hosmer's 2011 rookie campaign, scouts and owners alike were salivating over Hosmer's talent and potential as a hitter. Fast forward 3 years and Hosmer has been unable to replicate the power he showed at the plate during his first season. 2014 will be a pivotal year for Hosmer but we predict that he will continue to put up the mediocre numbers that he did last year.

9- Adrian Gonzalez
Gonzalez is perhaps one of the safest picks in the top 10 for first baseman but he also has one of the lowest upsides. Gonzalez has most likely seen his best years pass, but that doesn't mean he can't still contribute at the plate. He won't hit 40 homers like he did in 2009 but hitting in the cleanup spot for the stacked Dodgers will ensure another solid season for Gonzo.

8- Buster Posey
Yes, Posey plays predominantly as a catcher, but he has 1B eligibility in ESPN fantasy so for the sake of this blog, we will include him in the 1b rankings. Posey had a solid 2013 season in which he hit .294 with 15 home runs and we think he will only improve upon those numbers in 2014.

7- Edwin Encarnacion
Encarnacion is a very interesting player to watch in 2014 and beyond. He seemingly broke out in 2012 out of nowhere and continued his success in 2013 with 36 homers. A closer look at his peripherals, however, suggest that Encarnacion's elite numbers have been the result of luck (and maybe some banned substances?) Be careful with Encarnacion in 2014. 

6- Chris Davis
Davis hit more home runs in 2013 than he had hit in his 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons combined. He's a good first baseman and power hitter, but he's not as good as his 2013 numbers looked. Look for Davis to be a major regression candidate this season.

5- Freddie Freeman
Freeman has a very good 2013 year for the Braves at first base. He finally showed the patience at the plate that scouts had been looking for which helped boost his average to a very impressive .319. What should benefit Freeman most in 2014, however, is the resurgence of the Braves lineup. The Upton brothers both have a lot of room to grow from last season and if they finally start producing like they can, Freeman will benefit greatly in the form of increased runs and RBIs.

4- Prince Fielder
Fielder is another player who has already seen his prime pass but will still contribute in 2014. Something around .280 with 25 homers and 95 RBIs seems realistic for the first baseman's first season with the Rangers.

3- Joey Votto
Votto is about a safe of a pick as you can get in the first round and should be top 5 pick in every league this season. While owners might get slightly frustrated by his lack of RBIs, Votto should continue to hit for power while scoring runs and maintaining a batting average over .300. What else can you ask from your first baseman?

2- Paul Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt had a great 2013 season and finished in the top 5 for ESPN's player rater. He's still only 26 years old and is one of the only first baseman who can contribute in the steals category as well as the power category. Goldschmidt should be a top 5 pick in every league in 2014.

1- Miguel Cabrera
After the departure of Prince Fielder, Cabrera should regain his 1B eligibility just a few weeks into the 2014 season. When he does, he will be far and away the best first baseman in the league. 

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