How often do we dip into the slow, plodding first basemen in order to bulk up on our power numbers? Our 2016 Fantasy First Basemen rankings are full of guys that swing a bit bat, but are adept on the field enough to stay out of the designated hitter’s spot.
What’s interesting, though, is that of the top 10 RBI leaders from 2015, just three of them were first basemen: Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Goldschmidt!
However, there are a couple players, like David Ortiz and Kendrys Morales, that play DH and sometimes get work in at first base. Otherwise, you’re looking at third basemen and outfielders.
Even so, first base is a spot to go for home run and RBI – even if they aren’t among the leaders.
As a matter of fact, when looking at the top 25 players in home runs, there are nine first basemen, and a few more that will likely qualify there at some point in 2016.
Big Bat, Big Misses
On the other end of the spectrum, however, there are a good number of first basemen that will provide you power numbers at the expense of your batting average.
For instance, if we look at the first basemen that hit 19 or more home runs last season, seven of the 17 sluggers hit for batting averages under .250, with three batting under .235 (Chris Carter, Ryan Howard and Carlos Santana).
(Speaking of Howard, one of my favorite waiting-for-a-chance Fantasy first baseman this season is Darin Ruf, who destroyed left-handers last season to the tune of a .371/.447/.660 slash line in about 100 at-bats. If you think he can improve against righties (.158/.208/.275), then this is a player to pick up late in your drafts as a flier.
This position doesn’t quite have the depth that it used to, with players like Howard, Joe Mauer, Santana and Ryan Zimmerman dropping back in talent expectations. There’s also not quit the youth movement (even Ruf is 29 years old) we’ve hoped for in recent years either. There are just two first basemen (Houston’s A.J. Reed and Minnesota’s Max Kepler) among the top 50 prospects over at Baseball America.
2016 Fantasy First Basemen Rankings
These 2016 Fantasy First Basemen Rankings are for 5×5 Rotisserie Mixed leagues, and we’ll work to update these frequently. You can also check out the SCFE staff rankings on 2016 Fantasy First Basemen here.
Anthony Rizzo Photo Credit: Ben Grey
You probably agree, now, after looking at the 2016 Fantasy First Basemen rankings, that this position is thinner than usual – with limited upside coming from prospects or rookies. Even so, this makes getting a top-10 first baseman a little more important than previous seasons.