This 2018 Fantasy Baseball first base rankings page isn’t your Dad’s first basemen rankings page! This page is comprehensive, full of all sorts of helpful Fantasy Baseball information about the position that will affect your upcoming drafts – and your lineups as we get ready to enter another MLB season.
What exactly are you going to find in this article? I’m so glad you asked!
Obviously, we’re going to share my 2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base rankings, and we’re going 40-deep this spring. That should help you in 15-team Mixed Rotisserie leagues if you so desire! The draftboards over at the NFBC provide their Average Draft Position data that can help us understand whom to draft when?
We’re also going to make sure you understand which players are eligible to be drafted at first base because they played 20 games at the position last season, and which first basemen are eligible at other positions (for playing 20 games, too!).
What kind of drafting strategy can you use for Fantasy first basemen, other than “I want home runs! Lots and lots of home runs!”? I share several tips that will help you in your efforts to optimize your Fantasy roster with the best at each position!
In summary, this article gives you 2018 Fantasy Baseball first base rankings, first base busts, first base sleepers and breakouts, ADP first base rookies and prospects, injuries to be aware of, offseason player movement, position eligibility, and more! It slices! It dices! It feeds your pets!
Along the way, I’ll share some links to great Fantasy Baseball resources and things I learned from some of my Top Free Fantasy Baseball Draft Tools article. I have been building that page for over five years, and maybe you can tell me about some free Fantasy draft tools I might not have known about! Tweet me @DavidGonos or leave a message in the comments!
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings
These first base rankings are for 12-team standard Mixed 5×5 Rotisserie leagues that use one first baseman, a corner infielder and a designated hitter in their starting lineups.
Miguel Cabrera Featured Photo Credit: Keith Allison
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Draft Strategy
Earlier this week, I compared drafting the catcher position to drafting kickers in Fantasy Football. Keeping with that analogy, the Fantasy Baseball first base position is like quarterbacks in Fantasy Football! It’s a well-stocked position, but you must make a move quicker here than you would on a quarterback. Here’s my first base Fantasy drafting strategy for 2018.
Think about a first baseman’s body type – or at least what that body type usually looks like. First basemen are usually tall, with big barrel chests, and they’re quite often left-handed, which helps them defensively.
Speaking of defense, there are some ballclubs that target first basemen because of their defensive skills, so keep them in mind. This is for a couple reasons, I believe, including the fact that big hitters cost big money, but a good glove can come much cheaper. Think of all the top defensive first basemen the Tampa Bay Rays have drafted through recent years: Carlos Pena, James Loney and Logan Morrison.
6 Draft Tips For Fantasy Baseball First Basemen
These generalized Fantasy tips should help you in all facets of Fantasy Baseball, unless otherwise noted!
You Draft Fantasy First Basemen For Power, Not Speed. Duh.
Power, rather than speed, is their forte, and that’s why you need good ones on your Fantasy ballclub. While there are a couple Fantasy Baseball first basemen that can swipe 20 bases or more, you’re not really drafting them because of that. Those are nice bonuses, but they shouldn’t affect your draft strategy.
First Basemen with Multi-Position Eligibility Makes Me Multi-Smile
Since the first base position is often where other position players go to die (meaning, they’re sent to play there in the latter stages of their careers), then you can find plenty of multi-position eligible players here. Specifically, you can often find players that are eligible in the outfield, middle infield, third base and even catcher among first basemen. You’re not going to find many catchers with 3B eligibility, or shortstops with outfield eligibility. But first base has a little of everything. I like to target a good bat with multi-position eligibility later in my draft because it gives me lineup flexibility.
This also means it’s a position that’s added to player’s eligibilities more than others as the season wears on. Whether it’s an aging middle infielder, or an outfielder moved to first in an emergency situation. So your end-of-season first baseman might not even be eligible there in April. This position is also the likely spot where some of the top DH-only players could get five games played in 2018.
Don’t Wait On Drafting a Great First Basemen
When you look at the Average Draft Position, you’ll see just a handful of studs at this position among the first four or five rounds. Make sure you come out of the first quarter of the draft with your starting first baseman. Even if you draft studs at other positions, it’s tough to make up that gap between the very best Fantasy first basemen and the middle group.
Fantasy First Base is Like Scotch…
What I mean by that is I like the very best ones, as well as getting some late. The first base position might be the deepest among the hitters because even a bad MLB team’s first baseman still holds some pretty good Fantasy value. With this in mind, consider acquiring a stud early on, and then your second first basemen earlier than everyone else, so you have the best corner infielder, too.
Feel free to not stop at two first basemen, too! Grab your designated hitter (possibly another first baseman?) in the late teens! Your late-round picks should be reserved for middle infielders, a second catcher, a fifth outfielder and your final starting pitchers and relievers.
— Tony Cincotta (@TheTonyCincotta) February 16, 2018
Don’t Use Stars at Other Positions at First Base
Sure, it’s nice to draft a star at another infield position (or catcher or outfield) with multi-position eligibility, but starting him at first base is essentially wasting his stardom. The person you draft to replace him at those other positions are likely not as good as the player you could find to replace him at first base.
Understand the Different Tiers at the Position
The top 12 Fantasy First Basemen, or essentially the 12 players considered Fantasy starter-worthy at this position, will likely be off the board by the end of the sixth or seventh round of a 12-team draft. But then it slows down a bit, and only eight or so go after the next seven or eight rounds, and another eight or nine first basemen going in the final seven or eight rounds.
From superstars to players with great upside, this position is deep and the players get interchangeable late in the drafts. But nailing your middle and late picks could mean finding players that will get drafted in the early rounds last year.
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Position Eligibility
The players listed below played first base in at least 20 games last season, but they are also eligible at other positions listed. Here’s a shout-out to Grey Albright over at Razzball.com for coming up with the list of games played by position from the 2017 MLB season.
- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants – 38 games at first base, 99 games at catcher
- Cody Bellinger, L.A. Dodgers – 93 games at first base, 46 games at outfield
- Adam Lind, Free Agent — 39 games at first base, 25 games at outfield
- Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers — 108 games at first base, 29 games at outfield
- Wilmer Flores, N.Y. Mets — 29 games at first base, 12 games at second base, 55 games at third base
- Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers — 59 games at first base, 72 games at third base, 18 games at outfield
- Chase Headley, San Diego Padres — 45 games at first base, 86 games at third base
- Ryon Healy, Seattle Mariners — 39 games at first base, 34 games at third base
- Trevor Plouffe, Texas Rangers– 11 games at first base, 64 games at third base
- T.J. Rivera, N.Y. Mets — 20 games at first base, 12 games at second base, 28 games at third base
- Luis Valbuena, L.A. Angels — 48 games at first base, 59 games at third base
- Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies — 27 games at first base, 67 games at outfield
- Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros — 31 games at first base, 22 games at second base, 19 games at third base, 38 games at shortstop, 48 games at outfield
- Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies — 27 games at first base, 30 games at outfield
- John Jaso — 29 games at first base, 61 games at outfield
- Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles — 45 games at first base, 90 games at outfield
- Jose Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals — 33 games at first base, 41 games at outfield
- Jose Osuna, Pittsburgh Pirates — 23 games at first base, 36 games at outfield
- Andrew Romine, Seattle Mariners — 22 games at first base, 27 games at second base, 10 games at shortstop, 23 games at third base, 51 games at outfield
- Ryan Rua, Texas Rangers — 23 games at first base, 38 games at outfield
The players listed below played first base and another position in at least 10 games last season (as did the players above).
- Matt Adams, Washington Nationals — 62 games at first base, 19 games at outfield
- Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants — 98 games at first base, 15 games at outfield
- Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals — 120 games at first base, 13 games at second base, 16 games at third base
- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves — 105 games at first base, 16 games at third base
- John Hicks, Detroit Tigers — 26 games at first base, 18 games at catcher
- Ryder Jones, San Francisco Giants — 30 games at first base, 18 games at third base
- Jefry Marte, L.A. Angels — 28 games at first base, 10 games at third base
- Tyler Moore — 45 games at first base, 13 games at outfield
- Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics — 43 games at first base, 12 games at outfield
- Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs — 157 games at first base, 10 games at second base
- Dany Valencia, Seattle Mariners — 118 games at first base, 10 games at outfield
- Daniel Descalso, Arizona Diamondbacks — 19 games at first base, 45 games at second base, 15 games at third base, 36 games at outfield
- Chase Utley, L.A. Dodgers — 17 games at first base, 80 games at second base
- Neil Walker — 17 games at first base, 95 games at second base
- Taylor Motter, Seattle Mariners — 15 games at first base, 18 games at second base, 39 games at shortstop, 19 games at outfield
- Andres Blanco, San Francisco Giants — 11 games at first base, 15 games at second base, 16 games at third base
- Matt Davidson, Chicago White Sox — 19 games at first base, 34 games at third base
- Derek Dietrich, Miami Marlins — 10 games at first base, 10 games at second base, 103 games at third base
- Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis Cardinals — 10 games at first base, 5 games at second base, 109 games at third base
- Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants — 9 games at first base, 67 games at third base
- Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins — 9 games at first base, 82 games at third base
- Jay Bruce, N.Y. Mets — 12 games at first base, 112 games at outfield
- Patrck Kivlehan, Cincinnati Reds — 12 games at first base, 7 games at third base, 43 games at outfield
- Steve Pearce, Toronto Blue Jays — 10 games at first base, 85 games at outfield
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Offseason Movement
A lot has changed since the end of the 2018 MLB season, so I listed several of the more notable players that are playing with different jerseys after some offseason movement. I used MLB’s free-agent tracker and ESPN’s transactions page.
Veteran players on new teams is a good source for both Fantasy sleepers and Fantasy busts, strangely enough. They’re now working with an entirely different coaching staff that could help fix – or ruin — them.
Players are working with new lineups around them, and some might even be playing in a different league altogether, like moving from the American League to the National League, or vice-versa. This normally affects pitchers more than hitters, but pay attention to first basemen moving to the AL from the NL, since they could end up getting more at-bats at designated hitter. On the other side, pay attention to DHs moving to the NL, where they’ll be forced to play a position.
Finally, players could be going from a hitter’s ballpark or a pitcher’s ballpark, to the opposite, which would affect their opportunities. Here’s a link to ESPN’s Ballpark Factors page to see which stadium ranks closer to Coors Field (1st) or Minute Maid Park (30th).
- Eric Hosmer went from the Kansas City Royals to the San Diego Padres
- Adrian Gonzalez went from Atlanta Braves to N.Y. Mets
- Ji-Man Choi went from N.Y. Yankees to Milwaukee Brewers
- Colin Moran went from Houston Astros to Pittsburgh Pirates
- Yonder Alonso went from Seattle Mariners to Cleveland Indians
- Matt Adams went from Atlanta Braves to Washington Nationals
- Carlos Santana went from Cleveland Indians to Philadelphia Phillies
- Chase Headley went from N.Y. Yankees to San Diego Padres
- Brock Stassi went from Philadelphia Phillies to Minnesota Twins
- Chad Huffman went from Washington Nationals to Detroit Tigers
- Ryon Healy went from Oakland Athletics to Seattle Mariners
Since 2014, Carlos Santana has averaged 154.5 games, 25.75 HR, 79.75 runs, 84 RBI, .363 OBP, and a 120.5 wRC+. His ADP for 2018 is currently 173, and he has a new team in Philadelphia. #FantasyBaseball pic.twitter.com/5VGIUP3mXq
— FantasyData (@nfldata) February 7, 2018
Several first basemen remained free agents as of mid-February:
- Logan Morrison
- Lucas Duda
- Mike Napoli
- Danny Valencia
- Adam Lind
More First Basemen Fantasy notes you should be aware of:
When the Padres signed Hosmer to play first base this season, they essentially made the choice to move 1B Wil Myers back out to the outfield, which means he’ll add Fantasy OF eligibility there after a couple weeks this season. Unless the Royals sign another free agent, Hunter Dozier could be their starting first baseman.
Houston’s Jonathan Singleton is suspended until July 31 for testing positive a third time for drugs. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Astros, and he has been one of the few missteps by the Astros organization lately. He didn’t get one at-bat in the majors in 2017.
Tampa Bay’s Brad Miller, who already has 2B-eligibility, will likely get 1B eligibility in the first week or two of this season. He’s currently the probable starter at first base for the Rays – with prospect Jake Bauers coming up in the minors.
2018 Fantasy Baseball Designated Hitters
While we’ll highlight some designated hitters for Fantasy Baseball purposes later on in the spring, I wanted to mention the DHs that don’t have eligibility at other positions in this article as a frame of reference for you.
- Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
- Shohei Ohtani, L.A. Angels
- Hanley Ramirez, Boston Red Sox
- Kendrys Morales, Toronto Blue Jays
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Average Draft Position at NFBC
This ADP for first basemen is based on 12-team, traditional 5×5 Rotisserie league drafts over at the NFBC, which is now powered by SportsHubTech.
- 1.04 Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
- 2.06 Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
- 2.10 Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
- 2.11 Cody Bellinger, L.A. Dodgers
- 2.12 Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
- 4.06 Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
- 5.02 Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
- 5.08 Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland Indians
- 5.11 Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
- 6.09 Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres
- 6.10 Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
- 8.09 Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
- 9.06 Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
- 9.07 Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros
- 11.02 Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics
- 11.07 Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
- 13.05 Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays
- 13.08 Greg Bird, N.Y. Yankees
- 13.11 Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
- 15.03 Carlos Santana, Philadelphia Phillies
- 16.01 Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
- 16.02 Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
- 16.07 Eric Thames, Milwaukee Brewers
- 16.11 Ryon Healy, Seattle Mariners
- 17.04 Justin Bour, Miami Marlins
- 18.04 Yulieski Gurriel, Houston Astros
- 21.07 Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
- 23.12 Jose Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals
- 24.12 Logan Morrison, Free Agent
Embed from Getty Images
Below are all Fantasy first basemen picks beyond 30 rounds of a 12-team draft.
- Yonder Alonso, Cleveland Indians
- Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
- Wilmer Flores, N.Y. Mets
- Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies
- Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins
- Mark Reynolds, Colorado Rockies
- Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox
- J. Cron, L.A. Angels
- Chase Headley, San Diego Padres
- Dominic Smith, N.Y. Mets
- Lucas Duda, Tampa Bay Rays
- Matt Adams, St. Louis Cardinals
- Colin Moran, Pittsburgh Pirates
- Adam Lind, Washington Nationals
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Bust Candidates
Buying in on a Fantasy first baseman that turns into a bust can cripple your Fantasy lineups. While the following players are my picks as the “most likely to disappoint at their current ADP,” I’m not saying they’ll be horrible and lose all Fantasy relevancy. When I say Fantasy first base busts, I’m saying, “I don’t like where these guys are getting drafted at – I would like to own them, but with a later pick if possible.”
Here are three first basemen I believe will have a tough time producing enough value to justify their current ADP.
Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies (ADP: 5.02)
I’m risk averse with my early picks, which usually saves me from making horrible miscues during a draft or auction. In Hoskins’ case, the Fantasy world is going goofy over someone with just 50 MLB games under his belt. Sure, he destroyed pitching last year to the tune of 18 homers in 50 games (and nearly one RBI per game (48 RBI)), but the soon-to-be 25-year-old will have to make adjustments after the pitching world adjusted to him this winter. As I said, I’m risk averse, so he may very well produce like a superstar, but spending a top-50 pick on a rookie slugger is too expensive for me. I’d rather wait five or six rounds and grab another young slugger, like Oakland’s Matt Olson.
Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres (ADP 6.09)
Hosmer broke though with a career year in 2017, which happened to have coincided with his age-27 season and his contract year with the Royals. He hit a career-high .318 (just his second season above .300) and he hit 25 homers in the second consecutive season. He landed in San Diego as a free agent in February, and he’ll join Wil Myers as above-average hitters stuck in an above-average pitcher’s park. I need stability with my sixth-round picks. Hosmer has never really been the prototypical slugging first basemen, so why spend like he is?
Eric Hosmer already won his ring and KC isn’t going anywhere. The man got paid and gets to ride out his career in sunny San Diego. No brainer for real life. Bad for fantasy life. Weak lineup. Pitchers park. #FantasyBaseball
— RyTheFantasyGuy (@RyTheFantasyGuy) February 18, 2018
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Sleepers
Fantasy Baseball players love sleepers like hoarders like magazines. We buy them with hopes that we can learn something from them and they’ll end up rewarding us with much better value the longer we hold onto them. These four Fantasy first base sleepers should outperform their current draft stock.
Definition: sleeper : noun
1. a person or animal who is asleep.
2. a fantasy player drafted in the late rounds (or undrafted) this season, but plays well enough to become a mid-round pick next season.
Justin Bour, Miami Marlins (ADP 17.04)
A 25-HR/.290 hitter as a 17th-rounder? Yes, please! While it’s true, the Marlins dumped talent again this summer, and Bour is now looking at being protected in a lineup by Starlin Castro and Lewis Brinson, as opposed to Giancarlo Stanto,n, Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna. Even so, the 29-year-old Bour still has upside, and at this price, he’s a South Beach bargain.
Jose Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals (ADP 23.12)
Many are going to look at Martinez as a one-hit wonder after he burst onto the scene with 14 homers and a .309 batting average with the Cardinals last season. He’ll turn 30 years old this summer, and old youngsters in Fantasy Baseball are like finding a team checklist in your pack of baseball cards. Meh. But his metrics say otherwise, and that’s where rolling the dice on this multi-position eligible guy comes in handy as a great pick after 20 rounds.
“With a 26.6% line drive rate, 37.2% hard contact rate and a 8.0% swinging strike rate in 2017, Jose Martinez is a serious threat to have a batting average in the .300’s.”#STLCards #cardinals
2018 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: 1Bhttps://t.co/r9IUUEqISM
— cgsCards⚾🏀🏈🏒 (@CGSportsfan) February 8, 2018
Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox (ADP – undrafted in 12-team leagues)
M&M figures to see plenty of time at first base again with the Red Sox, and that means his extra-base hit ability will come in handy for those smart enough to snatch him up as a reserve player. He’ll make for a reliable Fantasy DH on what should once again be a high-scoring offense.
Dominic Smith, N.Y. Mets (ADP — undrafted in 12-team leagues)
Lists are fun, said the guy with OCD. So here’s a list of reasons why Smith should help Fantasy teams that draft him late:
- The Mets’ starting first baseman should be Adrian Gonzalez, who has struggled with back injuries in recent years, which means Smith could be forced into action as early as the end of Spring Training.
- Smith reportedly lost 30 pounds this offseason.
- Smith disappointed as far as consistency at the plate last season, but don’t lose sight that he’ll start this season at just 22 years old.
- Smith did not disappoint with his power, smacking nine homers in 49 games with the Mets last summer.
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Breakout Candidates
Finding Fantasy first base breakout candidates can help you overcome major mistakes at other positions.
Definition: breakout: noun
1. a forcible escape, typically from prison.
2. a sudden advance to a new level.
3. a fantasy player drafted in the middle rounds this season, but plays well enough to become an early round pick next season.
Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (ADP 9.06)
The toughest part of dealing with Gallo on your team is seeing that batting average pull down your team like an anchro tied to a concrete block. However, his .327 ISO last year should make your Fantasy heart skip a beat. Sure, his 41 homers are the end result of that power, and that has you excited more than anything, but the fact he strikes out more than one-third of his plate appearances brings you back to earth. What’s more likely, Gallo will learn how to make better contact in his age-24 season, or pitchers learn to make him miss even more, even though they’ve faced him for close to 200 major-league games now? We vote the former – and we suggest surrounding his big bat with quality bats that can help raise his sub-.230 batting average.
Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics (ADP 11.02)
If I could guarantee I’d get Olson in Round 11, I wouldn’t even sniff Hoskins or Gallo earlier. The problem is – everyone loves Olson as a big Fantasy first base sleeper in 2018. That’s just going to keep his ADP rising over the next few weeks (he had a 14th-round ADP a few weeks ago). In 59 games in the majors last season, Olson crushed 24 homers (with a curiously low 33 RBI), crushing a .392 ISO (with a curiously low .238 BABIP). Drafting him anywhere past Round 10 is a huge bonus for your ballclub. FanGraph’s Jeff Sullivan points out that Olson’s 2017 season compares favorably to what J.D. Martinez did last year, when you look at exit velocity, launch angles, contact rate and in-zone swing rate minus out-of-zone swing rate.
Top 10 2H average exit velocity leaders on balls 19-39°:
Matt Olson 102.1
Giancarlo Stanton 102.1
Joey Gallo 101.9
Aaron Judge 99.9
Nelson Cruz 99.6
Kyle Schwarber 99.3
Khris Davis 99.2
Josh Donaldson 98.6
Ryan Zimmerman 97.7
Javier Baez 97.5#fantasybaseball
— BatFlip Crazy (@batflipcrazy) January 11, 2018
2018 Fantasy Baseball Rookie First Basemen
Drafting rookie first basemen can provide some dividends, but there are some problems that go along with this idea. First, if you draft a rookie first baseman, like the ones displayed below, you’re giving up a roster spot that a veteran could hold. Most late-round Fantasy first basemen are still pretty good! Secondly, drafting a rookie first basemen means you are risking a slot on a kid that could be sent back down to the minors – and a first-base spot is too valuable for that. However, if you are rolling the dice with a DH spot, then it’s not quite as risky.
Ryan McMahon, Colorado Rockies: You want to hear things like a team needing to change a prospect’s position because he’s blocked by a superstar at his natural position. That means his bat is so good, the team is dying to give him at-bats. That’s the case with McMahon, who auditioned 17 games last season, but will probably be the Rockies starter at first base this year, with Nolan Arenado manning third base. A young corner infielder at Coors Field? There aren’t many better late-round picks to consider. After a stinker of a 2016, he improved his strikeout-rate considerably from about 30 percent down to 18 percent. Watch MLB free agency this spring to make sure the Rockies don’t sign another first baseman.
Colin Moran, Pittsburgh Pirates: The opposite of McMahon, Moran is moving to third base after coming over from Houston in the Gerrit Cole trade. The Bucs have Josh Bell at first base, so Moran will try to get at bats at third, possibly in a platoon with David Freese.
Jake Bauers, Tampa Bay Rays: Your league might list him as an outfielder, but his future in the majors is first base with the Rays. Bauers is an excellent hitter with good power and the ability to scoot around the basepaths quickly. Bat/power/speed – it’s tough to ask more from a first baseman! The Rays will make room for him in the early part of the summer, is my guess, and maybe sooner if Brad Miller gets hurt or is needed elsewhere. He could be a 20-20 first baseman within a couple seasons.
Dan Vogelbach, Seattle Mariners: It’s possibly he ends up starting for the M’s early in the season, but that’s also true of several Mariners players, including Ryon Healy, Mike Ford and Andrew Romine – and several other free agent first basemen. Right now, Rule 5 free-agent pickup Ford is penciled in as their starter at first base – and likely nine-hole hitter. Vogelbach is thick, with pretty good power, but it’s tough to consider him outside of AL-only formats this season.
Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers: Sign up for Guzman if you are more of a fan of the Eric Hosmer/Mark Grace first base-types. If you like better bat over bigger bat, Guzman is your man! He hit close to .300 at Triple-A last season, but a high .342 BABIP has us a little curious as to how he starts out in 2018. He needs some at-bats at DH or for Joey Gallo to fail or get hurt before he’s Fantasy viable.
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Prospects
As you know, dynast Fantasy Baseball players like to play the long game – which means picking prospects to help fill their rosters in the coming years.
Bobby Bradley, Cleveland Indians: The Indians have Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso working the big boy spots (1B and DH) in the majors this season, which allows them to wait on Bradley, who is crushing minor-league pitching. He’ll turn 22 years old this May, and he should continue to develop at Double-A, where he hit .251 with 23 HR and 89 RBI in 131 games last season.
Matt Thais, L.A. Angels: The Angels aren’t going to be asking Thais to help out this season, and he’s not much of a home run hitter just yet. His numbers indicate a mature approach to the plate, which could help the Halos next season and beyond.
Peter Alonso, N.Y. Mets: With a .524 slugging percentage last season, just his second professionally, dynasty owners – and Mets fans alike – look forward to this 245-lb. righty’s arrival in a couple years.
Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros: Doesn’t it seem like the Astros always have a stellar young first baseman waiting in the wings? They had a plethora of young 1B sluggers just three years ago, fighting for at-bats, but they also all had problems with strikeouts. Alvarez is still a year or two away, but his plate discipline is better than all those guys, and dynasty owners with deep rosters need him on their radars.
Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays: Whatever happens with Shohei Ohtani could affect McKay’s future, as this 2017 draft pick has two-way potential, too. He’s a lefty with the ability to make hitters miss, and as a hitter, he can smash right-handers. I’ve never understood why small-market teams like the Rays don’t use more two-way players, considering they get more for the player, and most of these pitchers have been hitting regularly since Little League.
2018 Fantasy Baseball First Base Bounce-Back & Rebound Candidates
It’s not unusual to find some rebound candidates among Fantasy Baseball first basemen. These are quite often older players that struggled through injuries, or they are on a new ballclub with a new deal.
Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals(ADP 16.02)
Really, it was just Carpenter’s batting average that dipped low enough to make us consider his 2017 season a bad one by his standards. He hit .241 in 145 games, down about 30 points from his usual .270-plus ability. Some of that can easily be explained away by a BABIP of .274 that was down 30-plus points from the previous season, and even more from the seasons before that.
Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants (ADP Undrafted)
A concussion messed up Belt’s 2017 season, but if he can stay healthy in 2018, he’ll be part of a Giants’ lineup that has been revamped since last summer, adding Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. That’s reason to smile if you can get Belt in the reserve rounds.
Notable 2018 Fantasy Baseball First Basemen Injuries
These players were either dealing with some injuries to end the 2017 season, or they incurred injuries in the offseason. Unless otherwise noted, these players are expected to be ready for the start of the season.
- Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals — Shoulder
- Jefry Marte, L.A. Angels – Foot
- Sam Travis, Boston Red Sox – Hip
- Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics – Hamstring
- T.J. Rivera, N.Y. Mets — Elbow: He’s not expected to return until midseason.
As you can see, the 2018 Fantasy Baseball first base rankings are full of Fantasy goodness! Pick a couple, one early and one the middle rounds as your corner infielder, then take a chance on a sleeper first baseman late in the draft!
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.