Ranking first basemen, where the average roto starter hit 30 home runs and drove in 89, is tricky. Since there are so many similar players at the top, you can go deeper in the drafts for a productive player but you can’t let it go altogether since this is the one position you absolutely need counting stats from.
A lot of ratings lists will overprice first baseman that can give you some steals, but the dozen or so SB you get from them you can get cheaper at other positions, so I feel like the real separator is in AVG/OBP. Everyone will give you the RBIs and HRs, but finding a guy that helps rather than hurts your average is the key here.
With that in mind, here are my top five picks for those manning the first sack:
1. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (2017 Stats:.320/.454/.578, 7.5 WAR)
The on-base Red machine produced an otherworldly 7.5 WAR from the first base position in 2017, and his fantasy value is nearly as high as his real-life worth. He’ll get you the 30-ish home runs and 100-ish runs and ribbies, but his batting average and OBP are what put him at the top of the list. Prediction: .312 BA, 30 HR, 102 RBI, .440 OBP, 4 SB
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (2017 Stats:.297/.404/.563, 5.8 WAR)
A strong case can certainly be made to put Goldy in the first slot, as many have done and I went back-and-forth on myself. The five-time All Star will help in every category, but the humidor at Chase Field may dampen power projections (pun intended). Prediction: .295 BA, 24 HR, 105 RBI, .386 OBP, 15 SB
3. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (2017 Stats:.307/.403/.586, 4.5 WAR)
The only thing keeping Freeman from the number two slot is the relative lack of RBI and R opportunities sandwiched between Albies and Flowers in the batting order. If Ronald Acuna comes up gangbusters, it may give FF a boost. Prediction: .296 BA, 28 HR, 82 RBI, .388 OBP, 4 SB
4. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox (2017 Stats:.304/.354/.552, 4.7 WAR)
The Cuban masher is exactly the profile you’d expect from an upper-echelon first baseman, with lots of power and good counting stats. Has never driven in less than 100 in his four seasons in the majors, and has been durable and consistent. Prediction: .290 BA, 31 HR, 103 RBI, .346 OBP, 1 SB
5. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (2017 Stats:.273/.392/.507, 4.4 WAR)
Rizzo will qualify in many leagues as a second baseman as well, as he appeared there 10 times last season. If that is the case in your league, that’s probably where you’ll want to use him if you don’t have Jose Altuve, with his great counting stats in a loaded Cubs lineup. Prediction: .273 BA, 26 HR, 100 RBI, .378 OBP, 8 SB
Other rankings: Catchers
Featured photo of Joey Votto by Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports.