First base is EXTREMELY deep this season. It’s a loaded position with a lot of power and many of the rankings are based on personal preferences. Players with upside usually take precedent over consistent players with little to no upside.
Can you handle a first baseman with power, but a sub-.225 batting average? Do you want to go safe with a player like Adrian Gonzalez or Freddie Freeman?
My rankings are based on a standard 5×5 league. If you have any specific questions about a different league, email me BobbyMcrib@gmail.com.
1. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – Most have Miggy as a top-five fantasy first baseman, but I think they are selling the former MVP short. He dealt with injuries for most of last year and he still knocked 25 homers and hit .313. I believe he’ll have another season of at least 35 homers and .310+. I just couldn’t pick another first baseman if Miggy is still on the board.
2. Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto Blue Jays – Encarnacion has been a beast since he’s been in Toronto. They beefed up their roster by adding Josh Donaldson. He will be protected in the lineup and should get even more RBI opportunities. I expect him to have another great season.
3. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks – Many have Goldschmidt as their #1 first baseman this preseason. He will have a nice year, but I’d rather have Miggy or Encarnacion. The handful of stolen bases is nice to have, but you can find that later in the draft. He’ll probably have another 30 homer/.300 batting average season.
4. Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox – I was high on Abreu last year and it paid off. The Cuban slugger hit 36 homers and batted .317. I expect a lot more of the same. I thought about putting him above Goldschmidt, but Goldy is more established. A sophomore slump could happen, but it’s highly unlikely.
5. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs – Rizzo had a breakout season in 2014. We all knew he’d be good, but he did it for a complete 500+ at-bat season. He even got better as Chicago added prospects from their farm system. He will be even more protected in the lineup as Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Jorge Soler get acclimated to the Majors. I expect a big year from Rizzo.
6. Prince Fielder – Texas Rangers – Fielder only had 150 at-bats in 2014 due to a neck issue. He doesn’t have any limitations during Spring Training, so he’s considered to be 100%. I expect him to bounce back this year. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is a hitter’s park. I expect him to get near 30 homers by year’s end. He will be a top-ten fantasy first baseman.
7. Victor Martinez – Detroit Tigers – I nearly put Martinez above Fielder, but his knee injury has me a bit worried. He could get to a slow start. I don’t expect him to get near his 32 home run total last year, but a 20 homer season is perfectly acceptable. He will still hit for a very high average.
8. Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants – If you draft Posey to be your first baseman, something is wrong. If you own Posey, he will be your catcher…unless something weird happened in your draft and ended up with two awesome catchers.
9. Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels – Pujols is only 35 years old. He still has a few more years of fantasy relevance. He bounced back from a poor 2013 season. He hit 28 homers and batted .272. I expect near the same production this season. It wouldn’t surprise me if his batting average even jumps up a tad.
10. Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers – Gonzalez is one of the more dependable and safe players at first base. There isn’t much risk attached to him. He’ll give your fantasy team homers and RBI with a nice batting average.
11. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds – Votto was once the #1 fantasy first baseman…and it wasn’t that long ago. He has been dealt an unlucky hand. He has missed considerable time in two of the last three seasons. He’s still only 31 years old. I’m higher on Votto more than most because he’s still young enough to put the injuries behind him. When Votto’s healthy, he’s an everyday player. He was an automatic 25+ homer/.300+ hitter. I believe he gets near those numbers this year.
12. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves – Did I mention first base is deep this year? Freeman could very well have a great year, but he’s vulnerable in Atlanta’s lineup. I don’t think his production will be the same without Heyward and Upton.
13. Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles – Davis will still hit homers, but I believe his batting average will stay around .210. His suspension for Adderall isn’t a red flag, since he received a new Adderall exemption after his suspension was handed down. If your team can survive a batting average killer, he could be a nice 1B/3B or Utility fantasy player for the homers.
14. Todd Frazier – Cincinnati Reds – Frazier fell just shy of having a 30/20 season. The stolen bases are nice, but I don’t think he gets as many in 2015. He will still have a great year and probably a player I’ll target to be a 1B/3B starter.
15. Lucas Duda – New York Mets – I have fallen in love with the Mets this year. There are multiple players that I believe are underrated in fantasy. You could get Duda later in the draft and I believe he will be a top-fifteen fantasy first baseman (at the very least).
16. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians – I thought about ranking Santana higher, but I was scared away by his .231 batting average in 2014. I think he’ll have a better hitting season in 2015, but there is some risk attached to Santana.
17. Mark Trumbo – Arizona Diamondbacks – Trumbo is a streaky player and needs 500 at-bats to accumulate his numbers. If you can deal with his downs, he’s a nice player to own. He could be a nice sell-high player if you trade him during one of his usual streaks.
18. Matt Adams – St. Louis Cardinals – I expected more from Adams last year. I thought he was going to be a 30+ homer fantasy player, but he got off to a slow start. St. Louis has Mark Reynolds in camp and could take some at-bats away during the season. He’s still a nice backup first baseman to own.
19. Brandon Moss – Cleveland Indians – Moss could see an increase in power moving from Oakland to Cleveland. He could end up with a line of 28/85/.250 and I’d be fine with it.
20. Justin Morneau – Colorado Rockies – Is Morneau a fantasy zombie? I wrote him off before last season and he had a nice year. Colorado has been very nice to him. I don’t think his numbers would have been the same on any other team. I expect him to have another 16/75/.285 season.
21. Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals – I really want to love Hosmer, I really do. He has just been so darn up and down throughout his career. He did pull through for the Royals in the playoffs, but he hasn’t been a consistent regular season player. I’m hesitant to put him any higher than #21. His upside is the reason I have him this high.
22. Adam LaRoche – Chicago White Sox – LaRoche is a bit vanilla, but his numbers are hard to ignore. I seem to always own him at some point, but end up dropping him when someone with more upside becomes available. He’ll still have a 20+ homer season and bat somewhere around .255. Not bad for a streaming first baseman.
23. Brandon Belt – San Francisco Giants – Is there a Brandon Belt fantasy therapy group? We’ve all been waiting for Belt to have a breakout season, but it hasn’t quite happened yet. We keep drafting him in hopes of a monster year and we’ve yet to see it. He’s still a nice source for power for a streaming first baseman.
24. Yasmani Grandal – Los Angeles Dodgers – Grandal is a better option at catcher than at first base. I think he’ll have a nice year in Los Angeles. The jump to Chavez Ravine from PETCO Park will work out in his favor.
25. Steve Pearce – Baltimore Orioles – Pearce has been bouncing in-between Triple-A and the Majors for a handful of years. I’ve actually saw him in person in Triple-A many times. It looks like he found the perfect team. He was able to stick with Baltimore after his bat got crazy hot. He absolute crushed right-handed pitching last year.
26. Michael Morse – Miami Marlins – Morse could have a comeback season in Miami. He hit 31 homers with Washington in 2011 and then couldn’t stay healthy. He did play in 131 games last year, but San Francisco is a tough place for power. He did manage 32 doubles, so that proves his power never went away. Miami’s park isn’t great for power hitters either, but I think he will break the 20-homer plateau.
27. Billy Butler – Oakland A’s – Butler confused the hell out of me last season. He appeared to lose his power. Not only that, but his batting average took a hit. His average could bounce back, but I don’t have much confidence in his power returning at the moment.
28. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – Tex might be someone you could take a flyer on late in the draft. He might have one more decent fantasy season left in him. Defensive shifts have killed a lot of his value.
29. Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – Poor guy. Mauer lost his catcher eligibility, so he’s barely fantasy relevant at this point. He’s a nice source of batting average, but that’s about it at this point in his career.
30. Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies – Howard is in a weird position. He’s making way too much money on a team that is trying to rebuild. I don’t know how much longer he will be on the Phillies. Finding a trading partner for him is also impossible, so it’s hard to predict how this situation will play out. He could still be a decent source of power, but he’s a batting average killer.
31. Adam Lind – Milwaukee Brewers
32. Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox
33. Kendrys Morales – Kansas City Royals
34. James Loney – Tampa Bay Rays
35. Logan Morrison – Seattle Mariners
36. Justin Smoak – Toronto Blue Jays
37. Darin Ruf – Philadelphia Phillies
38. Allen Craig – Boston Red Sox
39. Garrett Jones – New York Yankees
40. Jon Singleton – Houston Astros
41. Mitch Moreland – Texas Rangers
42. Nick Swisher – Cleveland Indians
43. Stephen Vogt – Oakland A’s
44. Yonder Alonso – San Diego Padres
45. C.J. Cron – LA Angeles Angels
46. Ike Davis – Oakland A’s
47. Brayan Pena – Cincinnati Reds
48. Tommy Medica – San Diego Padres
49. Juan Francisco – Tampa Bay Rays
50. Mark Reynolds – St. Louis Cardinals
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.