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The Good and Bad at 1B in 2013 (Plus Early 2014 Rankings)

How high does Freeman rank at 1B in 2014?

How high does Freeman rank at 1B in 2014?

In my humble opinion, you should always try to land a top 7-10 first baseman for fantasy. Although position eligibility helps greatly, it’s still one of the few positions you should not wait on. There was a changing of the guard this year, and because of that, the tides are a changing at the power corner.

Here’s how I see the top 20 first basemen break down for the 2013 season:

  1. Chris Davis, BAL
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
  3. David Ortiz, BOS
  4. Freddie Freeman, ATL
  5. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
  6. Joey Votto, CIN
  7. Prince Fielder, DET
  8. Mike Napoli, BOS
  9. Mark Trumbo, LAA
  10. Brandon Moss, OAK
  11. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD
  12. Allen Craig, STL
  13. Eric Hosmer, KC
  14. Adam Lind, TOR
  15. Brandon Belt, SF
  16. Kendrys Morales, SEA
  17. Billy Butler, KC
  18. Anthony Rizzo, CHC
  19. Nick Swisher, CLE
  20. James Loney, TAM

The Good

Davis, Goldschmidt, and Freeman have established themselves as the next crop of fantasy superstars at 1B. The first two will likely both be top 10 picks while Freeman might wind up a Top 30 pick in 2014.

Moss had 30 HR and 87 RBI in only 446 at bats.

Ortiz proved once again that he is one of the best hitters in the league (30 HR, 103 RBI, 84 R, .309 BA) and an undervalued commodity.

Although he wasn’t a dominant force, Loney was useful as a second first baseman or utility player (13 HR, 75 RBI, .299 BA), hitting .315 before the All-Star Break.

Trumbo and ol’ Pujols might be switching positions. Trumbo might get even more time at first with the ailing Pujols reverting to DH duty next season. Trumbo won’t hit over .270, but he had 34 HR and 100 RBI for an underachieving Angels’ team.

Craig could have finished a lot higher had he not missed all of September. He hit .315 and had 97 RBI before being lost.

The Bad

Paging Albert Pujols? Pujols looked older than Burgess Meredith in Grumpy Old Men. He could barely run the bases comfortably and the plantar faciitis finally took control, ending his season in August. Have we seen the last of The Machine? At least a machine that isn’t outdated like the T-1?

Konerko is no longer a viable starter for fantasy purposes. He only had 12 HR and 54 RBI. Paulie might be headin’ out to the pasture.

Rizzo was supposed to take the next step, but he had the same number of homers (23) as Mitch Moreland in 154 more at-bats. He did drive in more (80 to 60) but maybe we jumped the gun on thinking Rizzo was going to break out.

Outlook for 2014

The old guard certainly appears to be fading out with Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, Pujols, Konerko and others falling by the wayside. They aren’t the producers they once were, and those who replace them should have immediate value.

Which Hosmer are we going to get next year? On paper, his season looks good (17 HR, 79 RBI, 11 SB, .302 BA), but what the hell was he doing until after the All-Star Break? He’s still young, so unlike oldsters like Adam LaRoche and Morneau, he gets a pass.

Who takes over for Todd Helton to man first base in the offensive heaven of Coors Field?

How long will it take for the Astros to promote Jonathan Singleton? They’re still a few years away from not being “one of the worst teams in history” but they’re loaded in the minors. He might fan a ton, but so do Moss, Chris Carter, Adam Dunn, Napoli…you get the idea.

Early 2014 Rankings

Below are my early 2014 rankings on my own personal mock draft cheat sheet. Baseball Professor will be unveiling their official rankings in the next few weeks, so I’m sure these will jumble in the meantime. Comment below with your thoughts!

  1. Chris Davis, BAL
  2. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
  3. Joey Votto, CIN
  4. Allen Craig, STL
  5. Freddie Freeman, ATL
  6. Mark Trumbo, LAA
  7. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR
  8. Prince Fielder, DET
  9. David Ortiz, BOS
  10. Adrian Gonzalez, LAD
  11. Mike Napoli, BOS
  12. Brandon Moss, OAK
  13. Eric Hosmer, KC
  14. Billy Butler, KC
  15. Anthony Rizzo, CHC
  16. Chris Carter, HOU
  17. Adam Dunn, CHW
  18. Darin Ruf, PHI
  19. James Loney, TAM
  20. Mitch Moreland, TEX

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Updated: October 24, 2013 — 11:57 am
  • Why So Down on Prince?

    Prince Fielder is too low. He is 29 years old in the beginning/middle of prime in the middle of a championship caliber lineup following the best hitter in baseball. He has a career .286 BA, 30+ HR in 6 of the last 7 seasons (Craig/Freeman have zero, Joey Votto has one) and has 100+ RBI in 6 of the last 7 seasons. He hasn’t played in less than 161 games since 2008 and he has never played in less than 157.

    I would probably rank him 4th right now and worthy of a late 2nd Rd. draft choice. Definitely still a Top 25 player in my opinion.

    • I’d pencil Fielder in for .280, 28 HR, 100 RBI, but is he really much better than that? 30 and 25 HR in his 2 years in DET, a much tougher park for batters than MIL. His walk rate was the lowest this past year since his rookie season in ’06.

      Craig and Freeman are trending up in their careers and haven’t had as many such seasons because they just haven’t played as long. Craig does have injury concerns, but Freeman batted a not-at-all-fluky .319 — 40 points higher than Fielder. Personally, I think Freeman is the best of them all and the much safer pick.

      • Fielder > Freeman > Craig

        I don’t think Craig is trending up anymore than Fielder. They’re the same age and Craig has a much worse injury track record and has never shown the level of power that Fielder has and might be relegated to OF full time in ’14 w/ greater chance of injury. So much of Craig’s success in ’13 was based on a .368 BABIP and .450 BA w/ RISP. He hits a lot of line drives so a high BABIP is possible, but .360+ is pushing it and the RISP #s seem almost impossible to repeat. I’d prefer Freeman or Fielder over Craig.

        As far as Freeman, sure he is young so upside is there, but he has never hit over 23 HR in a season (major or minor league) so I doubt he hits 30+ on any regular basis if ever. Also, similar to Craig, a .371 BABIP doesn’t seem repeatable and even with that his career BA is still less than Fielder (.285 vs. .286) so it would be hard to say he’s superior in that category and impossible to say he’s superior in HR, even if Fielder has taken a step back from his Miller Park days.

        R/RBI are pretty unpredictable. Both are batting cleanup in extremely potent offenses and it would be hard to give either the edge other than that history is on the side of Fielder at this point. But I’d call both categories a wash and SB is irrelevant for both.

        So Fielder is better in HR and from a career standpoint more proven in R, RBI and BA and still in his prime (it’s not as if we’re discussing Konerko or Pujols even). I’d say that adds up to him being ahead of Freeman right around #4. I’d probably have Freeman #6, Encarnacion #5 and Craig #7. I’d have Oritz ahead of Trumbo too assuming it’s not a Keeper League.

        I think Fielder should get a pass on one bad year (not even that bad) before he drops to 8th in the rankings.

  • Ranking Rebel

    Davis over Votto/Goldschmidt? While I agree that Davis is awesome (I was lucky enough to own him this year!) Is he worth using a high pick on more so than Votto or Goldy? I submit that he is not. Votto may never have that “Great” season again; but he is the least likely to make you say, “Why did I waste a high draft pick on him!?!?” Now as for Goldschmidt vs. Davis. That is interesting. Both are relatively young, in their prime, have a ton of fantasy value, and contribute in their own way. I personally would go with Goldy for 3 key reasons: Higher BA, Stolen Bases, and lastly HR/FB ratio. The HR/FB ratio is important in this case because Davis had a 22.6% rate compared to league avg. 15.6%. Meanwhile Paul G. put up his numbers while performing closer to the league rate and striking out less. Ergo, I think Goldschmidt’s number are more likely to be repeatable. It’s personal preference, but I’d go Votto, Goldschmidt, Crush Davis.

    Still enjoyed that piece and always nice to get opinions on rankings.

    • Matt Serocki

      I can understand the relevance of the argument. I don’t expect Davis to be as good next year, but the ranks were for what was done this year. Once the winter off-season and free agency is over, the list will surely change.

    • Thanks a lot for the comment. I, personally, tend to agree with Goldy over Davis, so no argument from me there. Your rationale is very sound, too. I will say, though, that HR/FB rate isn’t a stat to be compared to league average since stronger players will hit a higher rate of their fly balls out of the park. It’s therefore better to compare it to a player’s career trends. In 2012 Davis had a HR/FB rate of 25.2%, so his 29.6% this year actually wasn’t too crazy.

      Thanks for reading!

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