First base was fantasy’s deepest position coming into the season, and somehow it seems like it’s gotten even deeper in the first half. Here are last month’s rankings, which can take you back to previous rankings as well. The primary factors here are current performance and expected future performance, as always.
Prince jumps into the top tier probably a month too late. His performance is on par with Gonzalez’s, just with way more walks (for you OBP leaguers) and some more homers in exchange for a lower (but still very good) batting average. Konerko has shown that last year’s monster performance was no dead cat bounce, and an argument can be made that he should be above Cabrera. I won’t go that far just yet. Miggy and Adrian are beasts and don’t need much explanation.
Votto and Pujols certainly haven’t been bad, it’s just that others have been better. The former lags a little behind the elite guys in the power department (just a dozen homers), though he does make up for it with some steals (six). The season is halfway over and Pujols is still stuck in sub-.370 wOBA territory, though it’ll be tough for anyone to top his ZiPS projected .302/.401/16/46 the rest of the way. Teixeira leads the majors in non-Jose Bautista homers, but he’s stuck with a sub-.250 batting average in part due to a super low .213 BABIP. Last year’s awfulness appears to be in Lind’s rear-view mirror, he’s been on an absolute tear since late-April (.342/.398/.652 with a disabled list stint mixed in). Youkilis has more value at third base, obviously, but his production still warrants a high ranking. Berkman has slowed down some (.238/.380/.530 since May 1st) but he’s still crushing the ball.
Young picked up first base eligibility earlier this season and has been on a tear all year, though his power output (just seven dingers so far) isn’t ideal for the position. Cuddyer rebounded from a brutal April and is one of the few legitimate big league bats left standing in the Twins’ lineup. Morse is the big jumper here because of his power (15 homers), though I’m not 100% sold on him maintaining a .300 AVG given his .341 BABIP. Then again, he did have a .330 BABIP last year, so we’re now closing in on a sample of almost 600 plate appearances with that kind of balls in play luck. He’s shown he can hit, no doubt about it, but just keep in mind that Morse’s OBP is inflated by seven hit-by-pitches, his walk rate is a puny 5.0%.
It’s amazing how bad Pena was then and how good he is now. That works on so many levels, both with his career overall and this single season. The calendar flipped to May and Pena hasn’t stopped hitting since, a .245/.359/.548 batting line with 18 homers. That’s basically his best case scenario right there. Smoak, Hosmer, and Wallace have been productive but have also dealt with the hiccups usually associated with a kid in his first full season as a big leaguer. Kotchman made one hell of a sacrifice to the BABIP gods (.343/.401/.464 with a .374 BABIP), and Murphy is doing a fine job of hitting for average (.298 with a .327 BABIP) even if he isn’t hitting for much power.
Dunn’s free fall is pretty alarming, and he’s basically unrosterable at this point. His name and track record are the only things saving him. Wigginton is playing every day now (mostly third base) and has provided some power since coming off the disabled list in mid-May (11 homers, 13 total). The Padres’ called up Rizzo last month and he’s been scuffling, but the talent is still there. It’s just not his time yet. Miranda is another guy in total free fall, to the point where he’s lost his job as the everyday first baseman.
Off The Radar
Davis, Morneau, and Scott are all injured and not expected back anytime soon. Belt and Barton are in the minors for the time being, though either could resurface at any time. Even if they do, they’re still unlikely to provide any kind of real impact in the second half. Everyone else is pretty self-explanatory, they’re either hurt (LaRoche, Morales), in the minors (Ka’aihue, Davis, Allen, Johnson, Alonso), or unemployed (Cantu). Carter was recently recalled but hasn’t done much of anything yet.