2014 First Base Tier Rankings: August

Since I took over the first base beat a few weeks ago, I haven’t done rankings. Today, though, I’m going to attempt to do so.

First base has been a weird position this year: Paul Goldschmidt was awesome – less power than last year, but still awesome – and then he got hurt. Miguel Cabrera has looked more human than years past. Chris Davis has returned to being who we thought he was before he became an animal, I guess? Anthony Rizzo has been awesome, though, so that’s fun!

The last updated consensus rankings done by the team can be found here. Admittedly, I play solely in OBP leagues, so I’m going to do my best to strip out my thoughts on that because I know most of you probably play with batting average. I won’t be including guys like Todd Frazier, Jose Bautista, and Buster Posey, because you’re probably playing them elsewhere. I’ll use tiers. The names within them are pretty interchangeable, in my opinion.

Tier 1

I’m really tempted to throw Rizzo into this tier, but I’m holding off … for now.

Your choice, whom do you pick: Abreu or Cabrera? I’m taking Abreu. Miggy’s power just hasn’t quite been the same this year, which has brought his floor down, as well as his ceiling. And Abreu has been everything we hoped for, and then some.

If Encarnacion would have been able to stay off the DL, you have to wonder if he’d be leading the league in home runs. He’s been good for quite some time now, making us forget just how quickly he turned his career around, a remarkable feat. In an OBP league, I might choose him over Cabrera, too.

Tier 2

Feel free to flip Rizzo and Martinez, I’m not that committed. Unless Rizzo collapses down the stretch, it’s nearly impossible to not view him as a top five option next season.

Pujols’ bounceback season has been fun to watch. He’s clearly in decline, but he’s still been very productive. It helps when you get to hit behind Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, who are seemingly always on base, too.

Santana’s been a drag on your batting average all season; better put, he put you in a deep enough hole early on that it’s been difficult for him to claw out of it. I get that, but he’s been so good since May started that I don’t really care. He’s very good, and one of the reasons you should play use OBP instead of average. You’re probably playing him at catcher, but given his position change, it felt right to include him, especially if he’s on track to lose eligibility in your setup.

If David Ortiz has eligibility in your league, I’d probably slot him right alongside Gonzalez.

Tier 3

Davis hasn’t been very good over the past year, slashing .209/.313/.430. I wanted to drop him further, but that felt like an overreaction considering the 2012-2013. He’s probably never going to be as good as he was last year again, but it feels like he should at least be a little better than this.

Moss, on the other hand, has kind of been what we expected Davis would be, if he regressed a little. He’s slumped lately, but he’s done more than enough to earn some leeway. Napoli’s battled injuries, which is unfortunate, but he’s hit extremely well when he’s suited up.

I might be a little high on Duda, but oh well. His average leaves a little to be desired, but his power’s made up the difference thus far. And he’s seemingly on an upward trend, which is nice. Considering his platoon issues, slotting him into the tier below isn’t indefensible.

As far as Votto is concerned: he’s not healthy and, frankly, I’m not sure where I’d place him if he was. Over the past calendar year, when on the field, he hasn’t hit for any power, a death-knell at first. Sure, he’s a boon in AVG/OBP, usually, but is that enough? I honestly don’t know anymore. I do know that unless he’s much cheaper next year, he won’t get much consideration from me.

Tier 4

Toss these names in a hat and draw them out. Each of them have concerns. Laroche has been solid all season, and you could easily slide him into the the tier above and not get much of a complaint out of me. Adams’ power has waned a little, but he’s performed pretty well all season. Platoon questions remain, though.

Morneau, like Freeman, began the season on a tear, but hasn’t hit for power since, last homering on June 24; Coors helps, but his power just isn’t what it used to be. Teixeira is hurt right now  (not sure what I was thinking on that line). He’s been a huge batting average liability, though. Morse has his issues staying on the field at times. Ditto for Lind and Mauer, who just haven’t been able to play much this season, but should factor into most lineups down the stretch, especially versus right handed pitching.

Carter’s surge has reminded us all what he’s owned for: dingers. He isn’t going to help you many places; when he’s hitting homers he’s valuable, when he isn’t he’s nearly unrosterable. And you can make the same case for Ryan Howard and Mark Reynolds (listed below). If – and that’s a big if - Carter’s newfound patience sticks, he could become a monster, given the game’s lack of power, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Trumbo’s interesting because he has the ability to go on a tear, smashing homer after homer, but between his approach and injury issues this season it’s hard to have a ton of confidence in him.

Tier 5

Belt is a wild card, because he has so much potential, but concussions are iffy. It’s impossible to know how well he’ll play once he comes back. He could be fine, or he could be like Morneau and struggle for some time to find his bearings. It’s not something I’m willing to bet heavily on.

McGehee is all average and context stats. It’s nearly impossible for that to continue; I didn’t expect it to last this long, though.

Lastly, we have two Royals, starting with Country Breakfast. Butler’s power is down again, which says about all we need to say about his ability to hold down a roster spot in shallow leagues. Hosmer’s just meh. He still has room for growth, but he reminds me a little of Nick Markakis. And that isn’t what you want at first base.

Hopefully those weren’t too bad, but feel free to rip me apart in the comments, anyways.




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Landon is a senior writer at The Fantasy Fix. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter (@joneslandon).


27 Responses to “2014 First Base Tier Rankings: August”

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  1. dacure says:

    I know this is a bit nitpicky because hes not even 1B but I think David Ortiz would be higher in that 2nd tier (presuming their is some preference within tiers which you seem to suggest there is). The numbers hes put up even while being dragged down by a .240ish BABIP are ridiculous in that weak lineup. Now that pedroia is starting to hit and they brought in Cespedes to compliment Napoli behind him, I expect HUGE output down the stretch.

    Other than that I think this is fantastically ordered.

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    • Landon Jones says:

      More than fair. On a personal preference, I’d take him over Gonzalez, Pujols, and Freeman, especially in an OBP setup.

      I kind of added him on a final edit, because I realized he might eligibility in some leagues. I probably overcompensated for his average being down a little, too.

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  2. Andrew says:

    The crazy thing with Rizzo is that our biggest concern a year or two ago was if he could ever learn to hit lefties. I’d say he’s gone a long way toward allaying those concerns – on the season he now sports reverse platoon splits, crushing southpaws to the tune of a .938 OPS. I’m sold.

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  3. Landon Jones says:

    Yep. It’s been awesome to see. If the Cubs’ lineup pans out next year, he’s going to look very, very nice sitting right in the middle of it.

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  4. Belle of the League says:

    I think your list looks pretty good for standard 5×5 roto.
    In my custom keeper points league, it’s not bad list either. It would only need a slight tweak due to K rate.
    I own Miggy, Abreu, and Pujols in that league.
    Miggy still qualifies at 3rd this season so that’s where his butt is planted.
    IMO, he never fully recovered from the offseason surgery and I’d be shocked if it miraculously happened at this point in the season.
    I still expect him to have a better BA/OBP than Abreu ROS, but Abreu will have more HR’s.
    Miggy is still hitting doubles and has a better lineup surrounding him. Without looking at schedules, projected pitching matchups, etc. etc. I’d project ROS that runs and RBI’s will be fairly equal between the two.
    PS I’ll bet most players wish they could be “in decline” with Phat Al’s stats this season. It has been fun to watch.

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  5. stonepie says:

    it’ll be interesting to see where davis is ranked/drafted next year. while the shift has killed him, his high LD% and overall batted ball numbers don’t line up with his babip.
    like jeff posted in a MASH report a little while ago, he’s probably hiding an injury, maybe even the abdomen problem from may.

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  6. pudieron89 says:

    Carlos Santana has a 26.3% IFFB so far in August…that’s ridiculous.

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  7. Close to the Edge says:

    Great work, thanks. Who would be the big movers (up or down) in an OBP league?

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    • Landon Jones says:

      You know, after making that caveat, I’m not sure a ton would change, because of the fact that a player’s runs total is directly affected by his OBP.

      That being said: I believe it drops Pujols and Gonzalez down below the others in tier two. It probably pushes a healthy Teix up a tier.

      The biggest change would have likely been Santana, but I did my best to reflect his value by not punishing him too badly for his poor start.

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      • novaether says:

        I think Santana’s position in the 2nd tier is either dependent upon playing and OBP league. Either that or he’s getting credit for being catcher eligible, which I don’t think is the point of this article. Everybody in Tier 2 is projected for ~20 runs, 20 rbis, 6 hr, 1 sb, and a solid batting average/obp. Santana’s average is the exception.

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  8. Baroque6 says:

    If this is a time-specific post (as its title indicates) rather than a ranking of 1Bs in perpetuity, shouldn’t some weight or discussion be given to their remaining schedules? Or maybe that could be the topic of a separate post?

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  9. Helix Fernandez says:

    Where would you slot Cuddyer? Feel like he could be a beast down the stretch.

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    • Landon Jones says:

      I’d probably slot him right near Morneau. He’s looked good since coming back, but shoulder issues will always worry me. I wouldn’t be able to put him much higher due to his injuries this year, but he could definitely outperform that spot.

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  10. Dialitdown says:

    Hosmer is ranked too high in my opinion.

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  11. Bobby Ayala says:

    Everyone reading this would take James Loney over half the guys in tier 5, maybe over a couple tier 4 guys too.

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  12. Tacoby Bellsbury says:

    seriously??

    Billy Butler’s 2nd Half:
    .312 14R, 4HR, 16RBI

    players you have listed ahead of him:
    McGehee: .239 8, 2, 7
    Pearce: .213 6, 1, 2
    Teixiera: .210 8, 3, 5

    And Brandon Belt will be fortunate to see the field again….

    Unimpressed

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  13. Hendu for Kutch says:

    I’ve got 4 1B and only 3 slots to fit them in. Rizzo is an obvious starter, but then I’ve got Chris Davis, Kendrys Morales, and Kennys Vargas.

    It’s a daily league, so I can rotate through them based on matchups, but am I crazy for sitting Davis most of the time going forward? Morales was good last year and has seemingly turned things around lately, and Vargas has done nothing but hit since being called up.

    I’m praying Davis gets 3B eligibility so I can give Moustakas the boot there, but in the meantime how do you see those 3 guys shaking out ROS?

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  14. Manny Ramirez says:

    Great article, LJ! I’ve been an Eric Hosmer owner for a while now, and that Nick Markakis comparison really hits the nail on the head for me. Generally decent contact, underwhelming power, although Hos is still 24. Hosmer might just be another James Loney in disguise.

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    • Landon Jones says:

      Yeah, I have absolutely no idea what I’d do with him if I owned him in a keeper league. I believe the power’s there. As Eno has written before, though, just way too many groundballs to make any use of it.

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  15. Landon Jones says:

    @tacoby “I’ll use tiers. The names within them are pretty interchangeable, in my opinion.” I wrote that in the intro. If you want to put a cape on for Billy Butler, be my guest. Pearce, McGehee, and Teix have outhit him all season. I fail to see how Butler’s 115 PA in the second half make up for his putrid performance in his first ~ 400 PA. No matter how you slice it, he’s a batting avergae/RBI dependent first baseman with no power, basically he’s McGeehee.

    I’m also pretty sure I referenced Belt’s injury … although he should have been in italics.

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  16. The Mooks says:

    Great article. It just all makes sense.
    If you could choose, who would you want in a dynasty, the improving Carter or risky Trumbo, and is it close?
    Thanks

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    • Landon Jones says:

      I actually believe it’s really close. Neither are every going to help you in average, but if you’re in an OBP league Carter has a stronger track record of drawing walks. And surprisingly, Carter’s actually younger than Trumbo.

      I actually think I’d go with Carter. Either can disappoint you, but Carter has more power upside, and that’s what you’ll want either of them for.

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