Because the rankings really haven’t changed since the last time we spoke, it’s time to take a different look at the first base position.
Adam LaRoche | Diamondbacks | 48% owned
LaRoche is a notorious second half hitter, and I expect him to keep that streak alive this year. He might be dealt to a contender who needs a bench or situational bat at the deadline, so there is some risk involved with picking up LaRoche. His high strikeout rate will make it hard for him to raise his batting average, but he could come close to hitting 30 jacks this year. While first half and second half splits aren’t always the most reliable, LaRoche has proved me wrong too many times before. Give him a shot if you have a bench spot open in standard leagues.
Russell Branyan | Mariners | 12% owned
Even with the acquisition of Justin Smoak, Branyan will get playing time in Seattle. For the moment, he’s been playing DH while Milton Bradley sits with a sore knee. But, when Milton comes back, the team will have to decide what to do, and someone will be out of a gig (or Michael Saunders will). I doubt the M’s will bench Branyan, and as Pat Andriola notes, he is a candidate to be dealt at the deadline to a contender looking for some 1B or DH help. Wait and see what develops after the break, but Branyan is a good bet for power as long as he’s in the lineup.
Travis Ishikawa | Giants | 1% owned
Once Bengie Molina was dealt to the Rangers, Ishikawa became the everyday first baseman. I’ve always liked the guy (he’s from the Seattle area) and think he has the skills to be an average MLB first baseman. He’s been on fire, and while the All-Star break may cool him off, he’s looking great so far. In 71 plate appearances, Ishikawa is hitting 35% line drives, keeping the strikeouts down, and slugging .538. He’s going to be available in your league, so give him a shot in deep leagues if you want to improve your team’s AVG.
Ownership rates are based on Yahoo! leagues. And yes, I stole this format from Axisa.