Time to adjust our preseason first base rankings for the first time. It’s fantasy’s deepest and most productive position though surprisingly top heavy. It gets a little sketchy after the top three tiers, but that’s nearly 20 players into the rankings.
No change here, these three are arguably the three best hitters in the world at any given moment. Pujols started slow, but all three are crushing the ball as expected.
Contract year Fielder is a ridiculously good player (.417 wOBA), he’s borderline Tier One at this point. Teixeira managed to avoid his annual April slump (.428 wOBA) and Gonzalez won’t go 90-something at-bats between homers again. How about Fat Elvis though? I think it’s fair to call Berkman the biggest surprise of the season (fantasy and reality), he’s mashing (.390/.461/.750, 9 HR, 28 RBI) like it’s 2006 or something. The .380 BABIP and 29.0% HR/FB won’t last all year, but ZiPS calls for .281/.389/.494 with 17 HR and 66 RBI the rest of the way.
Youkilis has more value at third base obviously, but it’s hard to argue with the production. How about those kids? Davis (.410 wOBA), Sanchez (.395), Wallace (.420), and Smoak (.397) are all killing the ball and producing well in the traditional fantasy categories. Wallace is the only one experiencing massive BABIP luck (.453 (!!!)), so he’ll come back to Earth a bit. Moreland’s gold in an OBP league (.370 OBP, .393 wOBA) and as an added bonus, he picked up OF eligibility this year. A little flexibility is always appreciated. Visions of 50 HR for Dunn in The Cell have all but vanished, he’s got three long balls on the season and has hit just .127/.262/.225 with 30 strikeouts in 84 plate appearances since his emergency appendectomy. He should come around though, I can’t drop him any lower this early in the season.
LaPorta (.369 wOBA) is starting to live up to some of that first round promise for the surprisingly awesome Cleveland Indians, and Helton, a former Tier One staple, has turned back the clock a bit with a .393 wOBA. His value will always be tied to gaudy OBP’s (.370 at the moment) though. G.I. Jones is mashing taters but at the end of the day he’s still a platoon guy, so it’s hard to rank him any higher despite a .399 wOBA. Freeman’s been a little inconsistent but what rookie hasn’t?
We’ve got the underperforming/injured All-Stars here. It hasn’t been pretty for Morneau (.266 wOBA, concussion concerns), Morales (hasn’t played, isn’t even running at full speed yet), Pena (.263 wOBA, thumb), and Lee (.305 wOBA, wrist) have all been fantasy non-factors, ditto the utterly terrible Loney (.212 wOBA) and Huff (.269 wOBA). Just brutal for these six guys.
Barton’s off to a slow start (.289 wOBA) but I’m not ready to drop him any lower just yet. Trumbo is filling in for Morales and will chip in some homers (five) and RBI (15), but he’ll drain your AVG (.253) and OBP (.273). At least he’s playing every day. Can’t say that for Miranda, who should do better than a .222 AVG with a normal BABIP (sitting at .250 right now). Eight walks (.352 OBP) and 11 strikeouts is nice for a (supposed) power hitter. He just needs to play more.
LaRoche was on the fantasy bubble to start the season, but his slow start (.286 wOBA) and nagging shoulder issue drop him down a peg. Lee’s on the disabled list and has been generally unproductive (.263 wOBA), and Cuddyer has more value at other positions. Belt would be higher if he wasn’t stuck in the minors, and the other guys are injury replacements or deep league fodder. Davis and the Kila Monster have potential, the others … not so much.
This tier is pretty self-explanatory. These guys are either a) not in the majors, b) performing horribly, or c) both. I liked Johnson as a sleeper coming into the season, but he’s all 1-8-7 on a muthaf@*&#n wOBA. Seriously, he’s got a .187 wOBA. These guys shouldn’t be on rosters except in super deep leagues or something, and even then I think you could do better.
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