Let’s look at a pair of first baseman with their stock on the rise, and a pair with their stock heading south…
Daniel Murphy | Mets | Last 30 days: .373/.400/.573, 2 HR, 21 RBI, 12 R, 0 SB
Ike Davis had a .394 wOBA when he injured his ankle in May, but Murphy stepped in at first and been an asset on offense. He won’t hit for much power (not just because of CitiField either), but he’s entrenched himself in the middle of the Mets lineup and is hitting for AVG (.314 on the season) while driving in plenty of runs. First baseman without power aren’t exactly hot commodities, but Murphy is worth a grab because he has 2B, 3B, and OF eligibility in most leagues.
Eric Hosmer | Royals | Last 30 days: .323/.374/.556, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 12 R, 3 SB
Like most rookies, Hosmer needed some time to find his way in the big leagues, but the adjustment period appears to be over. The 21-year-old is doing exactly what he was expected to do after being the third overall pick; he’s hitting for average, hitting for power, driving in runs, getting on base … he’s doing it all as the team’s three-hole hitter. Melky Cabrera has done a fine job offensively all year and Billy Butler is Billy Butler, so there is some decent help around Hosmer that will give him chances to drive in runs and score some of his own. There’s a lot to like here, and it came together pretty quickly.
Mitch Moreland | Rangers | Last 30 days: .215/.244/.342, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 R, 0 SB
The Rangers only significant left-handed bat aside from Josh Hamilton, Moreland has fallen into a rut and stopped doing the things that made him such a valuable fantasy piece. He hasn’t been working the count and getting on base, and the power has dropped off as the weather warmed up. Adrian Beltre‘s injury means his first base job is safe for the foreseeable future, but Texas has one of the league’s top offenses in spite of Moreland right now, not because of him.
Justin Smoak | Mariners | Last 30 days: .140/.216/.186, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB
Smoak’s struggles extend well beyond the last 30 days. Since topping out at .287/.403/.530 on May 16th, he’s hit just .190/.273/.323 in 62 games. He has just six homers and 19 RBI during that span compared to six homers and 25 RBI in his first 34 games. Part of it is BABIP badness, but Smoak was hitting more balls on the ground over the last two months or so, and that’s a fine way to sap power. His walk rate also fell off a cliff. Given the team’s general awfulness and the overall lack of RBI and runs scored opportunities, Smoak is one guy to keep glued to the bench for the foreseeable future. In non-keeper leagues, he’s droppable given his position.