First Base Consensus Ranks for the Second Half

Perhaps I shouldn’t have scheduled the rankings week during a vacation week, but this isn’t a normal vacation. My wife and our three-month-old are visiting her sister, her 18-month-old, and her newborn in Hawaii — it wasn’t going to be a vacation like most vacations. In fact, even though rankings are a grueling, thankless task, they offer a respite (a vacation, perhaps) from my vacation.

Another way of saying it is that with all the noise coming out of this house, a little good-natured back and forth about where we ranked a first baseman for the end of the season won’t seem like such a big deal. And since we didn’t agree on everything, I don’t expect you guys to agree with us.

Take Mark Trumbo for instance. Mike Podhorzer would be selling and Zach Sanders would be buying. Pablo Sandoval makes some hearts flutter and leaves others flat — whatever stirs your drink, you know. Some of us feel like Allen Craig will mash his way into an every-day job no matter what, and some of us feel there’s still a risk that his bad glove will leave him without regular work when Lance Berkman returns. The projections don’t love the old guys like Berkman and Todd Helton, mostly because guys over 36 don’t usually do that well at that age.

A note about mostly-DH David Ortiz: he’s played seven games at first base, which is enough to make him a first baseman in some leagues. In those leagues, he’s probably the fourth- or fifth-best first baseman. I’ll gather the numbers for him from the rankers and get you a more scientific answer. I have him at fourth, Jeff Zimmerman has him at fifth, and Mike Podhorzer has him at seventh so far.

No matter what, expect to see some arguments about these players in the coming weeks. That’s the whole point of ranking them.


FanGraphs Consensus Rankings:
First Base
New Last Player Name Eno Sarris Mike Podhorzer Jeff Zimmerman Zach Sanders
1 1 Miguel Cabrera 1 2 1 1
2 2 Albert Pujols 2 1 3 3
3 3 Joey Votto 3 3 2 2
4 4 Adrian Gonzalez 5 5 5 7
5 6 Prince Fielder 4 4 4 11
6 5 Mark Teixeira 6 6 6 8
7 8 Paul Konerko 7 12 10 5
8 9 Billy Butler 8 9 11 9
9 17 Edwin Encarnacion 9 7 16 6
10 26 Mark Trumbo 10 16 9 4
11 7 Eric Hosmer 11 11 7 10
12 14 Michael Cuddyer 13 10 8 22
13 11 Freddie Freeman 12 19 15 14
14 13 Pablo Sandoval 14 8 14 27
15 N/A Corey Hart 16 18 13 18
16 28 Paul Goldschmidt 17 23 12 15
17 N/A Allen Craig 18 22 21 12
18 10 Michael Young 19 17 19 23
19 18 Michael Morse 15 15 26 24
20 30 Bryan LaHair 28 28 24 16
21 24 Mark Reynolds 27 30 20 19
22 12 Lance Berkman 20 13 36 28
23 35 Ryan Howard 25 21 28 25
24 49 Anthony Rizzo 21 38 27 13
25 16 Howie Kendrick 24 24 18 34
26 20 Nick Swisher 22 27 17 35
27 44 Chris Davis 30 32 23 17
28 32 Adam Dunn 26 14 29 36
29 37 Brandon Belt 31 37 31 21
30 19 Kevin Youkilis 23 26 33 40
31 15 Carlos Lee 44 25 22 33
32 21 Ike Davis 35 20 47 29
33 29 Carlos Pena 33 35 38 26
34 42 Adam LaRoche 37 36 40 20
35 27 Kendrys Morales 29 29 43 39
36 22 Lucas Duda 32 33 34 42
37 33 Daniel Murphy 38 43 37 32
38 34 Justin Morneau 34 34 41 47
39 41 Garrett Jones 39 50 25 43
40 25 Adam Lind 54 31 30 46
41 31 James Loney 49 42 35 37
42 38 Mitch Moreland 36 45 32 51
43 N/A Yonder Alonso 42 48 50 31
44 N/A Jim Thome 43 41 58 30
45 36 Todd Helton 41 49 52 38
46 N/A Brandon Moss 40 46 53 45
47 43 Justin Smoak 47 39 57 44
48 40 Mike Carp 51 44 44 50
49 47 Casey Kotchman 52 52 45 41
50 39 Luke Scott 45 40 54 52
51 N/A Brett Wallace 48 47 51 48
52 N/A Jesus Guzman 46 55 42 54
53 45 Ty Wigginton 50 53 46 49
54 23 Gaby Sanchez 53 57 39 56
55 46 Aubrey Huff 56 51 49 55
56 50 Juan Rivera 57 54 48 53
57 N/A Matt LaPorta 55 56 55 57




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


61 Responses to “First Base Consensus Ranks for the Second Half”

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  1. TacoTruck13 says:

    I figured Rizzo would be the toughest to gauge. Ranked from 13 to 38 …. Im very curious to see how he does the rest of the year.

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  2. Jake says:

    Fielder at 11, four spots behind A-Gon? Bold, Zach Sanders… Quite bold.

    Also, possibly not rooted in reality.

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    • Atari says:

      Zach’s rankings are the boldest, which I respect, but also completely disagree with.

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      • Zach Sanders says:

        Are they really that bold?

        Is it not somewhat reasonable to think Gonzalez, a premier hitter throughout his career, will turn things around?

        You may not believe it, but as long as it’s reasonable to do so, it’s not really bold.

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      • nosferatu says:

        Ranking Hosmer ahead of Fielder is where you start to leave the bold road and veer off into the unreasonable.

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      • Jake says:

        Is it not somewhat unreasonable to think Fielder, a premier hitter throughout his career, will perform worse than A-Gon, Butler and Hosmer, and only slightly better than Allen Craig, Rizzo and Freeman?

        Can you support your ranking with anything that we lay people may be missing?

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      • Zach Sanders says:

        “Slightly better” suggests there aren’t tiers in effect. The drop is quite big from 11/12 to 13/14/15.

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  3. dragnalus says:

    As a loyal A-Gon owner and devout Sox fan, I’m surprised he holds his spot at #4. I was very happy with his recent hitting streak but they were mostly singles. When I measure 1B, I generally use power as the #1 criteria and he just doesn’t seem to have it. He’s certainly shown he can still hit for average but considering Bobby V keeps moving him around in the lineup has he really shown he can produce runs on a consistent basis?

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  4. Delirium Nocturnum says:

    All is well in my fantasy universe since Mike Morse hath returned! good bye, dregs of the waiver wire!

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  5. Old Uncle Randy says:

    What about David Ortiz? He qualifies for 1B in my (Yahoo) league. Where would he slot in here?

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  6. Cory says:

    Why is Zach Sanders allowed to do this? Fielder at 11 and behind A-Gon overall? What the hell is going on here?

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    • Adam says:

      IIRC, the Saunders guy is the one who had Smoak as like a top 12 1B pre season. I mocked him for that one…

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      • Zach Sanders says:

        Well, Smoak made me look foolish, but onto the matters at hand…

        I’m not allowed to think Gonzalez, a premier hitter throughout his career, will turn things around?

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      • batpig says:

        not if it’s accompanied with the notion that there are 10 better fantasy 1B than Prince Fielder…

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  7. Delwyn Young says:

    I don’t get the Hosmer ranking. Seriously, why is he this high? Is his regression back to the mean so strong an inevitability that he actually warrants this type of rank love? If I were ranking he’d be stuck next to the likes of Michael Young and Mark Reynolds. What is the justification here?

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  8. jcxy says:

    which island!?

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  9. Adam says:

    Adrian Gonzalez ranking ahead of Prince Fielder is the consensus.

    FACEPALM

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      We use four guys so you can see four opinions. Three of the four opinions agree with you! So, really doesn’t seem like a big deal.

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      • Adam says:

        Fair point, but the other three STILL have AGon as their 5th ranked 1B. This just reeks of being a slave to pre season rankings. The dude has 6 home runs on the season and wasn’t hitting for power the second half of last year either. Same with Hosmer’s high ranking. I get accounting for regression in the second half, but you can’t just ignore what is happening right now and slave to your pre season ranks and name value.

        I wanna see the SP ranks, I bet people will be ranking Tim Lincecum as a top 10 pitcher all the way to the day he loses his job in the rotation.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Instead of calling it being ‘slave to preseason ranks,’ I’d call it a saber-aware belief that the past three-to-four years tell us more about a player than the last three months. If AGonz has another shoulder issue he’s not telling people about, that’s one thing. If he’s healthy, he just turned 30, it’s not time for a power outage if you look at aging curves.

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      • Adam says:

        But he’s not healthy. This isn’t three months, he hit 10 homers in the final 3 months of last year too. That’s 16 in the last 6 months. Something isn’t right there. I get keeping him as a top 15 guy because maybe he flips the switch, but you can’t have him ranked as top 5 at this point. It’s not being saber savvy IMO, its just stubbornness and clinging to names. Stuff changes in baseball.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        You know he’s not healthy? I haven’t seen anything except flu-like symptoms at some point. What did you think of Albert Pujols’ first month?

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      • Adam says:

        Pujols first month wasn’t preceded by 3 months of a power outage in the previous season as well in which he had shoulder surgery prior to. Straw man.

        How long do you need to wait before you drop him down? Again, 15 is fine, 5 is dumb. You are completely convinced he is going to flip the switch and start hitting homers again? Isn’t there enough of a concern that it doesn’t come back that you would prefer safer options like Tex or Konerko, or guys who have beeb on fire all year and have always had the raw power like EE and Trumbo?

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        That shoulder surgery was a long time ago. Don’t remember Albert Pujols’ elbow problems? I barely do. Power takes the longest to stabilize, that’s been proven. It barely stabilizes over a full season, and players have power outages all the time. There’s no crazy shift in his ground-ball rate that suggests he’s hitting the ball on the ground, there’s only a drop in HR/FB rate. And if the shoulder surgery was such a big deal, why did he hit for more power closer to the surgery, in the first half last year, and then hit for less power in the second half? There were also three months in between last year’s second half and this year’s first half. He didn’t get any healthier? I like where I ranked him, that’s why I ranked him there. I’m going to go try and buy him in some leagues because of the reaction. I may not pay as if he was the fifth-best 1B, but that’s the point of these rankings – to show how different opinions are on different players.

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      • Adam says:

        Yeah, that’s fine. And I am disagreeing with your ranking. That’s the point of the comments..?

        And again, I have no clue what shape his shoulder is in. None of us have any idea if he’s healthy, but the fact that he has had shoulder problems which often lead to reduced power has to be considered. I will ask again, you are so entirely convinced he is healthy that you would prefer him over Tex and Konerko among others? It’s all about probabilities, and there is a significant chance AGon is just having a lost season and its not coming back. The risk of that makes it dumb to rank him the 5th best 1B.

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Of course it’s fine to disagree, I’m just offering my opinion as it shaped my ranking.

        And I don’t think I have to take Gonzo for my Teix straight up to believe in my rankings, though — that would be ignoring the fact that I know most people wouldn’t take Gonzo over Teix, ignoring the market forces out there. But would I take your Gonzo and Matt Cain for my Teixeira and Jeff Samardzijia (just an example) if I needed pitching? Heck ya, and you could probably improve that second name (the shark) a lot before I said no. And that’s how I’d use the rankings.

        You could use these rankings to say, hey, there’s a lot of people out there that still believe in Gonzo, and maybe I should shop him even though it’s a sell-low.

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      • Adam says:

        Gotcha. I would think the rankings though should reflect who, in a vacuum and if you are forced to choose, would take straight up if given the choice between two guys

        So (impossible hypothetical situation) say you own Tex and are offered A Gon straight up for him and you have already exhausted all other options of trying to trade Tex and you can’t get anything that you would value more than A Gon, then you are accepting that deal correct?

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      • Eno Sarris says:

        Sure, maybe given I needed batting average more than power. I’m more sure that Gonzo will hit about thirty points higher than Teix than I am that he will keep power pace with the Yankee. If Gonzo hits only six more homers like he did in first half, I’ll lose about six homers going from Teix to Gonzo over the rest of the season, which might be worth that thirty points in the right league. But if Gonzo hits his projections, he’ll hit just about as many home runs as Teix and be more valuable. So I’d want to be sure that he fit my needs — if I had a batting average team and needed the power, not sure why I’d be shopping Teix. Actually, not sure why I’d be shopping Teix at all for another first baseman, but if you want to shoehorn me into some hypothetical situation, okay.

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      • Mario Mendoza of commenters says:

        Because batting average is so predictable? Of course! It’s the most predictable statistic!

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  10. Andrew says:

    I would’ve thought at least someone would put Votto #1.

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  11. Billy says:

    Uhh, why are these not in numerical order?

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  12. Oliver says:

    Is Adrian Gonzalez still physically capable of hitting homeruns?

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  13. Gherkin Lamar says:

    I don’t get Zimmerman’s ranking of Encarnacion at 16th. Even if you expect major regression, I really can’t see how he can be ranked below the likes of Freeman and Cuddyer – Freeman basically looks like the pre-breakout Encarnacion to me, and I don’t particularly believe in Cuddyer regressing upwards any more than I believe Encarnacion will regress downwards.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      I based by rankings all off of the rest of season ZiPs values. He was last among a group of players grouped close together. He could have easily been as high as 9th.

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  14. GilaMonster says:

    I don’t get the ranking of Joey Votto personally. You guys have consistently stated he is the best hitter in baseball for various reasons.

    He has the highest WAR.’
    Is walking more than striking out.
    Is 2nd in ISO behind Trumbo.
    Has the highest AVG, OPS, and wOBA by a decent margin.

    Plus he is Joey Votto. He is dreamy.

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    • Justin says:

      I couldn’t agree more. How is he not number 1 or at least number 2?

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      • Jay29 says:

        WAR and BB/K and wOBA don’t always equate to fantasy players. But I have Votto and there’s no way in hell I’m trading him for Pujols right now.

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      • Dan says:

        Jay29 makes an excellent point. However, given Votto’s age and consistency, I think he has the highest fantasy probability of being a top 5 hitter the rest of the way. He may not have the highest ceiling due to the guys Dusty hits in front of him, but I’d even argue that since he will add a handful of SBs thatCabrera won’t. And given the in-season ups and downs of Pujols this year, there is no way I take Pujols for Votto straight up.

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    • batpig says:

      I think it’s hard to put him ahead of Miggy in fantasy when you are considering traditional 5×5. Votto has a higher AVG so far this year, but remember Miggy and Votto have the same career AVG and ZiPS RoS projects Miggy to have a slightly higher AVG going forward.

      More importantly, some of Votto’s greatest strengths — walks, doubles — don’t count in Fantasy. Votto isn’t a “pure” HR hitter and is more of a 25-30 HR guy, whereas Miggy is a 30+ guy every year. Plus Miggy beats him in RBI.

      Basically, in short, Miggy is an equal AVG hitter but is likely to be better in HR/RBI, which makes him a slightly better fantasy player overall. It wouldn’t shock anyone if Votto ended up being better in the 2nd half, but odds are Miggy will be a bit more valuable.

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  15. Bradsbeard says:

    Happy to see Berkman at 22 and as high as 13, as I grabbed him off waivers and stashed him on my DL. I’m really not sure what to expect. Can he cheat old age for another 2.5 months and lead my team to glory?

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  16. James says:

    Can we start a write-in campaign to tell Ned Yost to give Billy Butler his 10th 1B start? That would be super in my ESPN league.

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  17. lester bangs says:

    Zippermann would be easy to beat in a mixed league, where seasonal adjustment and aggression are important. His style might fit an only-league, though.

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  18. Kevin McGrath says:

    Not sure how Hosmer gets such a high ranking and Ike Davis gets such a low ranking. They both had horrible first halves. The month of June was much brighter for each, but at least Davis is hitting for power.

    Golschmidt is also ranked way to low IMO. He is exceeding pre-season expectations at this point and has shown improvement in plate discipline and undler

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    • batpig says:

      Agreed, Goldschmidt is underrated in this ranking. If you take away the hype there’s no good reason why Hosmer (for example) should be ahead of him.

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  19. kid says:

    I’m sorry but 4th overall is flat out irresponsible for Adrian Gonzalez. Strong track record, decent peripherals, good park, good offense – I get it. But six home-runs at the ASB – SIX – is simply unacceptable. It would be different if he was offering us something else to offset the power, but nothing else about what he’s doing is extraordinary; Runs and RBI are just “OK”, batting average is probably maxed out (as his BABIP is at his normal level), and he’s offering no speed. It feels way too much like a blind adherence to seasons past and the power of ZiPS. Going forward I’d rather have Votto, Cabrera, Pujols, Fielder, Konerko, E5, Tex and Trumbo, at a minimum. And I could be talked into a handful of other players (Butler, Craig).

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  20. lester bangs says:

    Thanks to Adam for raising all those key questions, and thanks to Eno for seeing the spirit of the conversation and replying. Good stuff, gents.

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  21. yes. says:

    Where does Logan Morrison fit in here?

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  22. mike says:

    Mark Teixiera ahead of Konerko? Trumbo? 6th? What?

    You guys are obviously not watching the games and not considering how players fare against quality opposition. Stats leave facts out. Teixiera cannot hit a quality right handed pitcher, and that’s a huge problem. At 20 million or so a year, he’s may be the least desirable first baseman on the list.

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    • Sam Samson says:

      Are you in a league where his real life salary sets what you pay for him?

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    • Mikey says:

      I don’t know about you guys, but I play in a 6×6 league in which “+wRC against quality right-handed pitching” counts.

      Pitchers have a “number of facts left out by the stats” stat, where lower is better.

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  23. Dan S says:

    My biggest problem on this list isn’t so much that A-Gon is ahead of Fielder, it’s why. 3 out of 4 rankers had Prince ahead of Adrian, and one had him 11th!

    People want to put Adrian ahead. Fine.

    3 out of 4 don’t, yet the 1 puts him so far down the list he horribly warps the results? There’s a problem in the method in determining the order as far as I’m concerned.

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