Widgets Magazine

2013 First Base Rankings

Written By on 2nd January, 2013


bannerFirst base is a rather confusing position to fill on a fantasy baseball team.  On one hand, a significant portion of your HR and RBI production should theoretically come from this spot. Of course, the pool of players is often so deep that it is often wise to fill other needs first — unless one of the elite first basemen is available to you in the first round.  For first basemen, only select Joey Votto or Prince Fielder in the first round, and only if either are the best player available.  The player pool suffered a major loss this past season, as Miguel Cabrera is now only eligible at the hot corner. I have Posey ranked at the top because while eligible at first base, you should snag him as your catcher if he is available and Cabrera and Trout are gone. These rankings are based on redraft leagues, Yahoo position eligibility (10 G, 5 GS), and a standard 5×5 scoring system.





Buster Posey***

San Francisco Giants


Joey Votto

Cincinnati Reds


Prince Fielder

Detroit Tigers


Edwin Encarnacion

Toronto Blue Jays


Joe Mauer***

Minnesota Twins


Albert Pujols

Los Angeles Angels


David Ortiz

Boston Red Sox


Billy Butler

Kansas City Royals


Adrian Gonzalez

Los Angeles Dodgers


Chris Davis

Baltimore Orioles


Paul Konerko

Chicago White Sox


Adam LaRoche*

Free Agent


Corey Hart

Milwaukee Brewers


Mark Trumbo

Los Angeles Angels


Adam Dunn

Chicago White Sox


Ike Davis

New York Mets


Freddie Freeman

Atlanta Braves


Nick Swisher

Cleveland Indians


Mark Reynolds

Baltimore Orioles


Mark Teixeira

New York Yankees


Anthony Rizzo

Chicago Cubs


Allen Craig

St. Louis Cardinals


Mike Olt

Texas Rangers


Todd Frazier

Cincinnati Reds


Kevin Youkilis

New York Yankees


Paul Goldschmidt

Arizona Diamondbacks


Justin Mourneau

Minnesota Twins


Yonder Alonso

San Diego Padres


Brandon Belt

San Francisco Giants


Ryan Howard

Philadelphia Phillies


Eric Hosmer

Kansas City Royals


Michael Morse**

Washington Nationals

*Ranking dependent on signing, assumed to be returning to Washington and starts at 1B
**Ranking dependent on team, under contract with Washington
***Also eligible at C

A Player to Grab: Logan Morrison
Morrison is coming off a season where he posted a disappointing .230/11/30/36 fantasy line in 2011 after playing through a knee injury, before missing the final 62 games of the season, having surgery in September. Despite the issues, he believes he has sufficient time to heal over the off-season and that he will be ready for Opening Day.  A healthy Morrison could reasonably be expected to double his counting numbers and add approximately 20 points to his batting average as his plate discipline numbers continue to improve.  He should be available in late-teen rounds in your draft — especially in public leagues — where he will be pushed down in the auto-ranking.  He shouldn’t be your first choice at first base, but he is a solid option if you choose to fill the rest of your line-up first or aim to fit in him at the CI slot.

A Player (or Two) to Pass: Brandon Moss & Adam Lind
Brandon Moss is a player sure to generate some intrigue after posting 21 homers, 48 runs and, 52 RBI in 84 games to go along with a .291 batting average in 2012.  However, some key peripherals indicate that Moss is due for significant regression.  Helping Moss in 2012 was the lowest ground ball rate of his career.  He also had a batting average on line drives nearly .300 points above league average and a similar deviation (200 points) was seen on fly balls.  This led to a .359 BABIP, which given the strange batted ball profile and unsustainable averages should come crashing back significantly.  Add that he plays his home games in the cavernous O.co Coliseum, where he performed significantly worse overall than on the road and this player is in no way a repeat candidate in 2013.

I would also pass on Adam Lind.  He generated some mild interest after hitting right-handers fairly well after returning from a Triple-A exile (driven by the imperfect storm of horrendous performance and option rules).  However, Adam Lind still has a major problem: he can’t hit southpaws.  Not even that he is just bad at it, but he can’t.  Period.  Since 2010, he is the worst hitter in baseball with at least 350 PA against them, by a whopping 20 points of wOBA (Lind at .226) and 18 points of wRC+ (Lind at 34 – or 66% below league-average).  Fantasy roster spots are precious and having to platoon a first baseman is never a good idea.

Alex Hume
About Alex Hume

2013 Fantasy Rankings, Articles, Features, Rankings

17 Comments on "2013 First Base Rankings"

  1. Profile Photo
    Joe Mauer January 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm -

    Even I wouldn’t rank me that high. You’ll have to explain that one.

  2. Profile Photo
    El Guapo January 2, 2013 at 5:53 pm -

    What about Carlos Santana? Isn’t he also eligible at 1B?

  3. Profile Photo
    Gangrel January 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm -

    I guess I don’t understand the reasoning for Buster Posey as the #1 First basemen, and Joe Mauer as the #5 First basemen? If they are eligible at C/1B, you would be drafting them as your Catcher, thusly making their 1st base eligibility a moot point…and to be honest, I’m not sure of what kind of leagues you play in, but in what circumstances would you ever consider Joe Mauer to be better than Albert Pujols, let alone in the same position? Also, Paul Goldschmidt ended up being a top-10 option at 1B in virtually every single league last year, yet he is going to regress down to #26 overall behind the likes of Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds, and Mike Olt just to name a few?

    • Profile Photo
      Alex Hume January 3, 2013 at 1:21 pm -

      Of course they would go as C, but due to positional scarcity, it makes no sense to draft a 1B with Posey still on the board.  The ranking reflects that.  He was included because he is eligible at 1B.  Same rationale with Mauer, but lower due to a relative lack of power.  Santana was an oversight, I’d put him between Butler & Gonzalez.  He had a 49 point drop in ISO, with no logical explanation.
      I’m not big on Goldschmidt.  He carries a high BABIP that doesn’t fit his profile and it was largely driven this year by severely elevated numbers on liners and flies.  He also did most of his danage against LHP.  he was essentially average vs. RHP, so that is knock.  If you wanted to move him up two or three spots because of the SB, I wouldn’t quibble.

      • Profile Photo
        Matt January 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm -

        So if you need a catcher and a 1st baseman, you would draft Mauer before you would draft Pujols?
        You bought into position scarcity HARD.
        I’d take some waiver wire catcher along with Pujols over Mauer and a 1B halfway down the list any day of the week.

        • Profile Photo
          Alex Hume January 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm -

          Pujols concerns me.  He is still a very good player, but he isn’t the force he once was.  The BA/OBP/SLG/wOBA and ISO have all been in a four-year decline.  From when Pitch f/x data is available (2007-present) he has seen fewer four-seam fastballs in each year and more two-seamers.  I am unsure if this is simply the result of improved algorithms, or if he has in fact been found to have a weakness with the pitch.  In 2012, Pujols swung at more pitches than ever before (a number that has steadily climbed since 2007) and his contact rate in 2012 was his lowest ever.  A career-high SwStr rate accompanied this as well.  2012 featured Pujols’ highest K rate since his rookie year and his lowest BB rate ever.

          Pujols had a slow start to his season, before spending June and July as Vintage Pujols (TM), before regressing to numbers that while strong, were disappointing for him over the last two months.  He had a hard time finding his timing early (14.0 K% in Apr), and again late (12.1 in Jul, 11.0 Aug, 13.0 Sep), which makes me question (NOTE: I have no first-hand evidence for this) if he was experiencing issues with bat speed.  Couple that with the fact that he plays his home games in a strong pitchers’ park, where he lost 19 points of wOBA and 22 points of ISO compared to his road numbers, and as age catches up, it seems the time to possibly knock Pujols down a bit.  Not a full tier by any stretch, but certainly out of the top group of hitters.

          • Profile Photo
            Matt January 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm -

            The Pujols ranking relative to other actual 1B is fine. It’s the Mauer ranking that is confusing. There are multiple catchers that can be plucked off the waiver wire every year that will produce similar to Mauer. Look at Carlos Ruiz and AJ Ellis last year.
            I appreciate the effort, but I see no way you can justify using a 2nd/3rd round pick on Mauer, which is where you have him listed. Anyone who takes him in the first 7-8 rounds will probably get laughed at.

  4. Profile Photo
    Thehotcorner January 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm -

    Wow.  I don’t even know where to begin.  What type of things are you considering in determining the rankings?

  5. Profile Photo
    WTF? January 3, 2013 at 10:59 am -

    First things first, you are putting WAY too much emphasis on position eligibility…you are ranking Buster Posey as the top 1B? Because he is eligible at catcher? And Mauer at #5? Well then Carlos Santana must be a top 5-10 option at 1st base, he has C eligibility?
    Second of all, you’re going to be targeting Logan Morrison, for .250/22/60/72? Did you forget that the Marlins traded virtually any servicable player on their roster, and moved into one of the deepest ballparks in baseball, when Morrison had average-below average power before? You are also talking about a “healthy” Logan Morrison? Jim Morrison was healthier than this guy.
    There are also too many questions about your rankings of certain players, to even begin. I’m sorry man, but I know what site I will be telling my leaguemates to get their information from

    • Profile Photo
      Alex Hume January 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm -

      For my rationale on position eligibility, see the post again.  I am considering the draft board as a whole.
      I listed Morrison as a “Player to Grab”.  He played nearly the entire year on bad knees.  My projection seems reasonable if one assumes full health and a full slate of games.  FWIW, Bill James projects Morrison to do even more than I did.
      If you re-examine the LoMo section, you will see that I mentioned Morrison as a target in the late-teen rounds.  First choices don’t make it that far.  In a typical 23 round draft, you could do much, much worse on a 1B/OF lottery ticket. 

  6. Profile Photo
    Pat G January 11, 2013 at 10:16 am -

    I won’t ever come out and say someone’s list is wrong, but i don’t think i’ve ever disagreed with a list more than this one before. Goldscmidt at 26??????? His profile supports an inflated BABIP, great LD%, increased swing rate coupled with increased contact shows progression. Additionally he’ll add somewhere between 10-15 steals which is invaluable coming from a position where you usually get 1 if you’re lucky
    Didn’t Mark Reynolds sign with cleveland?
    IDK man, yea, this list is wrong