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First base tiers for Draft Day 2013

Senior Fantasy Writer
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First base. It's the granddaddy of deep. Big bats as far as the eye can see.

The Tiers Approach to Draft Day
Tiering is a method of doctoring positional rankings so that players of similar value are bundled into groups. A new group begins whenever the next player down in the rankings has a vastly different projected outcome from the player preceding him. Reducing a position to five or six tiers instead of 30 or more individuals gives you a blueprint to follow as your league's draft unfolds. Naturally, the position to target is the one whose active tier is closest to completion. -- Scott White

Tiers: C | 1B | 2B | SS | 3B | OF | SP | RP

But it can burn you if you get too comfortable waiting around for leftovers. See, for as many options -- and I mean legitimate, potentially high-end options -- as it offers, a significant number of them are eligible at other, not-so-deep positions.

What's "a significant number?" Well, of the first 20 players I've ranked at the position, seven are eligible somewhere other than first base. (And that's not counting David Ortiz and Victor Martinez, who technically aren't eligible even at first base. Look, I had to put them somewhere. Tiering the only two relevant DH-only players by themselves wouldn't help you gauge where to draft them, would it? Don't worry: I put an asterisk (*) next to their names in the tiers, in case you forget.)

Chances are that second position, whatever it is, is what they'll be drafted to play. First base is deep, after all. Why not fill the shallower positions first? But the danger in that line of thinking is everyone thinks that way. Unless you anticipate the upper tiers depleting faster here than at other positions, you'll find yourself drafting from a lower tier than you had intended.

The Elite: Albert Pujols, Joey Votto, Prince Fielder, Buster Posey, Edwin Encarnacion

The Near Elite: Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Allen Craig, Billy Butler, Carlos Santana, Mark Teixeira, David Ortiz*

The Next Best Things: Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, Ike Davis, Anthony Rizzo, Victor Martinez*

The Fallback Options: Paul Konerko, Mike Napoli, Ryan Howard, Mark Trumbo, Nick Swisher, Justin Morneau, Adam LaRoche, Corey Hart

The Last Resorts: Eric Hosmer, Adam Dunn, Kevin Youkilis, Chris Davis, Todd Frazier, Lance Berkman, Michael Cuddyer, Kendrys Morales, Brandon Moss

The Leftovers: Mark Reynolds, Brandon Belt, Michael Young, Garrett Jones, Yonder Alonso, Logan Morrison, Matt Carpenter, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak, Chris Parmelee, Mitch Moreland, Tyler Colvin, Chris Carter

After ranking head and shoulders above the rest for the better part of a decade, Pujols has slowed down enough that first base can finally have a first tier as deep as the rest of the position. Lots of early-round types here. Some might quibble over my inclusion of Posey and Encarnacion in The Elite, but the bottom line is I'm willing to go the extra round or two to nab Encarnacion over someone like Craig. To me, that's a surefire indication that they belong in separate tiers.

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Slotting Mark Teixeira with The Near Elite was almost painful for me. I really don't want him as my starting first baseman this year. If early draft data is any indication, he might very well be the last of that second tier to go off the board, which might be what compels me to draft him in the fifth or sixth round when I'd prefer to direct my attention elsewhere and target an Ike Davis or Rizzo type later. So in essence, I'd be protecting myself from myself by dropping him a tier, and sometimes, that's exactly the way to go.

But ultimately, I opted against it here. It's not like I take literally the last remaining player in every tier. If only Butler and Teixeira remain, I'm probably grabbing Butler because I'm not expecting either to get back to me. And if only Teixeira remains and I honestly have no other direction to go at any other position, I probably am taking him, so it's not brazenly dishonest.

Is it a perfect? Not at all, but unless I intend to give Teixeira his own tier, I can't expect him to fit perfectly anywhere.

Konerko was another tweener for me, but ultimately, I decided he didn't belong in the same category as Goldschmidt or Freeman, who performed up to the level of Teixeira on a per-game basis in Head-to-Head leagues last year. Do Davis and Rizzo? Well, they have about the same upside as Goldschmidt and Freeman, even if they're not as far along. Konerko, on the other hand, is due for a steep decline in his age-37 season and showed signs of it in the second half last year. Frankly, I'm not sure I wouldn't prefer Howard or Trumbo to him.

Hart's inclusion in the The Next Best Things was iffy, given that his recent knee surgery will likely cost him the first two months, but let's be real here: He's getting drafted in all leagues. The same isn't necessarily true for any of the players in the next tier.

The name of that tier, The Last Resorts, is a little harsh at a position as deep as this one. Dunn hit 41 homers last year, for crying out loud, and Chris Davis and Moss are big power threats in their own right. Hosmer is just a year removed from being the top breakout candidate at the position, and it's not like he's a lost cause at age 23.

Chances are that tier will litter the late rounds of most drafts. How else are you going to fill that DH or utility spot? What passes for a sleeper at first base would likely be a mainstay at second base or shortstop.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Cubs' Kyle Schwarber snaps skid, hits fourth home run on Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:39 am ET) Cubs rookie catcher Kyle Schwarber enjoyed a productive night at the plate in Saturday's 4-2 win over the Brewers. Schwarber went 2 for 4 with his fourth career home run.

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Giants' Buster Posey homers among three hits in win Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:22 am ET) Giants catcher Buster Posey--who served as the designated hitter on Saturday--went 3 for 5 with a double and a home run in the 9-7 win over the Rangers. 

Posey hit a solo home run--his 15th of the year--off Cole Hamels in the seventh inning to cut the Rangers' lead to one run. Then, after the Rangers had tacked on a couple of runs, Posey added an RBI double in the eighth to once again bring the Giants within one. He score the tying run later in the inning, and the Giants won the game in 11 innings.

Posey has been scorching at the plate recently. Over his past eight games, Posey is batting a robust .438 with three doubles, a home run and five RBI. He continued his ownership over Hamels, as he is now 13 for 27 with two home runs against the left-hander.


Athletics RP Pat Venditte throws Triple-A rehab game Saturday
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(12:17 am ET) Athletics relief pitcher Pat Venditte played in a rehab game for Triple-A Nashville on Saturday.

Venditte tossed 2/3 of an inning and allowed one hit. He is currently on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder injury.


Giants 1B Brandon Belt slugs two solo home runs in win Saturday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(12:14 am ET) Giants 1B Brandon Belt had a big night at the plate in the 9-7 win over the Rangers. The Texas-native went 2 for 4 with a pair of solo home runs in the extra-innings victory.

Belt bookended the Giants' scoring on Saturday. He got the Giants on the board with a solo home run in the third inning, cutting the Rangers' lead to one. Then, after the Giants took a 9-8 lead in the 11th, he delivered his second solo dinger of the night, giving him 12 homers on the year.

Both of Belt's home runs on Saturday came off of left-handers--he had not homered off of a southpaw this season prior to Saturday. 

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Anderson allowed four runs, three of them earned, on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of work. He gave up two walks and a home run while earning his third loss of the season.

With the loss, Anderson dropped tp 2-3 on the year with a 3.38 ERA.


Giants RP Santiago Casilla gets 27th save on Saturday
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(12:08 am ET) Giants closer Santiago Casilla worked a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday to claim his 27th save of the season. Casilla, who gave up one hit in the inning, needed just 12 pitches to preserve the 9-7 extra-innings win over the Rangers. 

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Giants' Chris Heston can't go five innings on Saturday vs. Rangers
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(12:05 am ET) Giants starter Chris Heston labored in his outing against the Rangers on Saturday. The young right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits, but was unable to get out of the fifth inning. He lasted 4 2/3, walking two and striking out two. He threw 93 pitches, with just 51 going for strikes. 

Heston took a no-decision, as the Giants won the game 9-7 in extra innings. He got off to a shaky start, giving up two runs in the first inning. He got through the next two frames unscathed, despite a couple of baserunners.

But he allowed a third run in the fourth, and was never really able to get anything going in this one. Still, Heston is 3-0 with a very solid 1.64 ERA over his past five starts.


Athletics' Aaron Brooks looks dominant in first start
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Brooks allowed just one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings of work. He struck out five batters and didn't give up any walks.

With the win, Brooks improved to 1-0 on the year with a 3.09 ERA.


 
 
 
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