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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
Athletics expect call up Max Muncy to play mostly third base
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:24 pm ET) Athletics manager Bob Melvin likes what he's got in prospect Max Muncy, who played in his first game after being called up Saturday. Melvin expects to primarily use Muncy at third base with his infield battling a multitude of injuries, reports MLB.com.

"He can play a little first, he can play a little third, and with [Eric Sogard] being able to play all the positions, it's probably going to be mostly at third," said Melvin. "He's a grinder. He made an impression right away. You know he can hit, and he's coming in here swinging the bat well. We've always felt he was quite the hitter.

"Moved him over to third to make him a little bit more versatile, especially with [Matt] Olson in the system. We like what we saw this spring."

Muncy went 1 for 4 in the game with a single and a strikeout.


Dodgers RHP McCarthy removed from game with possible injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:19 pm ET) Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy left the game Saturday night against the Padres in the sixth inning after asking for team trainers to come out of the dugout, SB Nation is reporting.

McCarthy was soon removed in favor of Sergio Santos. He entered the inning with a 10-3 lead, but allowed two singles and a homer before his departure. It has yet to be revealed if McCarthy suffered an injury of was taken out merely as a precaution.

The right-hander performed well from the second through the fifth innings, allowing just one hit during that stretch. He had given up home runs to Wil Myers and Upton in a three-run first. He finished having surrendered six earned runs in five innings as his ERA soared to 5.87.


Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson leaves with undisclosed injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:13 pm ET) Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson was forced to leave Saturday's game against the Giants with an undisclosed injury, according to the Denver Post.

Dickerson was removed before the seventh inning for Drew Stubbs. He went 0 for 3 in the game. He is hitting .317 in 63 at-bats this season.


Pirates reliever Mark Melancon earns fifth save Saturday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:06 pm ET) Pirates relief pitcher Mark Melancon worked a nearly perfect ninth inning Saturday in Pittsburgh's 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks, earning his fifth save of the season.

Melancon got past a single with one out to start the inning after Nick Ahmed was caught stealing second. Melancon finished things off by forcing a groundout to second by Yasmany Tomas. Melancon lowered his ERA to 5.79 in 9 1/3 innings of work this season.


Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett strikes out four in no decision
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:06 pm ET) Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett allowed one run on five hits in seven innings of work in Pittsburgh's 2-1 win over the Diamondbacks Saturday. 

Burnett worked efficiently through his start, only running into one issue in the second inning. Burnett allowed a single to Chris Owings, who then stole second base. Tuffy Gosewich then singled to right to bring home Arizona's only run. 

Burnett, who remains 0-1 on the year, lowered his ERA to 1.80 and added four strikeouts to his totals.


Diamondbacks pitcher Rubby De La Rosa strikes out eight in ND
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:06 pm ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Rubby De La Rosa allowed one run on four hits in seven innings of work in Arizona's 2-1 loss to the Pirates Saturday. He was in control throughout the start, adding eight strikeouts with no walks to his totals.

De La Rosa's only blemish came in the fourth inning. He allowed a double to Neil Walker, who advanced to third on a Starling Marte ground out. Then, Pedro Alvarez doubled to right field, scoring Walker.

De La Rosa, who remains 2-1, lowered his ERA to 4.68 on the season. 


Pirates reliever Seth Maness earns rare save Saturday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:04 pm ET) Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable Saturday after having pitched three straight days. So Seth Maness took over the role and rolled with it.

Maness, who arrived in the eighth, induced one popout and two groundouts in the ninth to shut down the Brewers and register his first save of the year and fifth of his career.


Jean Segura, Aramis Ramirez both pound three hits for Brewers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:56 pm ET) The woeful Brewers lost again Saturday night, but they can take at least a bit of solace that two of their key players had big games.

Both leadoff hitter Jean Segura and veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez slammed two singles and a double.

The effort of the latter was particularly encouraging. Ramirez has emerged from a four-game hitless streak to hit safely in four of his last five. The multi-hit game was only his second since the opener.

Segura, on the other hand, has been pretty much raking all year. He has been the subject of trade rumors and his hot hitting can only raise his stock.


Twins' Paul Molitor considering Joe Mauer in leadoff role
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:48 pm ET) Twins manager Paul Molitor is looking for a spark at the top of the batting order. He thinks that spark may be in his top player, Joe Mauer, according to MLB.com.

"I had him potentially doing that," Molitor said. "I had him also hitting second behind [Brian] Dozier. There were points made regarding Dozier's propensity to be able to score runs last year and Joe hit behind him quite a bit, so we talked about different combinations of how to get those guys in there."

Mauer has never hit lead off in his career.

"You can go to your sabermetrics experts and a lot of times they're going to come up with Joe at the top of the lineup, and I understand that. How that would play in terms of him getting a chance to get hits with men in scoring position and do some other things that he's been doing pretty well, I'm not sure."

Mauer is hitting .271 with five RBI in 59 at-bats this season.


Matt Holliday slugs first homer as Cardinals roll
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 pm ET) It took Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday 52 at-bats this season to nail his first dinger, but he certainly made it count. Two of his teammates occupied the bases when he clobbered one Saturday night in a defeat of Milwaukee.

The power outage has not limited his production. Holliday boasts a fine slash line of .358/.437/.434. and now has 10 RBI.


 
 
 
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