Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Ranking first basemen for 2015

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

The first of the bases in our hearts also happens to be the first of the bases in number.

It's the first in our hearts because it's the first on our minds because it's the first in statistical output, generally speaking.

And it's the first in number because ... it's where the batter runs first?

It's not important. What is important is that the first of the bases in our hearts, on our minds, numerically and statistically is also the first of the bases to be ranked for 2015. By me. Right now.

I had my Twitter followers assist me with the trouble spots -- those clumps of players who are so close in value that they're nearly impossible to rank. And while I wouldn't say I yielded to the majority, I took it into consideration. Drafting against the grain doesn't pay, usually.

You may notice some of the mainstays at the position are nowhere to be found. Yeah, that's what happened all right. It was painful but necessary because of the depth, which probably says something about your approach to the position next year.

But we have the whole offseason to debate that. For now, let's just consider how it stacks up against itself.

Top 10 first basemen for 2015:
1. Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers
2. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks
3. Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox
4. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B, Blue Jays
5. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Cubs
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves
7. Victor Martinez, 1B, Tigers
8. Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
9. Carlos Santana, 1B/3B, Indians
10. Todd Frazier, 1B/3B, Reds

I should probably explain my stance on Cabrera again since ranking him first at the position has become mildly controversial -- and not just because he's no longer eligible at third base. Goldschmidt, Abreu and Encarnacion are also first-rounders for me, so it's not like Cabrera is in a different stratosphere from everyone else. But we know he has the potential to be. We saw it the previous two years.

Pujols' career arc has everyone assuming the worst for Cabrera, but for a corner infielder, 32 isn't so old, really. Martinez put together the best season of his career at 35, and Adrian Beltre is still going strong at the same age. Absent any sort of explanation for this year's decline, I'd have my own reservations about Cabrera, but he said at one point during the season his muscles weren't functioning properly following offseason groin surgery. The fact he did as well as he did speaks volumes of his ability. I'll invest in a partial rebound, happy to settle for a repeat of this year's numbers if he falls short.

Speaking of Martinez, you could make the case he was the best player in Fantasy in 2014 -- especially in points leagues, where his 42 strikeouts were like something from another lifetime. But now what do you do with him? Not only was his season an outlier in a career of good but less-than-elite production, but he's at an age where decline is expected. Even if he was as good as he's been this year for the last 10 years, you'd wonder if you could trust him to do it again.

My solution is to rank him behind all the players on the verge of elite status but in front of everyone else. (OK, so maybe Pujols still has that kind of potential somewhere deep inside him, but given the way he's trended the last few years, he seems even less likely than Martinez to tap into it.) Ultimately, I may pass on him there myself depending on what's available at other positions, but at some point, not putting enough stock in his 2014 season becomes just as irresponsible as putting too much stock in it.

For the rest of the top eight, the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. After Pujols is where it gets tricky, namely because you have to account for the players who qualify at other, weaker positions.

Third base may not be the weakest position heading into 2015, but it's on the other side of the spectrum from first base, thereby boosting the value of Santana and Frazier. No, I never ranked Santana this high when he still qualified at catcher, but I am now, which says more about his production with the position change than the position change itself.

To be more precise, settling in as the everyday first baseman in Cleveland (after playing enough third base to become eligible there as well) made him an offensive force. It began when he returned from a short DL stint for a concussion June 6. In 365 at-bats since then, he hit .266 with 21 home runs and a .872 OPS -- performing about on the level of David Ortiz, in other words.

Now, as bad as he was over the first two months, batting .159 with a .628 OPS, you could argue he's just a streaky player doing what streaky players do. But considering he's only 28, I wouldn't rule out this hot streak being something more, especially since it coincides with his move to a less demanding position.

Because walks contribute so much to Santana's value and stolen bases contribute so much to Frazier's, I might flip-flop the two in Rotisserie leagues. And even if I wanted to take a pessimistic approach to Santana, the most I could justify dropping him is four sports.

Next 10 first basemen for 2015:
11. Buster Posey, C/1B, Giants
12. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds
13. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers
14. Prince Fielder, 1B, Rangers
15. Lucas Duda, 1B, Mets
16. Matt Adams, 1B, Cardinals
17. Joe Mauer, 1B, Twins
18. Chris Davis, 1B/3B, Orioles
19. Brandon Moss, 1B/OF, Athletics
20. Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks

That's right: four spots, which makes the quartet of Santana, Frazier, Posey and Votto the first of those trouble spots I mentioned in the opening. They all have their shortcomings -- the inconsistency for Santana, the lack of track record for Frazier, the mounting injuries for Votto and ... well, I guess Posey is kind of like Santana, only from season to season rather than month to month.

Coming off major neck surgery, Fielder's injury concerns aren't as straightforward as Votto's, which puts him definitively behind that quartet as well as Gonzalez, but it doesn't make him any less intriguing. Yes, when Peyton Manning had a similar surgery some thought it could mean the end of his career, but it didn't. In fact, he's come back as strong as ever. Fielder has been an early-round fixture basically since the time he broke into the big leagues, so even though ranking him this low is justified, he's something of a sleeper there. Considering the injury cost him strength in his shoulder, you can excuse the poor production before the surgery.

Duda's season went much like Santana's. From June 1 on, he hit .261 with 23 home runs and an .869 OPS in 357 at-bats. He doesn't have the track record to back it up, but he was playing out of position and less than every day before this year. As one who famously whiffed on Duda a couple years ago, making him out to be the second coming of Paul Konerko, I'll call this version of him legit.

Rounding out the top 20 are five players with big ceilings but something more to prove. Adams, the up-and-comer of the group, fell short of everyone's expectations in walks and especially home runs in his first year as a full-time starter, yet because of his performance in other areas, he didn't exactly disappoint either. Davis certainly did, more or less confirming that his breakout 2013 was too good to be true, but because of his power potential, grouping him with Moss and Trumbo seems appropriate. With power in short supply, all three could leapfrog Mauer in Rotisserie leagues, but the former catcher has the most impressive track record of the three and could turn in an elite season in Head-to-Head points leagues on peripherals alone.

Early-round fixtures Jose Bautista and Lucroy were eligible at first base for much of 2014 but didn't get the 20 games necessary to retain eligibility for 2015. The same goes for Michael Cuddyer, Chris Carter and Brian McCann, but given the depth at the position, they probably wouldn't have made the cut anyway.

Speaking of cuts, the many from this top 20 included more high-profile types than I can remember having to leave out at any position prior to this year. How's that for depth? The toughest were Eric Hosmer, Brandon Belt, Adam LaRoche and Justin Morneau. LaRoche and Morneau were two of the most productive players at the position this year, with each averaging more Head-to-Head points per game than Todd Frazier and Lucas Duda, to name a couple. But both are nearing 35 and hadn't performed at that level for years. That's not to say either is washed up or undraftable, but given the alternatives at the position, anticipating some kind of regression is reasonable.

As for Hosmer and Belt, if they do end up going this late, both will be on my sleepers list next year. I still like their upside and have seen enough of it to believe more is in store for both. Scoff all you want, but hey, Duda finally came around, didn't he?

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 .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Report: Padres 'in touch' with Phillies regarding Cole Hamels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) The Padres are "in touch" with the Phillies in an attempt to land pitcher Cole Hamels, FOX Sports reports.

The Padres have made plenty of upgrades across the roster since general manager A.J. Heller took over, and it's possible they don't have the ammunition to land the Philadelphia ace in a deal. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week that he didn't expect Hamels to be traded before the start of the season. Hamels went 9-9 with a 2.46 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings in 2014.


Report: Orioles sign Mark Hendrickson to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Orioles have signed Mark Hendrickson to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, CSNBaltimore.com reports.

Hendrickson, who last pitched in the majors in 2011, spent 2014 with York of the independent Atlantic League, posting a 1.54 ERA and 34:11 K:BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings over 55 appearances.


Rangers' Matt Harrison expects to open season on 60-day DL
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison said Saturday that he expects to open the season on the 60-day disabled list as he continues to recover from spinal fusion surgery, the Dallas Morning News reports.

"My job is to just get as healthy as I can and get myself right so I don’t have something happen like it did last year when I tried to come back," Harrison said. "I’m just going to focus on that and get ready to contribute whenever it may be."

Harrison is dealing with some stiffness in his right side, which will cause him to throw from a distance of 90 feet for a second consecutive week rather than progress to 105 feet. He hopes that he'll get his hips to rotate more and loosen up with more stretching and more throws from the 90-foot distance.


Report: Rays sign Ronald Belisario to minor-league deal
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Rays have signed pitcher Ronald Belisario to a minor-league deal with an invitiation to spring training, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Belisaro made 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014, posting a 4-8 record, 5.56 ERA and 47:18 K:BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings. He'll compete for a bullpen spot during the spring.


Dodgers SP Zack Greinke hasn't decided whether to opt out
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said Saturday that he's yet to decide whether to opt out of his contract at the end of next season but added, "There's not really better options anywhere besides here," the Los Angeles Times reports.

Greinke is set to make $23 million in 2015, and he's due another $71 million over the following three seasons if he remains under his current contract. The Dodgers said earlier this offseason that they wouldn't discuss a contract extension with the pitcher during the winter.

Greinke went 17-8 with a 2.71 ERA and 207:43 K:BB ratio in 202 1/3 innings in 2014.


Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez hoping to bounce back in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez can't wait to get on the field and get past the 2014 season.

"I can’t wait," Jimenez said at Saturday’s FanFest event. "Whatever happened in 2014 is in the past. There's nothing I can do about it now. I can just look forward and now I’m going to do everything in spring training to get myself ready the best I can for the season and help the team."

Jimenez, who signed a four-year, $50 million deal with Baltimore in 2014, went 6-9 with a 4.81 ERA in 125 1/3 innings pitched. 

"It was pretty hard, coming in with a new team and signing a contract like that and not to do what everyone is expecting you to do, it’s hard," Jimenez said. "It’s hard not to be there for the team, but regardless what happened, I fought a lot. I think I was trying to find a way to survive to be there for the team and do whatever I can do the best. We got really far. I didn’t help a lot, but I tried to do whatever I could with whatever I had."


Royals' Alex Gordon plans to take it slow in recovery
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is still recovering from his wrist surgery this offseason and plans to take it slow in his rehab.

"We really don’t have a timetable," Gordon said. "We’re just going to see how it feels. Obviously, it’s spring training. So we don’t want to rush anything. If it feels good, we’ll be aggressive with it. But if it’s not feeling good, we’ll take it slow."

Manager Ned Yost wants to continue to take things slow with Gordon.
"We’ll just take it slow," Yost said. "We’ll see how he feels. We’ll play him one day. Then we’ll give him a day off. Play him another day, five or six innings, then give him a day off. We’ll just see how he’s doing."
Gordon hit .266 in 2014 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI.

Angels, Garrett Richards settle on $3.2 million for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) The Angels and pitcher Garrett Richards have agreed to a contract for 2015 for $3.2 million, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman.

Richards was asking for $3.8 million while the Angels offered $2.4 million. Richards posted a 13-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 164 strikeouts for Los Angeles.


Orioles' Manny Machado expects to be ready for spring training
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is progressing through his rehab and says he's "ready to roll" for the upcoming season.

"I have a lot of time to get ready. That is the key: having a regular offseason," Machado said Saturday. "Was doing my rehab in Sarasota and then went to Miami to do my regular weightlifting and get ready for the season. Been exciting. Looking forward to spring training."

Machado has taken part in baseball activities for the past few weeks since having surgery on Aug. 27 after tearing a ligament in his knee.

"It will be awesome," he said of the prospect of having a normal spring. "I'm dying to get back on the field. Spring training is key for a lot of players to get your at-bats and your reps. I think some take it for granted but it's a very big key for success for the year."

Machado hit .278 in 2014 with 12 home runs and 32 RBI for Baltimore.


Bud Norris remains without update for contract extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/31/2015) Orioles pitcher Bud Norris said Saturday nothing has changed between he and the organization for a new contract.

"I haven't heard anything of that," Norris said. "I don't see a reason why I'd want to leave, but that's out of my control."

Norris and the Orioles are preparing for arbitration, when Norris filed for $10.25 million and Baltimore offered $7.5 million. He went 15-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 139:52 K:BB ratio in 165 1/3 innings over 28 starts in 2014.


 
 
 
Rankings