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Sunday, January 24, 2016

2016 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT PRIMER: FIRST BASE

First baseman are up next as we continue to preview the upcoming 2016 Fantasy Baseball season by examining which players at each position we will target and which to avoid.

DRAFT PLAN:  Our tried-and-true method for draft success continues to be using one of your first two picks on a slugging first baseman along with a five-tool outfielder.  While there are plentiful power-hitting first baseman, you want to nab one of the stars and then come back here for your UTIL or CI bat. 

FIRST BASEMAN WE ARE TARGETING

Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion:  We lumped all six of these monster power-hitting first baseman in the same grouping as we would be happy with each and every one of them among the first two rounds of the draft.  Goldschmidt is the real prize here of course with his silly five-category production and he is well worth the third pick overall in the draft behind Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.  Meanwhile Cabrera comes off yet another batting title which shows his swing is just fine.  However his home run total continues to slip and health problems are cropping up which is a concern.  Guys with the mammoth size that Cabrera carries around don't often age well (Ryan Howard anyone?) but Cabrera at least for another season looks like a good investment.  Encarnacion has been a favorite in this corner for years as we were among the few that pegged him as a first round guy three years ago.  He is as consistent a power hitter as there is in the game but the steals are now gone for good and he always seems to deal with some physical issue of some sort during the season.  Rounding out this group, both Rizzo and Abreu are mid-first round picks who will supply 30-plus home runs and good averages.  Rizzo will also do a Goldschmidt-lite impersonation with some stolen bases. 

Adrian Gonzalez:  Love Gonzalez and his ultra-consistency.  He is the classic guy who you can write down his numbers in ink and walk away knowing he will get here.  Those numbers that get locked in every season are around a .280 average, with 100 RBI and 25 home runs.  Also Gonzalez' extreme durability is also a nice bonus.  Among the best priced top first baseman in fantasy baseball. 

Adam Lind:  Always love the cheap 20-25 home runs power you get with investing in Adam Lind.  Yeah his new locale in Seattle is a bummer but as long you don't play him against a lefty, you will get more than you paid for. 

Mark Trumbo:  Been a big critic of his over the last few years but I will take a stab here if the price is cheap enough since Trumbo will now be going to Baltimore where his home run numbers should soar.  Why am I endorsing Trumbo and not Chris Davis when they profile similar hitting approaches?  Trumbo comes about 10-12 rounds cheaper. 

Justin Bohr:  The kid looks like another Adam Lind with his underrated power and struggles against lefties.  Could be a very cheap 25 home runs and around 80 RBI. 

FIRST BASEMAN WE ARE AVOIDING

Joey Votto:  It is not that we don't respect the monster comeback season Votto had in 2015, it is just that the Reds completely stripped apart the lineup around him and so we could be looking at a Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves situation which we all know is no conducive to fantasy baseball-worthy numbers.  Also Votto is not exactly young anymore either and I can't bank on two straight healthy seasons. 

Freddie Freeman:  Honestly I think Freeman is nothing but a UTIL or CI bat at best considering his power has not come around to expectations and the Braves lineup is so bad that under 80 in runs and RBI is likely. 

Albert Pujols:  Again we praise the comeback season in 2015 with the power reaching the 40 home run mark but Pujols' is about as big as health risk as you can get at first base and his average is now very ugly as it settles under .250. 

Eric Hosmer:  Sorry I want 20 home runs from my first baseman and Hosmer is just not that guy.  Yes he steals a few bags and can hit .300 which works just fine in your CI or UTIL slot but I want to do better. 

Chris Davis:  There is no chance in hell Davis will hit .260 again this season given his putrid K rate which makes his power numbers a lot less glowing.  We continue to advise balance when it comes to any hitter on your roster and that includes not having to make up an ugly average. 

Carlos Santana:  No catcher eligibility=no thank you.

Ryan Zimmerman:  No third base eligibility=no thank you. 

Victor Martinez:  Yeah we all knew 2014 was a major fluke but Martinez was a complete disgrace last season with awful numbers and health. 

 

 

 

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