First Base

First Base has two of the best hitters on the planet in Vlad Guerrero and Freddie Freeman, and a top-six that all bring outstanding production to our game. After the top-tier there is a myriad of mid-range options, all providing plenty of power potential, but the associated risk rises rather quickly after the elite corps at the top-of-the-board disappears. Don’t forget about the young guns. Triston Casas, Nick Pratto, and Juan Yepez should all see plenty of action in the second half and should be a part of your reserve round plans in ReDraft formats.

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR – The only thing that will stop Vlad Jr. from being one of the most dominant hitters in the game will be Vlad Jr. himself.  
  2. Freddie Freeman, FA – Over the past six seasons, Freeman has only once failed to compile a .300 BA, and that was in 2019 when he posted a .295 BA. He’s the total package and will even toss in 5-to-10 stolen bases for good measure. His lofty placing at the back of the First Round is most deserved.
  3. Matt Olson, OAK – Olson has always had the skills to crush the ball but in 2021 we saw an improved ability to get on-base (K/BB 113/88). He’s one of only a handful of bats with 40 home run potential and the RBI opportunities will improve if the rumored trade comes to fruition.
  4. Jose Abreu, CWS – In five-of-his-eight seasons he has mashed 30 or more home runs. Six times we have seen Abreu drive in 100+ runs. Betting on a 30-100 season in 2022 is a safe bet.  
  5. Paul Goldschmidt, STL – “Goldy” once again surpassed the 30-homer plateau and came within one RBI of his fourth 100 RBI season. What we didn’t see coming in 2021 was the return to double-digit (12) stolen bases. A repeat of the stolen base total is unlikely, but even if he reverts to low single-digits in that category, it leaves few reasons to complain.
  6. Pete Alonso, NYM – Alonso was one of the few Met bats that didn’t disappoint last year. In addition to the ever-present power (37 HR) he also found a way to cut down on the strikeouts. The addition of Starling Marte and a return to form for Francisco Lindor and a 100+ RBI season could be right around the corner.
  7. Jared Walsh, LAA – Walsh is coming off a 29 homer, 98 RBI season with two stellar bats in Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon out of the lineup for most of the season. The return of those two stars has the potential to fuel those RBI numbers to even loftier heights.
  8. Josh Bell, WAS – The very mediocre 2020 season raised some serious concerns heading into 2021. Bell responded to those concerns in fine form, hitting 27 homers, driving in 88 runs, and posting a solid .261 BA. Expect more of those same solid numbers moving forward.
  9. C.J. Cron, COL – Cron reupped with the Rockies, signing a two-year $14.5 million extension, a good thing for both the Rockies and Fantasy owners. His splits are very home park favorable, and his Top-10 status at First Base is very dependent on those 300 at-bats at Coors Field.
  10. Rhys Hoskins, PHI – It was a tough season health wise for the 28-year-old Hoskins. A groin strain followed by abdominal issues that led to surgery limited him to only 389 at-bats. Hoskins did make the most of those 389 at-bats, mashing 27 homers. A return to health and a 30-90 floor should be within reach.
  11. Ryan Mountcastle, BAL – Ryan Mountcastle hit a lot of balls into left field last year. How many of those 35 bombs that he hit in 2021 are now going to be loud outs with the revised left field corner in Camden Yards? Enough that I have concerns. OF-21
  12. Joey Votto, CIN – 2021 was a banner year for the Canadian veteran. He fell one homer short of timing a career best with 36, drove in 99 runs, and saw his OBP move up to .375 after a couple of .350’ish type seasons. He’s heading into his age-39 season and the Reds are in full-blown sell mode, so the prudent course would be to temper the expectations heading into 2022.
  13. Jake Cronenworth, SDP – He qualifies at First Base, but in our game most Managers will be slotting him into either Second Base or the MI. After a solid 2021 season, is there more in the tank heading into 2022? 2B-94, SS-41
  14. DJ LeMahieu, NYY – LeMahieu underwent core muscle surgery this off-season (which helps explain the poor 2021 campaign) and should be ready to roll for Spring Training. That stellar 2019 season is looking more and more like an outlier. 2B-83, 3B-39
  15. Yuli Gurriel, HOU – Gurriel has bested a .290 BA four times in his six years in the League and is coming off a career best .319 BA in 2021. The ceiling is very limited but if you’re looking for a safe floor (15-80, .290) from the middle-tier, he shouldn’t be overlooked.  
  16. Nathaniel Lowe, TEX – When the player pool at First Base starts to thin, don’t fret. Lowe will provide a little pop, a handful of stolen bases and solid on-base skills (.357 OBP) to your Fantasy lineup. Expecting Lowe to take a small step up in an improving Rangers lineup is a very real possibility.
  17. Jesus Aguilar, MIA – Aguilar missed most of September with a knee issue that ultimately required arthroscopic surgery, and still managed to hit 22 homers and drive in 93 runs with a .261 BA. The Marlins will need that bat in the every-day lineup if they wish to improve on their rather anemic offense.
  18. Jonathan Schoop, DET – The signing of Javier Baez, soon-to-be arriving Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, and the emergence of Akil Baddoo will do nothing but help Schoop’s cause. You can put 20 homers and 80 RBI (quite possibly more) in the bank. 2B-38
  19. Max Muncy, LAD – Max Muncy’s dislocated elbow has apparently, as of the end of November, morphed into a torn UCL and is not healing as quick as Muncy would like. This is not the news that we either anticipated or wanted to hear. In the absence of updates, one would be advised to take a very cautious approach heading into 2022. 2B-39
  20. Luke Voit, NYY – The problem isn’t the quality of at-bats, it’s simply getting enough of them. A myriad of injuries including an oblique strain and wonky knee limited him to only 213 at-bats last year. There are 25-plus homers in that bat, if he can stay on the field and the Yankees don’t re-sign Anthony Rizzo.
  21. Anthony Rizzo, FA – The days when you could pencil in 30 homers and 100 RBI are likely in the rearview mirror, but 25-80 with a handful of thefts still makes for a solid option in the early teen-rounds.
  22. Eric Hosmer, SDP – 2021 was a nightmare. How does anyone with Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Jake Cronenworth all ahead of him in the lineup drive in only 65 runs? A repeat of last year’s low RBI numbers is unlikely, and you won’t have to pay a premium for the opportunity to find out.
  23. Alex Kirilloff, MIN – I think we saw enough in the short audition last year (215 at-bats) that better and very productive days are ahead. The outfield eligibility is a bonus. OF-37
  24. Brandon Belt, SFG – Finally, in his 11’th campaign, Brandon Belt broke the magic 20 home run mark, accomplishing the feat in only 325 at-bats. The introduction of the DH to the NL hopefully provides him with a haven in which he can amass additional at-bats.
  25. Rowdy Tellez, MIL – Something that was lacking in his time spent in Toronto, playing time opportunities, should not be a problem in his new home in Milwaukee. In 2019, Tellez did hit 21 homers in only 370 at-bats so it’s not as if he doesn’t have power potential included on his resume. As a late-round gamble, he shouldn’t be overlooked.
  26. Frank Schwindel, CHC – It appeared as if Frank Schwindel was destined to be a career Minor Leaguer until mid-July, when the A’s designated him for assignment. The Cubs plucked him off waivers and after getting the call he smoked 13 homers in only 222 at-bats. If he can find his way into 500 at-bats in Chicago, something that should be attainable on the retooling Cubs, he presents a rather solid opportunity and great value as a late-round corner-infield option.
  27. LaMonte Wade, SFG – His career high in homers was 11, accomplished in 424 Minor League at-bats back in 2018. Last year he slugged 18 homers in 336 at-bats. Is Wade a late-bloomer or was last year a one-off? Only time will tell, but a rather weak Giant’s outfield will give him plenty of opportunities to prove he’s a late bloomer. OF-80
  28. Trey Mancini, BAL – The return of Trey Mancini was an inspiration and a true feel-good story. He should only be stronger heading into 2022 and he’ll need that extra strength to power the ball out of the reconfigured Camden Yards
  29. Miguel Sano, MIN – Thirty home runs is a safe bet, as is a BA hovering near the Mendoza line.
  30. Bobby Dalbec, BOS – The power is of the prestigious variety, as are the strikeout rates. The big question is how long Dalbec will be able to hold off the hard-charging and very talented Triston Casas. I’m betting that it won’t be for long.
  31. Ty France, SEA 2B-21
  32. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, PIT OF-30
  33. Christian Walker, ARZ
  34. Pavin Smith, ARZ OF-98
  35. Tyler Stephenson, CIN C-78 
  36. Bobby Bradley, CLE
  37. Carlos Santana, KCR
  38. Yandy Diaz, TBR 3B-58
  39. Wilmer Flores SFG 2B-30, 3B-58
  40. Miguel Cabrera, DET 
  41. Triston Casas, BOS 
  42. Nick Pratto, KCR
  43. Juan Yepez, STL
  44. Ji-Man Choi, TBR
  45. Jurickson Profar, SDP OF-81
  46. Jace Peterson, MIL 2B-35, OF-27
  47. Lewin Diaz, MIA
  48. Darin Ruf, SFG OF-36
  49. Keston Hiura, MIL
  50. Brad Miller, PHI OF-20
  51. Josh Fuentes, FA 3B-60
  52. Matt Beaty, LAD OF-46
  53. Daniel Vogelbach, FA
  54. Jake Bauers, SEA OF-43
  55. Edwin Rios, LAD
  56. Evan White, SEA
  57. Albert Pujols, FA
  58. Ryan Zimmerman, WAS
  59. Phil Gosselin, LAA 3B-32, OF-40
  60. Ryan O’Hearn, KCR OF-26
  61. Colin Moran, FA
  62. Travis Shaw, FA 3B-48
  63. Willians Astudillo, MIN 3B-29
  64. Yu-Cheng Chang, CLE 3B-21 
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