When building a fantasy baseball team, overall production is what you are ultimately after. At the end of the season, you are measured by your cumulative statistical output and now one is judging you based on what position they come from as long as you build the most productive team. With that being said, there are a finite number of options, and therefore statistics, available at each position so considering that depth is very important when building your draft board. With this in mind, let us take a look at the first base positional depth. 


We have previously covered the Top-5 options for the position as part of this series in the FREE Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide, and they are all elite, or close to it. While there is a clear order to Vladimir Guerrero, Pete Alonso, Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, and Matt Olson, they are interchangeable to a degree and preferences will come into play here. The first four options are going to be gone by the time you see the third round in the majority of drafts and it is important to plan accordingly here. 

They are all well-balanced options that are multi-category contributors and provide fantasy owners with a solid base when building out their teams. If Olson was better from a batting average perspective, the gap would likely be closer, or even non-existent, but then it is time to set aside the position for a few rounds. 

Based on NFBC ADP, the sixth through 15th first baseman will come off the board between pick 93 and 158, and this is where you start to have a disadvantage if you bypass the position. While the Top-5 provides a clear edge, it is hard to go wrong with most of these other options even if there are going to be clear preferences and targets among this large group which I would likely break into two tiers.

If you are going to look at things from a statistical standpoint, we are looking at a first baseman to provide power along with a solid, if not strong batting average. The closer we can get to 30/100 the better, and considering there is also a corner infield spot to fill and third base is on the weaker side this season, the ideal scenario is to draft that player from this group as well. 

At a high level, let us break down what we are working with. They are listed based on my rankings, but things are certainly up for debate based on personal preference.

Fantasy Baseball First Base ADP Rankings

Tier 3 – These are the players we are going to truly target here. In some drafts, by the time these nine players are off the board, I have drafted two first basemen. 

  • Vinnie Pasquantino, KC – After hitting .295 with 10 home runs and 26 RBI in 258 at-bats last year, there is a fair amount of buzz surrounding the Royals’ 1B. What he did at the minor league level he displayed at the major league level as he walked more than he struck out and provided a strong OBP which could be his early calling card in category leagues where that matters. The one drop for Pasquantino from AAA to the MLB was his ISO numbers which saw him from .285 to .155 but he does project to have better power numbers as he matures and I think we can lock him in for close to 25 home runs this season.
  • José Abreu, HOU – The veteran just continues to produce and he joins a strong Houston lineup this season. What is concerning though, is seeing Abreu drop from 30 to 15 home runs in 2022 although he did hit .304. The move to Houston could result in a power resurgence given the favorable left-field dimensions for right-handed power hitters. Abreu could be of the mid-round steals in drafts this season.
  • Nathaniel Lowe, TEX – It is not hard to figure out why Lowe continues to gain buzz after he hit .302 with 27 home runs, 76 RBI, and 74 runs scored last year. I’m not sure his batting average, driven by a .363 BABIP is sustainable, but he took a nice stride last year and the Rangers have a good lineup around him.
  • Christian Walker, ARI – How much different is Walker compared to Olson? Walker had 36 home runs and 94 RBI last season with the one con against him being the fact that he hit just .242 but also had a very unlucky .248 BABIP. We saw a strong barrel rate (11.5%) and launch angle (17 degrees) from Walker last season, and once again he should be a strong source of power. 

Tier 4 – There is no harm with any of these options, and they are fine fallback options. 

  • Rhys Hoskins, PHI – He will also be a solid power option and run-producing threat, but at this point there isn’t much upside and the batting average will not be a true asset. 
  • Andrew Vaughn, CWS – There is also outfield eligibility here and some projection systems are higher on Vaughn than others, he hit .271 with 17 home runs and 76 RBI in 134 games last season. While he did have a 48.4% hard-hit rate, we will need to see the 7.5-degree average launch angle improve. 
  • C.J. Cron, COL – This is an option strictly for leagues with either daily or bi-weekly lineups so you start Cron at home and reserve him on the road. Based on the Rockies’ schedule this season, that strategy will work perfectly in NFBC leagues, so while it does require additional roster flexibility, it is something to keep in mind. 
  • Anthony Rizzo, NYY – Despite previously hitting for a strong average, Rizzo has been more like a liability there as of late, but he is still a 30-home run bat who can drive in runs. 
  • Ryan Mountcastle, BAL – There is enough to like here with Mountcastle’s swing and approach at the plate, but the adjustments to Camden Yards last year ultimately hurt his power upside. Mountcastle did finish with 22 home runs and 85 RBI and it is hard to ignore his 15% barrel rate. 
  • Jose Miranda, MIN – The third base eligibility is going to bump Miranda up here, but he will bat in the middle of the order for Minnesota, hit close to 20 home runs, drive in a solid amount of runs and finish with a strong batting average. 

Once we move beyond these options, there is not a steep drop off at the position, and in fact, there are still some strong options that, while there are some warts to their game, they can also help your team. 

We have solid veterans like Josh Bell and Ty France, home run upside from Rowdy Tellez, positional versatility from Jake Cronenworth and Brandon Drury, interesting power options from rebuilding teams in Joey Meneses and Seth Brown, young upside from Triston Casas and Miguel Vargas, and other solid options like Josh Naylor and Trey Mancini

There is clear value in addressing this position early, but there is no need to truly reach here either. 


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