Fantasy Baseball First Base Player Spotlight: Josh Bell and Trey Mancini
Published: Feb 27, 2023
Updated: Feb 27, 2023
Preseason preparation for fantasy baseball often follows certain trends and takes on different directions. There is always going to be the focus on the top tier studs at the top of the draft, and then we have our up-and-coming young players such as Nate Lowe and Vinnie Pasquantino who are receiving a great deal of buzz leading up to the 2023 season.
That excitement is certainly warranted, but drafts are not ideal and we have to review the entire player pool. Sometimes that means taking a look at options who might be considered to be “boring” but that means they are also dependable. With that being said, let us take a look at two veterans who changed teams this off-season and were ultimately lost in the shuffle. Just because Josh Bell and Trey Mancini might not come with vast amounts of upside, it doesn’t mean there isn’t fantasy value to be found.
Josh Bell, Cleveland Guardians
With an ADP of 176 in all NFBC drafts since January 1st, Bell is the 18th first baseman off the draft board in his first season with Cleveland. Considering the lack of depth at third base, first base is where we are ultimately looking to fill our corner infield spot and there are certainly worse options than Bell.
Bell is slated to bat in the cleanup spot for the Guardians after hitting .266 last season along with 17 home runs and 71 RBI. Along the way, Bell has always left us wanting more, but the most important thing to remember is that even though we saw it once, we are not going back to the 2019 season that saw Bell hit 37 home runs while driving in 116 runs.
The career .262 hitter should finish somewhere in that neighborhood next season, but when we get to OBP leagues, that is where Bell becomes a real asset thanks to his 12.5% walk rate last year. It also helps that Bell is able to limit his strikeouts, 15.8% last year, although the real question is can we expect more than 20 home runs?
Bell had a barrel rate of just 7.2% last season, and his 8.3-degree average launch angle doesn’t exactly generate much excitement in the home run department. However, Bell does a good job of putting the bat on the ball and has a track record of being a proven run producer and batting cleanup for the Guardians should lead to a .260/20/80 campaign which works from your corner infielder.
Trey Mancini, Chicago Cubs
After a strong start to his 2022 season, the second half of Mancini’s year didn’t exactly go according to plan as he hit just .177 in 198 at bats while receiving sporadic playing time with Houston. Mancini now gets a clean slate with Chicago along with regular playing time in the middle of their lineup.
For starters, with an ADP of 259, Mancini is coming off the board as the 29th first baseman so he represents a solid, and low-risk, fall back option for those who spent the earlier parts of their drafts addressing other needs and positions. While we are focused on first baseman here, the fact that Mancini also has outfield eligibility helps here.
While the Cubs have struggled as of late, they did get better this winter and with Nico Hoerner and Dansby Swanson at the top of lineup and then followed by Ian Happ and what should be an improved Seiya Suzuki, Mancini should be in prime RBI position.
We have seen Mancini drive in 97 runs a few seasons ago so there is track record as RBI producer and while I’m not sure he is going to get back to hitting .291, he isn’t going to hurt while he hits around .260. After posting a career high average launch angle of 12.7 degrees last season along with a 9.5% barrel rate and 40.1% hard hit rate, Mancini possesses a solid hit tool and will not hurt your fantasy squad.
Ultimately, we are looking to build a team that compiles the most statistics, and in Bell and Mancini we have two veteran examples of those who might not be receiving much attention this winter and spring.
Related Fantasy Baseball Links:
- 2023 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide
- 2023 Fantasy Baseball MLB Preseason Projections
- 2023 MLB Fantasy Baseball Rankings