The Dynasty Guru’s Top 50 Dynasty League First Basemen, Nos. 21-50
From the 21st of January to the 20th of February, the writers at TDG will be taking you through our rankings position-by-position. As I mentioned in the primer, this year we’re doing things a little differently. Instead of having my personal rankings up on this site, like last year, these rankings for 2014 are of the consensus variety and being brought to you by all of the TDG staff. Everyone put a lot of work into this project, so we hope you enjoy the end result. And if you are looking for my personal dynasty league rankings, you can find them this off-season at Baseball Prospectus.
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And now the remaining 30 of the Top 50 Dynasty League First Basemen, led off by one of the big ticket free agents left on the market:
21) Kendrys Morales, Free Agent (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 21)
It seems like Morales is one of those guys you don’t want to end up with but always does a pretty solid job filling in at your Util spot. 2014 shouldn’t be much different and depending on who signs him things could be a bit brighter than that. He’s not going to set the world on fire but a 70/25/85/.275 season seems about what he can bring you right now.
22) Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 12)
It’s easy to forget about Tex after an injury plagued 2013 but for the 10 years prior he hit over 24 HRs every year. Don’t expect big things in the BA category but remember that 80/26/80 is well within reach.
23) Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers (Age: 35, Previous Rank: 18, C)
Vic just keeps chugging along. While his age is becoming a liability his batted ball profile suggests that we should be able to expect a few more solid years out of him. Look for Martinez to help your team in AVG or OBP and being smack dab in the middle of a great lineup will help bring the RBIs/Runs. Just don’t expect over 15 HRs and you’ll be fine.
24) Ike Davis, New York Mets (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 11)
Davis is one of the best definitions out there of a Post Hype MLB player. After putting up a solid season in 2010 great things were expected of Davis. However, up and down playing time, Valley Fever and an inability to hit lefties has really sapped Davis’ stock. The power is there and he’ll only be 27 so there still is hope, the upside could be close to top 10 1B territory, especially in OBP leagues.
25) Chris Carter, Houston Astros (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 22)
If you are looking for cheap power Carter is your guy. The AVG is going to be awful and even the OBP will be meh, but penciling him in for 30+ HRs and 85+ RBIs should pretty much be a lock. The Astors offense is also improving around him, which may help his counting stats in the long run.
26) Dan Vogelbach, Chicago Cubs (Age: 21, Previous Rank: 18)
Many fantasy prospect hounds love Vogelbach even though he’s a chubbier version of Billy Butler. This love comes from the fact that scouts and prospect rankings often times push Vogelbach off of the top 100 due to his inability to play 1B. However, the savvy fantasy owner knows that in fake baseball defense doesn’t matter. Expect a 20 HR and 80 RBI pace at the MLB level by mid 2015.
27) Justin Morneau, Colorado Rockies (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 14)
The move to Colarado was probably the best possible move for Morneau as Coors field HR as LH park factor was 115 whereas Target Field was 89. Expect a bump in HRs and hope that Morneau’s concussion issue are behind him. Morneau could be a nice buy low option for 2014 but coming into his age 33 season don’t expect the world from him after this year.
28) Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 17)
Blessed with a pretty swing and a great batting eye big things have always been expected from Yonder, unfortunately those things have never materialized. Coming into his age 27 season this might be the last gasp for Yonder to turn into the .300+ 15 HR hitter people were always hoping for. If Yonder can figure it out next year expect a string of solid seasons from him lasting into his 30s, if not well let’s not talk about that.
29) Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians (Age: 33, Previous Rank: 45, OF)
At 34, Swisher is starting to push the normally expected age curve but has yet to show any significant cracks and it’s not like he has been anything but consistent over his 10 year career. At this point he can be had for cheap and could easily put up another 80/23/80 season, which plays in any format. I like Swisher as a buy low option as he’ll be heavily discounted because of his age.
30) Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays (Age: 30, Previous Rank: 34)
Lind seemed to have figured it out again last year but his troubles against lefties continued. He may end up being a platoon player in 2014 but since he is on the best side of the platoon expect him to pile up a decent amount of ABs. For players in daily leagues he can end up being a great value as he hit 20 HRs in 369 ABs against righties last year.
31) Corey Hart, Seattle Mariners (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 48, OF)
Another good buy low candidate, Hart has the potential to put up a couple more 75/25/75 seasons, however, coming off a complete loss of 2013 the downside could be massive. While the move to SEA doesn’t help his value the surrounding lineup actually isn’t that terrible.
32) Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 23)
Declining first basemen with bad K rates are not the guys I love to take chances on, that being said 20 HRs and a starting gig are what you are banking on with Howard. Look elsewhere if you can but don’t forget about Howard if your team needs a power kick.
33) Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals (Age: 34, Previous Rank: 15)
LaRoche is another declining first basemen but he has a slightly better K rate. The major issue here is the a platoon is likely in LaRoche’s future. There isn’t a ton of talent left here but if Howard is gone and you’re lacking power I can see taking a chance. He has a bit more upside in daily leagues where he can be sat against lefties.
34) Logan Morrison, Seattle Mariners (Age: 26, Previous Rank: 97, OF)
Morrison always seemed destined to end up a fantasy regular but some off field issues, injuries and lack of committment brought him to the back of the pack as far as first baseman go. If he can return to his old ways and utilize his best assets of power and patience there still could be something left here. At 26 he still has time to figure it out but he really needs to get his head screwed on straight and play well enough to get consistent ABs.
35) Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers (Age: 28, Previous Rank: 28)
There is 20+ HR talent here but playing time could be limited with the addition of Fielder and Choo to take away DH/1B ABs. Don’t fall in love with the possible power but if you can scoop him up for nothing some quick value can be squeezed out.
36) James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays (Age: 29, Previous Rank: 42)
Despite putting together the best season of his career in 2013, Loney just doesn’t do enough of the valuable fantasy things needed for higher consideration among first basemen.
37) Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox (Age: 37, Previous Rank: 24)
On some level it’s remarkable that Dunn is just 34. We know that he won’t have even a respectable batting average, but he is still a source of homeruns in a power-depleted world.
38) Dominic Smith, New York Mets (Age: 18, Previous Rank: NR)
The first round pick with the smooth swing, Smith has lingering questions about his power projection, but should be able to hit for average at the major league level. But if he only becomes the good James Loney, it’s a disappointing outcome.
39) C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels (Age: 23, Previous Rank: 29)
Cron hasn’t always shown his raw power in games, but had a good stretch in the Arizona Fall League. He won’t take many walks, but unless you’re in an OBP format, that won’t kill you.
40) Lucas Duda, New York Mets (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 113, OF)
Duda was supposed to take a job and run with it last year, but it didn’t happen. He still flashes some pop, but this season is pretty much make or break for him.
41) Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 31)
Smoak took a step forward in 2013 hitting 20 homers, but at this point in his career he has yet to show that he can hit for average or hit lefties very well.
42) Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 128, OF)
Ruf could run into 20-25 homers with enough at-bats, but he is not going to hit for average and has no speed. Having reached the majors at 26, he’s got a short window to get established.
43) Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers (Age: 19, Previous Rank: 30)
The upside may have been a little oversold when Guzman first appeared in the United States. Similar to Dominic Smith, he’s got a smooth swing, but may not be able to generate the power necessary to be a stronghold at the position.
44) Gregory Bird, New York Yankees (Age: 21, Previous Rank: NR)
He’ll need to prove it almost all the way up the chain, but the Yankees appear to have found at least a potential regular with Bird. It may sound like an echo chamber, but there are questions about his power in the long-run.
45) Garrett Jones, Miami Marlins (Age: 32, Previous Rank: 67, OF)
Coming off of his worst season, Jones is moving to a worse hitters’ park and weaker lineup. On the plus side there is little competition for him at 1B so he should get the chance to see a lot of at-bats.
46) Hunter Morris, Milwaukee Brewers (Age: 25, Previous Rank: 41)
The Brewers have so much faith in Morris that they’ve chosen to block him with Juan Francisco and Mark Reynolds. It looks like Morris may be destined for a long career as a Triple-A journeyman, but that doesn’t help for fantasy.
47) Japhet Amador, Houston Astros (Age: 27, Previous Rank: NR)
Enormous is the way to describe both his power (112 career HR in Mexico; 4 in the AFL) and his size (more than 300 pounds). Given his lack of experience Stateside, some caution is warranted, but he has been invited to spring training, so Houston sees something there and he could be a great upside play.
48) Tommy Medica, San Diego Padres (Age: 26, Previous Rank: NR)
It’s been two straight very good offensive seasons for Medica, as he tries to force his way into the Padres’ future plans. It’ll be a tough sell as it’s a crowded position in San Diego and he profiles as more of a platoon guy.
49) Matthew Skole, Washington Nationals (Age: 24, Previous Rank: 40)
A long time favorite of Craig Goldstein’s, Skole was never going to be a third baseman. He’s probably never going to be a major league slugger either, but just don’t tell Craig, alright?
50) Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox (Age: 37, Previous Rank: 16)
Konerko is nearing the end of the line in his very good career. He missed a chunk of games in 2013 and performed poorly when he played. He shouldn’t be counted on for more than another season or two.
Commentary by Luke Chatelain, Noel Baldwin and Bret Sayre