The post-hype prospect is the “one that got away” of fantasy baseball. Your relationship with that player has been broken for a while, but when you are alone, you can’t resist watching his highlight videos on YouTube and obsessing over his subtle bat flips. You daydream about his 6-hit, 6-power combo starting to click and the .400 wOBA seasons ahead. There is no way that this guy can’t be the one. Look at what he did to minor league pitching. Look at the MLB debut. This was a monster, can’t-miss prospect. He had very few weaknesses.
Last week we started this series by looking at the (few) catchers who have the potential to contribute in all five categories, and also highlighted those most likely to help out in three or four categories as well. Today we turn to the first and second basemen. As a reminder on the methodology behind this series, I began this exercise by gathering data for each position over the past decade (plus a bonus year because why not?) to determine the average production for each hitting category. In order to eliminate outliers resulting from limited sample sizes, I used a 400-plate appearance qualifier for all positions with the exception of catcher, for which I set the threshold at 300 plate appearances. I also wanted to control for lost playing time resulting from unforeseeable injuries, so rather than calculate the average counting stat totals for each category, I calculated the ratio of plate appearances to each counting stat (e.g. 30 plate appearances per home run as opposed to an average of 20 home runs).
After calculating the baseline for each category and year, I tallied the number of players who met three or more category thresholds as a measure of positional scarcity. Finally, I calculated the average for each category and position over the 11-year period to reduce the noise and determine the baselines we will use to identify multi-category contributors in our draft. For those who have the time, I highly recommend creating your own player projections and comparing them against the following baseline calculations, but for this article, I am going to use the Steamer 600 projections provided by Fangraphs. For reference, current NFBC ADP figures for each player are listed in parenthesis.
So here’s how the first basemen stack up:
It’s the time of the year where we offer congratulations to those of you brave dynasty league owners that survived the offseason. The greatness that 2016 will surely offer is upon us and that means we’ll be spending the next six weeks moving our way through the positional landscape, offering thoughts on the respective values of roughly 700 players throughout the process.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy the countless hours of hard work that went into these rankings and continue to support The Dynasty Guru by showing your appreciation through this link or via the splendid ‘donate’ button located on the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated.
Players are ranked where they played 20 or more games at during the 2015 season at their highest position on the defensive spectrum, e.g. Chris Davis played 30 games in the outfield, meaning he’s an outfielder for our purposes. We can’t assume that a player will have eligibility at a position in the future (so no Hanley Ramirez at 1b for these rankings) or that a player will lose eligibility at a position in the future. This should clear things up for all non-Javier Baez/Jurickson Profar players, and we’ll do our best to explain where those players are ranked when the time comes. All DH types, such as Evan Gattis and David Ortiz, appear on the 1B rankings, as we will not be doing a UTIL rankings list.
We move (thankfully) from catchers to a look at the top-20 first basemen, featuring the prototypical fantasy first baseman leading off the rankings:
Congratulations on surviving another off-season. Now that the new year is upon us, it’s time to spend the next month traveling across the positional landscape, labeling players with numbers that correspond to their value. It’s the very definition of freedom. A ton of hard work was put into these rankings, and will continue to be put in as we bring you just an ungodly amount of information over the next month. We hope you enjoy the product we’ve created, and if you’d like to show appreciation for that work you can do so through this link, or via the donate button on in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.
We continue our assault on positional rankings with the highly productive, defensively challenged first basemen. As usual, the minor league representatives on this list are rather tame, but the position will remain deep as players slide down the defensive spectrum and settle in for a life of scooping errant throws and dodging Nick Punto head-first slides. As predicted last year, Joe Mauer and Miguel Cabrera get added to the list, but we did unexpectedly lose Chris Davis to third base.
Let’s get the 2015 first base rankings rolling with a repeat No. 1:
1) Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (Age: 27, Previous Rank: 1)
This week features several top ten talents changing hands. As I’ve been reading through the emails sent in for this column, I can’t help but notice two things:
1. Our readers are really smart fantasy players who make savvy trades.
2. Our readers sometimes play in really complicated leagues!
Seriously, the response has been great so far and I think it’s a lot of fun to vote on fantasy trades like the ones coming in to Trader’s Corner. What gives it another dimension is we’ll be able to look back through some of these posts later to see how the trades really pan out. If you’d like to submit a recently completed or pending trade for a vote, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can usually respond to most emails within a day or two to give you my take, and at the very least every trade submitted gets posted in the column. Without further ado…
12-team keeper, keep 6 (count as first 6 rounds), keep foreverContinue reading
In what’s now becoming a yearly tradition at The Dynasty Guru, the writers here have been (and will be) putting their boldest predictions out there as they relate both to the major leagues and minors. And for completeness, here were my predictions from last year, and then my review of these same predictions from the end of the season. They’re fun pieces and at this point you know exactly what to get out of them. They also don’t need any longer of an intro than this. Let’s have some fun–and yes, these go to eleven.
1) Albert Pujols will be a top-3 fantasy first baseman in 2014, only behind Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt.
The blessing and the curse about writing a lot during the off-season is that you already know who my guys are–and Pujols is clearly one of my guys heading into 2014. He’s healthy and ready to remind people that it wasn’t too long ago that he was considered one of the best hitters in the game. I believe that Spring Training stats mean as little as anyone else, but one thing I did notice this weekend was that Pujols hit a triple on Sunday and just the fact that he felt good enough to stretch it in a meaningless game is noteworthy.
Its time to have fun with some predictions. Some of my predictions are bold and some are BOLD but none of them are crazy. All of these things have a decent chance of actually happening, at least in my mind anyway. I can’t wait to brag about my psychic prognostication skills come October.
I am stepping out on a thin limb here with my first bold prediction because this rare feat has been done only one time in the history of baseball…
1. Billy Hamilton will steal 100 bases while scoring less than 100 Runs.
Take a look at Vince Coleman’s strange 1986 batting line:
PA — 670
R — 94
H — 139
2B — 13
3B — 8
HR — 0
RBI — 29
SB — 107
CS — 14
BA — 0.232
OBP — 0.301
SLG — 0.280
OPS — 0.581
OPS+ — 62
That is all sorts of ugly. Coleman got a lot of fanfare that season because of his antics on the basepaths, but he was just plain terrible batting in front of Tom Herr, Jack Clark, Andy Van Slyke, Terry Pendleton, Willie McGee and Ozzie Smith. The two are often compared, but Billy Hamilton is likely to be a much better all-around player than Vince Coleman both offensively and defensively. Hamilton won’t hit many home runs but he will get a lot more doubles and will hit for a much better slash line than Coleman, who finished his career with a very poor .668 OPS. My bold prediction is Hamilton will match Coleman’s dubious feat his rookie year but will get much better as time goes by.
2. Joey Votto will be the National League MVP. Continue reading
By now, you are well aware that my TDG mates and I have been participating in an intense 40-round, first-year dynasty league draft called The Dynasty Guru Experts League. We’re already 34 rounds deep and the pickings are slim — we’ve recently entered the part of the draft where the CBS player universe doesn’t house all of the players we’d like to draft on our respective teams. I entered the draft with a plan to stick strictly to value, but, as you’ll see, sometimes you need to re-adjust your plan on the fly.
The first ten picks from Team Kantecki:
1.03 — Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
After Mike Trout and Bryce Harper went first and second, respectively, there wasn’t much debate at No 3. Miggy is a top-three dynasty selection no matter how you slice it. While he’s on the wrong side of 30 and will likely lose third-base eligibility after this year, Cabrera should still provide elite numbers for at least the next three seasons. Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew McCutchen entered my thoughts briefly, but I couldn’t pass up the back-to-back American League MVP.
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.
So we hope you enjoy the rankings package that we’ve put together here. And if you do, I hope that you will make a donation to show appreciation for the content you’ve seen here at the Dynasty Guru. You can do that through this link, or by clicking the “Donate” button on the top-right corner of the homepage. All donations are truly appreciated.
Third base, like last year, has some heavy hitters at the top. In fact, the top-five at the position may be as strong as any other position on the diamond (including first base). However, once you get beyond that, it’s a number of players who either haven’t proven anything or have been breakout stars without the requisite prospect status to give that extra layer of comfort. Then you have the aging third basemen who are still hanging on to their value despite being one year closer to retirement. It’s a position of power, and that’s only going to get stronger as the two prospects who clock in highest on this list both have at least 70 power potential.
Now the 20 best third baseman in dynasty leagues, starting with one of the best hitters in the game today:
After taking Clayton Kershaw deep not once, but twice (!) on Sunday Night Baseball, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce finds himself one moon shot away from registering his third consecutive 30-home run season. Unfortunately for me, that means my preseason prediction of 40 long balls is all but a certainty not to happen with 17 team games to go.
Oh well. You win some and you lose some.
On the happy side of the coin, three straight seasons of 30 home runs is nothing to sneeze at; only Miguel Cabrera has hit 30 or more in each of the last three seasons (from 2011-2013). In fact, Cabrera has done it in seven straight dating back to 2007. But who’s counting? A week and change into September, Bruce and Adrian Beltre are the only two players with an overwhelming chance of joining the Triple Crown winner by season’s end. (Prince Fielder would have to hit eight in Detroit’s final 18 games to make the cut.)