Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top-24 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’14


"Yeah, it's this big."

“Yeah, it’s this big.”

First base continues to be one of the deepest positions in fantasy. Food for thought: 14 of the men on this list of 24 ended the year ranked in Yahoo!’s top-100 players. In drafts this year, 15 of these guys are going top-100. There’s no excuse to not have a serviceable first baseman in 2014.

Here’s something else to think about: Albert Pujols’ ADP this year is 47.4. Albert freakin’ Pujols. Going in the 4th-5th round. Don’t get me wrong, the man who talks to photocopiers in ESPN commercials hasn’t been his usual self the past few seasons, but he’s Albert Pujols. Talk about potential value.

Potential busts at the position: Chris Davis (ADP: 8.1), Joey Votto (15.8), and Allen Craig (57.0). I have no doubt in my mind that Davis’ power is legit, but because of what he was just two seasons ago, I still have icky feelings. I’ve never been a Votto fan, so maybe I’m biased here, but when we’re celebrating a player who hit 24 HR with 74 RBI the year before, it makes me want to break things. And Craig is just a walking injury and if you’re a really good roulette player, go ahead, take a spin.

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Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 16 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’14


Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama "Catching: Life on My Knees"

Jon Heder stars as Buster Posey in the drama “Catching: Life on My Knees”

I wasn’t sure if I was going to be doing rankings this year, but here I am, on a Sunday morning (with plenty of actual work to be doing) thinking about baseball, watching baseball, and projecting baseball. Like every year, I begin with the men behind the plate, not because they’re an integral part of fantasy, but because they’re the generals of the infield; everything has to go through these squatting men.

There are probably 2-3 catchers I would entertain taking in the top-100 (entertain, not necessarily enact). Outside of the top three, all backstops are created equal. I know I’ve said this many times before–in conversation, on message boards, and right here on Rotoballs, but–do not waste a mid-round pick on a catcher (unless you’re in a league that requires two catchers). As my projections will show, the difference between Carlos Santana and Jarrod Saltalamacchia is negligible.

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Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 14 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’13


Don't let his name fool you.

Don’t let his name fool you.

[Editor’s Note: Mark Teixeira is expected to be out 8-10 weeks, putting his return date around the middle of June. He has fallen out of the Top 14]

It’s easy to fall in love with the protectors of first base (also known as the league’s best kissers) because they’re the producers, big boppers. They’re usually the easiest to project and most consistently reliable. Even in an off year, Albert Pujols still put up numbers that any other player would’ve been proud of. Billy Butler, the bigger, better known cousin of Ryan “Quentin” Butler, turned in an ox of a season. Even seemingly part-time player, Allen Craig, reminded us of Red Bird of old, Jack Clark.

But that doesn’t mean the position doesn’t come with its question marks. Joey Votto spent most of 2012 nursing a sore knee (not to worry, Jay Bruce kissed it better). Adrian Gonzalez had a power outage, changing his nickname from “A-Gone” to “Dirty Gonzalez.” Marcus Teixeira, who can’t seem to justify his hefty contract, didn’t come to play in ’12.

But with the influx of young talent (Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, and Anthony Rizzo), everyone in a standard 10-team league should get to first base this season.

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Brian, Catcher, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 13 Catcher Rankings and Projections for ’13


It's been a long road since this moment for Posey.

It’s been a long road since this moment for Posey.

With the Super Bowl over and the commencement of Februany and Subway, it’s time to start rolling out the Twenty-Thirteen rankings. Since pitchers and catchers are reporting soon, I figured to start with catchers and work my way down the position list.

Over the past couple seasons, we’ve seen a shift in the position. Once top heavy, catcher is now a flooded market. In 2013, drafting a catcher is like buying a beer; there are so many good ones to choose from, you almost can’t go wrong. As I said on our last podcast, there are easily seventeen startable (not a real word, but in fantasy sports it is) catchers, although I’m only choosing to list 13 here.

It would prove pointless to talk about the reigning MVP, Buster Posey, but it is worth noting that he is the only catcher who should be drafted in the top-50 of any draft (and that includes keeper leagues) because on top of being a ridiculously deep position this year, catcher is the weakest position on the fantasy diamond. Most catchers only play 4-5 games a week and suffer in the AB department because of it.

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Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 20 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’12


Probably the only time you'll see a picture of CJ Wilson on Rotoballs.

Alright, before you read this, scan down the list…I’ll wait…(drinks a beer)…(clips toenails)…you back yet? I know, right? No Ryan Howard! But screw that guy! I mean, he’s barely got a leg left, he’s 34 years old, and I just really don’t like the name “Ryan”. So instead of worrying myself with projecting the unprojectable, I ripped up all his baseball cards and set my Phillies jersey on fire. Another thing you’ll notice: no Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli, or Joe Mauer. Reason: if you draft one of these players and play them at first, shame on you.

And now that that’s taken care of, we can get down to the nitty-gritty, the insane projections, and the absurd rankings you noticed during your scan.

Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera? Who is still the best hitter in the league? Who doesn’t have to play third base? Who is older than he is fat? Pujols. It was close. But I would kill myself if some of you drafted Cabrera over Pujols and the latter out-produced the former and I had projected differently.

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Brian, Debate, Feature, First Base, Jared, Poll

First Base Debate Class: Howard vs. Teixeira


Rotobrian for Ryan Howard

Over the past five seasons, when you talk about upper echelon first basemen, you’ll always hear Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira in that conversation. Both of these guys are superb hitters.

Teixeira has been known for his fantastic second half play. His numbers will always be 100 R, 30 HR, and 100 RBI. Every year. Without fail. It doesn’t matter how slow he starts, his numbers will be there in the end. And some will argue that since a large portion of his stats will come in August and September, when fantasy seasons are being determined, that he’s one of the most valuable first basemen. “Who cares about April?” Teixeira backers will say. And it’s true, if you told me I had to choose one month for my players to stink it up, I would absolutely take April over September.

But here’s the thing: last year Big Tex didn’t just take April off, he also took September off (partially due to an injury). His second half numbers in 2010 (50 R, 16 HR, 48 RBI) are actually worse than the first half (63 R, 17 HR, 60 RBI). In 2009, his first year with the Yankees, he also had similar splits, and lo and behold, the first half numbers were better. So it’s quite possible what people perceive to be true about Teixeira is different from what is actually true.

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Brian, First Base, Rankings

Brian’s Top 20 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’11


"Do you have the balls to ask your boss for 300 Million Dollars?"

If you’re in a 10 team league, you should end up with a very capable first baseman this year. No ifs, no ands, and no buts. Those of you in 12 team leagues might want to grab a one-bagger early, because after the top 10, there’s a bit of a drop off (plus you need to figure someone will draft Youkilis as a third baseman).

If you read around, a lot of experts are making the mistake of over-projecting what Miggy is going to do this year. Don’t let them fool you. Pujols is still the number one player in the game. Don’t believe me? Here’s Pujols’ 3-Year Average: 113, 42, 123, 12, .331. If you can find a line better than that, I’ll jump ship-Albert and swim for land, too. Pujols is in a tier by himself.

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