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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Positional Rankings: Top-40 1st Basemen

Dynasty leagues are the best, aren’t they? It’s the closest us fanatics can get to being a real baseball general manager. While you might not look at your team every single day of the offseason, dynasty leagues are a year-round commitment and there’s never a bad time to improve your team. Never I say! Whether you’re starting a new dynasty league or entering year 20, rankings play a vital part of any draft prep, trades, etc. I’ve released my overall top-500 as recently as March (and will update that soon), but I figured I’d dive a little deeper and break these down by position with some analysis and prospect talk. The first base position isn’t quite what it used to be, but there are still three top-25 overall players pacing the position and a handful of rising, young options.

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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty 1st Base Rankings

Attack Early in Startup Drafts?

In case you haven’t noticed, the first base position isn’t as robust as it used to be. Many of the stars we once built our teams around are in the twilight of their careers and the top-end talent we’re left with dries up in a hurry. For that reason, I’ve been trying to lock up one of the top-10 options so I’m not left with one of the many uninspiring options in the 15-20 range.

If that doesn’t work, go get someone like Edwin Encarnacion and pair him with a top prospect like Triston Casas. Encarnacion can provide solid short-term value while Casas or whichever prospect you grab finishes developing and reaches the Major Leagues.

Vlad Jr Joining The Ranks, Bellinger Leaving?

As I already discussed Vladimir Guerrero Jr in my third base rankings article, I’ll keep this brief. With Vlad Jr transitioning over to first base this season, there’s now a third potential alpha dog in these rankings, joining Freddie Freeman and Pete Alonso. As you see below (SPOILER), Guerrero slotted in at #1, ahead of the aforementioned Freeman and Alonso. That is, assuming Cody Bellinger falls off the list this season as it appears he will. SO really, Vlad is #2 right now but #1 longterm. Despite his inauspicious start to his career, I’m still a firm believer that Vladdy is a .300/40 bat in the making. He just needs a small tweak to take that next step on the path to fantasy superstardom.

What is that small tweak you ask? Simple. Increase the launch angle. Vlad has been pummeling the ball this season, but mostly into the ground. Sorry Vlad, that’s not a recipe for success for someone with your speed shortcomings. As I’m writing this article, Guerrero has a 93rd percentile exit velocity and 89th percentile hard-hit rate. Very impressive, but completely worthless when you also sport a 68% groundball rate and 5.8-degree launch angle. Think about that. More than two out of every three batted ball events for Guerrero are driven into the ground. If Vlad can begin to elevate regularly, get ready to watch him take off.

Don’t Forget About Nate Lowe

Trust me, I can see why you might as the talented first base prospect hasn’t even heard his name mentioned in a passing whisper this season. Why? Well, the Rays have 39,292,048 options at their disposal already. They really don’t have any reason to play Lowe right now even if he’s a better long-term option than Ji-Man Choi and company. In redraft leagues, Lowe can be forgotten due to that very reason, but it’s a whole different story in dynasty formats. In case you hadn’t noticed, the first base position is aging and shallow. Even more so with each passing season. That’s why it’s beneficial to hold onto a talented and young first base option like Nate Lowe and even buy low if you don’t have him already.

So why should you still invest in Lowe in dynasty leagues? Well, since being drafted in the 13th round back in 2016, Lowe has displayed an above-average hit tool, above-average to plus power, and a rock-solid plate approach. In his 405 minor league games (1,718 PA), Lowe posted a 13.6% walk rate and a 18.5% strikeout rate, both of which are excellent for a slugging first baseman.

On top of that, Lowe slashed .300/.400/.483 with his in-game power consistently being on the rise. After hitting just seven dingers in 115 games back in 2017, Lowe cranked 27 and 16 in 130 and 93 games respectively in 2018 and 2019. That’s a per-162 game pace of 31.2 homers. With the ability to hit for a high average north of .280, post an OBP north of .350, and crank 25-plus homers a year, Lowe is a potential top-10 fantasy first baseman in the making. Do yourself a favor and hold him if you already have him and try to buy-Lowe if you don’t. See what I did there? Yeah, you do.

Top First Base Prospects

My dynasty rankings take proximity to the Majors into consideration as well. The rankings below will not 100% correlate to my prospect rankings.

1. Spencer Torkelson, Detroit Tigers: While he was announced as a third baseman and will be given a chance to play there initially, I’m still a believer that Torkelson winds up at first base longterm. But honestly, it doesn’t matter one bit which position he plays because Tork is a monster in the making. With an above-average hit tool and 70+-grade raw power, Torkelson has the tools to wind up as an elite first or third baseman and potentially a top-3 option at either position.

2. Andrew Vaughn, Chicago White Sox: Vaughn’s reign as the top first base prospect didn’t last very long. The 2019 #3 overall pick might not quite have the same ceiling as Torkelson, but he’s not far off either and has one of the highest floors of any prospect around. Vaughn combines a plus hit tool, plus or better power, and a solid plate approach. Peak production could look similar to what we’ve been accustomed to seeing from Jose Abreu with maybe even a smidge more power.

3. Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox: Casas is one of my favorite rising infield prospects. The Red Sox 2018 first-round selection is a middle of the order masher in the making on the strength of his average to above-average hit tool and 70-grade raw power. We’ll see how that raw power translates at Fenway which can be tough on left-handed power, unfortunately. This is a prospect to buy now while his price is still fair in dynasty leagues.

4. Evan White, Seattle Mariners: Mr. Underrated. You never hear White’s name mentioned as an elite prospect, but the tools here scream longtime Major League regular. On top of his strong defense at first base, White is more than capable at the dish with an above-average hit tool and plus raw power. He can even add in a handful of steals as well, which is just gravy at this position. Longterm, there’s a chance he develops into a slightly scaled back Pauk Goldschmidt in the .275 AVG, 20-25 HR, 5-10 SB range.

5. Ryan Mountcastle, Baltimore Orioles: While he’s one of the more boring options here, Ryan Mountcastle can rake. This is a prospect I saw several times live in the Double-A Eastern League and hard contact was a routine end to his plate appearances. Does he have the hit tool to hit .300-plus or the power to sock 30-plus home runs? No and no. But .280-.290 and 25 home runs still look mighty fine on your fantasy squad. And who knows, maybe Mounty has a season or two where he reaches .300 or flirts with 30 homers.

6. Kevin Cron, Arizona Diamondbacks: If there was a baseball dating site, Kevin Cron’s profile headline would read, “Masher just looking for a chance.” While I don’t envision him sustaining a batting average north of .300, Cron’s contact skills are borderline average with massive raw power along with it. His approach is better than most mashers of his elk as well. While his advanced prospect age (27) deflates his value for a bit, Cron could just be another late-blooming masher. Don’t sleep on him.

7. Michael Toglia, Colorado Rockies: A switch-hitter drafted in the first round of the 2019 draft, Michael Toglia has the raw power that makes you salivate when you realize that Coors Field will be his future home ball park. This is a legit 30-plus homer bat in the making, and it wouldn’t shock me if he flirted with 40 dingers at peak. Toglia is far from an all or nothing masher either, with the contact skills to keep him in the .260-.270 range annually. On upside alone, he’d be a few spots higher here.

8. Seth Beer, Arizona Diamondbacks: With the universal DH, there’s a chance Seth Beer never even sees first base enough to quality. But for now, I’m classifying him as a 1st bast/corner outfield profile. Like with Mountcastle, Beer doesn’t stand out in the hit tool or power departments, but projects to be above-average in both with .280/25 upside longterm.

9. Aaron Sabato, Minnesota Twins: Add another 1B/DH slugger to the Twins farm system. While the pick itself was puzzling, there’s a lot to like with Sabato, mainly, his double-plus raw power. Sabato was one of the best pure power bats in the NCAA last season and could post some 35-plus homer seasons down the road with a respectable average in the .260 range.

10. Lewin Diaz, Miami Marlins: An up and down professional career has kept Diaz’s price tag in check. That was, until his breakout 2019 campaign where he slashed .270/.321/.530 with 33 doubles and 27 home runs in 121 games between the High-A Florida State League and Double-A Southern League. His path to playing time is much clearer in Miami than it was in Minnesota, so we can expect Diaz’s .270/25+ bat to hit Miami by mid-2021.

Alright, here are the rankings!

1Cody Bellinger1B,OFLAD25.1
2Vladimir Guerrero Jr.1B,3BTOR21.4
3Pete Alonso1BNYM25.7
4Freddie Freeman1BATL30.9
5Matt Olson1BOAK26.4
6Anthony Rizzo1BCHC31
7Paul Goldschmidt1BSTL32.9
8Jose Abreu1BCHW33.5
9Josh Bell1BPIT28
10Max Muncy1B,2B,3BLAD30
11Spencer Torkelson1B,3BDET21
12Andrew Vaughn1BCHW22.4
13DJ LeMahieu1B,2B,3BNYY32.1
14Rhys Hoskins1BPHI27.4
15Yasmani GrandalC,1BCHW31.8
16Carlos Santana1BCLE34.4
17Triston Casas3B/1BBOS20.6
18Trey Mancini1B,OFBAL28.4
19Evan White1BSEA24.3
20Nate Lowe1BTB25.1
21Luke Voit1BNYY29.5
22Christian Walker1BARI29.4
23Ryan Mountcastle1BBAL23.5
24Michael Chavis1B,2BBOS25
25Danny Santana1B,OFTEX29.8
26Yuli Gurriel1B,3BHOU36.2
27Edwin Encarnacion1BCHW37.6
28Yandy Diaz1B,3BTB29
29Kevin Cron1BARI27.5
30Daniel Murphy1BCOL35.4
31Michael Toglia1BCOL22
32Joc Pederson1B,OFLAD28.3
33Eric Hosmer1BSD30.8
34Seth Beer1B, OFARI23.9
35C.J. Cron1BDET30.6
36Joey Votto1BCIN36.9
37Aaron Sabato1BMIN21.2
38Miguel Cabrera1BDET37.3
39Garrett Cooper1B,OFMIA29.6
40Lewin Diaz1BMIA23.7

Media Credit: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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  1. Justin Ulver says

    I traded Alonso(because I have Olson) and Paddock for Luzardo and Nola thoughts? Who won the trade? This is my first season doing fantasy baseball(I’ve been a fantasy football nut my whole life but found that I like baseball more because it has more action. I’ve dedicated my life to fantasy sports(been playing football for 18 years I’m 31 now. Before season started I picked up Trent Grisham(love the chip on his shoulder) Karinchak and Kyle Lewis(I’m listening to your advice and about to trade him. If you ever need to hire someone i will drop everything and work for you. I just found you and now your my fantasy baseball bible. Thank you for listening

    1. Eric Cross says

      I prefer the Alonso side there but it’s not terrible.

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