Dan Harris’s Updated Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings (2020)
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First base was once the standard-bearer for power in fantasy baseball. 30-homer, 100-RBI hitters with excellent averages were aplenty, and it often made sense to wait as long as possible before drafting one.
Those days are gone. In today’s game, finding a quality first baseman for fantasy is a tall task once you get past the first few rounds. That’s especially true given that so many quality options at first base are also eligible at many other positions, further depleting the pool of reliable alternatives.
Still, there are plenty of first basemen who can offer significant value a bit later in the draft, especially given where they stand in our expert consensus rankings. For example, as you can see below, I’m much higher than consensus on Miguel Sano, who is already eligible at first base in many leagues because it will be his primary position this year, and in other leagues, will be shortly. The Twins committed to Sano with a three-year, $30 million deal this offseason, and he has the ability to put up comparable power numbers in a 60-game season to many hitters’ full-season numbers.
You’ll see I’m also higher on Ryan McMahon, who is locked into a starting role with the Rockies and is eligible at multiple positions, and Wil Myers, who should get everyday at-bats with the universal DH, offers an excellent power-speed combination and made adjustments this spring to cut down on his strikeouts.
On the flip side, I’m lower on Edwin Encarnacion (I’d rather jump off the train a year early than a year late), Danny Santana (I’m notoriously skeptical of random, late-career breakouts) and Yuli Gurriel (I don’t trust a 36-year-old who randomly saw a huge power spike last year).
Although you won’t see it below, two players who have moved up my first base rankings since the delay are Anthony Rizzo and the aforementioned Myers. The latter because of his guaranteed at-bats, and the former because I spoke and wrote about Rizzo so often in justifying my low ranking that I came to the realization that the ranking wasn’t justified. He’s still a spot below ECR, but yeah, I was wrong. I’m not too proud to admit it!