Dan Harris’s 2021 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Base
Once upon a time, first base was the powerhouse of positions. The first round? Full of them. Need a 30-homer bat for cheap? The position provided plenty of options, even in the late rounds.
But the times, they have a’changed. First base is no longer the deepest position. Maybe Freddie Freeman sneaks into the first round, but that’s it. Wait too long, and you’re banking mostly on upside, not guaranteed production.
Of all the positions, first base is the most difficult to navigate. If you want guaranteed production from the likes of Luke Voit or Pete Alonso, it’s not cheap. Is this the year that Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally breaks out, will Paul Goldschmidt’s power bounce back, and will Dominic Smith see enough playing time to be a viable starter?
There are question marks aplenty at the position, so do your research and find the ones in whose production you are most confident. As for me, I’ll gladly take Freeman near the turn of the first round. But, absent that, here are my biggest targets:
Rhys Hoskins (1B – PHI) — Consensus ADP: 143
If you’ve listened to me on the FantasyPros Baseball Podcast at all this year or last (and if not, just click on the little video icon next to his name in the rankings), then you know my feelings on Hoskins. No, he isn’t going to be the superstar he appeared to be when he debuted in 2017. However, he is getting unfairly maligned for his 2019 numbers. That dip in production was largely due to an awful finish to the season after he got hit by a pitch on the hand on Aug. 14 (.182/.312/.364).
Put that aside, and Hoskins has basically been a .240-ish hitter who should be at a 35-to-40-homer pace when healthy. That’s not much different than Matt Olson, who goes nearly 60 picks earlier.
Ryan Mountcastle (1B – BAL) — Consensus ADP: 155.6
Mountcastle isn’t going to hit .333 again, but he will be a plus in batting average for your fantasy team — that much is certain. He hit .295 in his minor league career and .312 in Triple-A in 2019. His Statcast data wasn’t elite last year, but he does have raw power (25 home runs in 127 games in 2019), and he’ll play in a friendly home park.
In short, there’s really nothing to dislike about Mountcastle. And he is the rare player who not only offers an extremely safe floor, particularly in batting average, but who also offers a ton of upside in the double-digit rounds. I am perfectly comfortable with him as my starting first baseman in a mixed league if it comes to that.
Andrew Vaughn (1B – CWS) — Consensus ADP: 237.2
Vaughn’s ADP has been rising of late with rumors that he will begin the year in the Majors as Chicago’s designated hitter. Ignore Vaughn’s brief minor league history. He is an extremely polished college bat who has the approach and plate discipline to succeed in the big leagues immediately.
You can’t rely on him as your starting first baseman, and perhaps not as your corner infielder to start either. That said, I am looking to draft him for my bench everywhere I can.
Note: Position eligibility is determined by the sites that formulate our consensus ADP, so it can be quite loose at times. Don’t blame the messenger.
ADP – Average Draft Position
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