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January 23, 2014

Fantasy Players to Target

First Basemen

by BP Fantasy Staff


First base is a position that harbors many good fantasy players. These are some the aforementioned good players who we feel are comparatively more good than their peers.

Brandon Belt, Giants
Heading into 2013 there were legitimate concerns about Belt’s power and by extension his viability as an everyday major-league 1B. Belt answered those concerns with a strong season, complete with 60 extra-base hits, a solid walk percentage (9.1) and a pretty damn good 139 wRC+. Belt plays in extreme parks the majority of the season—AT&T and PETCO strongly favor pitchers, Coors and Chase Fields both favor hitters, and LA falls somewhere in the middle, depending on what time the game starts. He hit well on the road in 2013 and his production didn’t nosedive at home. Belt will be undervalued this year, and while he isn’t an elite-level 1B, he provides enough production to warrant being a starter in standard fantasy formats. —Mauricio Rubio

Allen Craig, Cardinals
Craig was one of my biggest targets in 2013, I was taking him earlier than anyone in late-fall, early-winter mocks. For me, I have no problem targeting a player whose missing ingredient is health. Too often when we are targeting sleepers and breakthroughs, we are projecting growth or acquisition of a skill that he has yet to display: “Power will come with age and doubles will turn into homers.” I would rather know he can do it on the field and hope that his body cooperates for six months.

Craig’s ability to hit wasn’t the question. Could he finally log 600 PA? It turns out the answer was “no.” He logged a career-high 563, though, and still did plenty of damage in that time. For a sleeper pick that technically failed—he didn’t earn the third-fourth-round price I was paying—I was pretty happy with the results. He finished with a .315-71-13-97-2 line and it would’ve been tough to swallow as only a first baseman, but he had outfielder eligibility and the low power output is much more palatable there, especially with the third-best* batting average and sixth-most* RBIs.

With that, I’m going back to the well. He made it through five months unscathed before suffering a Lisfranc foot injury on an awkward base-running incident. He returned for the World Series, which is encouraging with regard to his health for 2014. As mentioned, the power output was far from special particularly for a first baseman, but it’s a tradeoff for his excellent batting average and the combination plays just fine at a corner infield spot. However, if jumps back up to the .532 SLG of his first two seasons, he could deliver mid-20s homers and have no problem as a starting first baseman in a mixed league. I’m cheating a bit since I’m likely targeting him only to move him off of 1B, but it still counts.

(*among OFs w/550+ PA) —Paul Sporer

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Tale of the Tape: Fred... (01/23)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Players to Tar... (01/13)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Tar... (01/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Dynasty League Positio... (01/23)

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