CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (01/24)
<< Previous Column
TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/17)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/31)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (01/24)

January 24, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

First Basemen

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Welcome back to the second installment of BP’s weekly Scoresheet fantasy baseball podcast and column. If you missed the first one, which focused on catchers, you can check it out here. This week we are following our BP brethren by taking a look at first basemen, and don’t forget to listen to our podcast, links to which can be found at the bottom of the page.

In a typical AL10 or NL12 league, the TTO crew recommends that you try to focus your offensive value around up the middle positions--C, 2B, SS, CF. So our typical teams represent a tradeoff where we redraft our 1B and DH instead of finding a keeper level player. This is at least in part because Scoresheet allows anybody to play at 1B, and players with average or better defensive rankings at other infield positions will have average defense at 1B. Our rankings are meant to be agnostic of our strategic mindset but incorporate the Scoresheet tactical rules. We would therefore advise that when you’re sitting down on draft day, you might consider the tiers of first basemen and pick out the guys you want for your team and can draft without making too many sacrifices for positional scarcity.

Without further ado, here’s how we rank the position:

KEEPERS

Rank

H

Age

Team

Player

1

R

31

Det

Miguel Cabrera

2

L

30

Cin

Joey Votto

3

R

26

Ari

Paul Goldschmidt

4

R

27

SF

Buster Posey

5

L

24

Atl

Freddie Freeman

6

L

28

Bal

Chris Davis

7

L

31

Min

Joe Mauer

8

L

29

Tex

Prince Fielder

9

L

24

ChN

Anthony Rizzo

10

R

31

Tor

Edwin Encarnacion

11

R

29

StL

Allen Craig

12

L

31

LAD

Adrian Gonzalez

13

L

24

KC

Eric Hosmer

14

R

27

ChA

Jose Abreu

15

L

26

SF

Brandon Belt

16

R

34

LAA

Albert Pujols

17

R

27

Cle

Carlos Santana

18

R

28

KC

Billy Butler

19

R

32

Bos

Mike Napoli

20

L

25

StL

Matt Adams

21

L

38

Bos

David Ortiz (DH)

22

B

33

Cle

Nick Swisher

23

L

30

Oak

Brandon Moss

24

L

32

Col

Justin Morneau

CUT BUBBLE

Rank

H

Age

Team

Player

25

L

30

Tor

Adam Lind

26

R

27

Hou

Chris Carter

27

R

29

LAA

Mark Trumbo

28

L

27

NYN

Ike Davis

29

L

29

TB

James Loney

30

B

35

Det

Victor Martinez

REDRAFT FOR VALUE

Rank

H

Age

Team

Player

31

B

34

NYA

Mark Teixeira

32

R

32

Sea

Corey Hart

33

L

22

Hou

Jonathan Singleton

34

B

30

Kendrys Morales

35

L

34

Was

Adam LaRoche

36

R

27

Phi

Darin Ruf

37

L

34

ChA

Adam Dunn

38

L

26

Sea

Logan Morrison

39

L

27

NYN

Lucas Duda

40

B

27

Sea

Justin Smoak

DEEP ROSTERS

Rank

H

Age

Team

Player

41

L

28

Tex

Mitch Moreland

42

L

21

ChN

Daniel Vogelbach

43

L

34

Phi

Ryan Howard

44

R

30

Pit

Gaby Sanchez

45

R

38

ChA

Paul Konerko

46

R

27

Oak

Nate Freiman

47

R

24

LAA

CJ Cron

48

L

27

SD

Yonder Alonso

49

L

32

Mia

Garrett Jones

50

L

27

Hou

Brett Wallace

51

L

28

Oak

Daric Barton

(A brief note about our rankings. We considered every player who is either 1B-eligible or will become so at the very beginning of the season and ranked them in order of preference of playing them at first base. So, for example, while we might prefer to have Carlos Santana on our team than Brandon Belt, if we only had first base open on our team, we’d rank Belt ahead of Santana.)

In terms of roster construction strategy, it is also important to note that in a BL league, especially in a BL24 format (but also in a BL20) the ratio of MLB 1B + DH spots to Scoresheet rostered 1B + DH spots shifts enough to alter the replacement level and effective value of some of these players. As a result, positional scarcity shifts a little bit from what you are typically used to seeing, where 1B and DH are not scarce positions. Make sure you stash a few extra bats to fill in at these positions and to use as pinch hitters throughout the year.

We’ll now highlight some first basemen to think about in your upcoming draft and be sure to check out the podcast below for more thoughts.

KEEPERS
Okay, we're not suggesting that you avoid Paul Goldschmidt, or that if you drafted and nurtured Paul Goldschmidt years ago, and ignored all those naysayers, you should feel badly about yourself. However, don't you perhaps agree that now might be a great time to cash in on all that Goldie love and see if you can't trade him for equivalent value in a position of greater need? Because Scoresheet allows you to play players at nearly all positions at first base without much of a penalty, even the top first basemen can probably be moved for equivalent value, and Goldschmidt is not much more likely to repeat his monster 2013 than Chris Davis is.

Prince Fielder is changing scenery from Detroit to Texas, and in addition to the park factor boost, he’s a reasonable candidate to benefit from playing with a little bit less pressure in 2014. He’s been incredibly durable over the past five years, but we saw a slight dip in his rate of production in 2013 from his established levels. The TTO crew is mixed on whether he is going to continue his slide, especially given concerns around his physique. Depending on which side of the fence you fall, there may be an arbitrage opportunity in your league.

Jose Abreu is likely a player who matters a great deal to those of you with early picks in American League or mixed league drafts. We're not saying we have the magic bullet here, or that we know any better than other sources how Abreu will do in the States. But the player we think he could be is definitely right there with McCann and Tanaka as the best first base values. Optimistic readings of Abreu's value will have him pass Tanaka and close in on McCann. Those who are looking for a power bat should jump in to a top pick, and those with the no. 3 pick in an AL draft should thank their lucky stars that the New York Yankees exist.

Without a better place to discuss him, we’re covering David Ortiz this week along with the first basemen. As an aging slugger—he’ll be 38 in 2014—coming off a very impressive campaign in 2013, Ortiz represents a strong value play for teams that are going for a pennant this year. Despite being one of many players to be regular designated hitters, Ortiz does have the distinction of being the lone player without a defensive rating on this year’s Scoresheet player list. As a result of these various caveats, he’s not a good target for everybody, but we expect that he will help his owners with strong offensive performance for at least another year or two.

You always want to be cognizant of a player’s home stadium, and the Coliseum is certainly one of the least desirable ones. But even considering that Brandon Moss plays in Oakland half the time and saw an expected BABIP regression from 2012, he’s now had two years in a row of slugging over .520. Plus he can play outfield in a pinch (with admittedly terrible defense). Which means Moss is a guy to consider keeping or targeting for an early redraft if another owner drops him.

CUT BUBBLE
We remember Ike Davis' 2013, where he played half the season like he'd had too much Manischewitz at his nephew's bar mitzvah before pulling it together into a weird BABIP inflated second half run. He'll never be the player he briefly looked like in 2011 or at Arizona State, but as with many players, his career value tells the truer story. He's a strong redraft candidate, especially if he pulls away from Lucas Duda once he proves himself the better offensive and defensive option.

REDRAFT FOR VALUE
When rating the years of Mark Teixeria’s baseball career, 2013 may well place second. If every other year is tied for first. While he may never get on base 35 percent of the time again, there’s a great chance he’ll bounce back to playable levels. So if you’ve focused on the more premium positions, Teixeira might be a solid early draft choice.

In an ideal world, you won’t need to put too much faith in a player who missed all of 2013 due to multiple knee surgeries and on top of that is heading to Safeco. But where there’s risk there’s reward. Corey Hart had been solid and relatively durable prior to last season, and is only turning 32 in March, so is a pick with plenty of potential to return value.

DEEP ROSTERS
While everyone else is spouting a tired joke about his contract, you can find some value in Ryan Howard. At the moment, he seems on track to recover from his knee surgery by the start of the season. And while he won’t get on base much, he should still have some pop. Most importantly, not that you want to place too much faith in the Phillies, but Howard hit .302/.357/.522 against righties last year and has a natural platoon partner in Darin Ruf.

If you follow the TTO philosophy on first basemen, odds are you either have had Gaby Sanchez on your team or will draft him this season. There’s nothing particularly sexy about a 1B expected to slug around .400, but Sanchez should have an OBP around .340 with good defense, which makes him a nice safety net for when all your other 1B plans fall through.

PROSPECTS
Just as we caution against spending a lot on first basemen who are not cornerstones, we'd advise against drafting first base prospects who do not look like top tier hitters. Unlike other positions, where a busted prospect could still have some value as a sinkhole for plate appearances, replacement level is generally high enough at first base that someone who doesn't project as a strong keeper doesn't have a lot of other utility. This year, that extends in particular to Jonathan Singleton, who is hoping that a strong winter outweighs years of projected second division play. Dan Vogelbach may not be a better real-life prospect, but he likely has more Scoresheet value given his age advantage and present bat. Dominic Smith is very intentionally not on this list; he needs a year or two to prove that he's better than a future James Loney, and at this point in his career, we'd probably rather have the draft pick than the player in shallower leagues.

Download Here (1:09:55)
RSS Feed
iTunes Feed (Coming soon!)
Email Us scoresheet@threetrueoutcomes.com
Sponsor Us

Related Content:  Scoresheet,  Fantasy

13 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

garsonf

I love these articles and lists. I would love to see your lists for all positions before the 2/9 keeper deadline, even if the articles and podcasts for some positions follow in later weeks.

Jan 24, 2014 08:23 AM
rating: 0
 
TTO Jared

We totally hear you and are definitely cognizant of the upcoming keeper deadline. We're working to put together rankings for as many positions as we can before the 9th and will figure out a way to share them.

Jan 24, 2014 12:07 PM
rating: 0
 
IanLefk
(85)

Hi there, I'll echo what Jared wrote, but I'll also add that whether our rankings are complete by the keeper freeze or not, you can shoot us an email at scoresheet@baseballprospectus.com with your particular dilemmas, and we'll be happy to take a look at your team either through email or on the podcast (or both). Or, just leave us a note here in the comments!

We'd love to discuss as many keeper scenarios over the next week as possible, so please keep them coming!

Jan 24, 2014 12:45 PM
rating: 0
 
orlandoca7

Hey guys, This is only my second year doing Scoresheet. In a NL standard 13-man keeper league. I took over a team mid season last year and, essentially, rebuilding. Lots of fun so far. Any tips for strategy approaching the draft round 14 and on would be awesome. Thanks. Definitely will look for your next podcasts.

Jan 24, 2014 11:33 AM
rating: 0
 
cubfan131

For rebuilders I typically concentrate on rookies, guys with upside potential or on the verge of breakout, or guys who will be easy flips around the deadline. Think Carlos Gomez, Domonic Brown, D'Arnaud, extra SP, etc. I try to accumulate draft picks in the later rounds to take flyers on prospects or get extra picks for the supplemental after the June draft. Depending how committed you are your team could get pretty bad. I took over a rebuilder and lost 118 games the first year but won the league in year 2.

Jan 24, 2014 12:14 PM
rating: 0
 
TTO Jared

Glad to hear you are enjoying Scoresheet. Taking over a rebuilding team can be a challenge, but is often more fun than starting with a champion. We've been sprinkling in some round 14 discussion during the podcasts, and hopefully we'll be able to do a full segment prior to the bulk of drafts kicking off. Plus we've been highlighting players at each position we think will provide value later in the draft.

Of course, any good draft strategy will be at least somewhat team-specific. If you want to email or tweet us your keepers, we'd be happy to give you some thoughts on your round 14 decision, or if you let us know your league and team, we can share some advice while your draft is ongoing.

Jan 24, 2014 12:16 PM
rating: 0
 
Mario66

Hey guys, I'm loving the Scoresheet-specific material. Quick question for you: how are factoring in defense in ranking players. For example, Adrian Gonzalez's defense at first is 12 points higher than Prince Fielder's. What inference should I be making about your views on their relative offensive performances? There used to be a rule of thumb that 1 defensive point translates to between 5 and 5.5 points of OPS, but that was back in the day when you could cite OPS without exciting derision.

Jan 24, 2014 12:06 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Murphy
BP staff

A couple folks have asked for links to the mock draft that we refer to, so I wanted to provide them here:

Here's the Scoresheet page: http://www.scoresheet.com/FOR_WWW/BL_Mockdraft.htm
Here's the Yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mockdraft2014/info

All the official picks and some of the discussion happens on the Scoresheet transactions page, and a bunch more discussion happens on the Yahoo group.

Jan 24, 2014 13:54 PM
 
jtwalsh

Hi Ben,

Thanks for the links, but can they be hyperlinked for us readers who are too lazy to get off the phone and walk over to the computer? My iPhone will not let me cut & paste the links.

Jan 25, 2014 06:43 AM
rating: 0
 
smallflowers

Those investigating the BL Mock should keep in mind that since the player numbers have changed (the draft is done using the 2013 player numbers), all the names in the scoresheet.com link to the draft will look screwy. Nick Markakis did not go first overall, obviously. The correct draft order files can be found in the Yahoo group.

Jan 25, 2014 08:52 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Murphy
BP staff

Ah, dang. I didn't even notice that issue. That renders the Scoresheet version basically worthless, unfortunately. There's plenty of commentary in the draft transactions, but without knowing to whom they might refer in many cases, it will be difficult to follow. Thanks for pointing that out.

http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/mockdraft2014/info

Hopefully this link renders well for those of you on your phones.

Jan 25, 2014 15:29 PM
 
fawcettb

I'd be interested in some numerical figures attached to those rankings, along with an explanation of how you arrived at the numerical figures. Otherwise, for a serious scoresheeter, this is just dogs barking.

Jan 27, 2014 19:03 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Ben Murphy
BP staff

I think you'll find there to be a great deal of content in the audio recording of the podcast where we discuss some of these players in detail. Additionally, BP is planning to produce SS/SIM again this year, which will give you a 2014 view (based on PECOTA and the Depth Charts) on player value in a raw objective numeric format. However, these lists are meant to be the subjective collection of each of our experiences and thoughts, distilled into an order that represents how we would rank these players if we were starting from scratch for a standard league setup. Hopefully that is a useful resource for you. Lastly, we apologize for any instances in the audio where you can hear our dogs in the background. :-)

Jan 28, 2014 15:49 PM
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
The BP Wayback Machine... (01/24)
<< Previous Column
TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/17)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/31)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (01/24)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, May...
Premium Article Painting the Black: Stealing Signs
Fantasy Rounders: Statistical Crossroads
Eyewitness Accounts: May 28, 2015
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Started From the Bottom, ...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Eduardo Rodriguez
Premium Article Some Projection Left: Ask the Industry: Catc...

MORE FROM JANUARY 24, 2014
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: The Scars of Garza
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Balfour Got Back
Premium Article Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Bl...
Premium Article Minor League Update: International Winter Le...
Fantasy Article Get to Know: First Base Prospects
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avoid: First Basemen
The BP Wayback Machine: Who Yu Gonna Call?

MORE BY IAN LEFKOWITZ
2014-02-10 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Rankings
2014-02-07 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Shortstops
2014-01-31 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Second Basemen
2014-01-24 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: First Basemen
2014-01-17 - TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Catchers
2011-03-26 - Fantasy Beat: Improved SS/SIM for 2011
2008-04-21 - Fantasy Article BP Kings Preview
More...

MORE TTO SCORESHEET PODCAST
2014-02-14 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Third Basemen
2014-02-07 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Shortstops
2014-01-31 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Second Basemen
2014-01-24 - Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast: First Basemen
2014-01-17 - TTO Scoresheet Podcast: Catchers
More...