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January 24, 2014

Fantasy Players to Avoid

First Basemen

by BP Fantasy Staff


First base is a very deep position, which affords fantasy owners plenty of opportunities to pad every offensive stat save for steals through their use. It also means that plays who whiff on their first base picks are automatically in a hole, an must make up for that lost ground elsewhere. Making up ground stinks, so be wary of these eight players.

Jose Abreu White Sox
This comes with a caveat, I’m not saying Jose Abreu will be a bust, but at a position like 1B, you have to get the production levels right. We don’t know what Jose Abreu will be in 2014; all we have are some reports and memories of his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In deeper leagues he’s worth a shot, but in a standard 5x5 league, there’s too much risk here to pursue him aggressively. Sure, sometimes a gamble like this can pay off like Yoenis Cespedes did, but I would strongly advise against taking a huge gamble at a position that produces at the level 1B does. —Mauricio Rubio

Matt Adams, Cardinals
Adams finished August with a .270/.332/.456 line along with nine homers and 36 RBIs in about a half season’s worth of games (83 to be exact). The 162-game pace would’ve netted him 18 HR and 71 RBI with the .788 OPS, a perfectly acceptable effort for a lower-tier first baseman. However, he got a chance for full-time work when Allen Craig went down in September and he did not let the opportunity pass him by. In just 25 games, he nearly doubled his home run potential with an explosive .315/.344/.609 line including eight home runs and 15 RBI. The sprint to the finish line upped his 162-game pace to 26/77 with an 839 OPS.

Several early projections have him reaching that home run in 2014, but there are some concerns that leave me skeptical:

  • He had a 22 percent HR/FB rate in 2013.

This in itself isn’t a concern, as the top rung of power-hitting first basemen have high HR/FB outputs, but he doesn’t have an established track record for it like a Chris Davis or Ryan Howard.

  • The rest of his profile isn’t very conducive to a 22 percent HR/FB rate.

Adams only had a 36 percent fly-ball rate last year. Looking at first basemen with a 20 percent or higher HR/FB rate over the last three years combined, only two of the 10 had a fly-ball percentage that low: Miguel Cabrera (35.7 percent) and Michael Morse (32.4 percent). First off, it’s a small group of outliers to even join, but we know he’s no Cabrera, and while he could be Morse, that might not be such a positive outlook, since we have seen just the one big year from him.

  • Only one guy in the group had a ground-ball rate as high as the 44 percent of Adams.

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article TTO Scoresheet Podcast... (01/24)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (01/17)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Players to Avo... (01/31)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Get to Know: First Bas... (01/24)

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