First base is a very different animal from the rest of the positions, fantasy-wise. There are some heavy hitters who can carry your team as illustrated by the five tier guys. The middle class still has value fantasy wise and it’s not until you hit the dregs of the position that you start to run into guys who can actively hurt you in spite of their strengths.
Joe Mauer lost his catcher eligibility last season and isn’t going to be getting it back. That’s good news for his real-life value, as he slides into the back half of his career and will have less stress put on his knees and legs. It’s bad news fantasy-wise, as he goes from a solid-if-unspectacular catcher to basically James Loney’s equal. I made a special graph to illustrate the differences in Mauer’s value between the two positions.
As you can see, as a C, he fares well in runs and RBI, earning 4s and 5s in the categories, respectively. If you click back to the catcher graphs (link above) you’ll see that his predicted production is probably enough to earn at least a three-star ranking, but for first base, it’s less appealing, and Mauer becomes a borderline choice.
PECOTA (still pre-update) didn’t like Kennys Vargas’ playing-time possibilities, so it dings him in the counting stats but still likes his home-run output enough to rank in the middle tier for the position. When the update comes around, I’ll do a peek at him and Matt Wieters in terms of what PECOTA thinks of them with playing-time adjustments.
I added a bid chart at the bottom at the behest of commenter Sharky, who had a valid point in bringing up volatility regarding projections. This isn’t the final answer, but the bid chart displays how opinions can change on a player in a year. Some guys (like Albert Pujols) are so consistent that their production, 2014 bid, and 2015 bid appear as a small grouping with overlap. In cases where either of the numbers match (production, 2014/2015 bid), I reduced the opacity and blended the two bubbles, creating the weird color combos that’ll rarely show up. Other guys, like Prince Fielder, saw wide variability in their numbers and have a huge range between dots.
Without further ado, here are the charts:
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