Rapin's Rankings - First Base: A new home for Paul Goldschmidt

In the olden days, first base was always a place that you would look to solidify your power categories. Times have changed a bit however, and only four first baggers hit 30 or more home runs in 2018. Things are little more compact at the position nowadays, so while the players in the top position still give you an advantage at the position, once you get past the top four players, there are tons of questions in the next few tiers.

That's why my overall strategy this season at first base is this. While I don't think it's prudent to reach for one of the top four first baseman, if you are in a position to grab one of them, I would do it. If you miss out on the top tier, I have no problems filling the position with any of the players from the next two or three tiers. If you ask where my "Sweet Spot" is, I would say my favorite place to target after my first tier is tier three. I love the value and upside that the third tier offers.

Feel free to tweet me your thoughts/comments on Twitter (@fantasygeek37). Unless you disagree with me of course...then keep it to yourself!!!

Tier 1

1. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
2. Freddie Freeman, Braves
3. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
4. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers

  • Paul Goldschmidt has played in at least 155 games in four straight seasons. In those four seasons, he has had an average on-base percentage of .410. #OnBaseMonster
  • Last season, Freddie Freeman led the first base position with a .309 batting average.
  • In the first half of 2018, Anthony Rizzo hit .246. In the second half, he hit .329. He was also second among qualified first baseman in strikeout percentage (12.0%).
  • Cody Bellinger finished second among first baseman in steals, nabbing 14 bags.

Tier 2


The infield has become very crowded in St. Louis with the addition of Paul Goldschmidt.

5. Joey Votto, Reds
6. Jose Abreu, White Sox
7. Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
8. Jesus Aguliar, Brewers

  • Joey Votto hit .284 last season. In the three previous seasons he hit .314, .326, .320. Will the addition of Yasiel Puig paired with youngsters Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker give him the kickstart to rebound?
  • Jose Abreu's BABIP in 2018 was .294 which was 33 points lower than his previous four campaigns (.356, .333, .327, .330). His batting average dropped to .265 last year, so a bounce back may be in order.
  • In 2018, Matt Carpenter played 83 games at first base. With the addition of Paul Goldschmidt at first, and the fact that Jedd Gyorko is better against lefties, I worry Carp will struggle to find the at bats to produce value.
  • Jesus Aguilar first half of 2018: 316 PA, .298 BA, 24 HR; Second half: 250 PA, .250, 11 HR.

Tier 3

9. Joey Gallo, Rangers
10. Edwin Encarnacion, Mariners
11. Matt Olson, Athletics
12. Max Muncy, Dodgers

  • Joey Gallo hit .187 in the first half of 2018, but hit .239 in the second half.
  • Edwin Encarnacion has hit 30 or more home runs in seven straight seasons. 

Tier 4


Carlos Santana had his best season as a Major Leaguer in 2016 with the Indians.

13. Jurickson Profar, Athletics
14. Ian Desmond, Rockies
15. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
16. Justin Smoak, Blue Jays
17. Eric Hosmer, Padres
18. Carlos Santana, Indians
19. Yuli Gurriel, Houston

  • From 2010-2017, Ian Desmond's BABIP ranged from .307-.350 with an average of .329. His BABIP in 2018 was .279 and his batting average dropped to a career low of .236. I wouldn't be surprised to see a rebound from Desmond in 2019.
  • If you're in an OBP (on-base percentage) league, Carlos Santana finished second in walk percentage among qualified first baseman (16.2%) and Justin Smoak finished fifth (14.0%) in 2018.
  • While he doesn't possess the power of a prototypical first baseman, Yuli Gurriel finished third at the position with a .291 batting average. 

Tier 5

20. Luke Voit, Yankees
21. Trey Mancini, Orioles
22. Jake Bauers, Indians
23. Jose Martinez, Cardinals
24. Marwin Gonzalez, Free Agent
25. CJ Cron, Twins

  • In 39 games with the Yankees last year, Luke Voit hit .333 with 14 home runs.
  • If you're looking for a late source of steals, most projection models have Jake Bauers projected for roughly 15 stolen bases, which would have been second among first baseman last season.
  • With the addition of Paul Goldschmidt at first base and Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader, Dexter Fowler and Tyler O'Neill in the outfield, I struggle trying to find consistent at bats for Jose Martinez.
  • Last season, Marwin Gonzalez played 71 games in left field, 32 games at shortstop, 24 games at second base, 22 games at first, as well as games at center field, left field, and third base. #SwissArmyKnife

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