During the past 60-game season, three players (José Abreu – .317 / 43/19/60, Freddie Freeman – .341 / 51/13/53, and Luke Voit – .277 / 41/22/52) went to the rhythm of shocking years.
In 2019, 16 players with a first base rating hit 30 home runs or more. Seven players scored more than 100 runs and seven players had more than 100 RBIs.
In 2018, no first baseman scored more than 100 runs, and only three players had more than 100 RBIs. Only six players had 30 or more home runs.
Here’s a grid showing the final 2019 stats for the top 12 players at each position and their SIscore ranked value (I didn’t use the 2020 stats due to a small sample size):
In 2019, the average of the first 12 first basemen hit .280 with 97 runs, 36 home runs, 102 RBIs and six stolen bases in 557 at-bats. The first baseman position ranked second in overall hitting value.
For comparison, here are the projections (3/15) for the top 12 first basemen in Sports Illustrated ranked by SIscore:
Statistics highlighted by the yellow line show average projections (.282 with 97 runs, 34 home runs, 110 RBIs and four steals in 569 at-bats) for the first 12 first basemen projected in 2021.
Note: Players with multiple position eligibility will affect the top 12 ratings for each position. DJ LeMahieu (fifth) ranked higher at second base. Also, I listed a couple of designated hitter options (Yordan Alvarez and Miguel Cabrera) at first base. I eliminated any player I thought had more value in another position due to multi-position eligibility.
Here’s a look at the top 12 top players for 2021 ADP (March 8 – March 15):
Freddie Freeman is in great shape in the Braves’ lineup. He has talent and speed at the top of the order, giving him an elite career opportunity. Freeman walks, with protection behind in the batting order, establishing a solid foundation. It will even contribute to some thefts.
Cody Bellinger has a skill set of five tools with a focus on improvement. He underwent offseason surgery to repair a right shoulder dislocation. The Dodgers had him in the starting lineup in mid-March, putting him on track to be ready for Opening Day. I heard a mention that Bellinger has been working on a swing change. Hopefully he won’t increase his strikeout rate. Shoulder problems can lead to a drop in power the following season.
The breakout tag at first base goes to Vladimir Guerrero. His swing trajectory has been delivering a higher launch angle in March, pointing to a massive increase in power. He arrived at the camp in better shape. When Guerrero hits his stride in the majors, he’ll offer an advantage in batting average with a 30/100 base in home runs and RBIs.
The White Sox have a developing offense, which creates an excellent opportunity for José Abreu. His bat was exceptional in 2020 in more than 60 games, but he still tends to be a value in drafts.
Most see Pete Alonso as a power hitter with some batting average risk. He fell flat on his face last year, creating a buying opportunity in 2021. His bat offers top-notch power and an advantage in batting average. I expect a better strikeout rate, leading to a rebound in batting average.
Paul Goldschmidt has lost some luster on his perceived value after being traded to the Cardinals. Speed is no longer part of his equation, but he can contribute a handful of stolen bases. St. Louis added a superior bat to its lineup, which should be a win for Goldschmidt.
I qualified Yordan Alvarez with first baseman as I hope he qualifies there this season. He also outlines a mid-level bat, which is a perfect fit for the top option at first base. Alvarez has more power while also delivering an explosive batting average when putting the ball in play. I see him as a stud and steal based on his 2021 draft value.
Not expecting a designated hitter in the National League, Dominic Smith has lost some value in the draft. Ideally, he should be an anchor option at first base, but Peter Alonso blocks him from the opportunity. Smith has a high average skill set. His power is on the rise, which moves him into the stallion arena.
In his career, Eric Hosmer has not been able to have a great season in power due to a large number of shots. The Padres surrounded him with some elite players, which bodes well for his success in his runs and RBIs. Hosmer showed an improvement in his swing trajectory in 2020, which could indicate a career-high home run this season.
Both Josh Bell and Rhys Hoskins hit behind an elite player who hits base a high percentage of the time.
Bell made his way in 2019, but lost his way during the Covid season. His approach qualifies well, and he should clean the bat this year, making him a value in the 2021 draft season.
Rhys Hoskins hits a ton of fly balls while also having a walking rate. Many of his lifts end up being outs, which can hurt his batting average lead. Hoskins started slowly in 2020 and his second ended with injury. In the middle, he displayed a premium power bat. I see more than most at Hoskins.
Despite 2019 success at AAA (.312 with 81 runs, 25 home runs and 83 RBIs in 520 at-bats), the Orioles did not give Mountcastle a full season of playing time in the majors last year. During his 35 games, his bat seemed more than ready for the majors. Mountcastle will hit a favorable portion of the batting average while offering a stable four-tier skill set.
Andrew Vaughn is not a lock to win full time with the White Sox, but he is being selected as if he were. Chicago would love for him to have time as a designated hitter, but Vaughn hasn’t played above High A in the minors. His approach ranks well with the talent to be a productive power hitter.
Jared Walsh is a latecomer with a small sample of success in the majors. His ADP has been falling because there is no clear path to a starting position. The Angels have the designated hitter position between Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani, giving Walsh limited playing time at first base. Walsh should be a value based on his variable price if he can handle a corner position in the outfield.
Bobby Dalbec has a huge home run advantage while taking a lot of walks. Compensation comes down to your average hitting risk and a possible loss of playing time if you struggle. Dalbec has a Mark Reynolds in his prime without the speed.
ADP Test Series
Receivers | First base | Second base | Third base | Short circuits | Gardeners | Initial pitchers | Relief jugs
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.