2014 Fantasy Baseball Advice: Don’t Reach for a First Baseman
The 2014 baseball season is right around the corner, which means fantasy owners are prepping with mock drafts and scouting the rankings all across the Internet. Owners have taken note that the first base position is very, very deep this season. Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Davis, Edwin Encarnacion, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto are universally ranked in the top five.
If you miss out on one of those players, don’t worry. There are plenty of young options with upside to be found later in the draft. In the meantime, you jump early at selecting a second baseman or shortstop. You can even fill one or outfield spots in the first few rounds.
On the flip side, there are older first basemen that were once fantasy superstars, but are just a shell of themselves. Alberto Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez are ranked in the top 10, but should not be drafted as such. Pujols, in his second year with the Los Angeles Angels, played in just 99 games and hit 17 home runs and 64 RBI. He dealt with a left ankle and right knee issues throughout the season.
Gonzalez continues to stay healthy as he played in 157 games at the age of 31. However, his power is slowly diminishing. While he can still hit close to .300 and 100 RBI, the home runs totals aren’t there anymore. His slugging percentage continues to drop as well, .548 in 2011, .463 in 2012 and .461 last season.
Now, instead of selecting these big names with high risk, wait to select an up-and-coming first baseman with a bright future. Players like Matt Adams, Anthony Rizzo or even the unproven Cuban Jose Abreu will provide great power numbers and batting average while not feeling the affects of the injury bug or Father Time.
While other owners are reaching to fill the first base position, you keep picking up the best players at other positions and fill your that spot in the 10th or 11th round and have the best all-around team in your league.