With the National Fantasy Baseball Championship coming up, I thought I would take some time to look at the current draft flow in March. I’ve put together the top 400 or so players drafted in 168 drafts in the NFBC to get help get a feel for each player’s value. Completed drafts are a great tool for Fantasy owners to get a feel for a player’s average draft position or ADP. By knowing the potential round a targeted player may go in, a Fantasy owner may be able to add a few more pieces to the puzzle with a good feel for drafts flow and timing.
The key is finding the drop-offs at each position plus knowing when there is a huge step down from a position if you miss a targeted player. Each owner at the draft table will have a different start to their roster leading to different paths to their team development.
To help get a feel for the player pool, I’ve highlighted some players at each position to show their possible value in 2017. Here is the table that shows what each color means:
Here is a list of the top 24 first baseman in 2016 based on ADPs in March from the NFBC:
The front end of the first base pool looks strong again in 2017. A drafter waiting at the first base position will need to be creative to avoid getting beat at the position. I’ve talked to a few high stakes players this offseason, and a common theme is loading up with power hitters at first base and third base. This thought process will lead to some Fantasy owners doubling up and tripling up at 1B and 3B. If you wait too long to draft a first baseman, you could be chasing power for the rest of the drafts and possibly all year.
I typically mix in the power DH option with the first base pool as I believe they offered the desired skill set for the position.
Paul Goldschmidt has become a five-category stud for the Diamondbacks. Even with fade in his power (24 HRs), Paul ran more in 2016 (32 SBs). If he hits on all cylinders, maybe a 40/40 season would be within reach. Miguel Cabrera played better in 2016, but his ADP is much lower than when he was in his prime. What’s not to like with Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs’ lineup?
Edwin Encarnacion and Chris Davis offer the most power with Davis still offering some batting average risk. The change in teams may hurt Edwin a bit, but there is no dismissing his power stroke. Davis has a wide range on his ADP (44 to 121) leading to him being a value power bat in drafts if your team structure can handle his batting average risk.
Jose Abreu has a perfect value for someone drafting at the front end of the draft trying to secure a power first baseman with one of the top three hitters in the first round. Wil Myers has a short resume, and maybe his speed can’t be trusted, but he does have talent. In most of the recent 15 team drafts, he tends to go in the fourth round.
Joey Votto has questionable talent in front and behind him in the starting lineup while providing a solid foundation in batting average. Eric Hosmer continues to hit a ton of groundballs restricting his upside in power. Freddie Freeman turned into a beast over the second half of 2016 plus the Braves’ lineup is much improved over the start of last season. It was his first season with impact power so will it repeat in 2017?
Hanley Ramirez played well late in 2016 as well, and he had a lot more fun last year. He’ll hit in a premium part of the batting order with plenty of talent around him in the starting lineup.
C.J. Cron makes sense as corner options, but the Angels need to play him every day. His skill set points to a 20/80 season at the minimum. Josh Bell looks intriguing as well, but his power stroke needs to make a step forward. Josh takes enough walks to hit in a favorable part of the batting order plus he’s tried to get in better shape over the winter.
Tommy Joseph suffered hand injury after getting hit by a pitch on March 14th, so a Fantasy owner will need to follow his status.
It’s all about that base when developing the foundation of your Fantasy team. If you are looking to gain a power edge, first base will be a key position in your game plan. A team with three strong options at first base will be tough to beat in power in this year. It just comes down to balancing out the complementary speed.
The first base position doesn’t have the blossoming young talent needed to transition the position to a high level. Where are the next generation of Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, and Albert Pujols?