Friday, March 11, 2022

Advanced Fantasy Baseball: 2022 First Base Rankings

2022 First Base Rankings
  1. Vlad Guerrero Jr. - Blue Jays - Vlad is probably the best pure bat in the American League right now. He will not steal bases so he doesn't provide you with everything. But challenging .300 with 30-plus homers is an easy prediction. 
  2. Freddy Freeman - Free Agent - If he stays in Atlanta I expect his numbers to stay the same. He does everything you want in four categories and will toss in a half dozen steals just to make you feel better. 
  3. Peter Alonso - Mets He very nicely cut his strikeout rate. Most of his indicators look like the return of 2019. His batting average isn't nearly as low as was once expected and he only seems to be getting better. 
  4. Matt Olson - Athletics - Olson is the subject of many trade rumors and it is very in character for the Athletics for him to be on the block at this point. Last year he cut his strikeouts in half while walking as much as ever. It doesn't get much better than this. 
  5. Paul Goldschmidt - Cardinals Goldschmidt is as good as ever, it's just the park doesn't help him as much. He even got some stolen bases back. If you can live with 30 rather the 35 you get from the four guys ranked ahead of him, you can't go wrong with Goldy. 
  6. Joey Votto - Reds No one adjusts like Joey Votto. He sacrificed some contact for a huge increase in power. I have absolutely no doubt that Votto will produce again in 2022. Screw his age, some players are just special talents. 
  7. Ryan Mountcastle - Orioles The power is so real I'm not worried about the walls in Camden. He is streaky. A long slump could make his batting average painful. He should walk just enough to avoid a total disaster in OBP leagues.
  8. C.J. Cron - Rockies He looked ordinary in the first half but in the second half started to get his Coors boost. If he keeps it together he could have a prime Arenado type season. 
  9. Jared Walsh - Angels He still can't hit lefties but his numbers seem pretty stable. He probably isn't cheap enough to be a league-winning value but he should be a safe bet for .26 with 25-plus homers.
  10. Brandon Belt - Giants If we could count on 150 games of complete health, Belt would be top five worthy - easily. I would not blame you if you moved him ahead of Cron, Mountcastle and Walsh even now if your league allows easy replacements.   
  11. Jose Abreu - White Sox In general I think most analysts over-state age as a factor in a player's performance. But his slow start in 2021 had me doubting him. But he blew up July and August making his season look pretty stable. 
  12. Josh Bell - Nationals He hits too many groundballs to expect more than 30 homers. His batting averages won't kill you but they also won't help. I'd rather have him as a corner infielder than my first baseman. 
  13. Nate Lowe - Rangers - He hits the ball hard and if he pulled it more often his homer total could explode with a slight reversal in launch angle. He endured a long slump from mid-May to late July that makes his overall numbers look worse than they should (launch angle was just four percent for this stretch). As is, he hits too many on the ground to hit much more than 20 homers per season in Texas. But the lineup is better than most are predicting if everyone stays healthy, so 100 RBI is not far-fetched. If he truly learned something during his slump, as I suspect he did, he could seriously breakout in 2022.
  14. Anthony Rizzo - Free Agent - He looked to be in serious decline as he finished his last season with the Cubs. If he receives a contract from the Yankees he earns this spot. In most other parks he drops a few spots. 
  15. Bobby Dalbec - Red Sox -  He was awful most of the season but was so great down the stretch with barrels, and improved discipline that anyone holding him on the cheap in AL-only leagues is salivating at the idea he is for real. It was probably just a nice streak but it demonstrates what he might be capable of given regular at-bats for the whole season. 
  16. Josh Bell - Nationals
  17. Ryan Hoskins - Phillies He should have been better last season. Bad luck and poor health have killed expectations but a few breaks going his way and 35 homers is not out of the realm of possibilities. 
  18. Spencer Torkelson - Tigers The bat the Tigers have been waiting for will arrive in 2022. This may seem high to some but there isn't a player ranked after him I would rather have even if I lose four weeks to system manipulation. 
  19. Tyler Stephenson - Reds Stephenson has no one in front of him as the Reds starting catcher this year. With any luck, he should reach his early career-high plate appearances this season. He walks and doesn’t strike out and is showing signs of reaching his raw power levels in games. He could top the catcher rankings while being CI-worthy in 12 team leagues. 
  20. Nick Pratto - Royals Has great bat speed and drank the kool-aid the Royals were pouring as far as plate approach. He showed a new ability to hit high velocity at higher levels. He won't hit .300 or even .270 just yet, but 30 homers is within reach in 2022.
  21. Max Muncy - Dodgers If we knew where he was with his injury he might move up ten spots or fall off the list entirely. I'd probably take the chance if I was drafting today. 
  22. Jake Cronenworth - Padres The younger version of D.J. Lemahieu. Eventually, he'll be a super-utility player but not this season. 15/15 upside is fine at second but it would be unusual at first base.
  23. Luke Voit - Yankees The Yankees seem determined to upgrade their first base position. If they get stuck with Voit they shouldn't suffer too much. .240 with 30 homers in a full season is reasonable if a bit optimistic. 
  24. D.J. Lemahieu - Yankees With health he should be much better than last season but I wouldn't go paying for 2019 stats. 
  25. Trey Manicini - Orioles He was worn out in the second half after his long layoff due to cancer. I still see a 30-homer guy with a strong if not elite batting average. 
  26. Alex Kirilloff - Twins - He really hits the ball hard and barrels it. With a little better luck he could hit  .280 with 25 homers and move ten spots up this list. 
  27. Jonathan Schoop - Tigers His batting average is nothing to sing about but 20-25 homers is a lock. 
  28. Yuli Gueriel - Astros: El PiƱa only qualifies at first base in most leagues but is likely to get games at third and DH during the season. He hits the ball hard but on the ground too often to impact the Homerun category. 
  29. Frank Schwindel - Cubs - His statcast numbers alone make him look like a much better hitter. He is 29 years old and on a team that doesn't have many better options just now. He might be the Mid-West version of Mike Yastrzemski, maybe better.
  30. Seth Beer - Diamondbacks If the designated hitter in the NL is real I think 30 homers is close to a lock. If there isn't a DH he is too high on this list with Christian Walker and Pavin Smith ahead of him at first and much better defensively. 
  31. Yoshi Tsutsugo - Pirates Tsutsugo dramatically improved his performance with the Pirates improving his line drive and flyball percentages while cutting his strikeouts from 33 percent to 23 percent. If he keeps it up he'll be the player we expected a couple years ago. 
  32. LaMonte Wade - Giants The Giants will spread the at-bats around and probable make Wade a utility corner player. He  looks like a real above-average player by most indicators. 
  33. Rowdy Tellez - Brewers Barrels, Exit Velocity and a reasonable strikeout rate for a power hitter go a long way with fantasy owners these days. He has an opportunity to win a starting role in Milwaukee. 
  34. Miguel Sano - Twins He only qualifies at first base this season. He might gain eligibility at DH this season but third is unlikely given his lackluster defense and both Josh Donaldson and Jose Miranda on the roster. 
  35. Eric Hosmer - Padres - This is his rank for 450 cost you. If he loses any more at-bats his power caps at 15 and his .260 average is only a slight bonus considering the lack of power his spot in the lineup will cost you. 
  36. Jesus Aguilar - Marlins Aguilar is probably underrated as a  hitter but with Lewin Diaz and Garrett Cooper both on the roster, I can't see him getting enough at-bats to challenge his career highs. 
  37. Lewin Diaz - Marlins I believe the Marlins will give Diaz plenty of at-bats to prove himself. Unfortunately, his approach needs enough work that anything better than an average MLB hitter would be unlikely.  
  38. Yandy Diaz - Rays As his launch angle improves his average exit velocity goes down. This doesn't mean much I just think it makes him less likely to have that huge breakout that folks have predicted. He has average power numbers which is fine for the Rays but won't help your fantasy roster much. 
  39. Ty France - Mariners - His great second half is fueling higher expectations though he is still a better fit at second base. He boosted the contact rate but it was all groundballs, not the end of the world but there's no speed to make up for the mediocre power. 
  40. Juan Yepez - Cardinals  The National League Designated Hitter could be the key for him. He hits the ball very hard and has superb statcast power metrics. I like him quite a bit, I'll pay the extra buck.
  41. Darin Ruf - Giants Ruf is another who could benefit from the NL DH. Te early reports claim the Giants are looking for offense and not to rotate off days. Just a shot at 400 at-bats will be huge for him, .260 with 25 homers seems like a safe bet. 
  42. Triston Casas - Red Sox Casas is still growing into his power despite his Lou Ferrigno like appearance! But make no mistake this is the future at first base for the Red Sox and he is already a great bat. I expect him up by mid-season I just don't know the whereabouts of J.D. Martinez and Dalbec when that happens. 
  43. Mason Martin - Pirates He has crazy power but his 30 percent strikeout rate is killing him right now. Some of that may be 2020 rust. He is clearly the best first base  prospect on the Pirates.
  44. Colin Moran - Free Agent He's not what you want for your fantasy team under most circumstances but he's a solid bat that can fill in for injuries on better fantasy teams.
  45. Keston Hiura - Brewers I think the NL DH could be the key to Hiura hitting his ceiling as a hitter. If he is there in the dollar days Pounce!
  46. Vinnie Pasquantino - Royals He looks a lot like young Eric Hosmer to me. I'd have him higher if there were not so many bodies fighting for at-bats ahead of him.
  47. Miguel Cabrera - Tigers If he doesn't lose at-bats to Torkelson (probably after he hits 3000) he's still good for 20 homers. 
  48. Christian Walker - Diamondbacks He's coming off a strange year where his flyballs went up and struck out less but lost his impact with the bat. The D'backs don't currently have a strong alternative unless you count Beer who is more of a designated hitter.
  49. Pavin Smith - Diamondbacks He has a small opportunity to show something but is likely to be replaced soon by one of the dozen outfield prospects this team is hoarding.
  50. Josh Naylor - Guardians He only had 15 games at first last year but this is his natural position and while he hasn't demonstrated it to date - I fervently believe he is a far superior bat to Bobby Bradley. 
  51. Bobby Bradley - Guardians He can't hit. He has great raw power but you have to make contact to hit homeruns.
  52. Colton Welker - Rockies He walks at a very nice rate and is a strong contact hitter which is a great place to start. His power is pretty mediocre but Coors can help that play a tiny bit better. 
  53. Ji-Man Choi - Rays If you're stuck and need a first baseman I get it. But don't expect him to get any Rays magic on him. He seems immune. 
  54. Carlos Santana - Royals - He is done. His batting average is now so bad that his walks can't even save you in OBP leagues. He is only on this list for emergency purposes in deep leagues. 

Sunday, March 06, 2022

2022 Draft Preparation

The last three years have been a bitch of a time. I feel like this is the third time I've written this post (because it is). Health Issues took me down in 2019 and re-occurred twice in 2020. 2021 was an attempt to get my life back which is hard to say has happened given the state of the world and my place in it. My health condition has pretty much been solved but still caps the time and energy I have to get things done. It has made my day job much more difficult than it used to be and I have had to dramatically cut back on my hours and work. Fortunately, sitting at my desk at home writing about fantasy sports and baseball is still within my present capacity. I was gonna wait for Spring Training to start rolling out new posts for the 2022 season but...yeah.  

I have started putting together my rankings and some other items I think you may appreciate. My rankings and articles will appear here in the new domain since I lost my former site while hospitalized. To avoid a re-occurrence of domain loss I have started a Patreon site that has just gotten started with a few articles. Everything that appears here will also appear there if not in exactly the same form. So far everything is free. I hope if you've ever gotten anything from what I write and share you will consider supporting me at whatever level suits you for whatever period of time serves you. There will be bonus prizes for support of different levels including the return of the Advanced Fantasy Baseball Pens, stickers, notepads, T-shirts and maybe more when the support kicks in (if it does). 

I am not the most famous fantasy writer out there obviously. But I have been around a while. I was a writer on The Fabulous Mr. Roto before Matt Berry moved on to ESPN. I was on of the original writers for and have contributed to various print and online magazines in varied capacities. I would really like to get an updated design to the site on a better platform (blogger) but these things can be costly unless you do the work yourself. Your support would be greatly appreciated. 

Support Advanced Fantasy Baseball in whatever way you can. You can become a Patreon or just share the articles that you find interesting. I'd love to start hearing back from readers again regardless of your level of support. 

Saturday, March 05, 2022

The future of the sport requires the owners to truly like baseball for the players, and for the game itself, and not to see each player like a number on Nasdaq. Jim Fregosi told young scouts, “it doesn’t matter what role you aspire to, if you don’t love the game and players, go into another business.”
- Peter Gammons The Owners and Players never made a real attempt to start the 2022 season on time. The players asked for the moon and stars and the Owners responded with the financial equivalent of a child's night light. They spent three months essentially re-stating their initial positions and refusing to compromise. Two fifth graders could have successfully negotiated a fair CBT that is both fair to the players and keeps the owners rolling in dough. What sucks the most is that the fans baseball has left were ready for baseball to begin. It has been a long two years for baseball fans (let alone the rest of the planet). The pandemic they claimed would be over in a few months is finally looking manageable. But now a new war has broken out. We need baseball. “The best or highest-paid player isn’t important here. It’s about jobs, and every one of the players in our league, every Flyer, every Canadien, every Baron. It’s about jobs. It’s about hockey, the game we’ve loved growing up.” - Bobby Clarke (from Peter Gammons article)