Pitchers and catchers have been reporting to their respective team camps in Arizona and Florida over the past several days, which means that fantasy baseball drafts are right around the corner.
I have already taken a look at the catcher position, meaning that I will move on to first base. This is a position which features some of the best players in the game.
Who made my top five on this list? Let’s give it a look.
Top Five Rankings
Oct 5, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers first during an Miguel Cabrera (24) at bat against the Baltimore Orioles during game three of the 2014 ALDS baseball playoff game at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
1. Miguel Cabrera, Det – .315 batting average, 25 home runs, 109 RBI, 101 runs in 2014
When you look up the word consistency in the dictionary, you will probably find a picture of Cabrera next to it. Since his second year in the league back in 2004, Miggy has hit at least 25 home runs and drove in 100+ runs during each season.
That’s worthy of being mentioned as one of the five greatest hitters of all-time, folks.
Cabrera is coming off of one of the worst seasons of his career and he was still pretty good. He hit over .300 for the sixth straight season while hitting 25 long balls and driving in 109 runs.
Now, there are some concerns with the two-time MVP. He is going to turn 32 in April, which is usually an age that a player starts to decline offensively. He’s also had offseason ankle surgery, an injury which he is currently rehabbing from.
This man should still be the first guy off the board at this position in most drafts though given how great he’s been for over a decade now. If you are in a keeper or dynasty league, you might want to look at younger options though.
ADP: 4.5 overall according to FantasyPros.com
Jul 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (left) and Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Montero at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2. Paul Goldschmidt, Ari – .300 batting average, 19 home runs, 69 RBI, 75 runs in 2014
Last season was a rough year if you were a fan of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Not only did the club have the most losses in baseball, but fans were unable to watch Goldschmidt for the final two months of the season due to a broken hand he suffered on a wild pitch.
The great news is Goldschmidt has a clean bill of health and is ready to go for spring training. Goldy even said that he sometimes forgets that he was hurt, which is a sure sign that hand doesn’t bother him.
Despite the time he was out, the 27-year-old was the D-Backs leading home run hitter and second on the team in RBI’s behind the now departed Miguel Montero. With the addition of Yasmany Tomas and with a healthy Mark Trumbo, Goldy should have the most protection he’s had since coming up to the big leagues.
If he’s on the board in the middle of the first round, don’t give a second thought about taking him. Goldschmidt is in store for another monster season.
ADP: 5.5 overall
Sep 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu (79) receives congratulations from left fielder Jordan Danks (20) after scoring in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
3. Jose Abreu, CHW – .317 batting average, 36 home runs, 107 RBI, 80 runs in 2014
There were few bigger surprises in all of baseball last season than Abreu. Even though his team struggled, Abreu managed to put up monster numbers while running away with the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Given his youth and the moves that Chicago made in the offseason, it’s hard to see Abreu having a sophomore slump. The Cuban just turned 28 in late January and the White Sox acquired Melky Cabrera and Adam LaRoche during the winter to give Abreu some more protection in the lineup.
Just like Goldschmidt, if you are in a long-term keeper or dynasty league, you might want to consider Abreu’s youth over Cabrera. He might not quite reach his totals from last season, but he is a sure bet to go in the first round of all drafts.
ADP: 6.8 overall
Sep 20, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) high fives through the dugout after scoring during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
4. Jose Bautista, Tor – .286 batting average, 35 home runs, 103 RBI, 101 runs in 2014
Bautista will forever be one of my favorite players in all of baseball. A decent player for the first several years of his career, Joey Bats came on out of nowhere in 2010 to lead the American League in home runs with 54 to go along with 124 RBI.
He’s proven over the last four years that his 2010 season wasn’t a fluke. With having four straight All-Star appearances, Bautista has averaged 33 home runs and 86 RBI with a solid .276 average from 2011 to 2014.
Some may be concern about his age, Bautista will be 34 in October, but he’s coming off of his best season in the last three years and will be part of what should be a much improved Blue Jays offense with the additions of Russell Martin and Josh Donaldson in the offseason.
Draft away on Joey Bats and don’t look back.
ADP: 10.5 overall
Sep 17, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion (10) singles in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Jays 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
5. Edwin Encarnacion, Tor – .268 batting average, 34 home runs, 98 RBI, 75 runs in 2014
The similarities between Bautista and Encarnacion are striking. Solid players for the beginning of their careers, both guys came on in the late 20’s to early 30’s.
Encarnacion had a huge year in 2012 where hit 42 home runs and 110 RBI while having a respectable .280 batting average. He’s followed that up with nearly identical numbers in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014, a sure sign that he’s here to stay.
Both Bautista and Encarnacion will once again form one of the better 3-4 hitter combinations in all of baseball. With that kind of protection, look for Encarnacion to put up similar numbers that he’s put together going on three seasons now.
With that being the case, he’s a great value in the late first round to the early second round, depending on how many teams are in your league.
ADP: 11.0 overall
Oct 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer reacts after striking out against the San Francisco Giants in the 9th inning during game seven of the 2014 World Series at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hosmer, KC – .270 batting average, nine home runs, 58 RBI, 54 runs in 2014
The Kansas City Royals came very close to winning a World Series title last season thanks to their great starting pitching and bullpen and some clutch hitting throughout the postseason.
Even though he had a poor regular season, Hosmer was apart of that clutch hitting. In 15 games, the 25-year-old hit .351 with a pair of home runs and 12 RBI.
I see him more as that player than the one we saw during the regular season, where he set career lows in home runs and RBI. Hosmer is still only 25 years old, meaning he is still learning the game and big league pitching.
Where he’s going in most drafts, I’m willing to take a flier on him as a backup for me on my bench. It’s a low risk/high reward type situation. If he gets off to another poor start, you can simply cut him, but if he hits like he did in 2011 and 2013, you have a real nice player who hasn’t even hit his prime yet.
ADP: 180.0 overall
Sep 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) reacts after striking out to end the sixth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves defeated the Phillies, 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Howard, Phi – .223 batting average, 23 home runs, 95 RBI, 65 runs in 2014
You have to kind of feel for Phillies fans. They had their couple of World Series runs a few years back, but now they are stuck rooting for a team where a majority of their core players are on the wrong side of 35.
Howard is one of those players, having turned 35 during the winter time. He’s coming off a season where he did have 95 RBI, but Howard had an ugly .223 batting average.
It’s clear as day that Howard’s best seasons are behind him. For three straight seasons now, he’s coming nowhere close to the numbers that he put up in his prime.
Avoid Howard at all costs and look for a bench option who is younger and offers more upside.
ADP: 291.0 overall