Mar 9, 2012

2012 Position Analysis & Draft Outlook - First Base




When analyzing the different fantasy baseball positions, First Base is one of the few positions that never seems to have to deal with scarcity concerns each year. It's a position in baseball that is traditionally packed with offensive firepower and lots of good options for fantasy players. But, coming into 2012, Ryan Howard is injured and former studs like Justin Morneau are no longer reliable so we may finally be reaching a point where scarcity is a bit of a concern here.

Based on 2012 projections and ADP data, here's a quick look at the trend for fantasy baseball's first basemen this year:

The players are represented by grey dots there with the projected draft round going from left to right and the projected WERTH value going vertically. You can see a scattering a players with high value at the front of the draft then a middle tier of players that exists until about Round 10 where all players have below average production from that point on. Let's compare this trend to all other fantasy positions:


The other positions are represented by various grey lines here with the red line representing 1B. You can see that no position starts out with as much value at the beginning as 1B. However, the decline is much steeper than other positions. By the 20th round, 1B is in the middle of the pack as far as value after experiencing a huge drop-off.

In the first two rounds of drafts, you'll typically see six 1B go off the boards with all of them representing great value. Then, all is silent until Round 5 when the fallback options get drafted in Paul Konerko, Eric Hosmer and Michael Morse. At this point, they'll still be three teams without a 1B in a 12-team league which is not a good position to be in.

Four more rounds go by until Ryan Howard goes off the board along with Freddie Freeman and Ike Davis. The value at this position has almost completely disappeared after this point in the draft. The best options from this point on would be Adam Lind and Paul Goldschmidt in addition to Carlos Pena towards to tail end of drafts.

Unless you want to be the team that relies on Ike Davis, you really have to leave the first two rounds with a 1B. The options you can find at that point are tremendous and then there's only a few passable options after the first two rounds. For leagues with corner infielders, it's also important to try to secure that position early. By doing so, you help yourself but also hurt other teams as they are forced to have lesser options for that position. While 1B has the most talent of the offensive positions, there's definitely a limited quantity of it.

First Base Average Draft Position and Projected Value in 12-Team League
Name ADP Rd Werth Total
Albert Pujols
1.2
9.8
Miguel Cabrera
1.2
8.6
Joey Votto
1.7
7.1
Adrian Gonzalez
1.8
6.9
Prince Fielder
2.1
5.5
Mark Teixeira
2.9
4.7
Paul Konerko
5.3
2.8
Eric Hosmer
5.7
1.2
Michael Morse
6.5
-0.5
Ryan Howard
10.8
2.6
Freddie Freeman
11
-0.5
Ike Davis
12.5
-4.5
Adam Lind
13.5
-0.4
Paul Goldschmidt
13.7
-1.9
Mark Trumbo
15.5
-2.2
Justin Morneau
15.7
-3.3
Kendrys Morales
16
-5.7
Gaby Sanchez
16.1
-1.5
Carlos Pena
17.4
-1.3
Daniel Murphy
19.4
-3.4
Todd Helton
19.7
-4
Aubrey Huff
19.8
-2.4
Justin Smoak
19.9
-5.8
James Loney
20.7
-1.1
Chris Davis
20.7
-4
Adam LaRoche
20.8
-5.1
Mitch Moreland
20.9
-3
Mike Carp
21
-4.1
Derrek Lee
22
-5.2
Anthony Rizzo
22.3
-6
Jesus Guzman
28.6
-6.1
Dan Johnson
34.2
-9.5

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2 comments:

  1. Excellent analysis. The only thing that I would add is that Michael Young also qualifies at 1B, and seems to provide good value being drafted around #71 overall. If you get shut out of the top 1B, I think it's a good strategy to grab him. Also, Cuddyer, Berkman, and Reynolds typically qualify at 1B and should definitely be considered in the middle rounds, particularly because they offer position flexibility.

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  2. Agreed on all accounts. Depending on your rules for position eligibility (I'm in a few leagues that only allow one primary position for instance), those players you named all represent good fallback options (especially Young and Reynolds as I touched upon in the 3B article). Hmm, I used many parentheses in that sentence.

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