Early First Base ADP
We’re going to continue our look at preliminary ADPs and move onto the first baseman. In the past, the first base position has long been considered one of the deepest out there for fantasy owners. Back at the turn of the century (I love how old that statement makes me feel), the first base position had 30 players who hit 20 or more home runs. Last season there were 18. That’s a pretty significant drop-off, even over a 13-year span, and in looking at some of the early ADP numbers this year, it looks like more of the same.
|Rank||Player||Team||Avg. Pick||Min. Pick||Max. Pick|
As you can see, the top 12 first basemen are all off the board by roughly the 70th pick, or the sixth round for most standard 12-team leagues. That seems to be par for the course right now and should be the way things unfold even closer to the season. The problem is, there’s just not as much depth here as there used to be. Even just a few years ago, not only could you wait on the position through the early rounds, but there was so much power to be had, that you could also wait on your corner infield slot and still land a 20-plus home run guy. Nowadays, if you don’t jump on one of these guys in the first few rounds, you run the risk of being short on power for much of the season.
Obviously there are a few wild cards out there. Players like Anthony Rizzo and Brandon Belt are developing talents who could conceivably break the 20-home run barrier with ease. Jose Abreu and Matt Adams could as well, provided they see the regular at-bats we’d like them to see. And, of course, there are a few rebound candidates such as Adam LaRoche and Mark Teixeira who could also do some damage if they’re back to their old ways. But unlike years past, there are far too many ‘what ifs’ here to make a fantasy owner comfortable about waiting it out. If you’re looking for strength and you want to lock yourself into some decent power, then you need to act fast at first and leave the waiting for another position out there.
Now here’s a look at a few names I’m keeping tabs on and watching their ADP over the next couple of months:
Prince Fielder, TEX – Owners who have him in keeper leagues are still wiping away their tears of joy from when they received news that the slugger would be leaving Comerica Park to play half of his games at hitting-friendly Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. The power drop he experienced in his first season with Detroit was to be expected, but the struggles during last year seemed to take both us and him by surprise which led to his pressing at the plate. He tried to be more aggressive at the plate which turned into a higher strikeout rate and fewer walks and he just couldn’t get himself back on track like he did towards the tail end of the season before. The confidence with which he’ll walk into this season with will be high and he should start things off well this spring. That should start to push his ADP up as those in the back-end of Round 1 will start to go after him more.
Albert Pujols, LAA – How Pujols walks into camp this year will be a huge factor in his ADP trends throughout the spring. The gradual decline we’ve witnessed should be prevalent in everyone’s minds, but should he open the spring on a high note and we start hearing the ol’ “best shape of his life” cliché, many will buy into the hype and start plucking him earlier and earlier. Given the risk that comes along with him, a fourth or fifth-round pick seems about right for him. But all it will take is one big week and he’s back to the third and potentially even the second round.
Allen Craig/Matt Adams, STL – The rollercoaster ride that both their ADPs could take this spring should be interesting to watch. As it stands right now, Craig will be in right (still qualifies at first though) and Adams will be at first base. That’s the way the season is supposed to open. However, there are a number of things that could happen that could change all that and how both guys are valued in drafts. Craig isn’t exactly a picture of health, Adams had a great year but one year proves nothing, and what happens if Oscar Taveras comes out raking? There’s a lot that can happen in the Cardinals’ camp this spring, so if you’re drafting early, stay attune to the ADP trends.
Mark Trumbo, ARI – I actually debated whether to even mention Trumbo for fear that my excessive praise would shoot his ADP straight up the rankings, but I just can’t contain my enthusiasm. Back to back 30-home run seasons and now he’s moving to an uber-friendly hitter’s park where he and Paul Goldschmidt will bat third and fourth in the lineup? Come on! Um, Bob, I think that ISO number is gonna be a whole lot higher! Sure the batting average could be a disaster, but the potential 40 home runs we’ll likely see will certainly outweigh any negatives.
Justin Morneau, COL – Could the move to Colorado help resurrect the career? Can he stay healthy for the year? Will the move to Coors help him with his recent power struggles? Morneau looks like a dead pull hitter these days so the new park should help him out, but the splits from last year don’t show Target Field as too much of a hindrance as one might think. Still, a change of scenery could certainly help him and should he feel any kind of rejuvenation this spring, we’ll see it reflected in his ADP numbers, for sure.