FANTASY BASEBALL – 2016 1B Rankings: Respecting Rizzo
by Garion Thorne | 7:00 am, January 6th, 2016
Thorne’s 2016 MLB Fantasy Preview
Divisional Break-Downs: AL East | AL Central | AL West | NL East | NL Central | NL West
Podcasts: ’16 Strategy w/ Fred Zinkie
Team Previews: Blue Jays | Orioles | Yankees | Red Sox | Rays | Mets | Nationals | Phillies | Braves | Marlins | Twins | Indians | Royals | White Sox | Tigers | Brewers | Reds | Cubs | Pirates | Cardinals
Thorne’s 2016 1B Rankings
- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona
- Anthony Rizzo, Chicago – I have Rizzo as my fourth overall player entering 2016 after a 17 stolen base season under the new tutelage of Joe Maddon propelled him to true five-category threat. Even if the speed dissolves, Rizzo has more than enough to fall back on. Only four players have hit 30+ home runs in 2014 and 2015 while sustaining a strikeout rate below 20% both seasons: Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, David Ortiz, and the 27 year-old Cub.
- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit
- Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto
- Jose Abreu, Chicago – Among the 14 players who have hit 60 home runs since the beginning of 2014, only Abreu is batting above .300 (he’s a career .303 hitter). The Cuban’s counting stats fell slightly in his sophomore campaign due to the White Sox finishing dead last in the American League with 622 runs and his average versus left-handed pitching falling over 120 points. Todd Frazier and normalization will help these issues.
- Joey Votto, Cincinnati
- Chris Davis, Baltimore
- Prince Fielder, Texas
- Eric Hosmer, Kansas City
- Freddie Freeman, Atlanta – Freeman has hit 18 home runs in consecutive seasons – the difference? 2014’s total came in 708 plate appearances, 2015’s came in an injury-plagued 481. Even with the massive discrepancy, the Brave’s 15.8% HR/FB ratio was well within his career standards giving some credence to the 25 home run pace Freeman was on for 650 PAs.
- Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles
- David Ortiz, Boston
- Buster Posey, San Francisco – Don’t play Posey at first. Just don’t do it. Still, at a mere 8.3%, Posey was one of just six qualified players in 2015 to post a single-digit strikeout rate. Unsurprisingly, none of the other five are natural first basemen either – looking at you Yangervis Solarte.
- Kendrys Morales, Kansas City
- Albert Pujols, Los Angeles
- Ryan Zimmerman, Washington – In 156 plate appearances post All-Star break last season, Zimmerman hit 11 home runs and posted a .422 wOBA – the ninth highest figure of any player with at least 100 PAs. Just three seasons removed from a 26 home run total, the main concern with the long-time National is longevity (and maybe Al Jazeera), with that 2013 season also representing his most recent year with 600 PAs. In that regard, Zimmerman might then be a name better suited for DFS use. Especially considering his career .388 wOBA against southpaw pitching.
- Lucas Duda, New York
- Carlos Santana, Cleveland
- Mark Teixeira, New York
- Mitch Moreland, Texas
- Hanley Ramirez, Boston – Ramirez is the biggest mystery of the 2016 1B class, which is saying something considering Byung-ho Park has never taken a North American professional at bat. After a move to the outfield in 2015, Ramirez has completely exhausted his greatest fantasy attribute, his former short stop eligibility, and is now projected to play first for a powerful Boston offence – if they don’t trade him. Injured again last season, the former Dodger did benefit, while healthy, from a power surge. Ramirez slugged 19 home runs in 430 plate appearances, mirroring his 2013 campaign where he hit 20 in just 336 – his 19.2% HR/FB ratio bested in his career only by that season’s 21.1% figure.
- Adam Lind, Seattle
- Byung-ho Park, Minnesota
- Pedro Alvarez, Baltimore
- Victor Martinez, Detroit
- Chris Colabello, Toronto – Originally brought in as organizational depth, Colabello was possibly the luckiest player of 2015, his .411 BABIP over 360 plate appearances a testament to near insanity. Still, a predilection for ground balls and a low soft contact rate suggest the sure normalization might not be as steep as one would assume. Either way, Colabello appeared to steal the full-time job from Justin Smoak in the Jays playoff run and hitting behind Josh Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, and Troy Tulowitzki might be the most viable position in fantasy baseball. Colabello is a low-risk flyer.
- Brandon Belt, San Francisco
- Ben Paulsen, Colorado
- Justin Bour, Miami
- C.J. Cron, Los Angeles