Fantasy Baseball 2015: First Base Rankings & Projections

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt looks to play a full season after missing time due to injury in 2014. (Getty)

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt looks to play a full season after missing time due to injury in 2014. (Getty)

With Major League Baseball’s Opening Day [April 6th] less than two weeks from now, that means fantasy baseball is right around the corner too and has it covered.

Heavy ranks and projects the top players at each position including their 2014 statistics as well as a player preview for the upcoming 2015 season. The follow list is Heavy’s projected top 20 first basemen for the 2015 season.

The stats included for reach player listed are: Games, Batting Average, On Base %, Slugging %, OPS (OB + SLG), Home Runs, Runs Batted In.

1. Paul Goldschmidt

2014 Stats: 109 G; .300/.396/.542; .938; 19 HR; 69 RBI

2015 Outlook: Ernesto Frieri ended Goldschmidt’s 2014 season. Not that it mattered; the Diamondbacks finished 64-98.Goldschmidt finished 2nd in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2013, and was well on his way to matching his 2013 statistical output last season before the injury derailed him.

The truth is: the Diamondbacks play in a division with the defending champion San Francisco Giants, the powerful Los Angeles Dodgers and the much-improved San Diego Padres. They probably won’t be good, but if Goldschmidt is Goldschmidt, he’ll be the team’s lone bright spot, and the brightest atop the 1B rankings in fantasy.

2015 Projections: 158 G; .310/.410/.580; .990; 36 HR; 120 RBI

2. Miguel Cabrera

2014 Stats: 159; .313/.371/.524; .895; 25 HR; 109 RBI

2015 Outlook: You can make the debate that Miguel Cabrera is just as good of a hitter as Albert Pujols was this generation, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Miggy’s slash line in 2014 was: .313/.371/.524, which is essentially a “down” season for the Venezuelan – it was just the second time in five seasons his OPS was below 1 (and his OPS in 2013 when he WON the Triple Crown was .999…).

Cabrera is still at the tail-end of his prime.  He still has one or two more remarkable seasons left in him before he falls off. You should expect top 10 fantasy numbers from Cabrera this season.

2015 Projections: 325/.390/.560; .950; 34 HR; 128 RBI

3. Jose Abreu

2014 Stats: 145 G; .317/.383/.581; .964; 36 HR; 107 RBI

2015 Outlook: Like Yasiel Puig before him, the Cuban Abreu came right in and dominated the Major League from day one. He was an All-Star, won the American League Rookie of the Year and finished 4th in the Most Valuable Player Award voting.

The White Sox star compares favorably to how Pujols took MLB by storm. Abreu could fall victim to the “sophomore slump,” but with the way the White Sox improved in the offseason, it’s probably unlikely.

2015 Projections: 156 G; .290/.365/.550; .915; 40 HR; 110 RBI

4. Anthony Rizzo

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (Getty)

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo (Getty)

2014 Stats: 140 G; .286/.386/.527; .913; 32 HR; 78 RBI

2015 Outlook: The Chicago Cubs are back! Rizzo is destined for stardom, and – no disrespect to Jon Lester and your two World Series rings – the unquestionable face of the Cubs organization at the moment.

Rizzo made his first All-Star Game in 2014 and finished in the top 10 in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. The scary part is: the Cubs won just 73 games, which means they’re only getting started. Expect the 25-year-old to make “the leap” in 2015 and round out the elite first basemen.

2015 Projections: 162 G; .300/.390/.545; .935; 36 HR; 105 RBI

5. Adrian Gonzalez

2014 Stats: 159 G; .276/.335/.482; .817; 27 HR; 116 RBI

2015 Outlook: Gonzalez has failed to reach 100 RBIs only one time in the last eight seasons. Coincidentally, it was the season he hit 40 home runs – a career high. Go figure, right?

The truth is: Gonzalez is about as consistent as it gets when it comes to producing runs. His 116 RBIs led the Majors last season – the first time in his career he has done that. Again… go figure, right?

So long as Gonzalez is healthy and in the middle of the Dodgers lineup, he is a savvy, plate-disciplined tactician. He’ll find a way to produce borderline elite numbers.

2015 Projections: 154 G; .285/.340/.460; .800; 25 HR; 120 RBI

6. Albert Pujols

2014 Stats: 159 G; .272/.324/.466; .790; 28 HR; 105 RBI

2015 Outlook: Pujols only played 99 games in 2013 due to a back injury. It was no surprise that the injury led directly to his worst offensive output of his entire career – he failed to hit the 30 home run plateau for the first time as a major leaguer.

Last year he rebounded. He failed to hit 20 home runs, but that was more to do with age. The truth is: the Angels lineup is so good around him, so if he can stay healthy, he won’t be a consistent 30 home run player anymore, but there’s no reason why he can’t be a consistent .280/25/90 player with some 100 RBI seasons sprinkled in for the remainder of his prime.

2015 Projections: 156 G; .270/.330/.470; .800; 28 HR; 108 RBI

7. Edwin Encarnacion

2014 Stats: 128 G; .268/.354/.547; .901; 34 HR; 98 RBI

2015 Outlook: Encarnacion’s leg popped in 2014 – a quadriceps injury temporarily slowed down his season. For the third consecutive season, Encarnacion finished with 30 home runs and 90 RBIs. He also made his second All-Star team.

The Blue Jays added Josh Donaldson to mash and Russell Martin to mentor their young pitching and provide another veteran bat in the middle of the order. The protection should benefit him and teammate Jose Bautista the most.

He’s 32 now, and non-elite players start to see their production dip into their mid-30s. If he eclipses 30 home runs again, it would be a bonus on top of what he already gives.

2015 Projections: 144 G; .250/.340/.440; .780; 32 HR; 95 RBI

8. Chris Davis

2014 Stats: 127 G; .196/.300/.404; .704; 26 HR; 72 RBI

2015 Outlook: Davis only played 127 games in 2014. In addition to his terrible season where he struggled to hit above the Mendoza line for most of the way, he was suspended in September for amphetamine use.

The good news is, from 2011-13 since the Orioles acquired Davis, he hit .276, .270 and .280 in each season respectively. Davis just turned 29 on March 17th. He’s in the prime of his career, and he’s somewhere in between the player that broke out and finished third in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2013 and the player that fell off a cliff in 2014. Expect Davis to post his 2012 numbers.

2015 Projections: 138 G; .265/.370/.425; .795; 28 HR; 86 RBI

9. Carlos Santana

2014 Stats: 152 G; .231/.365/.427; .792; 27 HR; 85 RBI

2015 Outlook: The signing of Brandon Moss should take away some of his starts at 1B and move him to DH. That’s a good thing for Santana because it will keep him fresher – also because his defense at 1B was never good.

His more controlled reps at first means it will boost his WAR, and increase his value overall. As a hitter, he will challenge his 1st 30 HR/100 RBI season.

2015 Projections: 155 G; .245/.330/.425; .655; 32 HR; 85 RBI

10. Joey Votto

2014 Stats: 62 G; .255/.390/.409; .799; 6 HR; 23 RBI

2015 Outlook: Votto batted a career-low .255 in 2014 – couple that with his age (31) and health concerns (missed considerable time in two of the last three seasons) and it’s easy to see why Cincinnati fans are uneasy about Votto.

The good news is: Votto and teammate Jay Bruce look to be healthy for 2015. The bad news is: the Reds play in a division with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and upstart Chicago Cubs. This is a make-or-break season for the 2010 NL MVP.

2015 Projections: 138 G; .285/.330/.425; .755; 15 HR; 84 RBI

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11. Victor Martinez

2014 Stats: 151 G; .335/.409/.565; .974; 32 HR; 103 RBI

2015 Outlook: Martinez had his 5th 100 RBI season of his career in 2014 – he also led the Majors in OBP and OPS. Statistically speaking, Martinez is good, just a tad all over the place.

He’s remarkably consistent; he’s hit over .300 in seven of his last nine seasons, and that’s with injuries sprinkled in. Detroit’s lineup remains strong. Martinez will have opportunities to drive runs in. He won’t reach 100 RBIs again, but 85 is a completely realistic benchmark he can reach.

2015 Projections: 148 G; .295/.375/.470; .845; 24 HR; 80 RBI

12. Mark Trumbo

2014 Stats: 88 G; .235/.293/.415; .707; 14 HR; 61 RBI

2015 Outlook: Trumbo is purely a bopper. A fractured right foot limited him to just 88 games, and he hit just 14 homers in that time. Arizona was, expectedly, the worst team in baseball.

A healthy Trumbo will hit 25 home runs. His value as a power-hitter and juicy potential – it’s still there – alone is enough to rank him ahead of the players behind him.

2015 Projections: 152 G; .240/.300/.450; .750; 28 HR; 78 RBI

13. Eric Hosmer

Eric Hosmer was a big part of the Kansas City Royals run to the World Series in 2014. (Getty)

Eric Hosmer was a big part of the Kansas City Royals run to the World Series in 2014. (Getty)

2014 Stats: 131 G; .270/.318/.398; .716; 9 HR; 58 RBI

These next two players are both 25-year-old young studs who have yet to put it all together.

Hosmer’s regular season numbers have disappointed, however, if his postseason numbers are to be believed – he had a .351/.439/.544/.983 slash line in 15 postseason games – then Hosmer is truly ready to breakout in 2015.

2015 Projections: 159 G; .285/.330/.420; .750; 18 HR; 80 RBI

14. Freddie Freeman

2014 Stats: 162 G; .288/.386/.461; .847; 18 HR; 73 RBI

2015 Outlook: Freeman has already seemed to “breakout.” His .319/.396/501/.897, 23 HR, 109 RBI campaign in 2013 seemed like big things were on the horizon, and then 2014 happened.

The truth is: the Braves lineup isn’t all that good and Freeman is the best hitter in the bunch now that the Braves traded BOTH Justin Upton and perpetual disappointment Jason Heyward. The Braves took a major step back to take a major step forward. Freeman is this team’s building block, but he seems set up for a run of disappointing, yet consistent second-tier fantasy seasons in Atlanta before the team either improves or he leaves in Free agency.

2015 Projections: 160 G; .275/.370/.470; .840; 16 HR; 75 RBI

15. Brandon Moss

2014 Stats: 147 G; .234/.334/.438/.772; 25 HR; 81 RBI

2015 Outlook: The next two players on this list are incredibly unsexy names, yet will help you win fantasy games.

Moss has probably been baseball’s most underrated player in the last two seasons. He was an All-Star in 2014. Moss will now be able to shift between 1B, OF and DH in Cleveland, which benefits him and the aforementioned Santana. Moss has 55 home runs in the last two seasons combined (in 292 games). His power numbers are underrated.

Despite being 31, Moss has seemed to land in a good situation that will keep him fresh and continuing that trend of, at least, 20 home runs for the next few seasons.

2015 Projections: 142 G; .240/.320/.390; .710; 20 HR; 75 RBI

16. Adam LaRoche

2014 Stats: 140 G; .259/.362/.455; .817; 26 HR; 92 RBI

2015 Outlook: LaRoche may actually be baseball’s most underrated player. In the past three seasons, his 79 homers are good for 16th in baseball. He has also never made an All-Star team.

LaRoche is replacing White Sox hero Paul Konerko. U.S. Celluar Field is a classic hitter’s ballpark, which should be able to extend his career for a little more. He’ll be a quietly productive fantasy asset in 2015.

2015 Projections: 135 G; .270/.330/.400; .730; 18 HR; 70 RBI

17. Prince Fielder

2014 Stats: 42 G; .247/.360/.360; .720; 3 HR; 16 RBI

2015 Outlook: Before last season, Fielder had played in all 162 games in four of his previous five seasons. Comerica Park in Detroit definitely hurt his 2013 numbers. And then the tigers and Rangers pulled off an incredible Fielder-for-Ian Kinsler swap in November 2013.

Arlington is much more hitter-friendly. A healthy Fielder should be ranked higher, but there’s no telling how long it will take for fielder to find his groove after his 2014 neck injury. If Fielder is truly healthy, this ranking will look incredibly stupid.

2015 Projections: 110 G; .265/.360/.390; .750; 15 HR; 68 RBI

18. Todd Frazier

2014 Stats: 157 G; .273/.336/.459; .795; 29 HR; 80 RBI

2015 Outlook: Todd Frazier is the biggest beneficiary of Joey Votto’s health issues. If Frazier isn’t playing 1B, he’s playing 1B. He’s proved to be durable and consistent playing 150 and 157 games in his last two seasons.

He won’t hit 29 home runs again, but he’ll challenge 20 home runs, drive in 70 and be the consistent in the middle of the Reds order that drives in Billy Hamilton a bunch of times through the course of an entire 2015 season.

2015 Projections: 154 G; .265/.320/.385; .705; 24 HR; 76 RBI

19. Matt Adams

2014 Stats: 142 G; .288/.321/.457; .779; 15 HR; 68 RBI

2015 Outlook: Most baseball players break out at age 27. Adams is 26, but his birthday is in August.

Adams should provide a mirror of his 2013 and 2014 statistical output with an increased power output. Adams will hit 20 home runs for the first time in his career in 2015. If he has a hot September and is the Cardinals best hitter well into October – if they get back there – it would be NO coincidence.

2015 Projections: 146 G; .280/.330/.475; .805; 19 HR; 70 RBI

20. Lucas Duda

2014 Stats: 153 G; .253/.349/.481; .830; 30 HR; 92 RBI

2015 Outlook: Duda isn’t hitting 30 home runs again, but he does have consistent 25 home run potential, especially with the addition of Michael Cuddyer. However, with Cuddyer and a presumably healthy David Wright, the Mets lineup is incredibly balanced and Duda should have middle-of-the-order production he didn’t have in 2014.

2015 Projections: 145 G; .245/.330/.450; .780; 22 HR; 72 RBI