After years of steady home run and RBI production out of the first base position for fantasy baseball players, the past few years have seen production trend downwards at one of the historically most productive positions. With an emphasis on advanced analytics and defensive statistics, old-school sluggers who hit .260 with 40+ home runs and 100+ RBI are long a thing of the past.
The State of Fantasy Baseball First Base in 2019
2019 doesn’t project to offer much more production out of first base compared to years past. Despite home run numbers being up across the league, Joey Gallo was the only first basemen in the league to hit over 40 home runs (he hit 40) in 2018. With platoons and defensive specialists playing an ever-increasing role at the position, we should expect more of the same out of the first base options in fantasy for 2019.
While there are likely many other players that are first base eligible in fantasy base that can produce at a solid clip, those players will be covered at the position they most often play. As such, these rankings are based around players who are likely to see the bulk of their time at first base.
As with our previous installments, these rankings are geared towards standard-scoring, season-long formats.
Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings
10. Joey Gallo, New York Yankees
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 107 H, 78 R, 38 HR, 90 RBI, 4 SB, .220 AVG
A master of the three true outcomes, Joey Gallo is a throwback first baseman in the mold of Adam Dunn. While Gallo will always offer a negative in the hits and average categories, he puts up consistent power and RBI numbers that are rare to find these days.
Gallo also benefits from hitting in a loaded Astros lineup and despite not reaching base as much as some of his contemporaries, scores at an above average clip due to the sheer production from the Astro lineup.
9. Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 144 H, 91 R, 35 HR, 99 RBI, 3 SB, .256 AVG
Hoskins is one of baseball’s more intriguing young prospects as he projects to look much more like an old-school first baseman. Possessing a ton of raw power, Hoskins doesn’t hit for much of an average but is adept at driving runs in.
Hoskins is moving back to his natural position at first base this year and should be a bit more comfortable on the whole. Able to mostly avoid a sophomore slump, Hoskins should be looking to build on a strong 2018 and drive in even more runs now that Bryce Harper has been added to the Phillies lineup.
8. Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 128 H, 72 R, 28 HR, 92 RBI, 1 SB, .268 AVG
Aguilar is a beneficiary of playing for one of the strongest offenses in baseball and as a result, is one of the MLB’s premier RBI artists. Coming off a 35 home run and 108 RBI season, Aguilar is young and has the potential to repeat, if not improve on that performance.
His ranking falls a bit lower on this list due to the fact that we don’t have much of a baseline to work off regarding his stats, but Aguilar has the potential to far exceed his Yahoo Fantasy projections.
7. Matt Olson, Oakland A’s
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 145 H, 87 R, 31 HR, 89 RBI, 1 SB, .258 AVG
Clocking in as the second youngest player on the list, Olson has one of the highest ceilings of any player in baseball. After a rookie season that saw him hit 24 home runs in just 59 games, Olson’s power numbers took a bit of a hit in his sophomore campaign.
Despite seeing his production at the plate trend down slightly in his sophomore season, Olson’s glove makes him a must-play in the field every single game and he’ll get the volume to show if he can produce at a similar level to what he broke onto the scene doing. Even if 2018 Olson is the best indicator of what we get at the plate, he is a very serviceable first base option.
6. Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 160 H, 77 R, 28 HR, 90 RBI, 1 SB, .287 AVG
Although Abreu saw his power production take a slight dip in 2018, his runs and RBI production took a massive hit playing for a historically inept White Sox team. While the White Sox failed to land Manny Machado, they have a ton of young talent and should at least be able to put more runners on for Abreu to bring home.
Abreu is a hitter who feasts with ducks on the pond, slashing .318/.402/.949 with runners in scoring position. That slash line is considerably higher and helps to explain his decreased production last year with fewer attempts to hit in those sort of situations.
5. Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 146 H, 88 R, 30 HR, 82 RBI, 12 SB, .271 AVG
Bellinger plays all over the outfield as well but picks up the bulk o his work on the defensive end at first base. 2017’s rookie of the year, Bellinger had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2018 as he saw his power numbers trend down hard after his first season.
However, Bellinger is the youngest player on this list and outside of Joey Gallo, probably has the most raw power. Don’t expect his power numbers to trend downwards as he continues to put muscle on and fill out his frame. Bellinger has the chance to have a fantastic rebound campaign and establish himself as one of, if not the best, first basemen in the league.
4. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 161 H, 99 R, 27 HR, 86 RBI, 3 SB, .303 AVG
A model of consistency for the last decade in Major League Baseball, arguably no player is better at consistently squaring the ball up and putting it into play. It is impossible for me to mention Joey Votto without bringing up the fact that in his 12 seasons, he has NEVER popped up to the Catcher, Pitcher, or First Baseman. More impressive, look at his total pop up numbers year over year:
The guy simply does not give the defense easy outs! Although he may lack the raw power numbers of other players at his position, Votto is a near lock to hit above .300 and has one of the highest floors of any player on the list.
3. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 158 H, 87 R, 30 HR, 104 RBI, 5 SB, .277 AVG
Despite cutting down on his strikeouts and upping his average to a career-best .286 last season, Rizzo has seen his power numbers take a fairly steep dive. During his two seasons as a serious MVP candidate, Rizzo slugged .512 and .527 respectively. However, last season his slugging percentage dropped all the way down to .470, the lowest since his rookie season.
Rizzo still possesses the RBI production and runs to be a top-shelf fantasy first baseman, but should he find his power stroke again, he would move back into the conversation for the best fantasy baseball first base option.
2. Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 173 H, 101 R, 33 HR, 107 RBI, 7 SB, .298 AVG
Among the conversation for baseball’s most underrated players during his tenure in Arizona, Goldschmidt finds himself in some new scenery for the 2019 season. Despite a minor trend down in production last season, Goldschmidt remains one of the most reliable fantasy options in baseball.
A career .297 hitter who consistently hits over 30 home runs and picks up 100 RBI on a yearly basis, Goldschmidt is one of the premier first basemen in the league and has put up arguably the best active four year stretch of stats at the position.
1. Freddie Freeman
Yahoo Sports Fantasy Projections: 186 H, 101 R, 29 HR, 105 RBI, 9 SB, .308 AVG
Despite being the highest ranked player according to Yahoo Sports fantasy projections, Freeman is in a position where he potentially could exceed his gaudy projections. As the centerpiece of a young and improving Braves team, Freeman should likely see more runners on base for him to knock in as well as better lineup protection in general.
Regardless of the production around him, Freeman’s floor is incredibly high. An on-base machine, he is also nearly a lock to hit .300 with 25+ home runs and around 100 RBI. Freeman provides a reliable and steady level of production that is unmatched at the position.