As baseball season nears, eDraft sports gets you ready for the start of another wonderful fantasy baseball season. After an exciting 2017 season, we're back again for 2018 with lots of exciting and in-depth content to come. Stay tuned for a series of fantasy baseball articles, rankings , sleeper lists and more to help prepare you for your 2018 fantasy season.
First, we'll start off with our fantasy baseball content with positional rankings. We've already covered our top-20 catchers for the 2018 season, now we'll examine our top-25 first basemen rankings for the coming season. Naturally, this is a position dominated by power hitters who can hit 30-plus bombs even as you go much further down the list.
In terms of elite plays, fantasy owners really can't go wrong with any of the top four options. Outside of the elites, fantasy owners can still find quality production at one of the deeper infield positions in fantasy baseball.
If you'd like to practice your own mock drafts, check out Fantasy Pros' Draft Wizard that allows you to customize your settings and participate in unlimited mock drafts to your specific league settings. Now, let's get started.
Tier 1 - Platinum
1.) Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
It's simply unreal what Votto does at this point. Last season he lowered his strikeout percentage by six percent and registered the lowest K% amongst players with 30-plus home runs. Meanwhile, he walked in 19 percent of his plate appearances, collected 206 runs produced and finished with a .454 wOBA. This man is simply a machine and with 25-plus home runs, 160-plus runs produced and a .440-plus OBP, he gets the top spot at first base.
2.) Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Arizona's decision to add a humidor at Chase Field pushes Goldschmidt from the best first baseman in fantasy to second this year. Whether fans want to accept it or not, the documented negative impacts from a team adding a humidor. In the case of Chase Field, as the article states, it could reduce home run production by 25-50 percent and cut into average exit velocity off the bat. He should still hit 25-plus home runs and steal 15-plus bases, but a drop in runs produced, extra-base hits and batting average could be coming and fantasy owners can blame the humidor.
3.) Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Before an errant pitch broke Freeman's wrist, he put his name in the thick of the MVP race last season. In his first 165 plate appearances, Freeman hit 14 home runs, contributed 60 runs produced, walked in 16.4 percent of his plate appearances and posted a .341 batting average, .485 wOBA and 203 wRC+. Naturally, we saw a more limited version of Freeman upon his return as he gained strength back in his wrist, but even then he posted a 128 wRC+, 10.9 walk percentage and hut 14 home runs in 349 plate appearances. If he can avoid injuries, this is an elite talent with the potential for 30-plus home runs, 170-plus runs produced and strong triple-slash lines.
4.) Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Rizzo just squeezes himself into the platinum tier and part of it is due to the chance he retains eligibilif ty at second base this season. Four consecutive seasons with 30-plus home runs and three consecutive seasons with 190-plus runs produced pair nicely with a high OBP (.380-plus) and stolen bases, to make him an elite fantasy player at his position. Go beyond permanent market on this, you can get a tattoo with a 30/100/.280/.390 line for Rizzo.
Tier 2 - Gold
6.) Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Last season's Rookie of the Year winner, Bellinger's bat speed and power immediately jumped out at his early age. The 22-year-old finished with 39 home runs and even if his 25.2 percent HR/FB takes a hit to 20 percent, he can make up for it with 80-plus additional at bats and find himself right back at 35-plus home runs, a .340-plus OBP and 180-plus runs produced with the bonus of double-digit steals.
6.) Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
Once a player who took a major step backwards in 2016, Abreu leaped forwards to the level we only saw from him in his breakout rookie campaign in '14. The 31-year-old's 33 home runs was the second most in his career, while he set career-best marks in runs produced (197) and cut down on his strikeouts with a career low 17.6 percent strikeout rate. With over 83 percent of balls off the bat going for medium or hard contact and a 36.4 percent fly ball rate, Abreu should be locked in for another .280 BA, 30-plus home run and 180-plus runs produced season.
7.) Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland Indians
Even as he enters hid mid-30s, Encarnacion demonstrates one of the game's best power strokes. Fantasy owners can count on him for 35-plus home runs, 100-plus RBIs and a .350-plus OBP in the middle of Cleveland's strong lineup. He isn't slowing down with age and even if he doesn't help you in batting average or stolen bases, Encarnacion is a three-category stud.
8.) Rhys Hoskins, Philadelphia Phillies
A second half sensation, Hoskins came up for just 50 games for the Phillies and made an immediate impression across all in baseball. In 212 plate appearances, Hoskins' lightning bat and massive power generated 18 home runs and seven doubles. It leaves many excited for a full season in 2018 and they should be. There will be substantial regression in his 31.6 HR/FB rate, perhaps a near double-digit drop. That said, 500-plus plate appearances should net him 30-plus bombs and even a .260 batting average locks him into 100-plus RBIs and a .350-plus OBP upside.
9.) Wil Myers, San Diego Padres
10 games into the season, Myers will pick up outfield eligibility as a little extra boost to his fantasy stock. The addition of Eric Hosmer adds another solid threat to this lineup and someone to take pressure off Myers. While you can't count on him for batting average, given he needed a .305 BABIP to post a career-best .259 BA in 2016, he could be a member of the 30/20 club in a dream scenario. Even in a more limited projection, Myers' 27-plus home runs, 90-pljus RBIs and .320-plus OBP make him an excellent fantasy option.
Tier 3 - Silver
10. Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays
Once one of the game's best prospects years ago, Smoak finally delivered the numbers many scouts dreamed of years ago. The 31-year-old credited changes in his approach at the plate, less focused on home runs and instead focused on just generating contact, for his 38-homer, .270/.355/.529 slash line season. His .285 BABIP falls in line with his 2016 season, his 19.7 percent HR/FB rate is repeatable and his launch angle is on point for maximizing home runs with hard contact. Smoak's potential to post another 30-plus home run season with 170-plus runs produced and a .250-plus BA easily make him a fantasy starter at first base.
11.) Carlos Santana, Philadelphia Phillies
Santana quickly found a home and cashed in this season in a solid landing spot. From his consistency to get on base, demonstrated by a 13-plus walk percentage in every season at the MLB level and a career .365 OBP, the veteran is an OBP stud. Paired with his low strikeout rate, potential for 180-plus runs produced and consistent 25-28 home run power, you can't go wrong with him at first base or in the corner infield.
12.) Eric Hosmer, San Diego Padres
Hosmer cashed in on a mega deal with the Padres this offseason, fantasy owners should not shower him with the same love San Diego gave him. A .351 BABIP is due for regression and with it will come a 20-point drop in his batting average. In a top-heavy lineup and a park that isn't especially favorable, Hosmer projects for 20-25 home runs, 80-plus RBIs and a .280/.240/.455 line.
13.) Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
One of the game's elite fantasy catchers, Posey continues to retain first base eligibility and his numbers make him a solid option there. He offers a .290-plus batting average, 12-plus home runs and offers the potential for 170-plus runs produced. The additions of Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria, along with a healthier Brandon Belt, should help propel this San Francisco lineup past its 2017 woes.
14.) Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
The days of 30-plus home runs and a stellar triple-slash line are likely a thing of the past. Cabrera will turn 35 early this season and even with renewed commitment to strengthen his core muscles, Cabrera back and legs are still at risk of injury with age. He'll be lucky to play 150 games this year and if he plays under 140, Cabrera will likely barely crack 20 home runs and it will come with an above average but not great batting average.
Tier 4 - Bronze
15.) Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics
A bit unheralded as a rookie last season, the result of one of the greatest rookie classes we've seen in years, Olson shined in 59 games with the Athletics. He needed only 216 plate appearances to hit 24 home runs and backed it up with a .352 OBP. His 41.4 HR/FB rate is due for a massive drop, but the three-outcome slugger offers more than enough with the bat to post 30 home runs, 1600-plus runs produced and a .315-plus OBP.
16.) Greg Bird, New York Yankees
An ankle injury derailed the hype around Bird at the start of last season, then Aaron Judge broke onto the scene and New York added Giancarlo Stanton this offseason. Now is the time to seize on Bird flying under the radar. A heavy pull hitter with tons of power and short porches in Yankee Stadium with no pressure on him. Bird will be a cheap source of 130-plus runs produced and 28-plus home runs.
17.) Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers
Yes, as a fantasy owner you'll sacrifice batting average with Gallo. Just accept it in roto/H2H cats leagues and focus on the home runs and walks. Gallo is easily capable of hitting 40 home runs in a full seasons and paired with five-to-seven steals and a 13-plus percent walk rate make him a solid CI option in fantasy.
Tier 5 - Consolation
18.) Josh Bell, Pittsburgh Pirates
We saw two versions of Bell last season. A player with a .239 batting average, .322 OBP and 16 home runs in the first half. Then Bell made adjustments and saw his batting average elevate to .274 and added a 20-point jump in OBP to .349. Bell relies heavily on the ground ball (51.1 percent) and if he can raise his line drive rate over 20 percent and bump his BABIP to .280-plus, he can be a productive fantasy bat with 20 home runs and a .270/.340/.360 slash line.
19.) Ian Desmond, Colorado Rockies
Fantasy owner hoped for a 20/20 season from Desmond in Coors Field last year, instead injuries and an abnormal ground ball rate pushed him down to seven home runs in 95 games. If Desmond can stay healthy and return his line drive rate to 18-plus percent and his fly ball percentage climbs back up to 25-plus percent, the 32-year-old should return to a 15/20 line with solid batting lines.
20.) Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants
A concussion in August last season, detailed here in a great story by Andrew Baggarly, ended Belt's season early. But his 2017 season also suffered from serious bad luck. In five seasons before 2017, Belt registered a .347 BABIP, 25.8 percent line drive rate and a 35.2 percent hard-hit rate. He mostly maintained the line drive rate (23.4 percent) and even improved his hard-contact percentage (38.4) last season, but his BABIP cratered to .284.
Simply put, Belt felt victim to extreme bad luck that is almost certain to not repeat. He remains in the prime of his career and with better BABIP luck, Belt is capable of 18-plus home runs, 140-plus runs created, a fantastic walk rate and a .270 batting average with plenty of runs scored.
21.) Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals
22.) Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
23.) Logan Morrison, Minnesota Twins
24.) Marwin Gonzalez, Houston Astros
25.) Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles