Sep 18, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams (32) scores the game winning run on a single by catcher Tony Cruz (not pictured) during the thirteenth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 3-2 in the thirteenth inning. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The number before each first baseman’s name represents their overall rank in the 2015 Fantasy Baseball Rankings.
18. #106 Lucas Duda New York Mets
It took until the 18th ranked first basemen, but we are outside of the top 100 picks on my rankings. Of course, Lucas Duda could be justified as a top 100 pick as long as his recent abdominal issue ends up being minor. His 30 homers and .830 OPS made Duda a very strong fantasy option in 2014, and I feel like a 25 HR and .800 OPS season is on the horizon if this injury scare is alleviated.
19. #115 Adam LaRoche Chicago White Sox
Everyone always says that LaRoche is always underrated, but I feel like I value him properly a little bit outside the top 100. Of course, he would be a bargain if he fell into that pick #150 range. Regardless, LaRoche is a respectable option at first base, but he would likely be my second first baseman drafted.
To me, Adam LaRoche is known for one thing – hitting 25 homers. In nine full seasons (excluding 2004 rookie stint with 111 games and his torn ACL season in 2011), LaRoche has had three seasons of exactly 25 homers and another one with 26 bombs. In those nine full seasons, Adam LaRoche has 227 homers, which comes out to 25.2 HR’s per season. You will never guess how many long balls he is projected to hit this year.
20. #116 Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants
While Belt is the last player in these rankings that I would feel comfortable starting at first base, he also has a top 10 ceiling at his position this year. Brandon Belt started off 2014 red hot before succumbing to injury. Now, Belt will be 27 this year, and it is a bit of a make or break year for him coming off of a 61 game season. I would roll the dice with Brandon Belt for sure.
21. #127 Justin Morneau Colorado Rockies
If you asked me if wanted a former MVP playing first base at Coors Field, then my answer would usually be absolutely. However, Justin Morneau has not reached 20 homers, 65 runs, or 85 RBI’s since 2009. His walk rate is only half of what it used to be with the Twins up through 2010. While I still want Justin Morneau on my team, I will not necessarily pay the mid-round price for him.
22. #138 Eric Hosmer Kansas City Royals
Eric Hosmer is not going to live up to the hype that he received as a prospect and younger big leaguer. Deal with it. He is a 15 home run guy with the potential to hit .290. Eric Hosmer has a batted ball profile that prevents him from being the slugger that we once dreamed he could be. Over half of Hosmer’s batted balls are grounders, and it is difficult to slug grounders into the waterfalls at Kauffman.
23. #168 Matt Adams St. Louis Cardinals
Fantasy owners were probably hoping for bigger things when Matt Adams got a full-time gig, but scoring 55 runs, hitting 15 homers, driving in 68 RBI’s, stealing three bags, and batting .288 is not too shabby. I think his power potential is closer to 20 homers than the 30 bombs some people expected from the portly hitter back in 2013 when he smacked 17 homers in 108 games.
24. #171 Steve Pearce Baltimore Orioles (also OF eligible)
There is no way that Steve Pearce will replicate his 2014 performance because his 160 wRC+ would have been the fifth best in MLB last season. However, Pearce has the ability to improve on his counting stats next season because he only played in 102 games for the Orioles. With an encouraging BB/K of .49 and loads of fly balls in his batted ball profile, there is no reason not to think that Pearce could approach 70 runs, 20 homers, and 70 RBI’s with a full-time starting job.
25. #221 Mike Napoli Boston Red Sox
While I have been a pretty big Mike Napoli fan for a couple of seasons, he does not garner much fantasy interest for me. At this point, Napoli is just too injury prone, but I would have no problem with having him in your utility spot(s). Even if Mike Napoli is far from his 2011 peak and lost his catcher eligibility, he still has one of the best eyes in baseball.
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