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2020 Fantasy Baseball: Eisner's First Basemen Rankings

Fantasy baseball expert Jaime Eisner ranks and projects each of the top 50 first basemen heading into the 2020 MLB season.

First base has undergone a transformation of sorts in recent years. A position that used to be one of the deepest for fantasy purposes has been a little thin lately. There are still elite options at the position (Bellinger and Freeman) and a solid core underneath (Rizzo, Alonso), but it gets thin fast. About one-third of players in standard leagues will have to settle for just OK at the position. Which first basemen should you target in 2020?

Players are ranked based on Standings Gain Points (SGP) for their projected stats relative to every other player’s projections. You can read more about the idea of SGP here. For these rankings, SGP is calculated assuming a 12-team, 5x5 mixed league with default positions and is based on information from leagues of that type from the last two seasons. My projections are derived from a composite of several projection systems weighted by their accuracy in previous seasons.

1. Cody Bellinger (1B/OF - LAD) — ADP: 4.0

Absolute stud with elite production across the board. I’m happily taking him No. 4 overall. Addition of Mookie Betts will only help him maintain his lofty numbers.

2020 Projection: 108R - 42HR - 115RBI - 13SB - .289 (559 ABs)

2. Freddie Freeman (1B - ATL) — ADP: 16.4

Mr. Reliable popped a career-high 38 home runs last year thanks to a ball MLB definitely didn’t juice. I expect that total to drop slightly, but closer to his 2016 numbers, which were also excellent. He’s a great second-round pick for those who are assigned a double-digit draft slot.

2020 Projection: 100R - 33HRs - 106RBI - 6SB - .298 (568 ABs)

3. Anthony Rizzo (1B - CHC) — ADP: 58.2

I love Rizzo this season, mostly because he’s undervalued. He’s falling into the fifth round for reasons I don’t understand. He’s Freeman light and should be going a round or two after the Braves’ 1B, not 42 picks later.

2020 Projection: 95R - 31HR - 100RBI - 5SB - .288 (556 ABs)

4. Pete Alonso (1B - NYM) — ADP: 27.4

Alonso and Rizzo grade out as nearly equal in SGP so pick your poison. If you’re punting batting average then Alonso is the clear choice. If not, roster construction and ADP will likely make the decision for you.

2020 Projection: 97R - 44HR - 107RBI - 2SB - .255 (573 ABs)

5. Jose Abreu (1B - CHW) — ADP: 80.0

You pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get from Abreu when he’s on the field. Go look at his career stats by season if you haven’t in awhile. It’s remarkable that he’s still undervalued.

2020 Projection: 86R - 32HR - 103RBI - 3SB - .277 (599 ABs)

6. Matt Olson (1B - OAK) — ADP: 65.0

Projection systems are split a bit on if his run total can reach the 90s, but he should continue his stud counting stats for the third straight season. Let’s just hope the .247 batting average stays in 2018 and never comes back.

2020 Projection: 89R - 38HR - 104RBI - 1SB - .260 (561 ABs)

7. Paul Goldschmidt (1B - STL) — ADP: 66.4

His batting average may now be solidly in the “good” category instead of great, but he’s still putting up the numbers we’ve come to expect from him over the years. I don’t see him as a surefire 100-100 guy anymore, but he’ll be close.

2020 Projection: 92R - 31HR - 94RBI - 4SB - .270 (566 ABs)

8. Josh Bell (1B - PIT) — ADP: 83.8

He stopped tinkering with his swing every at-bat and found a lot of success early in 2019. But his poor June and July is enough for me (and everyone else, apparently) to not buy in at a price matching his 2019 numbers.

2020 Projection: 86R - 30HR - 98RBI - 2SB - .273 (549 ABs)

9. Yulieski Gurriel (1B/3B - HOU) — ADP: 133.4

His homers are going to come down, but everything else is legit. The home run spike finally got him the fantasy attention he deserved yet somehow he’s still undervalued.

2020 Projection: 79R - 23HR - 92RBI - 5SB - .291 (574 ABs)

10. D.J. LeMahieu (1B/2B/3B - NYY) — ADP: 64.0

LeMahieu is still a better real life player than fantasy player, but had an amazing first season in the Bronx. He fits in well at any of his eligible positions. Expect a drop in home runs and regression from his .327 batting average. Otherwise, he’ll continue to be a better version of the player he was in Colorado.

2020 Projection: 94R - 19HR - 75RBI - 6SB - .288 (605 ABs)

11. Rhys Hoskins (1B - PHI) — ADP: 105.2

Hoskins’ second full season in MLB was a rough one. He hit .180 (!) in the second half, but I’m not running from him if he stays outside of the Top 100 picks. He’s due for a bounce-back and something close to a repeat of his 2018 season is what I’m expecting.

2020 Projection: 90R - 35HR - 96RBI - 4SB - .239 (543 ABs)

12. Max Muncy (1B/2B/3B - LAD) — ADP: 74.2

Projection systems have him dipping below the 90-run and 90-RBI marks. Everything else seems on par. Only issue I have with the projections is the runs total, which I can see pushing 100 for the second straight season. This is where the SGP puts him value-wise (partly because of his under-500 ABs), but given his triple-eligibility and high ceiling for runs, his current ADP is 100% justifiable.

2020 Projection: 88R - 33HR - 88RBI - 4SB - .251 (495 ABs)

13. Carlos Santana (1B - CLE) — ADP: 130.4

Apparently Santana just likes playing in Cleveland a lot more than Philadelphia. He raised his batting average 52 points season-over-season and was a very valuable asset to fantasy managers in 2019. I expect all his stats to regress, but batting average is the only one that should fall off precipitously.

2020 Projection: 90R - 28HR - 92RBI - 3SB - .257 (544 ABs)

14. Edwin Encarnacion (1B - CHW) — ADP: 169.0

A solid back-up plan if the 1B position gets away from you on draft day. I feel pretty safe saying that a .240-250 average and 30-34 home runs in around 500 at-bats is a lock.

2020 Projection: 79R - 33HR - 91RBI - 1SB - .246 (495 ABs)

15. Danny Santana (1B/OF - TEX) — ADP: 137.8

Uh… so that came out of nowhere, huh? I don’t even know how to put Santana’s 2019 season in context given the player he was before that. I’m sort of buying in if he stays in the 12th round. However, he’s a prime candidate for someone to reach for him in the Top 100. Don’t shed a tear if that happens.

2020 Projection: 72R - 20HR - 74RBI - 17SB - .252 (535 ABs)

16. Christian Walker (1B - ARI) — ADP: 223.8

I think Walker is a sleeper for a CI spot. I have him ranked well inside my Top 200 after a solid rookie season. I think a similar statline is doable, but maybe swap the run and RBI totals with him hitting around fifth in the order.

2020 Projection: 72R - 26HR - 80RBI - 5SB - .250 (501 ABs)

17. Renato Nunez (1B - BAL) — ADP: 296.2

Another CI sleeper, I think Nunez can come close to last year’s totals. I understand wanting some upside with a younger, hipper name, but CI is just as much of a starting spot as 1B. Production is production. He’s a steal unless you expect a total drop off.

2020 Projection: 72R - 29HR - 86RBI - 2SB - .246 (549 ABs)

18. Eric Hosmer (1B - SD) — ADP: 238.8

He’s going to play a lot. He’s going to get you around 70-75 runs and around 20 home runs. But his batting average boost is dead and gone and I’m not betting on him flirting with 100 RBIs again like he did last season. He’s a fine, but unspectacular CI option.

2020 Projection: 73R - 22HR - 81RBI - 3SB - .263 (579 ABs)

19. Joey Votto (1B - CIN) — ADP: 268.8

It’s over, ladies and gentleman. It’s over. I think Votto owners would be quite happy with the projection below, which is precisely the problem.

2020 Projection: 82R - 19HR - 67RBI - 4SB - .269 (557 ABs)

20. Trey Mancini (1B/OF - BAL) — ADP: 105.4

Update: Mancini will miss time with a non-baseball medical issue. His timetable is unknown

He essentially became a better version of his 2017 self in 2019, but there are a ton of red flags. Him being on an absolutely dreadful team will make it hard to repeat his 106-run, 97-RBI season. If he gets traded to a contender, his playing time may suffer a bit. I’d prefer to slot him as one of my five OFers.

2020 Projection: 72R - 25HR - 74RBI - 1SB - .274 (495 ABs)

21. C.J. Cron (1B - DET) — ADP: 327.0

SI Recommends

Nothin special but is fairly solid and consistent. Detroit will be his third team in three years, but joining a new team didn’t slow him down last season.

2020 Projection: 65R - 28HR - 78RBI - 1SB - .262 (478 ABs)

22. Daniel Murphy (1B - COL) — ADP: 287.6

Year 1 in Colorado was a complete bust. However, I suppose there’s still some upside here because, you know, Coors be Coors. To me, he’s a source of batting average late if you need help in that category. Nothing more.

2020 Projection: 67R - 18HR - 75RBI - 2SB - .283 (501 ABs)

23. Michael Chavis (1B/2B - BOS) — ADP: 263.6

His multi-position eligibility is nice, especially in leagues where he can play 3B too, but his stats aren’t anything to overpay for. He’s a really solid last player on your bench, though.

2020 Projection: 69R - 25HR - 76RBI - 4SB - .250 (480 ABs)

24. Miguel Cabrera (1B - DET) — ADP: 341.2

If you miss out on Daniel Murphy, you can draft Cabrera!

2020 Projection: 64R - 17HR - 71RBI - 0SB - .278 (536 ABs)

25. Joc Pederson (1B/OF - LAD) — ADP: 207.2

I’m mad that I’ve had to re-do my projections two times because the Red Sox didn’t Google Brusdar Graterol before trading their best player for him. If he stays with the Dodgers, he’s just not going to get enough at-bats to be much more than fantasy bench fodder with power

2020 Projection: 69R - 27HR - 67RBI - 3SB - .251 (390 ABs)

26. Yandy Diaz (1B/3B - TB) — ADP: 297.2

2020 Projection: 66R - 15HR - 60RBI - 4SB - .274 (508 ABs)

27. Luke Voit (1B - NYY) — ADP: 197.6

2020 Projection: 65R - 22HR - 66RBI - 0SB - .258 (420 ABs)

28. Brandon Belt (1B - SF) — ADP: 423.3

2020 Projection: 68R - 17HR - 63RBI - 4SB - .251 (479 ABs)

29. Ji-Man Choi (1B - TB) — ADP: 430.5

2020 Projection: 57R - 19HR - 61RBI - 3SB - .254 (402 ABs)

30. Albert Pujols (1B - LAA) — ADP: 379.0

2020 Projection: 55R - 20HR - 68RBI - 2SB - .248 (468 ABs)

31. Evan White (1B - SEA) — ADP: 350.0

2020 Projection: 56R - 17HR - 60RBI - 3SB - .258 (477 ABs)

32. Justin Smoak (1B - MIL) — ADP: 421.5

2020 Projection: 58R - 24HR - 64RBI - 0SB - .236 (399 ABs)

33. Howie Kendrick (1B/2B - WSH) — ADP: 332.4

2020 Projection: 48R - 13HR - 51RBI - 3SB - .306 (353 ABs)

34. Eric Thames (1B - WSH) — ADP: 385.3

2020 Projection: 56R - 20HR - 58RBI - 4SB - .238 (378 ABs)

35. Mitch Moreland (1B - BOS) — ADP: 543.0

2020 Projection: 55R - 20HR - 64RBI - 1SB - .240 (392 ABs)

36. Ronald Guzman (1B - TEX) — ADP: 636.0

2020 Projection: 53R - 18HR - 55RBI - 3SB - .243 (383 ABs)

37. Jesus Aguilar (1B - MIA) — ADP: 365.5

2020 Projection: 48R - 19HR - 57RBI - 0SB - .245 (383 ABs)

38. Jeimer Candelario (1B/3B - DET) — ADP: 496.5

2020 Projection: 54R - 15HR - 55RBI - 3SB - .237 (393 ABs)

39. Dan Vogelbach (1B - SEA) — ADP: 365.0

2020 Projection: 50R - 21HR - 55RBI - 0SB - .228 (312 ABs)

40. Jake Lamb (1B/3B - ARI) — ADP: 452.3

2020 Projection: 49R - 16HR - 53RBI - 3SB - .230 (395 ABs)

41. Marwin Gonzalez (1B/3B/OF - MIN) — ADP: 386.2

2020 Projection: 42R - 12HR - 45RBI - 1SB - .269 (312 ABs)

42. Ryan O’Hearn (1B - KC) — ADP: 590.5

2020 Projection: 46R - 17HR - 52RBI - 0SB - .235 (370 ABs)

43. Austin Nola (1B - SEA) — ADP: 481.5

2020 Projection: 44R - 10HR - 46RBI - 3SB - .237 (465 ABs)

44. Ryan Zimmerman (1B - WSH) — ADP: 640.0

2020 Projection: 34R - 12HR - 41RBI - 1SB - .274 (263 ABs)

45. Nate Lowe (1B - TB) — ADP: 331.4

2020 Projection: 35R - 12HR - 38RBI - 1SB - .265 (245 ABs)

46. Jake Bauers (1B/OF - CLE) — ADP: 461.0

2020 Projection: 41R - 12HR - 43RBI - 6SB - .241 (336 ABs)

47. Rowdy Tellez (1B - TOR) — ADP: 415.0

2020 Projection: 34R - 12HR - 38RBI - 2SB -.248 (255 ABs)

48. Matt Adams (1B - NYM) — ADP: 700.5

2020 Projection: 30R - 14HR - 38RBI - 1SB -.234 (190 ABs)

49. Garrett Cooper (1B/OF - MIA) — ADP: 353.8

2020 Projection: 38R - 11HR - 40RBI - 0SB -.265 (321 ABs)

50. Jose Osuna (1B - PIT) — ADP: 607.0

2020 Projection: 35R - 10HR - 39RBI - 2SB -.263 (310 ABs)

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