Rankings Rundown: First Base

How the Rankings Were Formed

Most people are familiar with ESPN’s player rater, which is a system that gives a total value to any player based on the categories your league uses.  This is a great tool for determining how to value a player since  it may be hard to determine which is better for your fantasy team if a player does better in some categories but worse in others than another player. There are a ton of resources available to help decide how players at each position should be ranked, but what if the player rater was available as a predictive tool instead of just rating current performance?  That was my goal, to rank the players based on how experts project them to perform.

I took the projections from FantasyPros.com which combined the projections from multiple sources into a player’s average projection.  I will update these as more sources are added.  Now is a good time to mention that these rankings are only as accurate as the rankings which comprised them.  I averaged the projections to form each player’s composite projections which are listed next to his name.  I then took the average of each statistic for the entire group.  I then used the formula that the ESPN player rater is based on to assign points to each player.  How that basically works is to determine how many standard deviations above or below the average a player will be in each category.  For example, if the average amount of RBIs projected is 50 and the standard deviation is 5, a player who is projected to drive in 60 runs gets an RBI score of 2.0.  A player projected for 45 RBIs would get a score of -1.0.  Then each player has his score for each category added together to get a final score.  In the rankings, the score for each category is listed in parenthesis.

There are some flaws in this system.  The first is, as I mentioned, the rankings are only as strong as the projections that make them.  Since I am not making the projections, I cannot verify how accurate they may be (it’s for the best I’m not making them).  The second is that my “poor man’s player rater” only analyzes data by position.  ESPN would take the average of all players at all positions.  I am taking the average for only players at one position at a time and only including the projections for the players I’m ranking.  I don’t know if this is necessarily a bad thing but it will make for difference between my system and ESPN’s.  Since the scores are position based, a 3.5 for a catcher cannot be compared to a 3.5 for an outfielder because the data won’t have the same standard deviation.  All this information will do is show, based on the projections, how to rank players based on all relevant categories and it can help with tiers, showing where the bigger drop offs are.  I will eventually create a combined list using all of the players.

It’s also worth noting that these should not be used as a full ranking system.  For instance, players who have multiple position eligibility may be more valuable but that’s not taken into account here.  It also doesn’t take into account that some players may have very high ceilings, it works on projections and projections alone.  So it’s a helpful tool, but not the last place stop for ranking players.

For hitting, I included two lists.  The first is for leagues which use the standard 5 categories and the second list includes OPS for any 6×6 leagues which use that as a stat.

**For First Base, SB statistics were removed since none of the players are projected for more than 13 SB.  Including those points would be misleading**

Rankings for 5×5 Leagues (SB Removed from Points)

PlayerTier 1 R HR RBI SB AVG Points
1. P. Goldschmidt 93 30 101 13 0.290 6.4
2. C. Davis 84 38 96 3 0.269 5.4
3. P. Fielder 84 27 99 3 0.283 4.3
4. E. Encarnacion 84 31 94 6 0.271 3.9
5. J. VottoTier 2 87 25 81 6 0.301 3.4
6. A. Gonzalez 78 22 96 2 0.286 2.5
7. A. Pujols 78 26 91 4 0.272 2.0
8. F. Freeman 80 22 88 3 0.288 2.0
9. J. Abreu 74 30 84 4 0.273 1.8
10. D. Ortiz*Tier 3 74 24 84 3 0.290 1.5
11. B. Butler 73 20 89 2 0.286 0.9
12. M. Trumbo 76 28 91 5 0.245 0.8
13. E. Hosmer 80 19 83 12 0.283 0.7
14. A. Rizzo 75 26 84 6 0.263 0.6
15. B. Posey 71 18 82 3 0.298 0.2
16. A. CraigTier 4 71 18 84 3 0.294 0.2
17. K. Morales 70 23 83 1 0.271 -0.3
18. M. Cuddyer 68 20 77 8 0.288 -0.8
19. N. Swisher 75 23 81 2 0.254 -0.8
20. J. Mauer 77 12 74 3 0.298 -1.1
21. C. Santana 74 20 76 4 0.254 -2.0
22. C. CarterTier 5 67 27 80 2 0.228 -2.4
23. M. Adams 59 22 71 2 0.269 -3.0
24. M. Teixeira 64 23 73 3 0.245 -3.3
25. B. Belt 66 16 68 7 0.275 -3.3
26. M. Napoli 65 21 73 2 0.249 -3.3
27. B. Moss 62 23 70 4 0.247 -3.7
28. C. Hart 67 21 58 4 0.257 -4.1
29. R. Howard 58 21 74 1 0.240 -4.5
30. J. Lucroy 54 16 62 5 0.279 -5.0
AVG 72.9 23.1 81.6 4.2 0.272
SD 8.9 5.1 10.4 2.8 0.019

*May not qualify for 1B in many leagues.

In 5×5 leagues, 1B breaks very nicely into tiers.  which should give you a good sense of who you want and how much you may want to spend at the position.  Any of the top 5 guys are very safe picks but will go early in drafts.

Rankings for 6 Category Leagues w/ OPS (SB Removed from Points)

PlayerTier 1 R HR RBI SB AVG OPS Points
1. P. GoldschmidtTier 2 93 30 101 13 0.290 0.901 8.4
2. C. Davis 84 38 96 3 0.269 0.878 6.8
3. J. Votto 87 25 81 6 0.301 0.926 5.9
4. P. Fielder 84 27 99 3 0.283 0.858 5.2
5. E. EncarnacionTier 3 84 31 94 6 0.271 0.864 5.0
6. D. Ortiz* 74 24 84 3 0.290 0.879 2.9
7. F. Freeman 80 22 88 3 0.288 0.845 2.7
8. J. Abreu 74 30 84 4 0.273 0.855 2.7
9. A. Gonzalez 78 22 96 2 0.286 0.802 2.2
10. A. PujolsTier 4 78 26 91 4 0.272 0.813 2.0
11. B. Posey 71 18 82 3 0.298 0.842 0.8
12. B. Butler 73 20 89 2 0.286 0.809 0.7
13. A. Rizzo 75 26 84 6 0.263 0.810 0.4
14. A. Craig 71 18 84 3 0.294 0.816 0.2
15. E. HosmerTier 5 80 19 83 12 0.283 0.786 0.0
16. M. Trumbo 76 28 91 5 0.245 0.757 -0.5
17. M. Cuddyer 68 20 77 8 0.288 0.825 -0.5
18. J. Mauer 77 12 74 3 0.298 0.817 -1.0
19. K. Morales 70 23 83 1 0.271 0.778 -1.1
20. N. Swisher 75 23 81 2 0.254 0.780 -1.6
21. C. SantanaTier 6 74 20 76 4 0.254 0.797 -2.4
22. B. Belt 66 16 68 7 0.275 0.809 -3.5
23. M. Adams 59 22 71 2 0.269 0.792 -3.5
24. Chris Carter 67 27 80 2 0.228 0.765 -3.5
25. M. Napoli 65 21 73 2 0.249 0.805 -3.6
26. M. Teixeira 64 23 73 3 0.245 0.782 -4.0
27. B. MossTier 7 62 23 70 4 0.247 0.788 -4.3
28. C. Hart 67 21 58 4 0.257 0.755 -5.5
29. J. Lucroy 54 16 62 5 0.279 0.780 -5.8
30. R. Howard 58 21 74 1 0.240 0.749 -6.0
AVG 72.9 23.1 81.6 4.2 0.272 0.815
SD 8.9 5.1 10.4 2.8 0.019 0.044

*May not qualify for 1B in many leagues

With OPS, Goldschmidt becomes the clear #1.  Otherwise there is not a whole lot of movement between the players.  What is clear is a distinction between the 10 best first basemen and those that fall outside the top 10.  That means if you play in a league bigger than 10 teams, at least 2 teams in your league will be in a rough spot at 1B and you may want to consider making sure you’re not one of those teams.