We have reached November. The baseball season ended less than a week ago. That means it is time for some too early fantasy baseball rankings. To get things started, we will begin with the lovely catcher position. After the Top 30 rankings, there will be a breakdown of a few of the catchers to target. Those that take things too seriously may want to check into some updated rankings closer to January as a lot will change with the positional rankings this offseason. Many players are looking for new homes this offseason, and they may not sign with their new teams for quite some time. 

The first base position is a position that has more depth going into 2021 than most thought even existed in 2020. Freddie Freeman and Cody Bellinger lead the way before things get a little murky. The talent is strong, but it comes down to players like Jose Abreu, Anthony Rizzo, and some other boppers to differentiate between in your draft. What makes the first base position much more attractive this season are the later round options or bottom 15 in the rankings. The depth at the position allows most to wait to grab a first baseman until later in drafts or at least have a productive corner infield option later in the draft. 

Once the positional rankings are released, I will post a google sheet with all positions on one page (like last year). Make sure to keep a lookout for all updates as the rankings will be more fluid than usual this season; if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@bdentrek). 

First Base
1- Freddie Freeman
2- Cody Bellinger
3- Jose Abreu
4- Paul Goldschmidt
5- Anthony Rizzo
6- Luke Voit
7- D.J. LeMahieu
8- Pete Alonso
9- Matt Olson
10- Christian Walker
11- Rhys Hoskins
12- Carlos Santana
13- Eric Hosmer
14- Dominic Smith
15- Miguel Sano
16- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
17- Brandon Belt
18- Garrett Cooper
19- Jesus Aguilar
20- C.J. Cron
21- Jared Walsh
22- Josh Bell
23- Max Muncy
24- Renato Nunez
25- Evan White
26- Rowdy Tellez
27- Jeimer Candelario
28- Ryan Mountcastle
29- Bobby Dalbec
30- Edwin Encarnacion

Freddie Freeman may win the NL MVP this season and is coming off a monster season where he hit .341 with 13 home runs and a .299 ISO. He even increased his walk rate to 17.2%, which is just crazy. Freeman also lowered his strikeout rate, increased his hard-hit rate to 54.2%, while his other xStats were dead on to his actual production. Freeman showcased a much better contact rate in 2020, and there is not a ton saying he will not be extremely productive in 2021. Can Freeman be this same offensive juggernaut? Probably not, but he can still be outstanding and worthy of a top pick in your fantasy drafts. 

Is the price, right?

Jose Abreu has been Mr. Consistency since he joined the White Sox in 2014. You could pencil him in for close to 30 home runs, 80 runs scored, 100 RBI, and a .280-.290 average. To say anyone could’ve predicted his age 33 season to be such a smash as it would be a lie. He hit 19 home runs while driving in 60 runs and hitting .317. He is in the running for the AL MVP and well deserved. The 2020 stats are great, but the question is, can he do it again? When digging deeper with Abreu, he had some of his best stats when it came to barrels, hard-hit rate, etc., but there are some red flags. His contact rates dropped around 5%, while his whiff rate also increased by about 5%. His contact quality was a significant change and his weak, topped, and under contact dropped, and his solid contact rose. He can have another strong season, a season that resembles the expected stats we have been used to, but a 2 Early Mocks ADP of 37.3 brings quite a steep price tag to the table.

Bounceback Season?

Anthony Rizzo watched his offensive production hit quite the low in 2020. He finished the season with a measly .222 average but still managed 11 home runs and even snuck in three stolen bases. These are not the numbers one would want from Rizzo. When diving into his stats, it was noticeable that he was more patient at the plate. His swing rates dropped, and he was not as aggressive on first pitches. Rizzo also saw a drop in his quality of contact as his weak contact rose (even though the barrel rate went up), and he popped the ball up over 11% of the time. Rizzo has battled injuries in recent seasons, most back injuries, but if healthy going into 2021, he may be quite an excellent bounce-back candidate. 

A couple of other power bats looking to bounce back are Pete Alonso and Matt Olson. There were high expectations for both going into 2020, but both underachieved. Alonso still showcased some home run prowess with 16 home runs, but he only hit .231 with a .260 ISO.  His contact rates dropping some could be a significant reason for his production dropping and, more importantly, his chase contact wherein 2019 it was 58.3%, and in 2020 it was 47.8%. That significant drop could be a substantial difference with a batting average going from .260 to .231. There is likely more with Alonso, but that is good for a starter. 

Olson, on the other hand, was a massive disappointment. Olson hit 14 home runs, but his batting average dropped to a measly .195, and his strikeout rose to 31.4%. There was a lot of swing and miss in his game, leading to the increased strikeout rate, a higher pop-up rate, and a drop in his hard-hit rate. Olson is a prime candidate to bounce back, and with his deflated draft price, Olson could be an excellent option for 40+ home runs later in the draft. 

Later Round Targets

There are a ton of later-round targets to enjoy. The likes of Garret Cooper and Renato Nunez bring some nice power upside. The surprise of 2020, Jerad Walsh will be available, and after he made a swing change in the minors, he crushed with the Angels. Josh Bell goes from a Top 10 first baseman to a first baseman outside the Top 20, and if you are a believer, there’s a bounceback there as well. Evan White, Ryan Mountcastle, Bobby Dalbec, and others late in the draft can be excellent sources of power and potentially much more in your drafts.

Conclusion

There is a lot more that can be discussed about the first base position. It will all be discussed on future podcasts (Benched with Bubba) and articles. It is a position that I will likely wait on a bit in drafts as I am a fan of the value. For once, it feels we are getting closer to the loaded first base position we once had in fantasy baseball.