Top 20 1st Basemen, 2019 Fantasy Baseball, A Recap

Listening to the yearning in Lana Del Rey’s voice calling for easy livin’ in the summertime and longing for the days of every team playing. To ease the hole in my heart, today’s journey through the recaps take us to the 1st basemen. They’re better than the top 20 catchers for 2019 fantasy baseball (not clickbait at all), but by how much? How do I explain that? I have an idea! By recapping them. To recap my recap before the recap, this final ranking is from our Fantasy Baseball Player Rater with my comments.  Anyway, here’s the top 20 1st basemen for 2019 fantasy baseball and how they compared to where I originally ranked them:

1. Cody Bellinger – So, 1st basemen rebounded in a huge way. In the preseason, we were b’ing and m’ing that there were no good 1st basemen and Au Shizz was it. Turned out Au Shizz was just **it and the position was about to make a comeback — Don’t call it a comeback! — Okay, LL, but I did. Be LL’ing’er was mostly boosted from a huge 1st half — 30/8/.336 — but he made actual improvements. His walks were up and Ks were way down, taking him from a .265 hitter to .290, and a 32-homer guy to one that could easily hit 45 homers. He took a similar path to adjustments as a young Rizzo. This is meant as a compliment. Preseason Rank #5, 2019 Projections: 86/33/95/.263/10 in 533 ABs, Final Numbers: 121/47/115/.305/15 in 558 ABs

2. Freddie Freeman – Every 1st baseman’s value seemed to move all around Freeman. He stayed nearly identical to what we thought he would be — minus the juiced ball, obviously. Or plus the juiced ball. You know what I mean, stop acting like you’re wearing clown makeup, standing in line to see The Joker. Preseason Rank #2, 2019 Projections: 101/27/103/.303/7 in 582 ABs, Final Numbers: 113/38/121/.295/6 in 597 ABs

3. Pete Alonso – One note prior to talking about Albombso. My ranking for a guy like Alonso wasn’t that close, but I liked him and drafted him prior to other people, so I’d argue my ranking was fine for him. On the other hand (were we using hands?), I didn’t like Carlos Santana or LeMahieu at all so it doesn’t matter what their rankings or projections say. It’s more about intention than anything. I liked Abreu and drafted him; I didn’t like Bell and didn’t draft him. Rankings and projections are kinda secondary. This is why I also think when sites like Fantasy Pros rank rankings, it’s a joke. If someone ranks a player correctly who they say you should not draft, what difference does it make? So, for Albombso, I gave him a special Razzbally the other day. (Razzballies is plural, but Razzballie is not the singular, don’t be silly.) There’s so many things to talk about with Albombso. One thing pops in my head that is rarely talked about, that goes back to how screwed up MLB is with prospects being artificially held down. Peter (his name at the time) was supposed to be held in the minors to start the year until a last-second surge in the spring. A 50+ homer guy was being ticketed for the minors. That is so dumb. He had done enough in the minors and the Mets had nothing at 1st, so he should’ve had the 1st base job no matter what he did in March. Preseason Rank #22, 2019 Projections: 73/29/85/.264 in 531 ABs, Final Numbers: 103/53/120/.260/1 in 597 ABs

4. DJ LeMahieu – He was a seven to ten home run hitter in Coors, so you can pretend you saw this year coming, but you’re lying. Lying is fine when you tell your kid they can become anything they want, but draw the line on lies with fantasy baseball, please. Preseason Rank #19 for 2nd basemen, 2019 Projections: 68/14/62/.285/8 in 504 ABs, Final Numbers: 109/26/102/.327/5 in 602 ABs

5. Trey Mancini – There’s a problem with being a staunch defender of Saberhagenmetrics, when you’re caught off guard and you’re “out” on a guy during his good year, you want to go back in for his next year, but that’s the “down” year incoming.  I.e., if I was out on Mancini this year, how do I go back in next year? It’s like dancing off-beat. There’s no getting back in. (That I know of, but I also can’t dance.) Preseason Rank #26, 2019 Projections: 73/23/70/.253 in 562 ABs, Final Numbers: 106/35/97/.291/1 in 602 ABs

6. Carlos Santana – Confluence of peripherals led to Carlos Santana’s year — best BABIP since 2013 and lower fly ball rate but better contact, so the ones he hit counted for more. By the by, Confluence of Peripherals is a great FanGraphs contributor band, and I won’t hear different, literally. Preseason Rank #36, 2019 Projections: 74/24/84/.232/2 in 563 ABs, Final Numbers: 110/34/93/.281/4 in 573 ABs

7. Jose Abreu – Sorry to report I will be referencing this Abreu year dozens and dozens of times in the future when anyone says something like, “Grey, you are so handsome, is your tan natural? Also, I don’t trust (insert player’s name) to get RBIs because he plays for a bad team.”  See Abreu’s 2019! Preseason Rank #8, 2019 Projections: 87/29/105/.284/2 in 603 ABs, Final Numbers: 85/33/123/.284/2 in 634 ABs

8. Josh Bell – Maybe I’m not seeing the forest through the trees, but I don’t believe his 1st half and am more of a 2nd half Bell guy. 69/27/84/.302 vs. woof/burp/yuck/wha’ happened. Oddly enough, his Ks went down in the 2nd half and his walks went up. His hard contact rate also back-slid to previous year levels. For whom the Bell tolls? Not I, not…*dramatically* I. Preseason Rank #38, 2019 Projections: 68/17/75/.268/2 in 522 ABs, Final Numbers: 94/37/116/.277 in 527 ABs

9. Yuli Gurriel – Can we all bow our heads for the people who dropped Gurriel on June 30th? Please, a moment of silence. Preseason Rank #23, 2019 Projections: 71/15/83/.294/4 in 544 ABs, Final Numbers: 85/31/104/.298/5 in 564 ABs

10. Max Muncy – I’m taking the W on Muncy for my preseason sleeper post, his ranking and projections. I Wuncy on Muncy!  Preseason Rank #12, 2019 Projections: 81/33/87/.268/4 in 423 ABs, Final Numbers: 101/35/98/.251/4 in 487 ABs

11. Anthony Rizzo – R to the anking!  Pr to the ojections!  N to the O? O to the kay!  Preseason Rank #4, 2019 Projections: 91/33/108/.287/7 in 578 ABs, Final Numbers: 89/27/94/.293/5 in 512 ABs

12. Paul Goldschmidt – I don’t have the mental capacity or it’s a lack of laziness to figure this out, but I think after I told you to trade away Au Shizz right after his three-homer game (in March), that his value was barely a top 17 for 1st basemen. So, yes, I way overranked him in the preseason, but recognized it almost immediately and told you to sell him on March 29th. He hit four homers in March (in four games) and only beat that month for power in May (5 HRs) and July (11). Au shucks. Preseason Rank #1, 2019 Projections: 102/30/105/.284/8 in 574 ABs, Final Numbers: 97/34/97/.260/97/3 in 597 ABs

13. Matt Olson – I dropped him from being a top 10 1st baseman to the 30th 1st baseman off the board when he broke his hamate bone in March and had it removed. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve drafted Olson 1st overall while having my hamate bone removed so I could make only power moves all season on waivers. Preseason Rank #30, 2019 Projections: 58/19/54/.254/1 in 415 ABs, Final Numbers: 73/36/91/.267 in 483 ABs

14. Christian Walker – Props to preseason commenter, Luigi. I didn’t rank him, but he-a knew-a what-a was-a up-a. Bravo, Luigi!  Unranked, Final Numbers: 86/29/73/.259/8 in 529 ABs

15. Hunter Dozier – I hate that he’s already 28 years old, and I want to make this about this year vs. next year, but Dozier’s got a ton of likable peripherals for next year. Him or Goldy? Thinking him and I don’t think anyone is going to rank them in that order. Top 25 exit velocity (with 200 batted balls); 26th average fly ball distance; solid launch angle. He took a step forward, hopefully it’s not too late, due to his age. Preseason Rank #63, 2019 Projections: 51/14/57/.217/4 in 534 ABs, Final Numbers: 75/26/84/.279/2 in 523 ABs

16. Edwin Encarnacion – I nearly projected him for exactly what he did, but I ranked him much higher. Great example of more 1st basemen showing something this year than seemed likely in the preseason. Also, it doesn’t go unnoticed that Edwin needed 100 less at-bats to get those stats. 2019 + baseball stats = Capri Sun straws stuck in a baseball. Hey, the math is right there, sweet! Preseason Rank #7, 2019 Projections: 78/33/91/.241/2 in 523 ABs, Final Numbers: 81/34/86/.244 in 418 ABs

17. Joc Pederson – I believe I was in on him every season until this year. So, somehow he burned me again. Get the Icy/Hot out of my Joc!  Preseason Rank #67 for outfielders, 2019 Projections: 63/27/47/.244/3 in 414 ABs, Final Numbers: 83/36/74/.249/1 in 450 ABs

18. Eric Hosmer – This goes back to what I said for Albombso, but its inverse. I essentially nailed Hosmer’s rank, but I’d be lying if I said I was drafting Hosmer. Preseason Rank #16, 2019 Projections: 80/20/84/.258/5 in 605 ABs, Final Numbers: 72/22/99/.265 in 619 ABs

19. Renato Nunez – Okay, okay, OKAY! Last note about how rankings are largely a crock. Apparently, I ranked Nunez the highest, according to Fantasy Pros. I ranked him around 230 overall and some didn’t rank him until around 700. “Cool,” said a’la John Oliver. I did say you should draft him, but I didn’t draft him and I don’t necessarily think he was a great pick or someone that made a huge difference on fantasy teams. So, should my “correct” ranking of him matter? No, of course not. It’s silly. Like spending 300 words talking about this in October. Preseason Rank #30 for 3B, 2019 Projections: 54/26/68/.251/1 in 522 ABs, Final Numbers: 72/31/90/.244/1 in 541 ABs

20. Rhys Hoskins – Easily one of the most disappointing players of the year. Not only did I rank him third, but, if I’m being honest, I expected even more from him than that. Turns out hitting a shizzton 365-foot fly balls is not good for home runs or batting average. Can he find his way to getting stuck in an elevator with Barry Bonds this offseason and adding 25 feet on his fly balls and six inches on his hat? Preseason Rank #3, 2019 Projections: 103/38/115/.252/5 in 567 ABs, Final Numbers: 86/29/85/.226/2 in 570 ABs

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