First base is traditionally a deep position, and a solid place to look when in search of some power. However, some of fantasy’s top scoring first basemen, namely Matt Adams and Brandon Belt, have come across on the waiver wire and made a big impact. Since it is such a deep position, there are often guys putting forth strong numbers that are being overlooked and underowned. I’m here to offer a few guys that are available in over 50% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues. I tried to include two standard league options, and one deeper league option since I know deep leagues are heavily discriminated against in the fantasy sphere. I’m always looking help you all get ahead in your H2H leagues, so here’s three from me:
2018 totals: .284/.331/.503 with 21 R, 9 HR, 25 RBI in 169 PA
C.J Cron has settled in nicely with the Rays, swatting 9 home runs through his first 39 games with his new team. He has primarily been batting second, and rightfully so as he has been the Rays best all-around hitter thus far. Cron matched his career high of 16 home runs last year, despite playing in only 100 games. In fact, he has recorded exactly 16 home runs in each of his past 3 seasons with the Angels. He seems well on his way to set a new career high, assuming that he can stay healthy enough to play 110+ games. Tropicana Field is viewed as a pitcher-friendly park, but Cron has been able to produce regardless. Cron’s wRC+ of 126 is ranked 7th among all first basemen, as is his .357 wOBA. He is also 3rd among all 1B in slugging percentage (.503) and his isolated power (.219) is good for 6th among all 1B. Looking at the typical fantasy statistics, he is 2nd in home runs, 5th in runs batted in, 6th in batting average, and 9th in runs scored. In nearly every facet he is a top 10 fantasy 1B, yet he is available in over half of ESPN/Yahoo leagues. He won’t swipe many bags for you and his average will likely fall closer to the .250/.260 mark, but Cron should continue to be a strong source of home runs, runs batted in, and runs scored the rest of the way if he remains healthy.
ZiPS ROS projection: .259/.310/.454 with 16 HR, 42 R, 56 RBI, 3 SB in 383 PA (99 games)
2018 totals: .330/.404/.626 with 15 R, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 1 SB in 104 PA
Mitchy 2-Bags has quietly been one of the hottest hitters in baseball lately, slashing .344/.419/.703 with 6 home runs and 19 runs batted in over the past 30 days. Originally in a platoon with Hanley Ramirez at first base, manager Alex Cora has been forced to get the hot hitting Moreland into the lineup more often, usually at the expense of offensive liability Jackie Bradley. Moreland has responded well, slashing .375/.459/.750 with 3 home runs, 3 doubles, and 8 runs bated in over the past 15 days. Over the last 3 seasons Moreland’s HR totals has been 22, 22, and 23 respectively, so it is pretty safe to assume he will reach that mark again if he reaches over 500 plate appearances. One thing that will surely regress is his .330 batting average, propelled by a .348 BABIP that is significantly higher than his career .287 mark. However, his 11.5% walk rate is an improvement from his 8.1% mark, as his 16.3% strikeout rate is also a substantial increase from his 21.1% career rate. He is about only 22 plate appearances from qualifying for the hitting statistics, but his marks compare favorably with the top first basemen. His 172 wRC+ would be the highest among all first basemen, and 6th among all hitters in the MLB. His .433 wOBA would beat Freddie Freeman for best at the position, and only trail Mookie Betts, Manny Machado, Mike Trout, and Aaron Judge for best in all of baseball. Definitely not some bad company to be in. Moreland has been known for being a streaky hitter, but he could turn his recent fortune into sustained success so ride him while he is hot.
ZiPS ROS projection: .262/.331/.457 with 14 HR, 41 R, 54 RBI in 361 PA (98 games)
2018 totals: .310/.382/.494 with 14 R, 3 HR, 14 RBI in 102 PA
Jesus Aguilar has been the every day first baseman for the Brewers the past couple weeks, filling in for the injured Eric Thames (Thumbs?). With Thames set to miss another month plus, Aguilar should have first base locked up for the near future if he continues to produce. Over the past 30 days, Aguilar has slashed .279/.342/.485 with 3 home runs, 14 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. He has been working out of the 3-hole recently, and his 136 wRC+ and .375 wOBA suggest he’s in a good position to continue creating runs. He belted 16 home runs in 311 plate appearances last year, slashing .265/.331/.505 along the way. His current .310 average will likely fall much closer to his mark from last year, as his .387 BABIP is due to come down some. He strikes out a bunch, but his 24.5% strikeout rate is actually an improvement from his career 29.4% clip. Aguilar makes up for that with a healthy 9.8% walk rate, which gives him a boost in OBP leagues. He should continue to see a heavy workload with Thames out, and figures to carve out a significant role even upon his return. Aguilar is a solid deeper league power source, but if he continues to hit at this rate his ownership rates will jump drastically.
ZiPS ROS projection: .252/.317/.436 with 13 HR, 41 R, 50 RBI in 336 PA (101 games)