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Ranking the top 25 first baseman in fantasy baseball [UPDATE]

We take a look at the first base position, including notable offseason transactions, injury news, and rank out the best options for your 2021 fantasy baseball drafts.

Freddie Freeman #5 of the Atlanta Braves singles in the fifth inning during Game 6 of the NLCS between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Globe Life Field on Saturday, October 17, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

March 31 update: With Luke Voit likely to miss at least all of April because of his knee injury, I have moved him down from No. 6 to No. 15 in these ranks. There has to be some concern that he won’t be right for a while even after he returns.

Andrew Vaughn enters these ranks at No. 23. That’s an admittedly conservative spot for the White Sox’s top prospect, but we’ll see. I am just glad that he will be on Chicago’s Opening Day roster. He has seen time in left field recently in the wake of Eloy Jimenez’s pectoral injury.

March 24 update: I have included C.J. Cron, placing him at No. 21. I have been on Cron as a sleeper candidate since basically the moment he latched on with the Colorado Rockies, who purchased Cron’s contract a few days ago. He should get consistent playing time at Coors Field and, as a result, has 30-homer upside. Although I guess Cron shouldn’t be considered a sleeper any longer; he has a No. 178 ADP in National Fantasy Baseball Championships drafts over the past week.

March 9 update: Brandon Belt continues to make small steps forward in his recovery from offseason heel surgery. However, it’s still uncertain when he will play in a spring training game. Belt missed a few days with a non-COVID-related illness. I still like Belt very much as a deep-league value pick, but for now, I have removed him from the rankings in place of White Sox rookie Andrew Vaughn. The No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft is off to a good start this preseason and may be a part of Chicago’s lineup sooner than later.

Even though the question marks pop up at first base a little earlier in the ranks now than in years past, this is still a dependable spot to load up on power bats for your fantasy baseball roster. MVPs and MVP candidates litter the top of the ranks, and you can probably pick up 30-plus homers from players such as Rhys Hoskins and Miguel Sano who can be found in the intermediate depth. Concerns about poor batting averages and injury proneness do abound outside the top 10, but as long as they stay on the field, there will be a lot of bopping here.

Offseason transactions

Josh Bell was sent from the Pirates to the Nationals on Christmas Eve. He’ll get his fill of RBI opportunities as he will likely bat right behind Trea Turner and Juan Soto. In 2019, Bell slugged 37 homers and drove in 116 runs.

Carlos Santana signed a two-year contract with the Royals in early December. He batted .199 last year, but that was partially BABIP-driven. Even at 34 years old, Santana still has good extra-base power and walks a lot. He posted a .911 OPS in 2019 and won’t cost much in drafts this spring.

Notable injuries

Cody Bellinger suffered one of the weirdest and most famous shoulder injuries ever in 2020, when he dislocated his right shoulder while celebrating a World Series home run. Bellinger underwent arthroscopic surgery in November and says he is ahead of schedule in his rehab. He’s hoping to play in spring training games by mid-March.

Jose Abreu returned to the White Sox at the end of Feburary after recovering from a minor case of COVID-19. He should make his spring training game debut within a week.

Top 25 1B rankings

First base rankings 2021

Rank Player Team
Rank Player Team
1 Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves
2 Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers
3 DJ LeMahieu New York Yankees
4 Jose Abreu Chicago White Sox
5 Pete Alonso New York Mets
6 Max Muncy Los Angeles Dodgers
7 Paul Goldschmidt St. Louis Cardinals
8 Vladimir Guerrero Toronto Blue Jays
9 Matt Olson Oakland Athletics
10 Anthony Rizzo Chicago Cubs
11 Josh Bell Washington Nationals
12 Mike Moustakas Cincinnati Reds
13 Rhys Hoskins Philadelphia Phillies
14 Dominic Smith New York Mets
15 Luke Voit New York Yankees
16 Miguel Sano Minnesota Twins
17 Ryan Mountcastle Baltimore Orioles
18 Eric Hosmer San Diego Padres
19 C.J. Cron Colorado Rockies
20 Christian Walker Arizona Diamondbacks
21 Hunter Dozier Kansas City Royals
22 Yuli Gurriel Houston Astros
23 Andrew Vaughn Chicago White Sox
24 Jesus Aguilar Miami Marlins
25 Carlos Santana Kansas City Royals