Fantasy Baseball Preview 2014: First Base/DH

First base is much like the “mighty” Kern river here in Bakersfield, Calif. — it’s not as deep as it used to be. 

Truth be told, there hasn’t been water in the “Kern River” this side of Bakersfield for the better part of a decade. While the well isn’t completely dry at the first base position, it’s still dried up somewhat, therefore it’s important to land at least one big bat early. 

Fantasy Baseball Preview: Catchers

Lou Gehrig Tier

The very best in fantasy baseball.

1 Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona

2 Chris Davis – Baltimore

Everyone knew Davis had power; he was a post-hype sleeper since his days in Texas. Finally after some adjustments at the plate, Davis put up a career year hitting homers at a record pace and finishing with 53. Your’s truly took Davis near the 11th round last year, so needless to say I was happier than a preacher’s son in a whore house. All sabermetrics point to Davis’ batting average dipping slightly with almost the same power. I love.

3 Prince Fielder – Texas

Don’t let Fielder’s trip to a new team fool you; he’s still one of the best in the game. Is he clutch? No. Which is why he’s not a Tiger any longer. But for fantasy purposes he could still be on the verge of another monster year. Texas is the most hitter-friendly park in the Majors and Fielder will fit in the lineup just nicely. Fielder’s high on-base percentage makes him even more valuable in leagues that keep the stat.

4 Joey Votto – Cincinnati 

Votto led the league in walks last year and still managed 24 HRs and over 100 runs to go along with a .305 average. He’s still capable of winning another MVP at age 30.

5 Freddie Freeman – Atlanta

Freeman hit .319/23/109 last year and he’s only 24 years old. Analysts are literally drooling at the possibility we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg here.

6 Edwin Encarnacion – Toronto

Encarnacion is a power machine but part of me simply doesn’t trust anyone in Toronto; everyone either gets hurt or traded. Watch the wrist situation closely; regardless Mr. E has elite power you can’t get with many others. 


Todd Helton Tier

Still among the best in the game, drafting here ensures great consistency and reliability.

7 Allen Craig – St. Louis

Injuries have always been Craig’s concern, but the Cardinals have known for years he’s one of the best natural hitters in the league. Drafting him will mean there will probably be a DL stint or two, but when he’s healthy few can deliver the way Craig does — great average and slight power.

8 Eric Hosmer – Kansas City

Hosmer in the beginning of 2013 was atrocious; many gave up on the kid. However, Hosmer after June 1: 16 HRs and an .862 OPS. He’s only 24 as well.

9 Billy Butler (DH) – Kansas City

Butler is a pure hitter who will get you a lot of doubles, hover around 20 HRs and smack around a .300 average. 

10 Adrian Gonzalez – Los Angeles Dodgers

Still makes solid contact. Will get you a great average with some slight power and many RBIs in a terrorizing lineup. 

11 Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels

The “Machine” was the best player in baseball for years — now it seems age has finally caught up to him. I mean, odds are he’s actually 47, right?…He’s had some cold spells along with some nagging injuries in his two years in Anaheim, but according to many analysts I’ve read there is reason to suspect that Pooey (that’s what I call him) isn’t completely done yet. He won’t be healthy all year, but the hate has gone a little too far with Pujols. Expect 400-450 at-bats with a .270 average and 25 homers — don’t pay for more.

12 Sleeper Fav! Jose Abreu – Chicago White Sox

Abreu is the fun, new girlfriend who has the sexy tattoos and spontaneity, but you’re not sure if you should take her home to mom. Weird analogy? Okay…. Abreu won the MVP in the Cuban league a couple years ago and they say he has the power to hit 40-plus home runs. But will he be like Adam Dunn and hit near the Mendoza line? His ADP is 123… Just like that sexy girlfriend, I’m hoping to hit a home run.

13 Bargain Alert! Matt Adams – St. Louis

Adams is a complete stud. The only question is whether or not he’ll see enough at-bats with an uber-crowded lineup that hasn’t even featured Oscar Taveras yet. I think he’ll play; and I think he’ll hit 30 home runs. He’s going at the tasty ADP of 122. Did I just call him tasty? I’m hungry…

14 David Ortiz (DH) – Boston

This is a guy whose career we thought was over just two years ago. Then he goes and single handedly wins the Red Sox another World Series by slugging 9.999 — or something ridiculous. PEDs? Probably. The man is 38 years old. He’ll probably have some big pop in his Papi this year, but considering his body could break down at any time, there’s considerable risk… annnndd Sox fans hate me now. That’s okay. I still love ya. I wore a Red Sox hat my entire 6th grade year. Does that help?


Bill Buckner Tier

Although not always an All-Star, these guys could show flashes of greatness and are worth starting on many teams.

15 Brandon Belt – San Francisco

Post-hype sleeper Belt finally started to hit like we all knew he could in 2013. Finally with full playing time he is very capable of a break out year in ’14. projects close to a .300 average with 21 HRs — not too shabby.

16 Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs

Rizzo is only 24 years old — that’s the good news. The bad? He hit .233 last year. Many expect that average to bounce back close to .270 with decent power. Rizzo is slightly a wild card because of his up-and-down stat lines and because of the fact he will be in a bad lineup.

17 Michael Cuddyer – Colorado

He won’t win another batting title again but you have to love the fact he hits in Colorado. Buy if you need an average boost.

18 Mark Trumbo – Arizona

Will kill your batting average but will give you 30-plus home runs. How desperate are you for power?

19 Brandon Moss – Oakland

Bad average. Good pop. Expect a .250 average with close to 30 home runs. Remember though that hitters aren’t producing like they used to; the league average was around .260 last year — so that .250 average isn’t as egregious as it used to be. 

20 Victor Martinez (DH) – Detroit 

V-Mart will hit for a great average with some pop. Good for deep mixed leagues and a terrific backup in shallow leagues.

21 Corey Hart – Seattle

When he plays he’s terrific. When. He. Plays. The dude missed all of 2013 and is now in a ballpark not conducive to hitters. How will he rebound?

22 Mike Napoli – Boston

Is it the beard? It most certainly isn’t the shoes. Nap was best served at the catch position but still makes a solid play at 1B where he’ll jack 20-plus homers for ya. 


Jeff Conine Tier

Only draftable in the deepest of leagues.

23 Nick Swisher – Cleveland

Somehow this guy just keeps producing. Draft as a backup and start when he gets hot. 

24 Kendrys Morales – Free Agent

Wherever he lands he’ll be a very serviceable player. Draft as a guy you’ll only want to play when hot. He will hit 20 HRs with a .290 average.

25 Justin Morneau – Colorado

The definition of “only draftable in the deepest of leagues,” but the thought of hitting in light-air Colorado intrigues me. Again — super deep leagues only.

26 Yonder Alonso – San Diego

Alonso is young enough that he could still be developing. He’s in a tough park to hit, but he’ll get you a solid average. He’s a younger James Loney

27 Mitch Moreland – Texas

It’s possible he’ll lose some at-bats now that Fielder is in town, but the Rangers won’t forget that Moreland hit .291 with 11 HRs through May before he got hurt. 

28 James Loney – Tampa Bay

Career .285 hitter can be useful as a backup when you need some hits. 

29 Chris Carter – Houston

He set the all-time record for highest strikeout percentage in 2013. He also hit close to 30 homers. So he walks, hits a home run… or he strikes out. One of the three — that’s it. Expect a horrific average with big pop.

30 Adam Dunn – Chicago White Sox

How desperate are you for HRs that you’re willing to obliterate your batting average?

31 Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees

Huge feast or famine with Tex. I’ve never owned him. I will never own him. The Yankees probably regret owning him right now — well, I guess he’s not A-Rod. IF he plays, he’ll hit 20-30 home runs with an average and inconsistency that will make you want to rip out whatever hair you have left on that Rogaine head of yours. Some don’t think he’ll be 100 percent recovered from wrist surgery until mid-summer or next year.

32 Ryan Howard – Philadelphia

Just don’t draft him… unless you won the lottery recently. Then you can draft him. 

33 Adam Lind – Toronto

Lind his 20 HRs with a .385 OBP against righties. However he can’t hit south paws. At all. Only draft in deep leagues and start in a pinch against right-handers.

34 Adam LaRoche – Washington

LaRoche is just like Lind, only 34 years old so he’ll be on a short leash. 

35 Garrett Jones – Miami

Not worth the headache in my book but it’s possible you could ride a hot streak or two. He’ll likely finish with a .240 average and 15-20 HRs.

36 Logan Morrison – Seattle

Mediocre guy in a mediocre lineup. Still young enough to take a chance on if you absolutely fell in love with him in Miami two years ago.

37 Ike Davis – New York Mets

He’ll likely sit against lefties and heck, might even see a Triple-A stint like last season. But for some reason scouts still love this guy. He is still only 26 years old. Maybe he’s a late bloomer? Maybe he’s finally over Valley Fever? Maybe I ate paint chips as a kid?

38 Justin Smoak – Seattle

Just like Davis, only buy in super deep leagues if you think the post-hype sleepiness is still there. However, it’s not likely. 

39 Mark Reynolds – Milwaukee

The only reason he makes this list is because there are some leagues where power is a very hot commodity. The possibility of 25 HRs is still there, but so is a .200 average and a demotion to Triple-A.

​Do Not Draft Under Any Circumstance

…Or I’ll hunt you down. Okay, not really. But you’ll regret owning these guys more than the last time you ate that entire tub of popcorn at Hunger Games.

Paul Konerko, Gaby Sanchez, Michael Young, Juan Francisco, Carlos Pena, Daric Barton


Josh Helmuth is the editor of CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him @JHelmuth or “like” CraveOnline Sports on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Getty