Fantasy Baseball: First Base Sleepers

The first base position position has a lot of big names and a lot of depth. Guys like Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, and Edwin Encarnacion will be taken in the first 10-20 picks. But, if you don’t get one of those guys, maybe because you took a stud at a different position, here are some guys who will give you the late value you’re looking for.

Kennys Vargas, Minnesota Twins

In his short cup of coffee in 2014 (234 plate appearances in 53 games), Vargas hit an impressive .274/.316/.456 with 9 bombs, 38 RBIs, and scored 26 runs. Project those numbers out into 150 games, and he could hit 25+ homers, 100+ RBIs, and score around 75 runs. He will hit in the middle of the Twins lineup, likely #4 behind Joe Mauer, and will see plenty of opportunity to produce. Here’s one thing to look out for: Vargas only played 13 games at first base in 2014, so make sure you check your league settings and eligibility rules as he may not qualify at first base in all leagues.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

In 2013, Belt put up career highs across the board, which, understandably, let to major excitement in the fantasy community. As 2014 rolled around, Belt’s name was gaining a lot of traction, and he rewarded those who drafted him with 7 homers in April. Cue the downslide. A broken left thumb caused Belt to miss two months, and a back issue then a concussion contributed to Belt only playing 61 games in 2014. When Belt returned in September, he hit .286, and hit .395 in the postseason. Belt, 26, is on the upswing. Don’t let the injuries fool you. His ADP is 181, and if you’re smart you won’t let him fall that far. He should be a top-10/15 first baseman barring injury.

Adam Lind, Milwaukee Brewers

I won’t lie to you, I’m just as tired of Adam Lind as you are. You never know what you’ll get from this cat. But, diving deeper into his numbers has me a little less sour. In 2014, Lind only went yard 6 times. Disappointing, without a doubt. But, again, dive deeper. Lind’s fly-ball-to-homer rate was an astonishingly low 7.6%. His career rate is 14.9%, which would explain why he has his 20 bombs in four of his last six full seasons. Moving to Miller Park, a safe haven for lefties, will also help. Not to mention hitting behind Ryan Braun and Carlos Gomez. Expect Lind to bounce back to his 20 homer self, as well as drive in a lot of runs and hitting for a decent average.

Lucas Duda: Lucas Duda is my favorite sleeper of 2015. He proved he can be productive in his first full season as the starting first baseman for the New York Mets. Duda hit his career high fly ball percentage (48.5%) and fly-ball-to-homer percentage (16.2%), both of which have gone up every year of his career. In 2014, Duda hit .252/.353/.478 with 30 homers, 92 RBIs, and 74 runs scored. Throw in the fact that the Mets are moving in the outfield fences AGAIN, and Duda could be looking at improving on his 2014 numbers across the board.

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