Bargain Bin

The Bargain Bin: First Base

Nothing is much sweeter than getting a good deal, hence the reason for Black Friday sales or why car dealerships and mattress stores use Presidents’ birthdays to sell you stuff. While there may not be any crazy gimmicks or sales in fantasy baseball, the concept of finding a bargain is something that exists in fantasy baseball. Come draft day, players are always looking to acquire a valuable piece for their fantasy roster at a discount pick. This is where The Bargain Bin comes in. Each Wednesday up until the regular season starts, I will be covering a new position and three players of that position that you can draft outside the top 150 picks who will be more than good enough to use as your starter. This will help you focus on other areas to draft more strategically early on, and then you can scoop up one of these players to help compliment your roster towards the end.

For the first article of this series, I figured it was appropriate to start with first base. We all know the studs of this position such as Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Miguel Cabrera, but what if you are looking to cover positions other than first base early on in the draft? This is where The Bargain Bin comes in. Here are three first baseman that you can wait to draft (I mean seriously wait) and they will be a very serviceable starter for your team, at a discount price! 

Victor Martinez, 1B/DH, Detroit Tigers

Victor Martinez continually gets slept on each year, but he always proves otherwise. The biggest complaint towards Martinez is his age. He will be 38 going into this season, but don’t let that stop you from drafting him. Fantasy experts currently have the veteran slugger ranked 160th overall, and 21st among first basemen. This is a bargain if I have ever seen one. Here is what Steamer projects for Martinez in 2017:

Season Team Games AVG OPS H HR RBI R SB
2017 Detroit Tigers 142 .281 .796 152 21 83 74 0

A nice batting average, high OPS and power to boot? Sign me up! Martinez has always shown great discipline at the plate and he consistently provides decent power each year. Don’t let his age be discouraging either, Martinez is like a fine wine. He only gets better as the years go by and he has shown no signs of slowing down. He had a BABIP of .303 last season which is league average and health generally hasn’t been an issue for the last few years. You should feel comfortable slotting Victor Martinez in as your starting first baseman when draft day comes around.

Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants

Brandon Belt has always proven to be one of the Giants most productive hitters, and he’s always able to provide very useful across the board offensive production. Fantasy experts currently have Belt ranked 152nd overall and 23rd among first basemen. Here is what Steamer projects for Belt in 2017:

Season Team Games AVG OPS H HR RBI R SB
2017 San Francisco Giants 142 .260 .796 134 17 69 72 4

Overall, this is a nice batting line. I think Steamer is being pessimistic on Belt’s batting average; I see it closer to .275 like he had last season. These numbers are not far off from someone like Eric Hosmer, who is being ranked up to 70 picks earlier than Belt in some cases. Go with the bargain and take Belt. As a 6’ 5” 220 lbs first baseman, Brandon Belt is in his prime at 28 years old and there is no reason for him to slow down any time soon. AT&T park is really the only thing holding him back because of how difficult it is to hit home runs there, but don’t let that discourage you. Let your early picks go elsewhere on draft day and snag Belt later on at a discount as your starting first baseman.

Kendrys Morales, 1B/DH/OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Kendrys Morales offers unique things that Victor Martinez and Brandon Belt do not. First off, he is 1B/OF eligible (on Yahoo! at least). Second, he will be playing on a new team this season. Why are either of these things relevant? Having 1B/OF makes him much more valuable and he will also now be playing in one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in all of baseball. Fantasy experts currently have Morales ranked 156th overall and 24th among first basemen. Here is what Steamer projects for this season:

Season Team Games AVG OPS H HR RBI R SB
2017 Toronto Blue Jays 142 .266 .800 142 26 87 76 1

Last season with the Kansas City Royals, Morales hit 30 home runs at the not so hitter-friendly Kauffman Stadium. After signing a three year deal with the Blue Jays this offseason, Morales will be hitting in what ESPN has ranked as the 4th most hitter friendly ballpark in all of baseball, the Rogers Centre. This can only mean an uptick in offensive production. I can easily see him hitting more home runs than what Steamer is projecting. Morales will also be hitting in the same spot of the line up that Edwin Encarnacion was able to accumulate 127 RBIs in last year. The batting average might not be amazing, but it will definitely be somewhat decent. I consider Morales to be a player that is not getting talked about nearly enough right now. At the bargain ranking of 156th overall, you should be more than happy to have someone like Kendrys Morales as your starting first baseman.

It is important to note that I am not saying any of these players will be as beneficial as Paul Goldschmidt or Anthony Rizzo once the baseball season begins. You may decide you want Rizzo or Goldschmidt on your team, which is perfectly fine. Just be aware that the players I mentioned will provide early round value, and you can get that value at a discount price by waiting to draft them towards the end. This article is a tool for you to use to help you draft for other positions early on while leaving first base open, and then pick up one of these players to help you build a well-rounded roster. Come back next week where I will discuss which three second baseman to wait for in the draft, who can ultimately help you achieve that league-winning team.

Agree? Mildly disagree but for the most part you know Jesse is right? Reach out on Twitter: @TFRJesseO