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Early First Base ADP Trends Using NFBC Data

Written By: Howard Bender on 1/18/2013 3:20 AM
The best part about the first base position is just how easy it is to deal with in drafts. It remains loaded with power and, of course, loaded with depth. That’s a trend that has gone on for at least a decade now and given the influx of youth over the last few seasons, one that will continue for a long time. But we don’t want to overlook anything and miss out on any pertinent changes, so let’s start off with a look at the ADP Trend Report for the Top 50 first basemen according to NFBC data and make note of certain things to remember.

Rank Player Team Current ADP 1 Week Ago Trend
1 Albert Pujols LAA 7.11 7.50 0.39%
2 Joey Votto CIN 7.94 7.83 -0.11%
3 Prince Fielder DET 11.00 11.50 0.50%
4 Edwin Encarnacion TOR 27.61 28.00 0.39%
5 Adrian Gonzalez LAD 31.22 31.67 0.45%
6 Billy Butler KC 47.67 50.75 3.08%
7 Paul Goldschmidt ARI 55.67 56.58 0.91%
8 Allen Craig STL 55.78 55.67 -0.11%
9 Mark Teixeira NYY 62.33 62.58 0.25%
10 Corey Hart MIL 77.78 77.25 -0.53%
11 Freddie Freeman ATL 86.11 86.50 0.39%
12 Eric Hosmer KC 91.39 89.00 -2.39%
13 Anthony Rizzo CHC 100.50 99.33 -1.17%
14 Ryan Howard PHI 114.50 112.00 -2.50%
15 Paul Konerko CHW 121.11 119.58 -1.53%
16 Adam LaRoche WAS 125.89 131.17 5.28%
17 Chris Davis BAL 127.50 129.33 1.83%
18 Kendrys Morales SEA 130.11 128.17 -1.94%
19 Ike Davis NYM 131.11 135.25 4.14%
20 Adam Dunn CHW 153.94 147.92 -6.02%
21 Justin Morneau MIN 201.22 200.33 -0.89%
22 Garrett Jones PIT 240.72 240.58 -0.14%
23 Brandon Belt SF 241.33 245.17 3.84%
24 Yonder Alonso SD 267.61 269.67 2.06%
25 Mark Reynolds CLE 297.28 298.67 1.39%
26 Adam Lind TOR 300.17 299.92 -0.25%
27 Brandon Moss OAK 301.33 304.58 3.25%
28 Matt Carpenter STL 309.00 318.33 9.33%
29 Mitch Moreland TEX 335.72 346.42 10.70%
30 Mike Olt TEX 374.50 359.50 -15.00%
31 Justin Smoak SEA 391.50 382.33 -9.17%
32 Chris Carter OAK 400.59 405.55 4.96%
33 Chris Parmelee MIN 408.65 416.45 7.80%
34 Carlos Lee FA 424.22 405.92 -18.30%
35 Lance Berkman TEX 426.11 447.08 20.97%
36 Brett Wallace HOU 426.39 447.50 21.11%
37 Carlos Pena HOU 439.24 448.91 9.67%
38 James Loney TB 441.18 438.09 -3.09%
39 Mat Gamel MIL 484.17 478.42 -5.75%
40 Matt Adams STL 486.82 474.73 -12.09%
41 Ty Wigginton STL 540.65 538.82 -1.83%
42 Gaby Sanchez PIT 543.24 535.82 -7.42%
43 Bryan LaHair CHC 588.85 574.88 -13.97%
44 David Cooper TOR 607.82 601.09 -6.73%
45 Todd Helton COL 607.88 604.45 -3.43%
46 Mauro Gomez BOS 618.27 633.20 14.93%
47 Casey Kotchman CLE 621.38 609.86 -11.52%
48 Casey McGehee NYY 637.08 619.11 -17.97%
49 Scott Moore OAK 681.60 681.60 0.00%
50 Matt LaPorta CLE 709.25 718.86 9.61%

Let’s just start with the depth here. Everyone covets power early in the drafts and as you can see in the current ADP data, through the first 100 picks (roughly 6.5 rounds) of most NFBC drafts, the top 13 first basemen come off the board. But even after they’re gone, you’re still left with a number of 20-plus home run guys and, if you can stomach some of the batting average issues, you’ve got a couple of 30 to 40-home run guys in Chris Davis and Adam Dunn available another two or three rounds later. Hard to wait beyond that, even if it’s just for your corner infield spot, but you’re still looking at some great production 20-deep into the first base pool.

Also note the tiers in which those top 13 break down into. If you don’t get one of the top three, who come off the board within the first round, you can wait until the tail-end of the second round and find Edwin Encarnacion and Adrian Gonzalez. The next three, who should post very similar power numbers don’t start coming off the board until the fourth while the final five finishes off in the mid-fifth and sixth rounds. Being aware of how they break down allows you to really map out your game plan in the early rounds and help you maintain the integrity of your specific draft strategy.

How about a quick nod to Albert Pujols? Eleven years running as the number one first baseman off the board in drafts, even after a down year. Joey Votto is definitely nipping at his heels, but the trends have them subtly moving in opposite directions right now.

Now let’s take a look at some of the more significant risers and fallers…

On the Rise:

Brett Wallace, HOU (+21.11%) – Once the Astros shipped off Carlos Lee last season, Wallace started receiving regular playing time and is slated to be the Astros starting first baseman this season. There’s not a whole lot of power there and if he continues to struggle against right-handed pitching he could find himself in a possible platoon situation, but for now, he looks like an interesting late-round pick  for some corner-infield depth.

Lance Berkman, TEX (+20.97%) – Coming into the season as a 37-year old with a major red flag for injuries makes for a very risky pick here, but apparently signing with the Rangers to DH in a bandbox like Arlington has given him a little boost in the eyes of the drafters. He’s a tough one to recommend though, considering the significant drop-off that began shortly after the All Star break in 2011.

Mitch Moreland, TEX (+10.70%) – Even with the addition of Berkman, the departure of both Mike Napoli and Michael Young opens up the door for Moreland to receive much more regular playing time. He’ll still find himself down at the bottom of the order, but a sneaky 20-home run season just might be had in the lower rounds of your draft.

Carlos Pena, HOU (+9.67%) – The Astros moving to the AL West this season was likely a big factor with Pena’s decision to sign with them early rather than wait for other possible offers. He’ll DH regularly for them and possibly find some time at first as well. While his numbers have been in decline, he gets to stay in the American League and now has a favorable hitters’ park to call home.

Matt Carpenter, STL (+9.33%) – While nothing is etched in stone just yet, Carpenter has been working diligently this offseason to master second base. He claims the progress is going great and, if it truly is, there’s a chance that he pushes Daniel Descalso into a utility role as the Cards would love to keep his bat in the lineup regularly.

Falling Down the Ranks:

Carlos Lee, MIA (-18.30%) – He’s a man without a home right now as the Marlins have no interest in re-signing him despite a lack of corner infield depth. Hard to blame then really, as the decline has been more than evident over the last few seasons.

Mike Olt, TEX (-15.00%) – The signing of Berkman pushes him back down to Triple-A to start the season according to the Rangers, so fantasy owners can really just leave him to the waiver wire, unless, of course, he has some monster spring and forces the team’s hand.

Matt Adams, STL (-12.09%) – There’s just no room for him right now, plain and simple.  He could stick as more of a utility player, but his value in fantasy is almost non-existent without a starting job.

Justin Smoak, SEA (-9.17%) – The drop in ADP isn’t all that big at the moment, but it is likely to get worse now that Michael Morse has signed and the Mariners have a glut of corner outfielders, first basemen and designated hitters. Given Smoak’s poor track record, he could end up on the outside looking in, so be careful even grabbing him super late.

Adam Dunn, CHW (-6.02%) – This is a drop that is hard to agree with as people seem to be putting far too much stock in batting average. 40 bombs is 40 bombs, people, and very few players reach that mark these days. If it means eating a little in overall batting average, it’s definitely a risk worth taking.


Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over a decade on a variety of web sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy and for more detailed questions, thoughts or comments, you can email him at