Top 10 fantasy baseball first basemen heading into the 2022 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 01: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 of the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on October 1, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Fantasy Baseball
CINCINNATI, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 27: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the fourth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on September 27, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

#8 Jose Abreu

Mr. Consistent finds himself in eighth on the list. Abreu slashed .261/.351/.481/.831 with 30 homers, 30 doubles, and 117 RBI, good for an OPS+ of 125. The only season in his career where he hasn’t reached 60 extra-base hits was the COVID-shortened 2020, and I’ll give him a pass on that since he would’ve surpassed that in a full season. In 2021, he finished in the 89th percentile in average exit velocity and hard hit rate, as well as 72nd percentile in xwOBA, 69th percentile in xSLG, and 66th percentile in barrel rate. He’s also eligible, and a very strong target, at DH in most formats, so this is a very safe pick in a deep lineup in Chicago.

#7 Joey Votto

The most interesting man in baseball comes in seventh after rediscovering his power in 2021. The lefty slashed .266/.375/.563/.938 with 36 homers, 23 doubles, and 99 RBI, good for an OPS+ of 136.

His Baseball Savant page is almost as red as his Reds jersey. He finished in the 97th percentile in walk rate and xSLG, 96th percentile in hard hit rate and xwOBA, 95th percentile in barrel rate, 93rd percentile in average exit velo, and 87th percentile in chase rate. Sure his strikeout numbers went up as he sacrificed a little discipline and control for power, but he’s still a very good first baseman heading into his age 37 season.

The only real concern that comes with Votto is the lack of lineup protection after Bob Castellini decided to sell good players for pennies instead of building a winning team. I would expect Votto to get pitched around more this season, so look for his on-base numbers to rise again and his power numbers to drop a bit. This may impact his fantasy baseball value, but I still expect the power to be serviceable.