Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Series: First Base (2023)
After offering my favorite sleepers in terms of catchers, a position that should be waited on in the draft, it’s time to tackle one of the most important positions in fantasy baseball.
First base is a position that it is crucial to target early in drafts. This is the position you typically find your power numbers. From your home runs to your RBIs, this is where you’ll rack them up. Although drafting one early, you still need depth at the position. That’s where this article comes into play.
Each year I do this sleepers series, offering my favorite sleepers per position leading up to draft season. Typically per position I will offer my three favorites, while offering five sleepers for the outfield, starting and relief pitchers.
You can find the other editions of this series below:
Rowdy Tellez (Milwaukee Brewers)
2022 Stats: 599 PA, .219 BA, 35 HR, 116 RBI, 67 R, 2 SB & 121 SO
2023 Predictions: 532 PA, .235 BA, 24 HR, 71 RBI, 60 R, 2 SB & 106 SO
If you’re looking for power numbers strictly, look no further. We’re currently drafting Rowdy Tellez in the 13th round of 12 man leagues. Tellez is likely to hit third in this Brewers’ lineup that has names such as Christian Yelich and Willy Adams ahead of him with newly acquired power-hitting catcher William Contreras behind him.
The former 30th round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays had him a breakout 2022 season where he hit 35 home runs for 116 RBIs and is set to hit in what could be an even better Brewers’ lineup this season. After bursting onto the scene a year ago, he is set to regress but I don’t think it’ll be all that much.
He’s still in line to hit in the high 20’s for homeruns and get into that 90’s RBI number. You’re grabbing a guy in the 13th round as the 15th first baseman off the board. He’s definitely a better pickup for points leagues, but if you’re looking for power stats, the .235 projected batting average could be worse.
Joey Meneses (Washington Nationals)
2022 Stats: 240 PA, .324 BA, 13 HR, 34 RBI, 33 R, 1 SB & 50 SO
2023 Predictions: 320 PA, .284 BA, 13 HR, 39 RBI, 39 R, 3 SB & 70 SO
Joey Meneses was a 30-year-old rookie last year who took no time acclimating himself to the MLB. When he finally got his chance in the big leagues, he made the most of it, hitting for .324 with a bit of power behind the bat as well.
The Nationals should reward him by giving him every day at bats this season, especially on a roster without much to offer. With the addition of the designated hitter in the National League, I don’t see where Menses won’t get his chance to be an everyday hitter for Washington.
His batting average will not be where it was a year ago, but he will hit for a good average, especially among first base options. That’s where his value is. You’re finding this guy in the 17th round of 12 man leagues. Although the projections I used from Baseball Reference have him at just 320 plate appearances, other outlets have him over 500. That would give him the chance to hit over 20 home runs and 75 RBIs.
You match those power numbers with a great batting average, you’re finding yourself a gem. Watch for his draft value to rise throughout the process as more people begin and further their research. Either way you look at it, Meneses has the type of potential to be a league winner.
Wil Myers (Cincinnati Reds)
2022 Stats: 286 PA, .261 BA, 7 HR, 41 RBI, 29 R, 2 SB & 86 SO
2023 Predictions: 393 BA, .254 BA, 13 HR, 51 RBI, 44 R, 5 SB & 106 SO
Wil Myers was plagued by injury during his final season in San Diego and then struggled throughout the team’s run to the National League Championship Series. Due to this, he had career lows and in turn, is one of the biggest sleepers in all of fantasy baseball.
He moves to a more hitter friendly ballpark in the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati which helps the ten year veteran get back to his old self. Myers isn’t the type of player to hit for an insane amount of homeruns or RBIs but does offer some pop off his bat, hitting 28 and 30 homers in back-to-back seasons years ago.
Either way, part of Myers allure is his versatility. He’ll offer eligibility at both first base and the outfield, which is crucial when finding sleepers to fill out your roster. He has the potential to hit a high-teens homer amount with a good number of RBIs. He’ll hit for a good average as a .254 career hitter and even in a down year a year ago, hit .261.
*Predictions are taken from Baseball Reference