Fantasy Baseball Sleepers: First Base
The start of the 2022 baseball season is in jeopardy. Well, at this point, the season is most likely going to be delayed at least a month. That’s not going to stop me from diving into fantasy baseball content. I’m dreaming of warmer weather and most importantly, baseball.
Just as he has done in years past, Nate will bring his favorite sleepers per position of the upcoming fantasy baseball season. For each position he will offer three sleepers, with outfielders, starting and relief pitchers seeing five suggestions. He’ll take into consideration both points and category leagues in his suggestions.
We’ve already talked about catchers in this series, a position that can definitely be waited on in drafts. We keep our momentum going around the diamond with a stop at first base. Unlike catcher, first base is arguably one of the most important positions in fantasy baseball. It’s a position that offers a lot of power stats and there is a vast difference between the top of the position to the bottom. You want to secure one of this big bombers here and not wait on the position. That doesn’t mean there aren’t sleepers for backups or utility spots in fantasy baseball leagues. Let’s get into it.
Ty France (Seattle Mariners)
Position Rank: 22nd
2021 Stats: .291 BA, 571 AB, 85 R, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 0 SB & 0.813 OPS
What really gets me going about Ty France is his versatility. When it comes to fantasy baseball, being able to be slotted into a multitude of positions is a huge plus. France will be eligible at some capacity at first, second, third bases as well as designated hitter. France will also be more than likely hitting cleanup for this improved Mariners’ squad. With a young core of guys hitting around him and the cap space to introduce some big name free agency signings, the Mariners could be a fun squad. France made the most of his first season as an everyday MLB player a season ago, hitting for .291 while adding 18 homers and 73 runs batted in. Say this team does something like bring Marcus Siemen in to hit ahead of him, I can see a world where he’s flirting with 100 RBIs. You’re getting this guy in the 13th round of 12 man leagues.
Frank Schwindel (Chicago Cubs)
Position Rank: 30th
2021 Stats: .326 BA, 242 AB, 44 R, 14 HR, 43 RBI, 2 SB & 0.962 OPS
Frank Schwindel is a bit of a journeyman who made the most of his opportunity a year ago with the Cubs. He spent the majority of his career in the Royals’ system where he consistently hit for power in the minor leagues. Now there’s no way he repeats his .326 batting average from a year ago, but he’s proven that he can hit consistently. If we use his stats from his time in Chicago a year ago and run them through 140 games (giving him 21 days off to be fair) we would get 555 at bats, 105 runs, 190 hits, 33 home runs and 100 runs batted in. He should be the everyday first baseman for the Cubs, especially as they sold off their team a year ago. Now, this is still a big market team that has the ability to make a splash once free agency re-opens. As I see it right now, Schwindel has earned the opportunity to be the Cubs’ everyday first baseman. He’ll likely hit second or third for the ball club in 2022 as well. You’re getting him in the 18th round of 12 man leagues.
Rowdy Tellez (Milwaukee Brewers
Position Rank: 48th
2021 Stats: .242 BA, 297 AB, 34 R, 11 HR, 36 RBI, 0 SB & 0.719 OPS
This is Rowdy Tellez’ year. Calling it now. He’s going to break out for sure. Tellez came to the Brewers from the Blue Jays last season, essentially splitting the season with both ball clubs. He was pushed out of Toronto due to the team’s budding young stars. Now, he gets his chance to be the everyday first baseman in Milwaukee that he deserves. He struggled in the first half of the season in Toronto, but when coming over to the Brewers in early July, he showed his promise. Tellez went from hitting .209 in Toronto to .272 in Milwaukee. If he played the same number of games he did all of last season with the Brewers alone, he would have had a line of 299 at bats, 42 runs, 81 hits, 13 HRs and 68 RBIs. If we bump those numbers up to a more realistic 136 games as an everyday first baseman, his line would be 384 at bats, 53 runs, 104 hits, 17 HRs and 87 RBIs. For a person you’re getting in the 26th round of 12 man leagues and 23rd round of 14 man leagues, this is insane value.