Top 10 first-base prospects
Which first basemen have the most long-term value for fantasy owners?
Last week, we took a look at the top 10 fantasy catcher prospects, a position that typically doesn't have many fantasy stalwarts because so few elite hitters stick at the position long-term.
This week, we take a look at the opposite end of the spectrum: the top 10 fantasy prospects at first base. The position isn't as loaded as it was some five to 10 years ago, but it's still an offensive-first position that very often is the place where you find the league leaders in important fantasy categories like homers and RBIs.
"[First base] is a position where you have to have guys who can hit," an AL executive said. "If you don't have a first baseman who can give you 25 [homers] and 90 to 100 [RBIs], then I think you're fighting an uphill battle to score runs and ultimately win games. You can't be incompetent defensively there, but because it requires the least amount of range you can put some of your bigger and slower players there and not get killed. I always felt a lot more comfortable when I had that guy at first who was among my best run producers, and I know I'm not alone in that line of thinking."
Here's a look at the top 10 fantasy first baseman in the minor leagues right now, and why they could become big parts of your dynasty keeper team in the next few years.
If you are not familiar with the 20-80 scouting report, here's a guide as to what the grades mean.
1. Dominic Smith, New York Mets
Potential grades: 65 Hit, 60 Power, 40 Speed
Having a first baseman who has yet to hit a professional home run in his 368 professional at-bats may seem odd, but keep in mind that Smith plays in a ballpark that suppresses left-handed power as much as any in baseball. His hit tool is borderline plus-plus thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination and pitch recognition skills, and Smith arguably has the sweetest swing to come out of the 2013 class. There's enough natural loft and strength to project at least above-average power down the road, and Smith could be one of the few players who has the ability to hit .300 and 25 to 30 homers a season. He should be the Mets' everyday first baseman by 2016.
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TOP 10 PROSPECTS BY POSITION
For fantasy baseball owners looking toward the future, Christopher Crawford highlights the top 10 prospects at each position.