Here are some very preliminary 2014 first baseman and designated hitter rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
2014 First Baseman Rankings
- Hmmm. Of the position player lists, this one definitely has the most potential for change before I actually finalize my preseason rankings in January. I feel pretty good about the first nine here occupying the top nine spots then, but the order could be pretty different depending on how Chris Davis and Goldschmidt finish out the season. I also like Hosmer and Morrison quite a bit for the long term, but since they don't have the kind of power needed to put up big numbers in tough pitcher's parks, they're a clear notch below. I'd consider pushing Ike Davis back up to 10th with a big second half, but we'll have to wait and see if that materializes.
- Morales gets a little bonus here since he might find himself in a better lineup and ballpark next year. He's part of a rather deep first base class that includes Napoli, Hart, Morneau, Konerko and Loney. Lind is also a possible free agent, but not quite as intriguing. His $7 million option has a $2 million buyout, so if his second half looks anything like his first half, it will be exercised. If he falls way off, then he'll be a free agent, but not a very attractive one.
- It didn't seem like a good sign for next year's first base crop that the Angels' C.J. Cron and Tigers' Jordan Lennerton were the Futures Game first basemen this year. The 27-year-old Lennerton is probably going to be a quad-A player, while Cron, a 2011 first-rounder, has a modest .763 OPS as a 23-year-old in the Texas League. The prospect first basemen with the best chance of making an impact next year are Singleton in Houston and Morris in Milwaukee. Neither rates particularly highly here, though. Both have contact issues, and while Singleton's power potential is excellent, he shouldn't be expected to be an above average regular before 2015. Morris should get a look with the Brewers sometime next month as the team decides how to approach first base this winter. They also have Gamel coming back from ACL surgery and Juan Francisco, so they could let Hart go and stay in-house.
|1||Chris Davis||Orioles||47 OF||1|
|12||Mark Trumbo||Angels||58 OF||41 OF|
|17||Mike Napoli||7 C||3 C|
|25||Nick Swisher||Indians||60 OF||62 OF|
|28||Adam Dunn||White Sox||27||22|
|34||Darin Ruf||Phillies||141 OF||NR|
2014 Designated Hitter Rankings
|Billy Butler||Royals||6 1B||7 1B|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||1||1|
|Victor Martinez||Tigers||3 C||6 C|
|Lance Berkman||Rangers||15 1B||15 1B|
|Luke Scott||3||99 OF|
|Wilson Betemit||*||33 3B||32 3B|