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Breaking down 3 first basemen to consider deeper in your 2021 fantasy baseball drafts

We take a look at some sleepers at the first base position to target in your season-long fantasy baseball draft.

San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt runs the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Colorado Rockies during the eighth inning at Oracle Park. Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

First base used to be the easiest position to draft in fantasy baseball leagues. It was so flush with talent, you really couldn’t complain about whomever you ended up with. But now, there are maybe 8-10 solid options, at most, before you start to wade into a large pool of uncertainty. But at the deeper depths, these three first basemen may end up being hidden treasures.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants

Belt experienced a power breakout in his age-31 season. He put up a robust .309/.425/.591 slash line last year; that slugging percentage was a career-high by more than 100 points. He probably won’t be such a masher over a full, 162-game season, but his production wasn’t a total fluke either. His 16.8% barrel rate put him up among some of the game’s best power hitters, such as Bryce Harper and Eloy Jimenez. Heel surgery last fall may cause Belt to begin this season on the injured list, but he’s basically being forgotten about in early drafts. It costs nothing to stash him on your bench, wait for him to possibly debut in April and see if he can pick up where he left off.

Carlos Santana, Kansas City Royals

Santana is being overlooked by many because, well, he kind of is who he is. He’ll give you about 25 homers, 25 doubles, an average around .260 and an on-base percentage above .350. That’s not fancy, and at age 35, there is little reason to expect much more from Santana. But getting those kinds of numbers from a player who is the No. 28 first baseman in NFBC drafts represents a great buy. Don’t be distracted by Santana’s .199 average from last season; a .212 BABIP deserves a lot of the blame there. He still showcased his good power stroke and a refined eye at the plate. That won’t leave him suddenly this year.

C.J. Cron, Colorado Rockies

The 31-year-old Cron hasn’t even made the Rockies’ opening-day roster yet — he’s a non-roster invitee to their spring training camp. But he’s someone who slugged 30 homers just two years ago with the Rays and then 25 in 2019 as a part of the Twins. Knee surgery ended his 2020 season after just 13 games, but he slugged .548 during that short stint, too. The Rockies are starved for corner-infield power and Cron, who has been cleared for full activity, can provide it. Plus, anyone who might get consistent at-bats in Coors Field deserves your attention. Track his progress during camp while also investing in him with your final pick in deeper leagues. There is very cheap and very realistic 30-HR potential here.