FANTASY BASEBALL 2012: FIRST BASE RANKINGS
For more rankings and notes around Spring Training, read the DRAFT GUIDE.
Strategy: There are a lot of 1B options out there. Yes there are elite players, but Ryan Howard at #26 is not bad at all. In fact Ike Davis at #28 or Adam Lind at #22 are more than good enough options to get the job done. I would focus on other positions before reaching for a 1B option unless it was one of the elites.
#1. Albert Pujols – Prediction (.304 Average. 44 HRs. 110 RBIs. 11 SBs. 109 Runs)
Albert Winnie the Pujols is the best hitter in baseball. So playing on a new team with new pitchers and a new league will not make a difference. In fact he may have a huge advantage so none of these AL guys will really know how to pitch to him. No reason to think he cannot keep dominating. Even in a season where everyone was selling Pujols after his terrible start, he still ended up with 37 HRs, and 99 RBIs. double digit steals.
#2. Miguel Cabrera – Prediction (.330 Average. 35 HRs. 115 RBIs. 4 SBs. 108 Runs)
Miguel will not open up the season eligible at 3rd Base. But it will not take long for the ex 120 RBI man to qualify there. With Prince Fielder protecting him in that Tigers lineup, which could potentially lead the majors in runs. There is no reason to think Miggy cannot be the potential #1 option in all of baseball. His batting average has been over .320 in 6 of the past 7 seasons, including last year’s .344.
#3. Adrian Gonzalez – Prediction (.330 Average. 34 HRs. 124 RBIs. 2 SBs. 107 Runs)
Gonzalez failed to hit 30 HRs in his first season with Boston. The last time he hit less than 30 was in 2006. So is there reason to be concerned with Gonzalez? Definitely not, he had shoulder issues and still managed to hit .338 and knock in 117 RBIs. Adrian Gonzalez should be able to build off of his 27 HRs and continue to drive in a massive amount of runs in this deep Red Sox lineup.
#4. Joey Votto – Prediction (.318 Average. 32 HRs. 107 RBIs. 11 SBs. 104 Runs)
Joey has proved he has the potential to play like a 1st round pick. He also has proved that his power potential may not break the 40 HR plateau. He still has the chance to break double digit steals again, but you are looking more at a 30-100-10 option if anything. Mark Reynolds goes at least 8 rounds later and will put up those same numbers, minus the batting average.
#5. Mark Teixeira – Prediction (.260 Average. 41 HRs. 120 RBIs. 1 SB. 105 Runs)
Teix bats cleanup in the best lineup in baseball. He is a notoriously slow starter, but if he somehow gets it together sooner than later you are looking a 40+ HR, 120+ RBI guy. His batting average has declined the past three seasons, but even when he hit .247 he still ended up with 39 HRs, and 111 RBIs. Can you imagine his numbers if he hits .270? He is a draft day steal if he goes outside of the 3rd round.
#6. Prince Fielder – Prediction (.270 Average. 36 HRs. 110 RBIs. 0 SBs. 100 Runs)
Prince is going to have a similar situation to what Adrian Gonzalez went through last season. He goes from the NL to the AL, and everyone is expecting immediate numbers. While he should still produce, he still will have that pressure on him that a lot of people do not handle well. I am still expecting 36 HRs, and 110 RBIs, but I am also expecting some bumps along the way.
#7. Michael Morse – Prediction (.304 Average. 35 HRs. 109 RBIs. 2 SBs. 85 Runs)
Morse is ready to be a fantasy MVP. In nearly his first full season he hit 31 HRs while driving in 96 RBIs. With the Nationals a bit better, and Ryan Zimmerman healthy to get on base all season. There is no reason to think Morse can take his game to the next level. He also hit over .300 which shows there is no downside to this slugger/star.
#8. Eric Hosmer – Prediction (.297 Average. 28 HRs. 104 RBIs. 16 SBs. 96 Runs)
Hosmer can be an absolute beast this season in fantasy baseball. In 129 games last season, he knocked out 19 HRs, 78 RBIs, and stole 11 bases while hitting .295. This is better than Joey Votto potential, and he is going much later. In a full season, Hosmer can easily approach 30 HRs and steal over 15 bases which will make him very valuable in every league.
#9. Pablo Sandoval – Prediction (.304 Average. 31 HRs. 101 RBIs. 2 SBs. 85 Runs)
Kung Fu Pablo found his inner peace last season dropping a bunch of weight. His skills as a fantasy option reached new heights in the 117 games he played when he totaled 23 HRs, 70 RBIs, and a batting average over .300. If he managed to last a full season, you are looking at a 30-100 option. I am a believer that he can keep it going, and now with Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera batting ahead, there is no reason to think the RBIs will come at a quicker rate.
#10. Carlos Santana- Prediction (.267 Average. 30 HR. 95 RBI. 5 SB. 75 Runs)
Carlos went through a very rough stretch of the season where it seemed like he could not hit a HR if his life depended on it, only 1 HR in the month of May. Somehow despite that struggle, Santana ended up with 27 HRs and 79 RBIs. Santana should only get strong as a MLB hitter being at the very young age of 25.
#11. Mike Napoli- Prediction (.279 Average. 33 HR. 92 RBI. 3 SBs. 74 Runs)
Napoli led all catchers with 30 Home Runs last season. The amazing thing about that stat is he did not play everyday. The Rangers should give Mike more playing time as he has proved over and over again he is too good of a hitter to be on the bench. The Rangers ball park really helps the ball fly. I expect Nap to continue his excellence and possibly have an even better season.
#12. Kevin Youkilis (.311 Average. 24 HRs. 108 RBIs. 2 SBs. 103 Runs)
Pukilis once again failed to play over 140 games. Something he has not done since 2008. Somehow though, in 120 games he managed to drive in 80 RBIs, while posting an incredibly low .255 average. He is a very good hitter who hit over .300 in each of the prior three seasons. If he can avoid the injury bug you are getting yourself a steal for someone who goes as late as the 6th round. Drafting a 3B early does not prove to be a necessity anymore, if 100+ RBI guys like Youkilis are around this late.
#13. Paul Konerko – Prediction (.290 Average. 27 HRs. 95 RBIs. 1 SB. 80 Runs)
Konerko was solid once again even though his numbers did decline a bit. He went from 39 HRs, to 31, but still was able to hit .300 and drive in over 100 RBIs. Konerko should be able to approach similar numbers, but at the age of 36, a decline would not be very surprising. If you can grab Paul late enough, he will give you more than solid production with low expectations.
#14. Michael Young – Prediction (.319 Average. 14 HRs. 111 RBIs. 4 SBs. 100 Runs)
Young is a great batting average guy with some pop. If he did not have the Texas Ranger lineup his RBI total would probably be south of 100. But he does, so he is a 20-100 candidate with a .300+ batting average once again.
#15. Mark Reynolds – Prediction (.220 Average. 35 HRs. 100 RBIs. 10 SBs. 87 Runs)
Reynolds will not hit for average. But what he will do is give you 30+ HRs, nearly 100 RBIs, and potentially double digit steals. He goes very late well past the 10th round, but if you can look past the average you are getting 3rd round quality numbers. He is worth the late flier in all drafts.
#16. Kendry Morales – Prediction (.290 Average. 32 HRs. 107 RBIs. 1 SB. 87 Runs)
Kendry missed most of the 2011 season with a broken ankle. He did hit 34 HRs and 108 RBIs in his first full season, and then was on pace last season to match those numbers with ease. With Albert Pujols joining a star studded lineup, pitchers will not be able to pitch as carefully as they should to such a beast. If Morales can earn everyday ABs, which he is expected to from the DH spot. Then you got yourself a huge sleeper who can easily eclipse 30 HRs again.
#17. Adam Dunn – Prediction (.240 Average. 40 HRs. 100 RBIs. 1 SB. 80 Runs)
I believe Adam Dunn will bounce back this season. He never was in rhythm, and if you look at all his past season, more than 85% of his HRs comes in streaks. Read this article here if you want to go more in depth on the career of Dunn and why he will bounce back. Is he a risky option? Of course, but if you can get him past the 17th round, take the gamble.
#18. Mark Trumbo – Prediction (.265 Average. 31 HRs. 100 RBIs. 2 SBs. 80 Runs)
Trumbo hit 29 HRs, as a rookie in 149 games. With Albert Pujols joining the team, and Kendry Morales the full-time healthy DH, the Angels are going to have Trumbo play some 3rd Base. That is huge for his fantasy potential, especially in a lineup where he can easily grab 100 RBIs if he can improve on his .257 Average. Trumbo is an excellent buy candidate as he goes later than the 20th round. I will make sure to grab him before that.
#19. Michael Cuddyer – Prediction (.270 Average. 27 HRs. 85 RBIs. 9 SBs. 80 Runs)
Michael popped 20 bombs in 132 games in one of the toughest ball parks in baseball. Now he goes to Coors where he should be a monster playing every day in RF. He also has the potential to steal double digit bases as he did last year with 11. In leagues he qualifies at 2B, he should go very high.
#20. Adam Lind – Prediction (.255 Average. 33 HRs. 98 RBIs. 1 SB. 80 Runs)
Lind is a real power threat. In 125 games he hit 26 HRs, and drove in 87 RBIs. That was good to see after he had a down season where he only hit 23 HRs, in 150 games. I am a believer that the young stud will continue his path up as he is a big time power hitter that has already hit 35 HRs in his young career. I expect 30+.
#21. Billy Butler – Prediction (.295 Average. 21 HRs. 101 RBIs. 1 SB. 80 Runs)
Butler is a solid 20-100 option that will hit around .300. Nothing wrong with him as he brings very little risk to the table. There is a chance he takes his power to the next level, but expecting more than 25 HRs would be an incredible season for the solid Billy B.
#22. Lance Berkman – Prediction (.280 Average. 27 HRs. 90 RBIs. 85 Runs. 2 SB)
Berkman appeared dead in the water heading into last season as he only 14 HRs with the Yankees and Astros. Somehow, someway, he managed to hit 31 HRs and drive in 94 RBIs. With the Cardinals unable to sign Albert Pujols, Berkman is going to have to have a repeat season to save the team. Berkman is now 36, which is a bit alarming. If you can get him late enough, you could find yourself with a nice solid option. However with Beltran replacing Pujols, there is less protection in the lineup which would make it very surprising if Berkman can match those totals.
#23. Carlos Pena – Prediction (.220 Average. 31 HRs. 95 RBIs. 3 SBs. 75 Runs)
Pena got off to a slow start with 0 HRs in the first month of the season. He ended up with 28, and went the last 15 days without a HR to push it over 30. Now that he leaves Chicago and goes back to TB, a place where he has thrived. There is no reason to think Pena cannot get back to his 30+ HR potential. I am going to buy low on him as I realize there is a risk of Batting Average, but the power and RBI total is too large to ignore after the 23rd round.
#24. Howard Kendrick – Prediction (.285 Average. 20 HRs. 80 RBIs. 12 SBs. 90 Runs)
Howie semi-broke out last season going from 10 HR’s to a mammoth like 18. He should continue to improve as the Angels are a better team, which will mean more RBI opportunities. The stolen bases appear to be capped at 14, but you should still expect double digits with decent batting average. Howie will take the next step.
#25. Ryan Howard – Prediction (.260 Average. 26 HRs. 80 RBIs. 0 SB. 70 Runs)
Howard will probably miss all of April, and at least half of May. That makes him a very unattractive option as his value has declined over the past two seasons as well. Still, it is Ryan Howard. If you know anything about Ryan Howard is that he is one of the most feared hitters in baseball. If he falls past the 10th round like he has, I will take the risk. 30 HRs would be amazing, but even 25 that late makes him worth the risk with much more upside. He is only 32 Years Old which still gives him time to continue to dominant the game.
#26. Nick Swisher – Prediction (.260 Average. 25 HRs. 90 RBIs. 2 SBs. 85 Runs)
Despite a terrible season, Swisher still managed to hit 23 HRs, and knock in 85 RBIs. The Yankees lineup is so stacked that Swisher can put up great numbers any given game. If he falls late in your draft, make sure to snag him as a bounce back season is very likely.
#27. Paul Goldschmidt – Prediction (.260 Average. 26 HRs. 88 RBIs. 10 SBs. 88 Runs)
Big Paul is expected to be a big time power hitter in the majors. He did hit 35 HRs in the minors in 2010, and at the young age of 24 he will be the everyday 1st Baseman for Arizona. The power was nice in his big league debut hitting 8 HRs in a small 156 ABs. He even stole 4 bases, which makes you believe he might be more valuable than people are giving him credit for. Although 30 HRs would be nice, if you can get him late enough anything over 25 would be great and expected.
#28. Ike Davis – Prediction (.280 Average. 22 HRs. 90 RBIs. 3 SBs. 84 Runs)
Ike was showing some serious potential to be a great fantasy option before going down after 36 games. He hit 7 HRs in that span, but the impressive part was the 25 RBIs. It seemed like he would get a RBI in about every game he played, and the .300 average helped that. With no more Jose Reyes, the Mets will score less runs this season, however Davis is definitely a nice upside late round pick that can surprise with over 100 RBIs.
#29. Freddie Freeman – Prediction (.280 Average. 25 HRs. 85 RBIs. 3 SBs. 78 Runs)
Freeman showed some nice potential knocking out 21 HRs, with a .282 average. He should only get better with more experience, but I do not expect that huge of an incline. In fact anything over 25 HRs would be an amazing stat for someone who is a better version of Gaby Sanchez.
#30. Mike Carp – Prediction (.270 Average. 23 HRs. 80 RBIs. 3 SBs. 60 Runs)
Do yourself a favor and take a late round flier on Carp. He is nice that he qualifies at both OF and 1B. He does have some nice power showed by his 12 HRs, 48 RBIs in 68 games. That is a much better rate than a lot of options that go in front of him. If he can earn everyday ABs there is a chance you get a cheap 22+ HRs from him. Not a sexy pick, but a solid one.
#31. Chris Davis – Prediction (.244 Average. 24 HRs. 82 RBIs. 2 SBs. 70 Runs)
If there was ever a guy who will go in the very last rounds of your draft who could hit 40 HRs. Chris Davis is probably that guy. His power potential is enormous, and playing in Baltimore is the perfect situation as he will have a long leash. 20 HRs can easily be expected, everything more will have his owners thrilled.
#32. Luke Scott – Prediction (.250 Average. 25 HRs. 80 RBIs. 1 SB. 65 Runs)
Scott may not qualify at 1B in a lot of leagues, but playing in TB where he gets everyday ABs he will put up 1B quality numbers. 25+ HRs is definitely possible, he just needs to hit closer to .250 than .220. A move to TB should give more RBI chances as well as the Rays have plenty of fire power all around.
#33. Lucas Duda – Prediction (.260 Average. 21 HRs. 80 RBIs. 1 SB. 70 Runs)
Duda is a sold hitter who should benefit more than any Met with OF fences moving in closer. Lucas was able to hit 10 HRs in 100 games including 8 HRs over the last two months of the season. As an everyday player, I expect Lucas to easily eclipse the 20 HR marker if not more.
#34. Gaby Sanchez – Prediction (.270 Average. 21 HRs. 82 RBIs. 3 SBs. 80 Runs)
Gaby is not going to hit 30 HRs, and he will probably not drive in 100 RBIs. What he will do is give you a solid 20-80 potential with a bit more. The batting average should be near .275, and if he can just get a bit better he would deserve a spot in your starting lineup. I see him more as an elite bench option.
#35. James Loney – Prediction (.279 Average. 19 HRs. 80 RBIs. 4 SBs. 75 Runs)
Loney may not hit 20 HRs, but what he will do is drive in a decent amount of runs and hit near .300. I expect James to be a solid backup 1st Baseman, and possibly do better than the “Gaby Sanchez” plateau. Still it would be hard press to count on him as your everyday fantasy 1st baseman.
#36. Joe Mauer- Prediction (.309 Average. 13 HR. 88 RBI. 4 SB. 78 Runs)
One of the most overrated catchers in fantasy baseball Mauer will come into the season at 100% healthy. Staying on the field for a full-season has always been a problem for Joe, but his hitting abilities are too high to ignore. The power surge 28 HR’s seems like a fluke when you look at his career as a whole, but with a caliber hitter like Mauer who should easily eclipse the .300 BA mark every season, you can never be too sure. I expect Joe to be selected high for good reason, but maybe try waiting for the elite talents to go off the board first.
#37. Carlos Lee – Prediction (.260 Average. 17 HRs. 85 RBIs. 4 SBs. 70 Runs)
Lee did a couple things in 2011 that was pretty surprising despite hitting only 18 HRs. He knocked in 94 RBIs, and he hit .275. His numbers appear to be on the decline, as 30 HRs are not expected anymore. However he can still hit 20-100 if everything goes his way. If he falls late enough in your draft, why not take the risk. Though I personally am expecting a decline as the Astros are in a complete rebuilding stage.
#38. Justin Morneau – Prediction (.250 Average. 18 HRs. 80 RBIs. 1 SB. 79 Runs)
Morneau is not the same hitter he was from 2006-2009. Head and neck injuries are no joke, and playing in Minnesota where HRs come at a premium are no jokes as well. Although we would all love to see a comeback, expecting more than 20 HRs would be a very nice surprise and the step in the right direction for the former MVP.
#39. John Mayberry – Prediction (.280 Average. 16 HRs. 55 RBIs. 15 SB. 65 Runs)
Mayberry is a 20-15 player in the making. Probably with the potential for more if he can get everyday ABs. Although he may start the season platooning with Wigginton at 1B, one injury in the OF is all it takes for him to be a great start in all fantasy leagues. If you are in a deep league, and your draft is coming to an end. Take the chance.
#40. Brandon Belt – Prediction (.270 Average. 18 HRs. 70 RBIs. 4 SBs. 60 Runs)
Belt is still very young at 23 years old, and very raw at 6 foot 5, 219 lbs. What he does have is nice potential to maybe approach 20 HRs. If he gets full time ABs, you are looking at the next Gaby Sanchez. Anything more than that would bring him nice value.
#41. Edwin Encarnacion – Prediction (.250 Average. 17 HRs. 60 RBIs. 4 SBs. 60 Runs)
Edwin is the type of hitter that could hit 30 HRs in a season if he gets regular at bats. Problem is, he is a liability in the field and the Blue Jays are extremely deep all-around this season. When Edwin is out there, he is a great start. When he plays 3 games in a week, he is a bit risky as his rhythm goes off. There will be stretches of the season where he plays like a MVP, and others you will want him on your bench. Worth the late round pick in all leagues as a very valuable bench option.
#42. Justin Smoak – Prediction (.240 Average. 18 HRs. 65 RBIs. 2 SBs. 55 Runs)
Smoak has nice potential to hit 20+ HRs one of these seasons. It could happen sooner than later, but there is also a chance he does not improve a batting average that reminds you of Carlos Pena, without the power. He is not a bad guy to take a late round gamble on, but for now he is strictly a bench option in fantasy leagues.
#43. Adam LaRoche – Prediction (.240 Average. 20 HRs. 70 RBIs. 2 SBs. 60 Runs)
LaRoche can hit 25 HRs, or he can hit 10. Either way he goes so late you might as well take a chance that he can hit 25 like he did for 3 consecutive seasons prior to last. LaRoche is a perfect example of how deep this 1st Base class is.
#44. Mitch Moreland – Prediction (.260 Average. 17 HRs. 60 RBIs. 3 SBs. 60 Runs)
Mitch hit 16 HRs in 134 games. If the Rangers suffer any injuries, Moreland becomes a nice fantasy option. Otherwise he sees inconsistent ABs and he is nothing more than a good bench option with the potential to be a must-start player. Moreland will one day hit 25+ HRs, that one day will not come unless injuries, or a change of scenery. Nice late round bench option.
#45. Daniel Murphy – Prediction (.308 Average. 11 HRs. 65 RBIs. 9 SBs. 70 Runs)
Murphy is a solid 10/10 candidate with a batting average that should be around .300. Anything more than that is a bonus; he truly does not hurt you in any category which is key for the 2B spot.
#46. Ty Wigginton – Prediction (.250 Average. 16 HRs. 60 RBIs. 3 SBs. 55 Runs)
If Ty can find a way to get everyday ABs, his value as a fantasy option will be worth something. His versatility gives him a chance, but it will take injuries or everyone realizing Placido Polanco is a worthless fantasy option. Unfortunately nobody thinks that way except for us, and Wigginton’s journey for PT will start with Ryan Howard on the DL.
#47. Brandon Allen – Prediction (.250 Average. 16 HRs. 60 RBIs. 1 SB. 50 Runs)
Allen has tremendous potential if he be the everyday 1B option for Oakland. The A’s have nothing to lose giving it to him as 6 HRs in 52 games is just a sample of what he can bring to the table. He hit 20+ HRs in back-to-back minor league seasons, and at 235 lbs. he has plenty of power.
#48. Garrett Jones – Prediction (.240 Average. 15 HRs. 55 RBIs. 4 SBs. 50 Runs)
Jones is no lock to be an everyday player, which makes him a very late round flier if anything at all. You can still expect around 15 HRs if he gets enough ABs. It would not be surprising to find him in your active lineup at least once this season.
#49. Todd Helton – Prediction (.290 Average. 11 HRs. 60 RBIs. 1 SB. 60 Runs)
Helton appeared to find his power stroke last season hitting 14 HRs in 124 games. While it is not likely Helton lasts a full season ever again, he can still surprise you with double-digit power. He is the Grant Hill of fantasy baseball. Just when you think he’s done, he will give you a little bit more to be fantasy worthy.
#50. Anthony Rizzo – Prediction (.260 Average. 13 HRs. 55 RBIs. 2 SB. 60 Runs)
Rizzo should be good one day, for now he is still a prospect who will get a nice amount of ABs. If he hits over 15 HRs, that would be great, if he hits less than 10, well then next year he will be a bench option heading into most drafts. Right now he appears to be the next Justin Smoak.
#51. Kyle Blanks – Prediction (.240 Average. 12 HRs. 40 RBIs. 1 SB. 30 Runs)
Blanks will most likely find himself without a starting spot to being the season. By the mid-way point that should all change, as he can easily hit 20 HRs if he ever played a full season. Maybe next year is the year to grab him as a fantasy factor. For now watch him on your waiver wire.
#52. Juan Rivera – Prediction (.260 Average. 10 HRs. 55 RBIs. 1 SB. 55 Runs)
If Juan Rivera can play everyday, there is a good chance he knocks in 70+ RBIs. With the Dodgers confused if they are rebuilding or not, a hot start is key to the success of Rivera for the whole season. I personally will stay away as the upside is not great; however he does go very late if you want to take the low-risk/medium-reward.
#53. Aubrey Huff – Prediction (.250 Average. 11 HRs. 44 RBIs. 1 SB. 35 Runs)
Huff will probably not see everyday ABs with the emergence of Brandon Belt, and a huge decline the season prior where he only hit 11 HRs. When he is hot, you can use him. When he is not, he can be on your waiver wire.
#54. Casey Kotchman – Prediction (.290 Average. 8 HRs. 50 RBIs. 1 SB. 50 Runs)
Kotchman somehow managed to hit 10 HRs, while hitting over .300. While those numbers are nice, he still has to hold off the future in Matt LaPorta. I do not expect Kotchman to hold the job all season making him waiver wire quality.
#55. Jesus Guzman – Prediction (.290 Average. 5 HRs. 44 RBIs. 1 SB. 55 Runs)
Starting the season on the bench, which means he should the season on your waiver wire. He was solid with 44 RBIs and a .312 average in 76 games last season.