August 2, 2021

Clearing The Bases

March 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Clearing The Bases                                                                                                                                          March 9, 2011

By George Kurtz

Today we will go over our top 20 First Basemen.  This is a loaded position with some of the best hitters in the game.  Generally I like to wait to grab a 1B seeing as though the position is so deep.  That being said there will almost certainly be 8-10 of these players taken by the end of the 3rd round as teams load on their CI and UT/DH slots, so waiting to long could cost you a chance at 30 HRs and 100 RBIs, but this is the gamble you take if you want to take a middle infielder or third basemen where the pickings get mighty slim, mighty quick.

1.       Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals:  Pujols is the consensus number one overall pick more or less the top 1B.  Sure there are some worries, will this be the season where his elbow snaps, will his upcoming free agency affect how he plays?  Unlikely either one of those scenarios brings Sir Albert’s numbers down from the stratosphere, take him and count your lucky stars.

2.       Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers:  Cabrera however does have an issue to worry about, as his battle with alcoholism has resurfaced.  Still, it seems unlikely to affect how he plays this season as Miggy is still going to put up big time numbers, and those numbers could even be better with the newly acquired Victor Martinez hitting behind him.

3.       Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox:  The Sox gave up most of their top prospects to acquire this quiet superstar even though they knew he would have to rehab from shoulder surgery.  As of this writing Gonzalez has yet to play in a spring training game, but isn’t expected to miss any regular season time.  Gonzalez may go through an adjustment period early this season as not only will he have to get his shoulder 100%, but also get used to the way pitchers work in the American League.

4.       Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds:  Last season’s NL MVP award winner signed a nice $38 million contract extension in January easing his financial burden coming into the 2011 season.  What is it they call the Reds’ home field?  The Great American “Smallpark”.  The reason for that is my backyard seems to be bigger at times, as balls fly out of that stadium.  That’s not to undercut Votto’s talent, just a statement that similar power numbers should be expected.

5.       Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees:  The only worry with Tex, as it is every season, is that his bat doesn’t seem to warm up until the weather does.  Frustrating no doubt to his fantasy owners, but by the end of the season his numbers will look like they always do, 35+ HRs and 100+ RBIs, plus with ARod and Robinson Cano hitting behind him, he shouldn’t have any problems seeing plenty of fastballs.

6.       Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox: The reason I place Youkilis above mashers Howard and Fielder is because he will have 3B eligibility in most leagues after 10-20 games.  This could huge in fantasy leagues as 3B is one of the weaker positions with very little depth and Youkilis would look awfully nice there on your fantasy team.

7.       Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies:  Scouts will tell you that pitchers shouldn’t throw anything but off-speed pitches to Howard.  Howard is a pure fastball hitter who can have trouble at times making the adjustment to the slow stuff, and will expand his strike zone once he gets frustrated.  The loss of Jayson Werth to free agency will almost certainly mean Howard and Chase Utley will see a ton of lefthanders in the late innings.

8.       Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers:  Another player in a contract year.  If Milwaukee were to get off to a slow start it’s safe to wonder if he could find himself on a different team by the trade deadline.  Either way he’s going to hit more than his share of home runs, and with the pitching staff the Brewers have, a pennant race could be just what Fielder needs to have a big season before his exit from the team.

9.       Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox:  One thing you can always rely on is 40 home runs from Dunn, and now he goes from the Grand Canyon of ballparks in Washington to one of the best long ball stadiums in the American league with the White Sox.  Dunn also won’t have to worry about playing defense as much, an area he did not perform all that well, as Paul Konerko will play 1B most of the time.

10.   Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins:  Under normal circumstances Morneau would be a couple of slots higher on this list but a concussion that keeps you out half a season and still is preventing you from playing in games regularly has to be of concern.  Add that to the Twins hitters not happy with the background and dimensions of Target Field and you have a recipe for sub standard statistics.

11.   Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox:  The last two season’s Konerko has hit 67 home runs and driven in 199 runs.  Should I repeat those number for you.  I would certainly take the average of those numbers for a 1B I can select in the later rounds of a draft rather than spend a premium early pick.

12.   Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels:  Morales may have won the award for strangest way to get injured and end your season last year when he broke his ankle jumping on home plate to celebrate a game winning home run.   What makes matters worse is that he still isn’t fully healthy and may not be an everyday player in April.

13.   Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals:  Butler can do everything you want out of a 1B with the exception of hitting the long ball.  He is only averaging about 16 home runs the past three seasons but will hit you 40+ doubles, yippee.  He is more suited for you DH/Utility role than a corner infielder, but if you’re desperate, good luck.

14.   Adam Laroche, Washington Nationals:  Laroche is also more of a CI/DH/UT type than a true 1B, and a move from Arizona to Washington certainly won’t help his numbers.  One also has to wonder about his makeup as this will be his fifth major league team in six seasons, not like anyone has been dying to keep him around.

15.   Gaby Sanchez, Florida Marlins:  Certainly not a top 1B with 19 HRs and 85 RBIs, but still not bad for a rookie season and there is room to grow.  The bad news is the ballpark is not conducive to home runs, and he doesn’t have the greatest hitting lineup around him.

16.   Ike Davis, New York Mets:  Davis gets no love for the Mets but he also had 19 HRs and 71 RBIs, also in a ballpark not built for the long ball.  Where Davis hits in the lineup could be a problem and both Carlos Beltran (maybe) and Jason Bay should be back in the lineup which could push Davis to the 6th or 7th spot.

17.   Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals:  Berkman is going to play RF for the Cardinals this season.  This seems to be an injury waiting to happen.  Hard to see Berkman playing more than 120 games this season, but hitting behind or before Albert Pujols should give him some value.  He’s a better left-handed hitter now than right-handed, so it’s safe to wonder if some king of platoon is in order if he continues to struggle from the right side.

18.   Derek Lee, Baltimore Orioles:  Lee’s HR totals the last three seasons, 22, 20, 35, and 19.  Which one of those numbers seem out of whack?  Add that to the fact that he is switching leagues and you have a player that I would stay far away from.  Not to mention he is also dealing with a wrist injury this spring.

19.   Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves:  Now it’s time for the rookies.  It becomes a question of do you believe?  Atlanta is not an easy ballpark to hit HRs in and Freeman has never hit more than 18 in the minor leagues.  His average though should help you and he will be given every chance to be the starting 1B for the next decade.

20.   Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners:  There is a ton of pressure on Smoak to succeed in Seattle as he was the centerpiece of a trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas.  The Mariners also chose Smoak over the Yankees Jesus Montero, so if Smoak becomes a bust or anything less than a solid major leaguer, and Montero becomes a star, than life for Smoak will only get more difficult.


One Response to “Clearing The Bases”
  1. Joe Lano says:

    Too much Redsox love here. You bring up all the questions surrounding Adrian Gonzalez and then put him ahead of last seasons MVP Joey Votto. No way Youkils should be ahead of Howard and Fielder. His gaining 3B eligibility has nothing to do with his 1B ranking.

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