Fantasy Baseball: First Baseman Rankings for 2012

No big words, no explanations, just rankings kids! I’ll be doing a top 20 with some stragglers at the bottom who I feel have some great potential for 2012. Please note I’m including the players that have 1B eligibility even though I don’t believe you’ll start them there (and would strongly suggest you don’t, but some people just want to whiz on the electric fence). It will, however, affect how I rank them a bit. Also realize that I want my 1B to play above the average 1B stats from 2011. For example, Howie Kendrick gets a large drop in my listings as his maximum HR output was 18HRs last year. 18HR/14SB is nice from my 2B spot, but I’m looking for more power from my 1B. Same goes for Michael Young with this to tack onto it: if I don’t believe in two 30HR 1Bs from last year because they’ll be 36 this year, why would I trust an 11 HR 35 year old? But I digress, onto the rankings!

1) Miguel Cabrera
2) Albert Pujols
3) Joey Votto
4) Prince Fielder
5) Adrian Gonzalez
6) Mark Teixiera
7) Michael Morse
8) Pablo Sandoval
9) Carlos Santana
10) Eric Hosmer
11) Paul Konerko
12) Kevin Youkilis
13) Lance Berkman
14) Mike Napoli
15) Michael Cuddyer
16) Ike Davis
17) Ryan Howard
18) Mark Reynolds
19) Freddie Freeman
20) Billy Butler

The remains that I like for upside:

Paul Goldschmidt: I almost did not include him because of his pricetag. Going ahead of Nick Swisher and Adam Lind in standard yahoo drafts right now, I’m personally going to have a hard time pulling the trigger. The funny thing is, I think he’s a bit of both players mentioned: not quite as plate disciplined as Swisher, but not as free swinging as Lind, I could see a .245 average with an OBP of .320 and say 25 HRs while hitting behind Upton and company for plenty of RBI opportunities.

Kendrys Morales: I just sit back and stare at his 2009 line and drool, blissfully ignoring his bad landing of baseball’s rendition of the triple salchow. He really hasn’t played baseball since early 2010 but – if healthy – has a great situation to step into batting behind or in front of Albert Pujols.

Lucas Duda: The Duda abided for me last year and I fully expect him to do so as well in 2012 but with more at-bats. Its hard to find a shining beacon of hope in the Mets as an organization but Lucas surely seems like one of those nice finds for them. I could easily see a 25/80 campaign with a .280 average to boot. And like Morales, he’s OF eligible so he’s just as flexible…ok, hopefully not as flexible as Kendrys’ ankle is.

Luke Scott/Carlos Pena: Its weird seeing these guys so far down the list in yahoo but there they sit. You know the deal with Carlos: in order to get those 27 HRs, you’re gonna have to eat a .220 batting average. He’s just fine in OBP leagues, though. Luke Scott is a head scratcher to me. Before his injury in 2011, he averaged 25HRs a season for 3 years in Baltimore. He can’t hit lefties and we know that, but can’t you find a place in your lineup for a 1B,OF who’ll hit you 25HRs in about 450ABs over the course of the season? I think you can.

Adam Dunn: Ah yes, the elephant in the room. Almost quite literally, the dude is huge. I don’t know where 2011 came from. Maybe it was the contract. Maybe it was the switch to the AL. Maybe it was having to listen to Ozzie Guillen talk about…well anything. Whatever it was, Adam obviously has the second highest upside in this group to Kendrys because we know the power has happened before. We just have to wonder where 2011 came from and if its going to leak onto 2012.

The wee hours of the draft

Parting thoughts on a few ‘hey, look what autodraft gave me in the 25th round’ guys that could become outta nowhere performers

Chris Davis: He’s 1B/3B eligible and if Mark Reynolds has proven anything, its that Baltimore will stomach a .220 average if it comes with 35HRs. Chris Davis should just change his middle name to sleeper at this point since he’s always touted as one but this year will be a bit different. Texas didn’t trust him and played him that way. I don’t think Baltimore is giving themselves much choice but to let him play through his struggles given their other options (unless they sign Derek Lee after this blog, of course). Plus, Baltimore seems ok with having high strikeout, high HR potential in their lineup with Reynolds slated for 3rd and Reimold looking like the opening day starter in LF. At this point in the draft, it doesn’t hurt to take a stab at someone who has the power to hit 30HRs

John Mayberry: I’m sad because I don’t think Mayberry is going to be given much of a shot by Philly in 2012. This despite his 15HRs in 267 AB last year and even with Ryan Howard out to start the season. Philly seems to like filling its lineup with Manthers rather than seeing what they have in-house. They did sort of free up LF for him but I am worried how short of a leash he’s going to have. That said, that team is as brittle as the paper the constitution was written on so he’s going to have a chance to get ABs if Charlie Manuel doesn’t get too infatuated with Ty Wigginton’s ability to be less than mediocre everywhere on the field. 25HRs is not out of the question if he can get 450 ABs this year.

Adam LaRoche: Remember this guy? He’s that 1B that used to hit around .270 with 20 to 25 HRs and 80 to 90 RBIs before his arm fell out of its socket. Well if he comes back healthy, you could have yourself a Gaby Sanchez line with more HRs for about half the price of what the Marlins 1B is going for. Couple that with expectations of an improved Nationals lineup and he has the potential to be a great late round value pick.

Mat Gamel: The forever prospect of the Brewers, you’d think Gamel were 30 years old or something. He’ll turn 27 near the middle of the year and 1B is his job to lose. Though his MLB line to date doesn’t look appealing, keep in mind those 171 ABs were spread across four years of getting bounced back and forth between the show and the minors. Consistency gives players the chance to establish themselves. They also might consistently suck but you’re not drafting Gamel in the 5th round here. Take an upside flier on the man who’s trying to fill Prince Fielder’s shoes – and indent – at 1B for the Brewers and you might run into a 25 HR campaign from a late round play. Hard to argue with that. Well you could, but most would think you’re crazy for arguing with a player’s stat line. I know I would.

Alright, that’s all for now. Looking forward to viewing other positions in the very near future.

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