Friday, February 22, 2013

2013 Fantasy Baseball Position Rankings: First Basemen

Article by Anthony Cavalcante

Elite Players

1. Albert Pujols 

Pujols is still Pujols. He had a tough start to his season but still finished with 30 homers, 105 RBIs and a .285 batting average. In his second year in LA, with an even better lineup, Pujols should be back to his old form. Pujols is still a first round pick. Take him if he’s there. 

Great Players

2. Joey Votto 

Votto was having a good year last season until he got injured. He’s the second best option at first base to Albert Pujols. He’s good enough for 30+ homers, 100+ RBIs, and a batting average over .300. He should be a late first round, early second round pick. 

3. Prince Fielder 

Fielder hit .313 with 30 homers and 108 RBIs last season. What I love about Fielder is that he has the ability to hit 40+ homers, but he still hits for a high average. Fielder’s power numbers will likely improve again and Fielder should be one of the first first basemen taken off the board on draft day.

Very Good Players

4. Adrian Gonzalez 

For some strange reason, Gonzalez’s power numbers declined during the last two seasons. He hit 27 in 2011 and 18 in 2012. He still had over 100 RBIs and hit for a high average, however. While he may not be a lock for 40 homers anymore, I wouldn’t be surprised if he hit 30-35 homers. He’s still a top first basemen.

5. Mark Teixeira 

Teixeira used to be a lock for 35 homers, 100 RBIs, and a high batting average. He hasn’t done that in the past few years, but I still think he could bounce back. Take him after the guys that are safer to perform these numbers, and don’t be surprised if Tex is just as good as them. 

6. Edwin Encarnacion 

Encarnacion broke out last season. He hit 42 homers with 110 RBIs and had a .280 batting average. That’s top 5 first basemen numbers right there. Now, he’ll probably decline a little bit, but he should still be good. Take him after the elite first basemen. 

Good Players

7. Buster Posey 

Posey has played 2 full seasons in his young career. In his first full season, he won the rookie of the year award and a World Series. In his second full season, he won MVP and another World Series. This guy is the real deal. While he may not be 1st round material, he is without a doubt the best catcher you can get in the draft. He should AT LEAST be able to hit 25 homers, 90 RBIs, and a .315 batting average, but he has the upside and ability to do even better. He’s more valuable at catcher, but he’s also a solid option at first.

8. Ryan Howard 

I may have ranked Howard a little high, but I expect him to bounce back this season. He wasn’t playing bad, it was just injuries. And if he’s healthy, he should be back to 35+ homers. He’s falling in a lot of his drafts, but don’t be scared to draft him after the top guys are off the board. Howard’s power is still there, and if he returns to full form, he’s an amazing pick for his value.

9. Paul Konerko 

Konerko was having an amazing year last season before he had an injury that affected his performance. He looks healthy coming into spring training and he should be able to perform his usual number of 30 homers, 100 RBIs, and a .280 batting average. That’s good enough to be a solid starting first basemen.

10. Justin Morneau 

Morneau came back from injury last season and hit .267 with 19 homers and 77 RBIs. He was still recovering and he should be able to improve on that this year. He’s almost a lock for 20 homers and 80 RBIs but he has the upside to get back to old form and hit 30+ homers with 100+ RBIs.

11. Kendrys Morales 

After missing about a year and a half of baseball, Morales returned with 22 homers and 73 RBIs. He should be back to hitting 30 homers and 100 RBIs this year. Take him after the great options are off the board. 

12. Mark Trumbo 

I see Trumbo as a nice option as your utility player. His power numbers are already great and he’s still young. He’s also part of an amazing offense which should only help his numbers. He could end up being a great pick as a starting utility man or even as a first basemen or outfielder. 

13. Billy Butler 

Just when Butler seemed like he was just a fluke and was never going to achieve the power numbers he was projected to have, he hits 29 homers with 107 RBIs. He also hit .313 which is a huge plus. It seems like Butler finally broke out and I’m buying it. Expect similar numbers. Maybe even MORE home runs. Take him after the top 1st basemen are off the board. He’s a good option as your 1st basemen or utility player.

14. Chris Davis 

Davis hit 33 home runs last season. I definitely think that’s possible for him to do again. He’d be a solid option at first base or utility if you miss out on the first 8-10 guys. First base is a stacked position as usual and Davis is one of those players that will fall pretty low, but he will be able to put up numbers of someone drafted much higher.

15. Ike Davis 

Ike couldn’t have been worse during his first few months last season. He was hitting under .200 for most of the first half. However, his power numbers were still there. He ended up hitting .227 with 32 home runs and 90 RBIs. I don’t know what happened to Davis during the beginning of last season but I’m going to give him a pass because he’s normally a good hitter for average as well. He’s a good option at utility, solid option at first.

Decent Players

16. Joe Mauer 

Mauer used to be without a doubt the number 1 catcher in fantasy baseball. A few years and injuries later, and he’s still a very good option. He’s going to hit for a high batting average with a good amount of home runs and a lot of RBIs for a catcher. He has the potential to hit a ton of homers (see 2009), but expect somewhere in the teens, maybe low 20s. He should be taken as a top 5 catcher. Much like Posey, he’s more valuable at catcher, but he could possibly start at first too.

17. Allen Craig 

Craig surprised a lot of people last year by hitting 22 homers and 92 RBIs with a .307 batting average. He missed the beginning of the season too. I expect around the same numbers from Craig. Maybe 25 homers. He’s a decent option at 1st base/outfield/utility.

18. Lance Berkman 

Berkman had one of his best season in years 2 years ago. Last year he was injured fairly early so he didn’t get to prove if it was a fluke or not. He’s now going to be a DH in Texas which is a good thing. There’s a less chance he gets hurt since he isn’t playing the field. Also, he’ll be less tired and he can focus more on hitting. Berkman could be a good utility player as 25 homers, 80 RBIs aren’t that crazy. 

19. Freddie Freeman 

Freeman enjoyed a pretty good season last year. He hit .259 with 23 homers and 94 RBIs. He’s still young so I expect him to improve. Maybe this can be his breakout year. Expect his homers, batting average, and RBIs to all be better than last year. He’s an OK option at first, decent at utility. 

20. Paul Goldschmidt 

Goldschmidt hit .286 with 20 homers and 82 RBIs. He’s looking to improve on that this year and he most likely will. Goldschmidt should be taken around the same time as the other young sluggers with a lot of upside.

OK Players

21. Carlos Santana 

I’m not sure why, but Santana was the 1st catcher taken in the majority of drafts last season. He had a pretty good year in 2011 hitting 27 homers, but he only had a .239 batting average. He has so much upside, but the guys who already proved themselves to be good should have been taken before. However, now that his value is back down after a sub-par performance last season, this is the year you should take him. His average did improve last year, but his homers were down. He should be back above 25 home runs this season and I expect his batting average to continue to improve. Last season he was taken too early, but this year he should fall further than he should. Grab him as a top 5 catcher. He’s an OK option at first, but better off at the weaker catcher position.

22. Mike Napoli 

Napoli is a very streaker hitter for average. From 2010-2011 his average rose 82 points from .238 to .320. From 2011-2012 his average dropped 93 points back down to .227. But what is consistent about Napoli is his power. He’s hit at least 20 homers in each of the past five seasons, even with injuries in a few. If he hits .300+ again he may become the best catcher in fantasy. If he hits .240- again, he is still top 10. Let’s assume he’ll hit right in between there at .270. That’s good enough to make him a top 5 catcher. He wouldn’t be a bad option at first base either.

23. Adam LaRoche 

LaRoche enjoyed one of his best seasons in years by hitting 33 homers and 100 RBIs. If he could repeat that performance, then he is a great option at first. But I think that somewhere in the 20s is a more realistic home run target. He wouldn’t be a bad utility player.

24. Corey Hart 

Hart is good for around 25 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .270 average. Since he is a first basemen/outfielder, that may not be good enough to be a starter. There are better options out there than Hart. 

25. Nick Swisher 

Swisher is a pretty good player. He’s a pretty safe bet to hit 20-25 homers with 80+ RBI. But he doesn’t have much upside. You can do better than Swisher at first, outfield, or utility.

26. Garrett Jones 

Jones enjoyed a fairly decent season last year by hitting 27 homers with 86 RBIs and a batting average of .274. This isn’t good enough to be a starting first basemen/outfielder/utility however.

27. Adam Dunn 

Dunn slugged 41 homers last season but hit .204. The year before that he hit 11 homers and hit .159. I don’t know what happened to him that year or what changed last year, but I’m not buying that Dunn is back. I still expect around 30-35 homers, but I doubt he’ll hit 40 again. And of course his average is gonna be bad. He’s an OK option at utility.

28. Mark Reynolds 

Reynolds is kind of like Adam Dunn. He’s going to hit a lot of home runs, strike out a lot, and have a low batting average. But he only hit 23 homers last season. He could easily bounce back to 30+ but you never know. He’d be OK as a utility player. 

29. Michael Cuddyer 

Cuddyer was enjoying a pretty good season before getting injured last season. He’s not a great starting option but you can’t go wrong with a power hitter playing in Colorado. There’s better options out there though.

30. Adam Lind 

Lind had a horrible year last season. He hit .255 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs. He should be back to hitting at least 20 home runs, but you never know. There are plenty of other options at first so try for somebody else.


Mike Olt got some playing time last year in Texas. He wasn’t that great, but he only had 33 at bats. It’s good, however, that he got the experience and we know that there’s a chance he could become a starter sometime during the season. Olt was a tremendous power hitter in the minors and should be able to perform good power numbers in the majors as well. Keep an eye on him. If a player is struggling or there is an injury, Olt may become the starter.

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