Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top 10 Fantasy Baseball First Baseman

Article by Jeremy McCabe
SportsWiseGuy Writer
twitter.com/@jeremy_mccabe05


Joey Votto


    First base is the position in fantasy baseball you need a slugger at, a man that will get you 30 homeruns and 100 RBIs. This list is exclusively for first basemen, so Buster Posey or anyone else eligible for first will not be on this list. These players are not only the best fantasy first basemen in the league, but the best overall first basemen in the league, and they will help you win. Shall we begin?

10- Paul Konerko
    The 15-year vet who plays in the South Side of Chicago, is entering his sixteenth season hungry. He missed hitting .300 for his third straight year by .002. Konerko had a down year last year when he only drove in 75 runs, but his 26 blasts gave him eight of the last nine years with 25+. Konerko is a career .283 hitter and that production for a big powerful first baseman is a rare feature to come by. Paul is getting old, but he can be productive for another two or three years. I like him as an impact bat later in the draft.

9- Freddie Freeman
    Freddie Freeman is entering his third full season after following up his rookie season with an excellent season. He had his second consecutive 20+ homeruns, 30+ double season. He reduced his number of strikeouts in his second season which means he puts the ball in play, and something good happens when you put the ball in play. Freeman is ready for a huge season, after being handed the Upton Brothers, the Braves lineup has speed and that all helps my case for Freddie. I expect Freeman to return to his .286 average he had his rookie season. Freeman will give you good value if you don’t aim for the big name first basemen.

8-Allen Craig
    I have been a huge fan of this player ever since I saw him help the Cardinals win their championship in 2011. Allen Craig is an underrated player in a great St. Louis lineup. The Card’s lineup led the majors in OBP, and were in the top five in runs and batting average. Last year, Craig doubled his homerun total from the year before at 22. He also had a career high 92 RBIs. Allen is a dangerous hitter in the middle of the lineup. Craig will hit 25+ homeruns and drive in 90+runs. He is a sneaky player who will add another element to your fantasy team.

7-Mark Teixera
    Remember when Tex used to hit close to .300 every year? Neither do I. The five- time Gold Glover might be the best fielding first baseman in the majors. Mark is entering his fifth season with the Yanks and last year was the first year he didn’t play 150+ games in the Bronx. The three previous years he hit at least 33 homeruns and drove in at least 108 in each. Even though he missed some time last year, he still hit 24 homeruns, and he plays in a park made for him. The power is Mark’s bread and butter now, he hasn’t hit over .260 since 2009 when he hit .292. The Yankees will score a lot of runs this year and Tex is always a threat when he comes up to the plate, especially when it’s at Yankee Stadium. Would be a good fantasy treat for anyone willing to take him.

6- Billy Butler
    I may be cheating a little bit with this player, since I only said true first baseman would be on this list, but Butler is the number six best pick for first base. In Butler’s six year career, he has failed to hit at least .290 only once. Last year, Billy had career highs in homeruns (29), hits (192), RBIs (107) and SLG (.510). The 26-year old is entering the 2013 season with a streak of 159+ games played in each of the past 4 seasons. He is someone who will be in the lineup every day and he will produce. Last year, he also set a career high in AB/HR with 21.2. Billy Butler has the potential to hit 30 homeruns and like I have been saying the entire time, first base is a position you need a big bat. This is that big bat. Choose wisely.

5-Edwin Encarnacion
    Usually I don’t give into the pressure after one breakout season. Edwin Encarnacion can hit the ball a long way, and in the lineup he is currently in, he has the ability to pad his stats. The 3-4 combination of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion has the chance to each hit 50 homeruns. Edwin posted a 42 homerun, 110 RBI season last year, which were both career highs. He also set career highs in almost every single offensive category. His 12.9 AB/HR is a ridiculous stat, which is his career high. Alright, enough talking about career highs, Edwin can flat out hit. Edwin has the chance to set new personal records this season as the revamped Blue Jays are ready to fight for the AL East. He is that bat that has the chance to go deep every time he steps up, and with the amount of talent he has around him, makes him look even more attractive for future fantasy owners.

4-Adrian Gonzalez
    This former Red Sox is celebrating his first Opening Day in the City of Angels. Adrian Gonzalez is still one of the lost feared lefties in the game today. He just finished his sixth straight 99+ RBI season. This is a man you want in the middle of your lineup. Adrian will be surrounded by the likes of Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, and Carl Crawford, which will only help the future fantasy owners of him. If the Dodgers are going to be where they are planning on being then Adrian needs to have a huge season. The career .294 hitter is going to finish the year close to that number, if not even closer to .300, which he’s done twice in his eight year career. If you want someone who will produce for his team when he’s in Adrian is a great bet. He is still at an elite level and just missed the top 3 cut.

3- Prince Fielder
    There are a couple really good 3-4 duos in the majors right now. As I mentioned earlier, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are a very powerful duo. Prince Fielder is Miguel Cabrera’s Robin. Last year in Prince’s first season in Detroit, he hit a career high .313, and set a career high in hits (182) showing everybody he can not only hit for power, but he can hit for a high average was well. To be an elite fantasy hitter, you need to do everything excellent and Fielder’s stats speak for himself. He just registered his sixth straight 30+ homerun year, seventh straight 82+ run year, and five out of his last six years he’s driven in over 100 RBIs. In Prince’s career, he has never played under 157 games, which means he stays on the field and will stay on your fantasy starting lineup every day. Prince had a career low in strikeouts last year, which is actually the first time he’s ever not had over 100. Prince Fielder is a man who will be one of your key contributors this year for your fantasy team. Don’t overlook him.

2- Albert Pujols
    Albert Pujols is a man amongst boys out of the field. The three-time NL MVP, had career lows in almost every offensive category in his first year with the Angels, but he still hit 30 homeruns with a .285 average. My point is if that is a below-average Albert Pujols year, I will gladly have him this year. Now that Albert is going into his second year in a new league, he is more comfortable and will get back to the Albert Pujols of old, (that’s scary). Ten of his eleven years in St. Louis, Albert hit over .312, and in his eleven seasons, he averaged 40 homeruns and 120 RBIs. I chose Albert last year second overall, after Miguel was taken. Albert Pujols is in one of the best lineups, if not the best lineup in the American League, he will have chances to drive runs in, and to be driven in, all of which helps fantasy owners of Albert. I expect one of Pujols biggest seasons since being a pro this year, and that is saying something. Albert Pujols will sure up your first base spot and will help you win your league. Don’t think he’ll be mediocre two straight years.           

1-Joey Votto
    This Canadian native is one of the best overall first basemen in the league, and one of the best fantasy first basemen. The former MVP missed time last year due to injury, but he still hit a career high .337 with an OPS of 1.041. In Joey’s five full seasons, he never hit below .297. Even though last year he hit only 14 homeruns, he has a beautiful lefty swing with the opposite field in mind. He has had four straight seasons in which he had an OBP of at least .414, and has walked at least 90 times in the past three seasons. Joey hits in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the National League, which only helps Joey and the owners who will draft him. Joey Votto looks and plays the part of a big-time franchise player. Cincy made sure to lock him down last season and now Joey is sittin’ pretty. Votto can do everything you want a first baseman to do. Hopefully you benefit when this lefty steps into the box.

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