Tag Archives: Prince Fielder

Season Preview – NL Central


Time to look at the 6 team NL Central division. You can also take a look at my previews of the AL East, AL Central, AL West, and NL East.

Last Year’s Records
Cincinnati – 91-71
St. Louis – 86-76
Milwaukee – 77-85
Houston – 76-86
Chicago – 75-87
Pittsburgh – 57-105

Notable Additions

Chicago – Carlos Pena, Matt Garza, Kerry Wood

Cincinnati – Edgar Renteria

Houston – Clint Barmes

Milwaukee – Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum, Yuniesky Betancourt, Takashi Saito, Mark Kotsay

Pittsburgh – Lyle Overbay, Garrett Atkins, Kevin Correia, Scott Olsen, Joe Beimel

St. Louis – Ryan Theriot, Lance Berkman

Notable Losses

Chicago – Sam Fuld, Tom Gorzelanny

Cincinnati – Arthur Rhodes, Orlando Cabrera, Aaron Harang

Houston – Matt Lindstrom, Felipe Paulino

Milwaukee – Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Gregg Zaun

Pittsburgh -  Zack Duke, Andy LaRoche, Lastings Milledge

St. Louis – Brendan Ryan, Pedro Feliz, Brad Penny, Jeff Suppan

My Thoughts

Chicago – The Cubs had a very disappointing season last year, and went out and tried to plug some of those holes this offseason. Bringing in Carlos Pena on a 1 year contract, despite its cost, looks like a very nice signing for a power bat. The acquisition of Matt Garza brings a young, cost-controlled high-end starting pitcher to their rotation, but at the cost of top prospects Hak-Ju Lee, Chris Archer, and others.  I am not sold that this team will compete this year, as they will need bounceback performances from Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Zambrano to really end up in the thick of the race.

Cincinnati – The defending NL Central champions, the team has lost Aaron Harang and will hope that the combination of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and others will be able to pitch complete seasons this year. The team returns nearly every player from last season’s title, but I don’t think that it is a slam-dunk that they will just run away with the division again this year.

Houston – Talk about a rebuilding effort. Here’s a team which has very few high-end prospects in the system right now, who also does not have a lot of higher-quality players at the Major League level either. There are some quality players in Hunter Pence and Brett Myers, but there’s not a lot of hope for the 2011 season. They will look to get a solid rookie season out of last year’s acquisition, Brett Wallace, but you have essentially gathered a group of mid-level players who can fill out a roster, but are unlikely to compete as a group for a division title, let alone a league championship

Milwaukee – And within the same division, you have a team who has gone all-in for 2011. The Brewers have traded nearly all of their top prospects in order to improve their pitching staff, and did so with the acquisitions of Marcum and Greinke. It’s not a great sign that Greinke is hurt already, but he should return in mid April and only miss a few starts. The bigger story throughout the season will be whether or not they fall out of contention and attempt to trade Prince Fielder before the deadline. They definitely remain a team to be reckoned with in the NL Central.

Pittsburgh – For a team that lost 105 games last year, they actually have a lot to look forward to. Center fielder Andrew McCutchen is poised to become one of the best young players in the Majors, and 2nd year players Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez both will look to build on their solid rookie years. They aren’t likely to compete this season, but there’s hope for Pirates fans that is starting to show itself at the Major League level.

St. Louis – The biggest story out of St. Louis up until the start of Spring Training was whether or not Albert Pujols would sign a contract extension prior to the start of the season, and unfortunately it’s no longer the current top story out of their camp. With Cy Young runner up Adam Wainwright out for the season with Tommy John surgery, they will now look to replace at least some part of his production in the starting rotation. I’m not sold that this team, as constructed, can compete for the division title. They will need everything else to fall just right for them to win this division.

Overall Thoughts

The NL Central really has the look of a wide open division. If things fall just right, 4 of the teams could conceivably win the division this season. That said, I’m not sold that things will fall right for all of them, but it should be intersting to watch regardless.  Here’s my predicted order of finish:

1. Milwaukee
2. Cincinnati
3. St. Louis
4. Chicago
5. Pittsburgh
6. Houston

Who are the Faces of the Franchise? NL Central Edition


Only two divisions left to look at for the Faces of the Franchise, but there’s some definite notable ones here .

  • Cubs – At the moment, the player who is most known for being a Cub has to be Carlos Zambrano. Whether or not that is a good thing or not remains to be seen, but the team seems like it is more associated with him than some of the more famous position players like Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Continue reading

The Next Contract for Albert Pujols


With the self-imposed deadline come and gone, it appears that for now, Albert Pujols will play out his contract, and have the option to test free agency come November. The potential suitors who could vie for his services if he actually reaches free agency have been written about ad nauseum, but I think it’s important to look at the actual impact Pujols will have on the game itself.

If He Returns to the Cardinals

If Albert returns to the Cardinals, two things stand out potentially for him. He could be the next great lifetime Cardinal, in the ilk of Stan Musial and Bob Gibson, as famous for being a Cardinal as a great ballplayer. His numbers to this point clearly indicate that he is already a great player, one of the greats of all time in just 10 seasons. But he could also make a run at some of the great Cardinal records, many of which are held by Musial.

Continue reading

Trade Review – Zack Greinke to the Brewers


After all of the posturing that was coming out about what the Royals were looking for in return for 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke, it appears that a trade came together pretty quickly. Jim Breen over at Bernie’s Crew broke the story last evening, and the trade that appears to have been finalized was Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and $2 M going to the Brewers in exchange for SS Alcides Escobar, OF Lorenzo Cain, SP Jake Odorizzi, and SP Jeremy Jeffress.

Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers have really improved their starting pitching with both the acquisition of Shaun Marcum and now Zack Greinke. Their rotation now consists of Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson most likely, which could well be the top starting rotation in the NL Central, and probably 3rd in the NL behind the Phillies and the Giants.

Continue reading

Trade Review: Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox


You know, I keep planning on writing about the Hall of Fame case of Kevin Brown, and major stories in the game seem to keep coming up. When I went to bed last night, it appeared that the trade talks surrounding Adrian Gonzalez had been heating up, and that teams besides just the Red Sox were involved. When I woke up this morning, it appears that the other teams have fallen by the wayside, and that the Red Sox are very close to acquiring Gonzalez from the Padres.

According to MLBTR, the players involved have been confirmed, but the things holding up the trade remain a physical for Gonzalez and the contract extension discussions as well. The package of players seems to have reached a general consensus, if not complete confirmation for the public. Let’s take a look at how this trade looks:

Continue reading

Fantasy Rankings in Review – First Basemen


Back in February, I took my first shot at attempting to rank players for fantasy purposes. After a full season, I thought it wise to take a look back at how they went, and compare them to how it actually turned out and see if there is anything to be gained from it. Next up is the review of my 1B rankings.

My Preseason Rankings
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Prince Fielder
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Ryan Howard
6. Joey Votto
7. Mark Reynolds
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Kendry Morales
10. Adrian Gonzalez
11. Derrek Lee
12. Justin Morneau
13. Adam Dunn
14. Pablo Sandoval
15. Carlos Pena

Yahoo’s Final Rankings (Top 15)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Paul Konerko
5. Adrian Gonzalez
6. Mark Teixeira
7. Aubrey Huff
8. Ryan Howard
9. Nick Swisher
10. Adam Dunn
11. David Ortiz
12. Martin Prado
13. Prince Fielder
14. Billy Butler
15. Adam LaRoche

I also mentioned Adam LaRoche, Paul Konerko, Billy Butler, Garrett Jones, Lance Berkman, Chris Davis, Michael Cuddyer, Todd Helton, James Loney, Justin Smoak, and Chris Carter as players potentially having value this year.
From my preseason rankings, Kevin Youkilis (19), Derrek Lee (21), James Loney (24), and Justin Morneau (25) all finished in the top 25. Mark Reynolds, Kendry Morales, Pablo Sandoval, and Carlos Pena did not make the top 25 at the end of the season.
Free Agents: Lance Berkman, Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus, Aubrey Huff, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena
What We Saw

Buster Posey’s season was better than anyone even thought. He finished at #23 in the 1B rankings for Yahoo, which is clearly an elite offensive position. Wow.

I thought Joey Votto would do extremely well this season, but clearly this was above and beyond what I thought either. I think he’s going to start next season as a top 10 player overall.

Talk about a walk year improvement. Paul Konerko went nuts this year, and finished with 39 homers and 112 rbi. He’s a free agent, and while they want him back in Chicago, it remains to be seen where he will end up. But he’s clearly not as done as we all thought he was.

Aubrey Huff is another free agent who should get paid this offseason after an excellent performance in San Francisco. Part of his value was having 7 stolen bases this season, which seems unlikely to continue. I just can’t convince myself that he’s particularly likely to repeat the overall performance in 2011.

Injuries really had an effect on the 1B depth, with Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales, Justin Morneau, and Troy Glaus all missed time during the season. It didn’t help that players like Mark Reynolds, Lance Berkman and Carlos Pena all struggled during the season.

Justin Morneau really concerns me for next season, due to the fact that he still has not been able to do any baseball activities since suffering that concussion in Toronto. He could potentially provide a very nice value for fantasy owners next year, but he won’t end up on any of my teams most likely.

Adrian Gonzalez will continue to be the topic of trade rumors throughout the offseason, and I think that if he gets traded to anywhere else practically, he’s going to provide even more offense than he did this season, which seems like it should be impossible.

Overall, some of these rankings were pretty easy (I’m pretty sure it takes no brains to rank Pujols at #1), but some of these players clearly underperformed (Fielder, Reynolds, Pena). I think that Youkilis would have finished above the #8 spot I had believed at the beginning of the season had he not gotten injured. Not a terrible job on these, but definitely some work to be done next season.

Preliminary 2011 Rankings (Very Raw)
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Joey Votto
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Mark Teixeira
6. Ryan Howard
7. Prince Fielder
8. Kevin Youkilis
9. Paul Konerko
10. Adam Dunn

Fun with Old Copies of BA’s Almanac (2003 edition) – Part 3


Part 3 of the 2003 BA Almanac Series takes a look at the Top 20 Prospect Lists created by BA for each of the minor leagues.

Players on More than One List

Brandon Phillips – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Aaron Heilman – Eastern League (AA) and International League (AAA)
Mark Teixeira – Texas League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Jose Reyes – Eastern League (AA) and Florida State League (High-A)
Hanley Ramirez – NY Penn League (SS-A) and Gulf Coast League (Rookie)

#1 Overall in Each League

International League – Carl Crawford (TAM)
Pacific Coast League – Jesse Foppert (SF)
Eastern League – Jose Reyes (NYM)
Southern League – Jake Peavy (SD)
Texas League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
California League – Rocco Baldelli (TAM)
Carolina League – Sean Burnett (PIT)
Florida State League – Mark Teixeira (TEX)
Midwest League – Joe Mauer (MIN)
Sally League – Gavin Floyd (CHW)
NY-Penn League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)
Northwest League – Andy Sisco (CHC)
Appalachian League – Jeff Francoeur (ATL)
Pioneer League – James Loney (LAD)
Arizona Rookie League – Felix Pie (CHC)
Gulf Coast Rookie League – Hanley Ramirez (BOS)

My Thoughts from the Lists

When you look at the two AAA lists, I find it interesting to see how their careers have gone:

  • All-Stars: 12 out of 40
  • Solid Major League Regulars: 14 out of 40
  • Cup of Coffees: 14 out of 40
  • Never Made It: 0 out of 40

I believe that Major League teams view players who make it to AAA as at least a reasonable chance to play in the Majors, so this doesn’t really surprise me that none of BA’s top 40 failed to play in the Majors for at least 1 game.

Of course, there are definitely some players who had less than stellar careers that come from this list, including:

Overall though, this class of 40 prospects is pretty solid, with perennial All Stars Carl Crawford and Chase Utley probably considered to be the best of the group.

Some other notes:

  • The Eastern League had 9 future MLB All-Stars out of their top 10 in 2002. The lone player who has not made an All-Star team: Aaron Heilman
  • The Pioneer League (Adv. Rookie) had a surprising amount of MLB regulars with 11 of their 20 listed playing big roles with teams now, including Prince Fielder, James Loney, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • The Northwest League (Short-Season A) only had 2 players with a measurable impact this season: Ricky Nolasco and Fred Lewis.
  • The California League had 13 players who have had a solid impact in the Majors, including Josh Hamilton, J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart, and Bobby Jenks.

Overall, it’s really interesting to me to see what hindsight can tell us now that it has been nearly 8 years since this was published. Looking at the performance that the players on the list provided, it is pretty clear to me that the prospect lists were very accurate at the time, and clearly reflected a lot of research on the whole by the staff over at BA. But them, just like the rest of us, are pretty much guessing sometimes when it comes to prospects and how they will turn out once they get to the Majors, if they get there at all.

Original Draft Series – #25 – Milwaukee Brewers


For those that missed the guidelines I am using for this series of posts, you can find them here.

Team #25: Milwaukee Brewers

General Managers(since 1994)

Sal Bando (1994-1999): 424-481
Dean Taylor (2000-2002): 197-289
Doug Melvin (2003-Current): 544-589

Team Performance

Playoffs Division Finish
WC League Playoff App 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th or 6th
0 0 1 0 2 5 3 6

The Brewers have had a bit of stability in the front office, with the same scouting director for many years until leaving after the 2008 season and only 3 general managers in the last 16 seasons. Unfortunately, they are in the NL Central, the domain of the Astros, Cardinals, and Cubs. All information is drawn from Baseball Reference.

Position Name Acquired Years with Org.
Stats with Organization
Left?
C Angel Salome 2004 – 5th Rd 6 3 gm, 0-3 Currently with Org.
1B Prince Fielder 2002 – 1st Rd (7) 8 2 All Star Appearances, 1 Silver Slugger
741 gm, .281/.382/.541, 173 HR, 479 RBI, 15 SB, 423 R
Currently with Org.
2B Rickie Weeks 2003 – 1st Rd (2) 7 547 gm, .248/.352/.416, 70 HR, 216 RBI, 84 SB, 375 R Currently with Org.
3B Ronnie Belliard 1994 – 8th Rd 8 489 gm, .263/.341/.396, 30 HR, 174 RBI, 18 SB, 243 R Free Agency – 12/21/02
SS Alcides Escobar Int’l FA – 2003 7 108 gm, .271/.314/.357, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 8 SB, 48 R Currently with Org.
LF Ryan Braun 2005 – 1st Rd (5) 5 2007 Rookie of the Year, 2 All Star Appearances, 2 Silver Sluggers
486 gm, .307/.363/.564, 113 HR, 362 RBI, 60 SB, 340 R
Currently with Org.
CF Tony Gwynn 2003 – 2nd Rd 5 130 gm, .248/.300/.298, 4 HR, 50 RBI, 34 SB, 98 R Traded to SD – 5/21/09
RF Corey Hart 2000 – 11th Rd 10 1 All Star Appearance
579 gm, .272/.327/.481, 84 HR, 307 RBI, 67 SB, 297 R
Currently with Org.
SP Yovani Gallardo 2004 – 2nd Rd 6 28-20, 3.38 ERA, 419 K, 182 BB, 408 IP, 1.297 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP Ben Sheets 1999 – 1st Rd (10) 9 4 All Star Appearances
86-83, 3.72 ERA, 1206 K, 313 BB, 1428 IP, 1.201 WHIP
Free Agency – 10/30/08
SP Dana Eveland 2002 – 16th Rd 4 1-4, 6.98 ERA, 55 K, 34 BB, 59.1 IP, 1.904 WHIP Traded to ARI – 11/25/06
SP Manny Parra 2001 – 26th Rd 9 22-24, 5.04 ERA, 334 K, 186 BB, 374.2 IP, 1.652 WHIP Currently with Org.
SP
RP Craig Breslow 2002 – 26th Rd 2 No Major League Appearances with Organization Released – 7/6/04
RP Mitch Stetter 2003 – 16th Rd 7 8-2, 3.99 ERA, 82 K, 51 BB, 79 IP, 1.405 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Zach Braddock 2005 – 18th Rd 5 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 12 K, 3 BB, 8.1 IP, 1.920 WHIP Currently with Org.
RP Mike Adams Amateur FA – 2001 5 2-4, 3.54 ERA, 54 K, 26 BB, 68.2 IP, 1.340 WHIP Traded to NYM – 5/26/06
RP Dennis Sarfate 2001 – 9th Rd 6 0-0, 4.32 ERA, 11 K, 4 BB, 8.1 IP, 1.560 WHIP Purchased by HOU – 9/11/07
CL
BN J.J. Hardy (SS) 2001 – 2nd Rd 8 571 gm, .262/.323/.428, 75 HR, 265 RBI, 5 SB, 279 R Traded to MIN – 11/6/09
BN Matt LaPorta (OF) 2007 – 1st Rd (7) 1 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to CLE – 7/7/08
BN Mat Gamel (3B) 2005 – 4th Rd 5 63 gm, .246/.340/.431, 5 HR, 20 RBI, SB, 11 R Currently with Org.
BN Cole Gillespie (OF) 2006 – 3rd Rd 3 No Major League Appearances with Organization Traded to ARI – 7/19/09
BN Jonathan Lucroy (C) 2007 – 3rd Rd 3 9 gm, .314/.314/.314, 2 SB, 4 R Currently with Org.
BN Bill Hall (UT) 1998 – 6th Rd 11 831 gm, .253/.312/.446, 102 HR, 367 RBI, 49 SB, 370 R Traded to SEA – 8/19/09

June Amateur Draft

Looking at their drafting results, they have had only 20 first round picks in the last 15 drafts (not including 2010). They haven’t had a ton of success at the Major League level, which has led the Brewers to have 8 top-10 draft picks. Part of the reason that they are higher than some of the previous teams, in spite of being unable to field a full pitching staff, is because of the success already of some of their draft picks. First rounders Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are pretty easily considered to be in the top 5 players at their position in the Major Leagues, with both likely to be All-Stars for the considerable future. Easily the top pitcher on this staff was 1st rounder Ben Sheets, who made 4 All-Star appearances for the team. Even some of the other first round picks who haven’t been amazing, but solid include Rickie Weeks, and they were able to trade fellow first rounder Matt LaPorta to get C.C. Sabathia for their playoff run in 2008.  The Brewers have also done well getting value out of later picks, with Corey Hart out of the 11th round, and Manny Parra out of the 26th round.

International Free Agency

The Brewers don’t appear to have been particularly active to this point in the international market . SS Alcides Escobar was so widely viewed as a top tier prospect coming into the 2010 season that the Twins were able to move previous SS and power hitter J.J. Hardy to the Twins for other needs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a single player beyond Escobar that the Brewers had found in any of the international markets.

Overall Grade

I think that they have to get a C- also. The high-end talent on this team is clearly better than all of the other teams I’ve reviewed so far. But the problem lies in the fact that I couldn’t even come up with 11 pitchers to fill out a pitching staff that were still active. Throw in that some positions are extremely shallow (catcher comes to mind first), and I think that overall this team is a bit incomplete. There are some top prospects on their way, with 2B Brett Lawrie leading the way. But they’re not there yet, and this team kind of shows it.

Team Preview – Milwaukee Brewers


Roster Makeup
Lineup Pitching Staff
Pos Name Role Name
C Gregg Zaun SP 1 Yovani Gallardo
1B Prince Fielder SP 2 Randy Wolf
2B Rickie Weeks SP 3 Doug Davis
3B Casey McGehee SP 4 Jeff Suppan
SS Alcides Escobar SP 5 Dave Bush
LF Ryan Braun Bullpen
CF Carlos Gomez CL Trevor Hoffman
RF Corey Hart RP LaTroy Hawkins
Bench RP Todd Coffey
IF Craig Counsell RP Mitch Stetter
OF Jim Edmonds RP Manny Parra

Additional roster information can be found at MLB Depth Charts.

Off-Season Transactions
Key Additions Key Losses
Pos Name How Pos Name How
SP Randy Wolf Free Agency SS J.J. Hardy Trade (MIN)
CF Carlos Gomez Trade (MIN) CF Mike Cameron Free Agency
SP Doug Davis Free Agency C Jason Kendall Free Agency

Top Prospects: Brett Lawrie (2B), Alcides Escobar (SS), Mat Gamel (3B)

2009 Review

The Brewers finished the 2009 season with an 80-82 record, good for 3rd place in the division. The team had some excellent performances on offense, led by 1B Prince Fielder (.299, 46 HR, 141 RBI), LF Ryan Braun (.320, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 20 SB), and rookie IF Casey McGehee (.301, 16 HR,  66 RBI). Unfortunately, the rest of the offense was rather middling, and only scored 785 runs last year. The pitching staff, now missing the excellent half-season of free-agent departee C.C. Sabathia, was led by Yovani Gallardo (13-12, 3.73 ERA). Unfortunately, the rest of the staff pitched extremely inconsistently, with replacement level performances from Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan, Manny Parra, and Dave Bush.

Team Outlook for 2010

The Brewers officially ushered in the Major league career of SS prospect Alcides Escobar early in the offseason with the trade of SS J.J. Hardy to the Twins. They were able to replace free agents C Jason Kendall and SP Braden Looper with C Gregg Zaun and SP Doug Davis, respectively. The Hardy trade also brought their replacement for CF Mike Cameron, another free agent departee. Their main free agent signing this offseason has to be SP Randy Wolf. Wolf will help to bring stability to the rotation, and allow Davis, Jeff Suppan, and Dave Bush to slot in closer to their proper positions in the rotation. The offense is led by elite 1B Prince Fielder and LF Ryan Braun, and should be helped by the return of 2B Rickie Weeks and RF Corey Hart from injuries. This team has done well to build around its solid core of top players, and has also tried to find some veteran presence with Trevor Hoffman and OF Jim Edmonds.

Fantasy Outlook for 2010

OF Ryan Braun and 1B Prince Fielder are both 1st round talents regardless of format. After that, SP Yovani Gallardo is really the only player who’s ownable in all formats. For some deeper leagues, I would recommend SS Alcides Escobar (for SB potential), and SP Randy Wolf as well.

Prediction for 2010

The Brewers are improved over last season, but I think that they’re going to need a little luck if they were to pass either Chicago or St. Louis. As of right now, their offense and pitching are both not quite up to the standard of a division leader. But they’re getting closer.

83-79, 3rd in the NL Central

Fantasy Preview – First Basemen


A note about my rankings: I am assuming a standard scoring league (5×5) with the following categories:

R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, W, SV, ERA, K, WHIP

Also, I have done a lot of statistical analysis in the past, but I’m not ready to start calculating my own projections statistically. So for me, a lot of this is based entirely on gut feel (which of these 2 players would I want), and looking at previous performance. All statistics are from the 2009 season.

My top 15 First Basemen for 2010

1. Albert Pujols – STL
R HR RBI SB AVG
124 47 135 16 .327
If someone wants to try to argue that Pujols shouldn’t be the #1 overall player in fantasy baseball coming into the season, they’re free to do so. However, I’m not going to try that. He provides an excellent batting average, excellent power and runs batted in, scores a ton of runs, and even managed to steal 16 bases last season. Even if he cuts the steals down, he’s far and away the top player in fantasy starting this season.


2. Miguel Cabrera – DET
R HR RBI SB AVG
96 34 103 6 .324
It’s hard to remember sometimes that Cabrera will only be turning 27 years old this season. He is about as consistent as they come for a .320+ batting average, 30+ homers, and 100+ rbi. He had a bit of a tumultuous off-season, but look for his focus to be good as always when he hits the field again.


3. Prince Fielder – MIL
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 46 141 2 .299
Prince has really vaulted himself into another category of first basemen here, as the power and rbi totals were both at the top of the leaderboards for last season. The high average was a bit of a jump from his previous best, and although he may have a slight regression, I can’t imagine it’s going to be any more than 10 points. The only reason I don’t have Fielder ahead of Cabrera is that you could end up with the Fielder who gave you 34 homers and 86 rbi in 2008 as opposed to the monster from 2009. Another consistent season along those lines would be enough to move him ahead in my books.


4. Mark Teixeira – NYY
R HR RBI SB AVG
103 39 122 2 .292
With Big Tex, you draft him and remind yourself that he’s going to produce amazingly for 5 months. It’s that first month that you have to suck up and deal with to get it though. Last April was not so great for Tex again (.200, 3 HR, 10 RBI), but still didn’t really affect his season totals. Teixeira is another player who is pretty much a lock for 30 HR/100 RBI every season, and in the Yankees lineup will provide high amounts of runs as well. A great, solid fantasy first baseman.


5. Ryan Howard – PHI
R HR RBI SB AVG
105 45 141 8 .277
The only real “flaws” in his game as a fantasy player are a slight lack of speed (8 stolen bases last year was the first time over 1 in a season), and that he’s not a .300 hitter. But do you really need him to be with the rest of those numbers? He’s going to score a lot of runs in the high-powered Phillies lineup, and he’s the biggest masher they have. He’s a very good bet for 40 HR/120 RBI, which there’s not that many players that are going to give you that. And the average is definitely good considering all that, right?


6. Joey Votto – CIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
82 25 84 4 .322
This is where you tell me my wheels have come off, right? I can’t possibly have put Joey Votto above such luminaries as Justin Morneau, Adrian Gonzalez, and Lance Berkman, right? Well, I have, and here’s why. Votto missed about 25 games last season due to off-days and the death of his father. When he was playing, he admitted himself that he was not himself, and was out of it while dealing with this and the social anxiety that came with it. And in spite of all these things, he still posted an excellent season. Which leads me to believe that he’s going to be even better this year. In spite of a high batting average on balls in play (.373), I think the power is legitimate. So I could see a 30 HR, .295 hitter instead of a 25 HR, .322 hitter. Still very good.


7. Mark Reynolds – ARI
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
98 44 102 24 .260
I don’t think he’s the 40 homer run hitter necessarily, and I don’t think he’s going to turn into a pumpkin either. I can see a 30 homer, 20 steal season with a .250 average. The fact that he’s eligible at 3B also makes him a very nice option to have on your roster. He’s a nice upside play though, as he could potentially repeat the 40 homers as well.


8. Kevin Youkilis – BOS
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
99 27 94 7 .305
Another personal favorite, Youkilis not only qualifies at two positions, but provides value in all 5 categories. Obviously, 7 steals isn’t a lot of value necessarily, but since you’re likely to get between 25-30 homers and almost 100 runs score with it, he’s a win-win. The numbers are all similar to his previous season’s numbers, so I’m fairly confident he can repeat them again. Especially with a Red Sox lineup that may actually have improved from last year’s version.


9. Kendry Morales – LAA
R HR RBI SB AVG
86 34 108 3 .306
Morales came into the league last season, and probably won quite a few leagues for his owners. Finally given regular playing time, Morales didn’t disappoint. I would normally be a bit concerned about a sophomore slump here, but I think that if he’s able to stay on the field all season like he did in 2009, he should have no problem producing similar numbers. Of some concern is the fact that the Angels lost leadoff man Chone Figgins via free agency, but I don’t believe that his RBI total will drop drastically as a result.


10. Adrian Gonzalez – SD
R HR RBI SB AVG
90 40 99 1 .277
It’s amazing how deep 1B is, with a 40 homerun hitter falling all the way to 10th on my rankings. Gonzalez provides no speed, and is unlikely to produce a higher batting average than he did last season. But the power is real, and could be epic if he gets traded midseason to anywhere that plays better than Petco Park. Something to track as the season progresses, as he hit 28 of his 40 homers away from Petco last season, along with a .306 average. If he does get traded, he could potentially vault into the top 5 of first basemen, or even higher.


11. Derrek Lee – CHC
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 35 111 1 .306
On a team that really didn’t do very well, Lee quietly had a very good season last year. Continuing this in 2010 would not really be that much of a stretch. The lineup for the Cubs is at least as good as it was last season, so RBI and R opportunities will probably remain similar. The home run total is not really out of range either, as he’s hit 30+ homers 4 times. Obviously, I’d love to see him start stealing bases like he has in the past, posting double-digit steal seasons 4 times as well. However, that ship may have sailed, and my lack of confidence in that to change leaves him here at 11.


12. Justin Morneau – MIN
R HR RBI SB AVG
85 30 100 0 .274
Kind of scary that my 12th best first baseman still had a bit of a down season, only hitting .274 and scoring 85 runs. The run total should improve with J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson added to the lineup. His batting average should improve some as well, but I’m not sold it will get all the way back to .300. But a 30 hr/100 rbi season should be expected out of him, and combined with all that, he could potentially have some upside here.


13. Adam Dunn – WAS
R HR RBI SB AVG
81 38 105 0 .267
Dunn is about as consistent as it gets also, with last year’s home run total (38) only being 2 less than he had hit in each of the previous 4 seasons. He’s going to give you nearly 40 homers, and 100 rbis every season. His run total should improve slightly due to the lineup for the Nationals improving with the addition of Pudge Rodriguez, although his batting average could see a drop back to the .250 range.


14. Pablo Sandoval – SF
Also qualifies at 3B
R HR RBI SB AVG
79 25 90 5 .330
Kung-Fu Panda had a breakout season last year, posting great value in 3 categories and solid value in the other 2. I think that with the improvements made to the Giants’ lineup this offseason, he could potentially reach both 100 runs scored and 100 rbi. I think his average may fall back to earth slightly, but will probably still be above .300. Odds are that you’ll end up using him at 3B for any fantasy team you own him on, but the additional flexibility is nice as well.


15. Carlos Pena – TAM
R HR RBI SB AVG
91 39 100 3 .227
Man, that batting average sure is ugly. But underneath it is a batting average on balls in play that was well below his career BABIP. So there should be a little improvement on that front. My only concern for the 2010 season is how he has recovered from the broken wrist that ended his season in 2009. If he’s 100% healthy, I can see him very easily returning to 40+ homers and driving in 120 this coming season. But the risk is what drops him down this far on my rankings.



Here’s the odd thing about the first base position. Even after the top 15, there are still definitely useful players if you don’t end up getting a top-tier guy early. You’ve got 20 home run hitters in Adam LaRoche (25), Paul Konerko (28), Billy Butler (21), Garrett Jones (21), Lance Berkman (25) Chris Davis (21), and Michael Cuddyer (32). You’ve got guys who drove in 80+ runs in Berkman (80), Todd Helton (86), Butler (93), Konerko (88), LaRoche (83), James Loney (90), and Cuddyer again (94). You’ve got .300 hitters in Helton (.325), Butler (.301), and Victor Martinez (.303). You even have a 10 steal guy in Garrett Jones. And that’s without even mentioning top-flight prospects like Justin Smoak (TEX) and Chris Carter (OAK).

My advice for this position is simple: Unless you’re getting one of the elite players (top 6 or so), you can probably wait, and see what your needs are as you progress through the draft. If you’re lacking power, it’s going to be there. If you’re looking for average, it’s going to be there too.

Sunday’s position for review: 2B