With fantasy football coming to a close in the next few weeks it is time to take a look at this upcoming fantasy baseball season. Pitchers and Catchers will report to spring training in just over a month, and though opening day is still a ways away, teams are starting to come together. Some major names were on the move this off-season and the statistics should be increased in some cases. We are going to start off by discussing first baseman. First base is arguably the highest producing position in fantasy baseball and there are a lot of major names who play first.
Check out the rest of our positional breakdowns in the coming weeks!
1. Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols is coming off another monster year in 2010 and is arguably the best player in baseball the past decade. He is a pitcher’s nightmare, who hits for power as well as average. In his nine seasons he has never batted less than .312, he has never hit less than 32 HR’s and has never driven in less than 103 RBI’s. An impressive thing about Pujols is he also has never played in less than 143 games. Pujols is sure to put up numbers I mean the guy for his career averages .331 with 45 HR’s and 136 RBI.
2. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
Votto may have been the only player more successful than Pujols in 2010 hitting .324 with 37 HR’s and 113 RBI. He won the NL MVP over Pujols, and similar to him, is in the running for a potential Triple Crown. The only thing that puts Votto behind Pujols is that Pujols has had the consistency for so long and has superior protection in the lineup.
3. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera the past two years has been a beast at the plate hitting over .324 and hitting more than 34 HR’s and 103 RBI. He will look to duplicate his stellar play in 2011 and if he is able to do so he is in the running for the Triple Crown because of his ability to hit for both power and average. Cabrera was able to lead all first baseman in 2010 in RBI and look for him to be in the running for that title again in 2011.
4. Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox
Though Gonzalez did not have a year compared to the likes of Pujols, Votto or Cabrera, he has a new home with the Boston Red Sox and he will have an incredible lineup to play in. He will not only have more protection in the lineup, but he will also have potentially speedsters Carl Crawford and Jacoby Elsbury both hitting in front of him. His RBI totals should sky rocket from the 101 he had in 2010 and his power will increase from 31 homeruns with the short porch in right field, which is only 302 ft. to the pole.
5. Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies
Ryan Howard had a down year in 2010, but he was still solid hitting .276 with 31 HR’s and 108 RBI’s. The four years prior he managed to hit 45 or more HR’s and more than 136 RBI each season. I look to Howard to be back to his old self this season because of the always-dangerous Philly lineup. Howard should hit around 40 HR’s and have his RBI total in the 130’s. The only thing that worries me is his high tendency to strike out and the loss of Jason Werth in the lineup.
6. Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins
Morneau is a top tier First Baseman whenever he is healthy. Before getting hurt in 2010 he was on pace to hit .345 with 36 HR’s and 112 RBI, which is a season Minnesota fans were used to seeing the 2006 AL MVP have until the injury bug got to him the past two years. If healthy he could move up in the rankings, but with injury he will drop.
7. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
Mark Teixeira had a down year in terms of average only hitting .256 because of his dismal start to the season. He was able to hit 33 HR’s and 108 RBI, which is a quality year, but look for him to increase his numbers because of an increase in average. The Yankee lineup is arguably the best in baseball so he has guaranteed protection and will have plenty of opportunities with runners on base.
8. Adam Dunn – Chicago White Sox
Dunn finished the 2010 season as he does most seasons hitting in the mid .200’s and hitting close to 40 HR’s and over 100 RBI. Dunn is a player that will never really hit for average but his power is where he has value. He was picked up by the White Sox this off-season and by doing so he will be playing in a better lineup than he did in Washington. The only problem with Dunn being on the White Sox is it is unseen if him and Paul Konerko may split some time at first and/or DH. Look for Dunn to continue his success in the power department but do not expect him to hit for average.
9. Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers
Prince had a down year in 2010 only hitting .261 with 32 HR’s and 83 RBI. The positive thing about Prince is that he always stays healthy, only missing 13 games the past 5 seasons. With his power potential he is always a threat at the plate and look for him to up his average and while doing so the 26 year old could climb into the top 5 in these rankings.
10. Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
As mentioned, Konerko will probably be splitting time with newly acquired Adam Dunn at first base. However, Konerko will have Dunn to thank when he turns around in the lineup and sees him behind him. The White Sox needed a left-handed-power bat last year and Dunn gives them that. Look for Konerko to improve upon his power numbers of 39 HR and 111 RBI. Mostly the RBI, but who knows his HR total might go up a few with having to get more pitches over the plate.
Honorable Mentions: Adam LaRoche – WSH Nationals, Carlos Pena – CHI Cubs, Billy Butler – KC Royals, Ike Davis – NY Mets