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First base continues to be a very deep position for fantasy baseball team owners. Some of the names have changed - Miguel Cabrera*, for instance, has lost his 1B eligibility in Yahoo! leagues - but there are still many 1Bs capable of delivering the sort of punch traditionally expected of this position.
1. Joey Votto. A lock for a .320-plus BA with typical 1B power, Votto's biggest number last year was a 1.041 OPS, leading all 1Bs.
2. Albert Pujols. Always a .300 BA, 30 HR, 100 RBI threat, and will score more in beefed-up lineup
3. Prince Fielder. A .313 BA last year was overshadowed by declines in HRs and RBIs, but is very promising.
4. Edwin Encarnacion. Amazingly led all 1Bs in HRs (42) and RBIs (110) last year. Probably won't do better, but that's more than enough.
5. Buster Posey. Batting champ and NL MVP could climb this list if he hits 30 HRs.
6. Adrian Gonzalez. His potential to have a comeback season in return to NL lands him this high, but you may have to draft HRs at another position.
7. Anthony Rizzo. I'm surely drinking the local Kool-Aid, but his potential to hit higher than .300 sets him apart from your average 30/100 1B.
8. Allen Craig. 22 HRs and 92 RBIs in just 469 ABs last season suggest STL has an adequate replacement for Pujols.
9. Paul Goldschmidt. A gamble on youth, but 20 HRs last year is just a start for the 25-year-old, and 18 SBs added value.
10. Freddie Freeman. Could be looking at 30 HRs, 110 RBIs, 100-plus runs in loaded lineup.
11. Mark Teixiera. Streaky nature, injury-prone but still a threat for 35 HRs, 100-plus RBIs.
12. Adam LaRoche. Breakthrough season in 2012 suggests reliability for 30/100.
13. Billy Butler. Most hits among 1Bs last year and 100-plus RBIs make him a unique value.
14. Mark Trumbo. Could he be primed for a 40-HR season?
15. Adam Dunn. Back to being automatic for 40 HRs, but possible batting order change to fifth scares me.
16. Chris Davis. Explosive in stretches last year, though 33 HRs in 2012 could be his career best.
17. Joe Mauer. Fourth-most hits among all 1Bs make him a nice pick if you want to pick a back-up 1B and catcher at the same time.
18. Paul Konerko. Probably has one more 25-plus HR season in him.
19. Ike Davis. A quiet 32 HRs and 56 extra base hits made up for a .227 BA.
20. Brandon Moss. A .291 BA and 21 HRs in a 265-AB sample last year makes him a nice sleeper pick.
Ryan Howard. Two years removed from being a top five 1B, he is still fighting his way back to full strength from an achilles injury. Some drafters no doubt will take a chance he returns to form but I can't confidently rank him in my top 20.
Victor Martinez. Frequent injuries have killed his relevance, but he's healthy as spring starts, and there's a chance he still has a 100-RBI season in him.
Carlos Santana. Also a catcher, and I'd rank him higher at that position, but he was pathetic for most of a 2012 season that should have been his breakout year.
Eric Hosmer. Another much-hyped player going into 2012 who mostly fizzled, but great RBI potential and a little speed make him one to watch in 2013.
*In last week's overall top 50, I mislabeled Cabrera as a 1B. He had been a 1B/3B, but with a lack of starts at 1B last year, he is now only a 3B.
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade gives Ryan Howard some love.
* SportsGrid has some basic fantasy baseball draft advice.
* CBS Sports provides strategic tips for head-to-head leagues.
Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasy land. He welcomes your comments.
There has been virtually no criticism of hitting coach Todd Steverson. We'll see how long that lasts.Continue reading "Hitless Wonders" »
Posted on Apr 24, 2017