Fantasy Baseball First Basemen 2012
I decided I would start with one of the deepest positions in the MLB: First Base. Today, I’ll reveal who I consider to be the #15-11 fantasy first basemen. Before I get into the rankings I want to bring up a few points about this season’s first basemen:
News and Notes
Unless you draft Joey Votto, you need an AL first basemen. It’s that simple. The AL has had superior players at first for several seasons but that’s become even more obvious with the AL arrivals of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
Grab a first basemen early. Many of the top overall fantasy players are at first. If you enter the fifth round of the draft without one it likely means something is not going well with your draft.
Many third basemen, outfielders and catchers have first base eligibility. Because there are fewer quality third basemen and catchers, finding a first basemen that can play multiple positions is a huge advantage.
Now, on to the rankings:
15. Michael Cuddyer – Colorado Rockies
Cuddyer will likely play more right field than first base but I think his offensive stats and first base eligibility are enough to break into my top 15.
Cuddyer batted .284 with 20 HRs with the Twins last season and moved into one of the most hitter-friendly ball parks in the majors. He is also leaving the injury-plagued Twins for a much more dangerous Rockies lineup. I expect more home runs, improved average, more runs & more RBIs this season.
14. Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks
Not many people have faith in Goldschmidt but I do. I would like to rank him a position or two higher but I’m not sure how often Kirk Gibson plans to use Lyle Overbay instead of his young power hitter.
This will be Goldschmidt’s first full season in the majors and it’s yet to be seen if the wear & tear of playing every day will catch up with him. What I do know about Goldschmidt is his ability to hit for power. In 48 regular season games last season he had 18 extra base hits including 8 home runs. He also had four stolen bases which shows decent speed for a power hitter.
Don’t expect a great average but I trust Goldschmidt’s overall fantasy ability more than other power-hitting first basemen like Adam Dunn or Carlos Pena.
13. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
I expected big things from Freeman last season and he let me down. He wasn’t awful but I was definitely disappointed.
This year I expect big things again. He teased fans with flashes of greatness last season and finished with 21 home runs and a .282 average. I expect both of those numbers to increase as well as his RBI total. I would like to see him start the season on a stronger note than last year but if he doesn’t I would hesitate on selling low just to get rid of him.
12. Michael Morse – Washington Nationals
Michael Morse was brilliant last year. He finally got consistent at-bats and rewarded his team with a .303 average and 31 home runs. I’m sure the offensively challenged Mariners loved watching him succeed & remembered that he only played 107 games for them in four seasons.
I expect him to be productive but I believe his numbers will decline. The Nationals are greatly improved this season and pitchers have a better idea of what type of batter they’re dealing with. He is also in a division with pitchers like Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Tommy Hanson, Heath Bell, Jonathan Papelbon and Craig Kimbrel.
11. Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers
This is another guy that won’t play much first base but has the eligibility and the skills to make my list.
Napoli was always a good player but he performed at a new level last season. Napoli had career highs in batting average, home runs, runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, walks, OBP, OPS & slugging.
He was absolutely amazing and I expect him to play well again. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect him to match or surpass last season’s stats though. I think Napoli’s stats will drop closer to his career averages but drafting him in the 8-12 range of first basemen seems fair.