Originally written on We Talk Fantasy Sports  |  Last updated 11/18/14
First base is slowly starting to become a dominate position in fantasy baseball again.  Last year 6 of the top 50 players were first basemen and 4 in the top 25.  With names like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder and Joey Votto it is hard to not want to use a 1st or 2nd round pick on the position.  However, if you miss out on these 3 and even Edwin Encarnacion, do not worry about waiting a while to snatch up guys like Adam Dunn, Billy Butler or even Mark Teixeria who is slowly dropping down draft boards year after year.* - New Team ** - SleeperCorey Hart will miss the first 3 to 4 months of the season after knee surgery.  Mat Gamel will fill in.1.) Albert Pujols - Los Angeles Angels2.) Prince Fielder - Detroit Tigers3.) Joey Votto - Cincinatti Reds4.) Edwin Encarnacion - Toronto Blue JaysEncarnacion's coming off a breakout season with career highs nearly across the board. Can he keep it up in 2013? That's the question on every fantasy manager's mind. My answer: a resounding YES. Encarnacion might be the player with the most benefit over the offseason, with the Blue Jays unprecedented roster additions. Encarnacion figures to hit cleanup in a lineup that 1-5 will look like this: Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lawrie. In short, Encarnacion has the best opportunity in baseball to produce, with two proven hitters with speed hitting 1-2, the God of Canada hitting third, and the young phenom Brett Lawrie (who enters his 2nd full MLB season with expected improvement) hitting fifth. Encarnacion's numbers will look a lot like 2012; he's a top first baseman this season. For more on Encarnacion in 2013, check a full breakdown here. - @Jewish_Jeff5.) Adrian Gonzalez - Los Angeles Dodgers6.) Allen Craig - St. Louis Cardinals7.) Billy Butler - Kansas City Royals8.) Adam Dunn - Chicago White Sox 9.) Mark Teixeira - New York Yankees10.) Freddie Freeman - Atlanta Braves First base is rightfully viewed as the power-category position, but what about the Runs category? Freeman led all first basemen with 91 runs last year. Obviously this does not make him your top pick at 1B, but as you get into the middle tier, his power numbers (23 HR, 94 RBI) are on par with the others nearby—and he scores more runs than all of them. By comparison, Paul Konerko had 26 HR and 75 RBI – but only 66 runs. Take Freeman and gain the edge in an unexpected category. - @RDevinHughes11.) Adam LaRoche - Washington Nationals 12.) David Ortiz - Boston Red Sox13.) Eric Hosmer - Kansas City Royals14.) Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins15.) Ike Davis - New York Mets To kick off 2012, Ike Davis hit .185 in April and .154 in May but he still finished the year with 32 HRs and 90 RBIs on a pretty bad Mets team. With 58 extra base hits last year, it's very clear he has a great deal of power and if he can get his .227 average up to about .265 where he should be then Davis is due for a break out year with 30-35 home runs and close to 110 RBIs. - @Mike_WeTalkFS16.) Paul Konerko - Chicago Whtie Sox 17.) Paul Goldschmidt - Arizona Diamondbacks Goldschmidt really flies under the radar, but his .850 OPS was 6th among first basemen last year. Also, if you’re looking for a sneaky boost in stolen bases, Goldschmidt’s 18 steals led the 1B position. Not a ton by any means, but if you’re feeling weak in the category or building a speed team, Goldschmidt can produce there where most 1B cannot (only three first basemen had double-digit steals last year). If you use your top picks on the more scarce positions such as middle infield, Goldschmidt is a guy who will provide all-around production from a mid-round pick. - @RDevinHughes 18.) Ryan Howard - Philadelphia Phillies 19.) Mike Napoli *- Boston Red Sox 20.) Kendrys Morales *- Seattle MarinersThis may seem eerily similar to projections of 2012; but this year will be different--for the better--for Kendrys Morales. Morales comes to Seattle with a new start, in a city that's ready to embrace his talents as Anaheim did in 2009. Morales will prove to be a great later round first baseman, that I certainly value over a higher drafted Mark Teixeira, Adam Dunn, Eric Hosmer or Freddie Freeman. He's projected to hit third for the M's, and brings high potential for 30+ home runs--a feat that has only been eclipsed once in the last four seasons by a Mariner; 2009, Russell Branyan, 31--to go along with his expected .290-.300 batting average. Hitting third (or possibly fourth later in the season, depending on Kyle Seager's production), Morales will be right in the middle of a deceptively solid Mariners' lineup. He'll get plenty of time at DH which will keep him fresher than most. As I stated above, if 1B slips away from you in the draft and you're looking at the likes of Hosmer, Freeman, Ryan Howard, etc, wait on Morales and laugh all the way to the bank. I'm expecting 28-33 HRs, 115 RBIs and .295 if healthy. The major key for Morales will be keeping healthy, which has proved difficult the last few years (which is why he's not higher on the list). - @Jewish_Jeff21.) Anthony Rizzo **- Chicago Cubs There’s a good amount of hype around Rizzo as a sleeper pick this year, and while I understand it, I personally will be avoiding him. First base is very deep this year, and Rizzo has the red flags of potential sophomore slump, and the fact that he hit .208 against lefties. If you’re in a dynasty league, he’s a great grab, but I think we need to wait another year before making him a target in redraft leagues. The hype has pushed up his average draft position; let your opponent draft Rizzo while you take a more established player. - @RDevinHughes22.) Chris Davis - Baltimore Orioles23.) Justin Smoak - Seattle Mariners24.) Mark Reynolds *- Cleveland Indians25.) Lance Berkman *- Texas Rangers26.) Yonder Alonso - San Diego Padres27.) Garrett Jones - Pittsburgh Pirates28.) Brandon Belt - San Francisco Giants29.) Logan Morrison - Miami Marlins30.) Carlos Pena *- Houston Astros31.) Mat Gamel **- Milwaukee BrewersGamel will have plenty of time to rack up stats as Corey Hart will miss 3-4 months after knee surgery.  If he can prove to be a valuable bat in the Brewers lineup, Hart could return to the OF leaving Gamel as the everyday 1B.  Not a terrible idea to use a last round pick on Gamel and hope he finds his stroke.  Not a power guy, but could privde owners with 25 doubles and 10-15 home runs with 500 ABs. - @WeTlkFntsySprts32.) Brandon Moss - Oakland Athletics33.) Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies34.) Mauro Gomez - Boston Red Sox35.) Mitch Moreland - Texas Rangers36.) James Loney *- Tamp Bay Rays37.) Brett Wallace - Houston Astros38.) Chris Carter - Oakland AthleticsDon't forget these guys!Nate Freiman - Houston Astros added him via the Rule 5 draftStats from last season:11 first basemen hit 25+ home runsEdwin Encarnacion (42) and Adam Dunn (41) were the only 2 over 3311 first basement hit 30+ doublesAlbert Pujols was the best with 50Adrian Gonzalez (47), Joey Votto (44) and Paul Goldschmidt (43) were the only guys with 40-496 first basemen drove in 100 runs4 others had 90+ RBI5 had 80-89 RBI14 first basemen scored at least 70 runsEdwin Encarnacion (93), Corey Hart (91) and Freddie Freeman (91) were the only guys with at least 904 others scored between 80-90 runs20 first basemen struck out over 100 times4 others had 90+ strike outsOf first basemen with 300+ ABs:Just 5 had batting averages over .3009 others hit at least .275 including Greg Dobbs (319 ABs)!9 first basemen had OBP better than .350Only Joey Votto, David Ortiz and Prince Fielder (all over .400) were .385 or better11 first basemen had .500 or better SLGJust 3 others were .475 and upCatcher Rankings
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