2011 Fantasy Baseball First Base Rankings

May 30, 2011
Fantasy Baseball
by moacirpdsp

The auction dollar values below are based on projections for a 5X5 12 team mixed rotissirie league. This isn’t a guess of how much players will go for, but rather our idea of how much your budget they’ll be worth for the 2011 season taking into account the likelihood of missed games due to injuries, platoon situations, or Charlie Sheen parties. The values take into account position scarcity so each¬†player is listed at the position he is most vauable at. Using this backdrop our resident experts Phil Hildreth and Herman Obando go through each position and debate where the value players emerge for your draft or auction. Oh, and they really like the The Wire (Herman’s from Baltimore).

First Base

“It ain’t like that. See, the king stay the king, a’ight?”
-D’Angelo Barksdale

1) Albert Pujols

Phil Hildreth: Pujols has been the king since the day he stepped into the batter’s box in St. Louis and, oh by the way, he is playing for the right to make the kind of money that gets you hand fed popcorn at the super bowl on television. Are you concerned at all about contract distractions?

Herman Obando: Nope. I don’t see any slowing down this year. His walk rate and strikeout rate were actually both headed the wrong direction last year, but I don’t see that as a trend. He’s been around for so long that we tend to forget that he just turned 31 and he has plenty of prime years ahead. He has been the model of consistency and there is no other legitimate contender for the first pick right?

PH: Maybe there is an argument to be made for Hanley Rameirez if the rumors about him wanting to steal 50 bases again are true, but I’m not going to make that argument. The list of players that will hit 40 HRs and hit .330 is just too short. In fact Pujols is the entire list.

2) Miguel Cabrera

HO: Here is where some concern comes in. At first glance Cabrera is a younger Pujols, but what do we make about the persistent alcohol problems? You can’t say for sure that it’s affected his play yet but we may be talking about a suspension if there is more legal trouble.

PH: Well this isn’t the NFL and so far Cabrera has gotten off without even a wrist slap. I suspect that this isn’t a new problem so he has probably been putting up numbers his whole career hung over anyways. Baseball-wise the Tigers really improved their lineup with Victor Martinez hitting behind Cabrera as opposed to the cast of characters that lead to Cabrera’s career high in intentional walks last year. My advice is to talk up the drinking problems and then see if you can snag him for the discount.

3) Joey Votto
4) Ryan Howard.
5) Mark Teixeira
6) Prince Fielder

HO: A lot of people feel the urge to put Votto up with the top two at this position, but I can’t quite out him there yet. But really, his short track record is the only factor holding him down at this point. The same was said about Pujols and Cabrera and they were a pleasure to own early in their career. To take that chance you’ll probably have to overpay though. On the flip side, Howard needs to hit 40 HRs to justify staying in this group. Even looking past the fact that he missed almost a month last year with an ankle injury, his power numbers were unmistakably down and he doesn’t have anything else to offer.

PH: I think Howard can deliver on his price here. He’ll never be a top tier guy because he won’t hit for average but 40 HRs is a good target for home and I expect the Phillies to rebound from their offensive funk of last year. Prince Fielder is a value alert that should be circled every draft sheet. He’s a little under the radar playing in Milwaukee so he can probably be had for the cheapest price in this group.

HO: I’m not interested in Fielder at all this year. To me he is Ryan Howard on an inferior team. If you managed to be in a league without a diehard Yankees fan, Teixiera is a great target. The guy simply had a bad year and he has too much talent to repeat that performance in 2011. Simply put, Teixera has a best case scenario of hitting .320, while the upside of Howard and Fielder is still a fair sniff under .300.

7) Kevin Youkilis
8) Adrian Gonzalez
9) David Ortiz

HO: The Red Sox tier. The fact that these guys will hit 3-4-5 in the same lineup increases all of their values. Youkilis gets an extra bump because he’s going to get 3B eligibility pretty quickly if he doesn’t start the season with it. Gonzalez is going to be over-hyped because of the new ballpark/better team but maybe we should slow down a bit and remember he has only hit .300 once in his career so far. Oh yeah and there is that other thing about him coming off of shoulder surgery. The recipe of a delayed spring training after an injury in a new city has slow April written all over it.

PH: While you’re not likely to get a discount on any Boston player this year, David Ortiz might be the closest thing to a good deal. He will benefit the most from the new signings and he clearly won’t have the pressure of being the man anymore. He secretly pulled out a pretty decent season last year despite basically punting the entire month if April again. Be sure to note that Ortiz has no eligibility at 1B in most leagues and that he probably won’t acquire it this year. We just put him here because otherwise there would be a DH list for just Ortiz and the ghost of Jim Thome.

10) Adam Dunn
11) Justin Morneau
12) Kendry Morales
13) Paul Konerko

HO: I’ve seen lots of praise for Adam Dunn this year, mostly because of the change in home ball parks. The change from Washington to the launching pad that is New Comisky is especially beneficial for the left-handed Dunn. Its kind of shocking to see Morneau all the way down here. The main problem is health of course but he was putting up monster numbers when he was playing, so he could be a good candidate to over perform this year. Konerko somehow had the best season of his career last year at the age of 34. It’s likely that Konerko’s average returns to his career range around .280 in 2011.

PH: I’m one of those singing Dunn’s praise this year. Drafting well requires locking up sure things and Dunn is a known quantity. If you draft him you know that your average will suffer but that’s the easiest batting category to make up late in the year. Why? Because the leader can drop just as quickly as your team moves up. I also like Morneau too. The backlash based on last year’s injury has gone way too far. I think he still is an elite guy and the news out of Twins camp is that he is on track to be a full time player at least to start.

14) Carlos Lee
15) Billy Butler
16) Adam Lind
17) Garrett Jones
18) Gabby Sanchez
19) Derrek Lee
20) Ike Davis

HO: In this range you should be looking for potential for a breakout season rather than just a stable back up. The opinions on Adam Lind are going to vary wildly this year. Last year was bad, no question, if you are high on him its totally based on faith. The Royals seem to think that Billy Butler is about to take the next step so they locked him up for four years despite having a bunch of corner infield prospects on the way. I think all the young players in this group have an excited upside, just stay away from Lee and Lee. By the way, I have no idea why the Orioles think Derrek Lee is the answer out of the AL East basement.

PH: I think Carlos Lee is overlooked and he probably has a better shot at having a bounce back year than Lind. Carlos has a long track record of hitting .300 with 25 HRs and 100 RBIs, while Lind only has one year of high production. I also think you’re too close to the Derrek Lee situation to be objective. The guy is only two years away from 35 homers. The Orioles aren’t really building for the future anymore but they are going to be fun to watch with that lineup. As far as the young guys go, I’m not sure why Gabby Sanchez is up here, but I think Ike Davis has some power that he’ll show a bit more of this year.

HO: The Orioles make no sense. They seem to have decided that beating the Blue Jays is the ultimate goal to shoot for. But they haven’t shown the ability to build a young team either so they might as well go for it.

21) Lance Berkman
22) Freddie Freeman
23) James Loney
24) Luke Scott
25) Adam LaRouche
26) Carlos Pena

PH: Freddie Freeman is the new Jason Heyward; at least that’s what the hype machine says and I’m buying it for now. I’d hope that he would work his way up to a nicer lineup spot than the 7 hole that I’ve seen him projected at. The Braves managed to score a lot of runs last year and the offense should be better with Dan Uggla and the aforementioned Heyward with a year’s experience. I’m also looking at Berkman as an over perform candidate. I’m just doing some sloppy math here but if Pujols and Holiday both have an OBP over .400 then Berkman will almost always come to bat with runners on base.

OH: Luke Scott has been an interesting player to watch but the Orioles seem intent on crowding him out by bringing in even older players who can only play 1B or DH. Where is the love for Carlos Pena? Can you imagine a world where a player hits below .200 and then get million to start for the

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