Although 2010 may have been the year that pitching once again took over the Earth, one position held on strong. The mighty men at 1st continued to flex their muscles and rip the cover off the ball. So it should not be a surprise that 1stbase will likely produce 3 of these guys will go in the first round, including consensus #1 pick Albert Pujols. But unlike other positions first base is not simply front loaded. It is by far the deepest offensive position in the draft. So even if your strategy is to grab other positions first you can still pick up a solid bat here later in the draft.
Potential sleepers: picks that you may be able to get later or cheaper in cost relative to potential value.
Potential busts: picks that will likely be draft earlier or cost more then their actual fantasy value.
1) Albert Pujols- If baseball players were Gods then Albert would surely be Zeus. He is the man among men. Now if I wanted to negative I might point that 2010 was not quite the season 09’ was. Or I might mention that he has had 3 straight years of decreased OPS, but I’d rather not get hit by a lightning bolt. Truth is even if he has faded it’s been so slight that he is still clearly the overall #1 pick.
2) Joey Votto- Some may have been surprised by Votto last year, I was not. Ok, maybe the MVP season was even beyond my faith in the coming of age youngster. Will he do it again? It’s a tough year to match but all signs point to Votto really being this good. I’ll keep the faith.
3) Miguel Cabrera- As much as I have a man crush on Votto, only Miggy’s arrest keeps him from my #2 spot. He is the one with the proven track record. I suspect the arrest will be a non-issue and you can expect Cabrera duplicate his numbers of last year.
4) Adrian Gonzalez- The extreme improvement in line-up and ballpark can push the already stellar Adrian into rare air. But off season surgery and league unfamiliarity keeps him a notch below my top 3. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised by a slow start but by the end of the year his stats should be elite. Keep an eye on the health of his shoulder.
5) Mark Texiera- Speaking of slow starters, his Aprils are notorious. Last year, his whole season was alarming with a 40 point drop in batting average and 60 in on base %. With that said, to expect anything less than .275-35-110 from Tex just seems foolish.
6) Ryan Howard- An ankle injury seemed to zap some of his power numbers last year. I expect that his power will return with his health. For those in league impacted negatively by k’s be warned, those are likely to return to previous highs as well.
7) Prince Fielder- Last year’s down season has me nervous. While I do expect something of a rebound I can no longer place him next to the Gonzalez’s & Howard’s of the league. But if you are a believer in players putting it together in a contract year, you may have found your man.
8) Kevin Youkillis- A thumb injury cut his 2010 short. He was expected to be at 100% prior to spring training. If he is healthy, he is a model of consistency who will gain 3rd base eligibility soon.
9) Adam Dunn- He pulls an Adrian Gonzalez this season, moving to a better line-up and ball park. Over the years his consistency has been just silly. So much so I have a hard time expecting much more even with the new surroundings. Expect more of the same, and you may end up pleasantly surprised.
10) Kendry Morales- A freak injury derailed his 2010 season which was on a pace frighteningly in line with the year before in runs, RBI’s & batting average. The one blip was a .80 drop in slugging % because of an equally frightening drop in doubles. The verdict: If healthy expect more of the same in most numbers, although a slip in home runs seems plausible.
11) Justin Morneau-The fact that he started camp behind the others because of a concussion that happened mid-season last year is concerning.
12) Billy Butler- Someday those doubles will turn into home runs, I hope he’s on my team when it happens.
13) Paul Konerko- Probably too old to repeat last year, although preseason last year most would’ve said he was too old to have the 2010 he did.
14) Aubrey Huff- I have never believed in this guy, and he continues to prove me wrong.
15) Gaby Sanchez- Solid hitter, just don’t expect a power surge anytime soon.
16) Freddie Freeman- I always believe in 2 teams prospects, the Rays and the Braves. With that said remember he’s only 21.
17) Adam Lind- Expected to play 1st for the Jays this year he showed signs of returning to form late last year. Top 12 potential.
18) Michael Cuddyer- His value took a huge hit in Minny’s new stadium.
19) Derrek Lee- He will likely rebound some, but at 35 how much of a bump can you expect.
20) Ike Davis- Solid rookie season could be built upon.
21) Carlos Pena- Power and K’s.
Some youngsters to keep an eye on:
Justin Smoak- Don’t forget just how highly this guy was thought of just last year. He was the centerpiece of the Cliff Lee deal.
Brett Wallace- Immense power potential.
Kila Ka’aihue- Anyone named Kila must be watched.
Matt LaPorta- This maybe his last year to prove his worth.
“who’s on first?” Abott & Costello
About the Author
Written by Mo Johnson