Showing posts with label first basemen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label first basemen. Show all posts

Friday, March 11, 2022

Advanced Fantasy Baseball: 2022 First Base Rankings

2022 First Base Rankings
  1. Vlad Guerrero Jr. - Blue Jays - Vlad is probably the best pure bat in the American League right now. He will not steal bases so he doesn't provide you with everything. But challenging .300 with 30-plus homers is an easy prediction. 
  2. Freddy Freeman - Free Agent - If he stays in Atlanta I expect his numbers to stay the same. He does everything you want in four categories and will toss in a half dozen steals just to make you feel better. 
  3. Peter Alonso - Mets He very nicely cut his strikeout rate. Most of his indicators look like the return of 2019. His batting average isn't nearly as low as was once expected and he only seems to be getting better. 
  4. Matt Olson - Athletics - Olson is the subject of many trade rumors and it is very in character for the Athletics for him to be on the block at this point. Last year he cut his strikeouts in half while walking as much as ever. It doesn't get much better than this. 
  5. Paul Goldschmidt - Cardinals Goldschmidt is as good as ever, it's just the park doesn't help him as much. He even got some stolen bases back. If you can live with 30 rather the 35 you get from the four guys ranked ahead of him, you can't go wrong with Goldy. 
  6. Joey Votto - Reds No one adjusts like Joey Votto. He sacrificed some contact for a huge increase in power. I have absolutely no doubt that Votto will produce again in 2022. Screw his age, some players are just special talents. 
  7. Ryan Mountcastle - Orioles The power is so real I'm not worried about the walls in Camden. He is streaky. A long slump could make his batting average painful. He should walk just enough to avoid a total disaster in OBP leagues.
  8. C.J. Cron - Rockies He looked ordinary in the first half but in the second half started to get his Coors boost. If he keeps it together he could have a prime Arenado type season. 
  9. Jared Walsh - Angels He still can't hit lefties but his numbers seem pretty stable. He probably isn't cheap enough to be a league-winning value but he should be a safe bet for .26 with 25-plus homers.
  10. Brandon Belt - Giants If we could count on 150 games of complete health, Belt would be top five worthy - easily. I would not blame you if you moved him ahead of Cron, Mountcastle and Walsh even now if your league allows easy replacements.   
  11. Jose Abreu - White Sox In general I think most analysts over-state age as a factor in a player's performance. But his slow start in 2021 had me doubting him. But he blew up July and August making his season look pretty stable. 
  12. Josh Bell - Nationals He hits too many groundballs to expect more than 30 homers. His batting averages won't kill you but they also won't help. I'd rather have him as a corner infielder than my first baseman. 
  13. Nate Lowe - Rangers - He hits the ball hard and if he pulled it more often his homer total could explode with a slight reversal in launch angle. He endured a long slump from mid-May to late July that makes his overall numbers look worse than they should (launch angle was just four percent for this stretch). As is, he hits too many on the ground to hit much more than 20 homers per season in Texas. But the lineup is better than most are predicting if everyone stays healthy, so 100 RBI is not far-fetched. If he truly learned something during his slump, as I suspect he did, he could seriously breakout in 2022.
  14. Anthony Rizzo - Free Agent - He looked to be in serious decline as he finished his last season with the Cubs. If he receives a contract from the Yankees he earns this spot. In most other parks he drops a few spots. 
  15. Bobby Dalbec - Red Sox -  He was awful most of the season but was so great down the stretch with barrels, and improved discipline that anyone holding him on the cheap in AL-only leagues is salivating at the idea he is for real. It was probably just a nice streak but it demonstrates what he might be capable of given regular at-bats for the whole season. 
  16. Josh Bell - Nationals
  17. Ryan Hoskins - Phillies He should have been better last season. Bad luck and poor health have killed expectations but a few breaks going his way and 35 homers is not out of the realm of possibilities. 
  18. Spencer Torkelson - Tigers The bat the Tigers have been waiting for will arrive in 2022. This may seem high to some but there isn't a player ranked after him I would rather have even if I lose four weeks to system manipulation. 
  19. Tyler Stephenson - Reds Stephenson has no one in front of him as the Reds starting catcher this year. With any luck, he should reach his early career-high plate appearances this season. He walks and doesn’t strike out and is showing signs of reaching his raw power levels in games. He could top the catcher rankings while being CI-worthy in 12 team leagues. 
  20. Nick Pratto - Royals Has great bat speed and drank the kool-aid the Royals were pouring as far as plate approach. He showed a new ability to hit high velocity at higher levels. He won't hit .300 or even .270 just yet, but 30 homers is within reach in 2022.
  21. Max Muncy - Dodgers If we knew where he was with his injury he might move up ten spots or fall off the list entirely. I'd probably take the chance if I was drafting today. 
  22. Jake Cronenworth - Padres The younger version of D.J. Lemahieu. Eventually, he'll be a super-utility player but not this season. 15/15 upside is fine at second but it would be unusual at first base.
  23. Luke Voit - Yankees The Yankees seem determined to upgrade their first base position. If they get stuck with Voit they shouldn't suffer too much. .240 with 30 homers in a full season is reasonable if a bit optimistic. 
  24. D.J. Lemahieu - Yankees With health he should be much better than last season but I wouldn't go paying for 2019 stats. 
  25. Trey Manicini - Orioles He was worn out in the second half after his long layoff due to cancer. I still see a 30-homer guy with a strong if not elite batting average. 
  26. Alex Kirilloff - Twins - He really hits the ball hard and barrels it. With a little better luck he could hit  .280 with 25 homers and move ten spots up this list. 
  27. Jonathan Schoop - Tigers His batting average is nothing to sing about but 20-25 homers is a lock. 
  28. Yuli Gueriel - Astros: El PiƱa only qualifies at first base in most leagues but is likely to get games at third and DH during the season. He hits the ball hard but on the ground too often to impact the Homerun category. 
  29. Frank Schwindel - Cubs - His statcast numbers alone make him look like a much better hitter. He is 29 years old and on a team that doesn't have many better options just now. He might be the Mid-West version of Mike Yastrzemski, maybe better.
  30. Seth Beer - Diamondbacks If the designated hitter in the NL is real I think 30 homers is close to a lock. If there isn't a DH he is too high on this list with Christian Walker and Pavin Smith ahead of him at first and much better defensively. 
  31. Yoshi Tsutsugo - Pirates Tsutsugo dramatically improved his performance with the Pirates improving his line drive and flyball percentages while cutting his strikeouts from 33 percent to 23 percent. If he keeps it up he'll be the player we expected a couple years ago. 
  32. LaMonte Wade - Giants The Giants will spread the at-bats around and probable make Wade a utility corner player. He  looks like a real above-average player by most indicators. 
  33. Rowdy Tellez - Brewers Barrels, Exit Velocity and a reasonable strikeout rate for a power hitter go a long way with fantasy owners these days. He has an opportunity to win a starting role in Milwaukee. 
  34. Miguel Sano - Twins He only qualifies at first base this season. He might gain eligibility at DH this season but third is unlikely given his lackluster defense and both Josh Donaldson and Jose Miranda on the roster. 
  35. Eric Hosmer - Padres - This is his rank for 450 cost you. If he loses any more at-bats his power caps at 15 and his .260 average is only a slight bonus considering the lack of power his spot in the lineup will cost you. 
  36. Jesus Aguilar - Marlins Aguilar is probably underrated as a  hitter but with Lewin Diaz and Garrett Cooper both on the roster, I can't see him getting enough at-bats to challenge his career highs. 
  37. Lewin Diaz - Marlins I believe the Marlins will give Diaz plenty of at-bats to prove himself. Unfortunately, his approach needs enough work that anything better than an average MLB hitter would be unlikely.  
  38. Yandy Diaz - Rays As his launch angle improves his average exit velocity goes down. This doesn't mean much I just think it makes him less likely to have that huge breakout that folks have predicted. He has average power numbers which is fine for the Rays but won't help your fantasy roster much. 
  39. Ty France - Mariners - His great second half is fueling higher expectations though he is still a better fit at second base. He boosted the contact rate but it was all groundballs, not the end of the world but there's no speed to make up for the mediocre power. 
  40. Juan Yepez - Cardinals  The National League Designated Hitter could be the key for him. He hits the ball very hard and has superb statcast power metrics. I like him quite a bit, I'll pay the extra buck.
  41. Darin Ruf - Giants Ruf is another who could benefit from the NL DH. Te early reports claim the Giants are looking for offense and not to rotate off days. Just a shot at 400 at-bats will be huge for him, .260 with 25 homers seems like a safe bet. 
  42. Triston Casas - Red Sox Casas is still growing into his power despite his Lou Ferrigno like appearance! But make no mistake this is the future at first base for the Red Sox and he is already a great bat. I expect him up by mid-season I just don't know the whereabouts of J.D. Martinez and Dalbec when that happens. 
  43. Mason Martin - Pirates He has crazy power but his 30 percent strikeout rate is killing him right now. Some of that may be 2020 rust. He is clearly the best first base  prospect on the Pirates.
  44. Colin Moran - Free Agent He's not what you want for your fantasy team under most circumstances but he's a solid bat that can fill in for injuries on better fantasy teams.
  45. Keston Hiura - Brewers I think the NL DH could be the key to Hiura hitting his ceiling as a hitter. If he is there in the dollar days Pounce!
  46. Vinnie Pasquantino - Royals He looks a lot like young Eric Hosmer to me. I'd have him higher if there were not so many bodies fighting for at-bats ahead of him.
  47. Miguel Cabrera - Tigers If he doesn't lose at-bats to Torkelson (probably after he hits 3000) he's still good for 20 homers. 
  48. Christian Walker - Diamondbacks He's coming off a strange year where his flyballs went up and struck out less but lost his impact with the bat. The D'backs don't currently have a strong alternative unless you count Beer who is more of a designated hitter.
  49. Pavin Smith - Diamondbacks He has a small opportunity to show something but is likely to be replaced soon by one of the dozen outfield prospects this team is hoarding.
  50. Josh Naylor - Guardians He only had 15 games at first last year but this is his natural position and while he hasn't demonstrated it to date - I fervently believe he is a far superior bat to Bobby Bradley. 
  51. Bobby Bradley - Guardians He can't hit. He has great raw power but you have to make contact to hit homeruns.
  52. Colton Welker - Rockies He walks at a very nice rate and is a strong contact hitter which is a great place to start. His power is pretty mediocre but Coors can help that play a tiny bit better. 
  53. Ji-Man Choi - Rays If you're stuck and need a first baseman I get it. But don't expect him to get any Rays magic on him. He seems immune. 
  54. Carlos Santana - Royals - He is done. His batting average is now so bad that his walks can't even save you in OBP leagues. He is only on this list for emergency purposes in deep leagues. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Veteran Names Resurface Among Fantasy First Basemen

By Ben Hargrove

The following veterans have unexpectedly become starting fantasy baseball daily first basemen in many leagues, or are still eligible in fantasy baseball leagues due to having fantasy first base experience in the past.

Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies

Cuddyer, now 34, hit 32 homers with 94 RBI in 2009 but has hit more than 20 homes just one other time. When he came to Colorado in 2012, the combination of Coors Field and second base eligibility in many leagues made him an intriguing fantasy option. Injuries limited Cuddyer to 358 at bats, but he did hit 16 homers with 58 RBI while batting .260.

In 2013, Cuddyer lost his 2B eligibility and has primarily played the outfield, but he still has eligibility at first base. As of June 30, Cuddyer was on pace for a career year, hitting .346 with 14 homers and 48 RBI. He was hitting .372 at Coors. But Cuddyer has already been on the disabled list once this year for a neck injury and was battling a rib injury in early June. 

James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays

Loney made a strong impression in 2007 when he hit .331 with 15 homers in 344 at bats for the Dodgers at the age of 23. That year, he had a .919 OPS. But Loney failed to hit .300, reach 15 homers or have an OPS over .800 in his next four seasons. In 2012, Loney was sent to the Red Sox as a minor piece in the blockbuster trade that landed the Dodgers new first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett.  Despite switching his home park from Dodger Stadium to Fenway Park, Loney’s production went down with the Red Sox, as he hit .230 with a .574 OPS in 100 at bats before Boston let him leave as a free agent.

Signed at a discount by Tampa Bay, Loney, who turned 29 in May, hit .373 in April and hit .306 in May with six homers and 17 RBI. Loney got off to slower start in June, hitting .283 with 2 homers.  As of June 30, Loney was hitting .314 with nine homers, 40 RBI and 34 runs. 

Kendrys Morales, Seattle Mariners

Morales had a breakout year in 2009 with the Angels, hitting 34 homers with 108 RBI and a .306 batting average. But a serious ankle injury in May 2010 put Morales out of action until 2012. After hitting 22 homers with 73 RBI and a .273 batting average in 134 games, Morales was traded to the Mariners.  Despite playing his home games in Seattle, Morales was hitting .278 as of June 30 with nine homers and 42 RBI.

 Ben Hargrove writes on fantasy baseball daily topics for sites like

Monday, March 04, 2013

Is Adrian Gonzalez a 2013 Fantasy Baseball Bust?

I have been writing quite a bit lately about the various position tiers of fantasy baseball. If you have been following here and in Big League Magazine (you should subscribe!) you will know that I believe the top tier at first base to be much smaller than most seem to expect. I am about to share with you my reasoning on one of the players typically expected to be in the first tier this season but who I believe is in the midst of a serious decline in production - Adrian Gonzalez.You will find my first base tiers and some brief comments on each player below the Adrian Gonzalez portion of this article.

First basemen have a reputation in MLB as well as in fantasy as being the biggest bats in the game. These are the guys that find their way into lineups regardless of defensive limitations or lack of running speed based on the quality of their hitting skills alone. We expect them to hit for average and for lots and lots of power. If we ran a poll of what fantasy owners wanted from their first baseman I have no doubt power would rule the day. Personally, I believe that high batting averages and big power are essential qualities in a top tier first baseman. First baseman typically do not steal bases so if they do not hit for average they become three category players. I don't know about you but if a player covers less than four categories he is moving way down my list. 

When Adrian Gonzalez was with the San Diego Padres he was a very good first baseman with outstanding numbers, especially considering he was playing most of his games in the sport's least favorable hitting environment. His batting averages were usually in the .275-.285 range with 30-plus homeruns per season. As a Padre he was a serious threat to score 100 runs and collect 100 RBI every season. He probably peaked during the 2008-2009 seasons when he hit 36 and 40 homers. His isolated power has declined in each of the three years since that peak. He went from a high ISO of .274 in 2009 with 40 homeruns to just .164 in 2012 when he hit just 18 homeruns between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Gonzalez suffered a shoulder injury in May of the 2010 season. He played through the pain the entire season and had what was initially expected to be relatively simple surgery in October of that same season. The surgery was often referred to as "cleaning up the shoulder". Later it was revealed that the rehab could take up to five months. This meant that even if he started the season on time there was a significant risk that he would still lack ideal strength in the joint. This had the potential to sap his power and make him a far less productive power hitter. That did not happen but his skill indicators still took a fall even as his production remained strong.

While rehabbing the shoulder Gonzalez, who had implied he would not be returning to the Padres when he reached his impending free agency, was traded to the Boston Red Sox. They were very aware of the shoulder problem but did not seem at all worried about it. Fenway Park tends to boost batting average and slugging percentage while robbing batters of homeruns. So Gonzalez seemed quite productive in 2011 despite power numbers that might seem disappointing when compared to his San Diego numbers. Few noticed that his .380 BABIP seemed very much out of character. His groundball rate rose dramatically with a corresponding decrease in flyballs. He was swinging at many more pitches out of the strike zone but he was making slightly better contact as well, even as he drew fewer walks. Before the 2012 season the Red Sox signed Gonzalez to a seven year $154 million dollar contract.

Gonzalez started very slow in 2012. He had just 6 homeruns through the end of June. His batting average was relatively mediocre until a brief BA surge in June. This was despite a first half .327 BABIP. His line at the end of June was just .283/.329/.416 with 6 homeruns, 45 RBI and 42 runs. That would have been a pretty good line for your shortstop (assuming you were getting steals somewhere else) but for your first baseman it was atrocious. There are lots of theories about what happened. For some it was the Bobby Valentine Effect. Just about anything that went wrong in Boston during the 2012 season has been laid at the feet of their former manager. However, there had been a clear change in skills and approach. The trade to the Dodgers seemed to make him happy. He was back on the West Coast and overall his second half was much more productive - .317/.361/.517 with 12 homers, just 33 runs but 63 RBI and even two stolen bases.

But can you count on Gonzalez to repeat his second half numbers? His second half BABIP of .342 is high but not ridiculous for Gonzalez given his career .324 BABIP. His walk rates have come way down since his peak. That has a lot to do with earning fewer intentional walks but that is not all of it. It could be a sign that his bat is not as feared around the league as it once was though it could also be that he now plays in deeper lineups. He is now a far less discerning batter, he has begun swinging at just about anything within reach. His power has declined three years running in dramatic fashion. His batted ball types tell that tale. He has become more of a groundball hitter with declining FB%, ISO, HR/FB% and obviously homerun totals.He has been hitting more doubles but that was primarily in Fenway Park. The Boston doubles could become long outs. If the BABIP scores regress to career levels or worse he could be a complete disaster at his present ADP.

Tier One First Basemen

Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds - The ideal first baseman is like Votto a five category contributor in a great lineup. The knee injury should not a concern. This could be his career year.

Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers - Fielder has been very durable but has up and down power numbers. If the pattern holds this should be a up year for Fielders homerun totals.

Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels - The best player in the game until 2012, I don't think this is the end. Other than April and September he was pretty much Pujols as usual.

Tier Two First Basemen

Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals- The power everyone wanted arrived but it was mostly a HR/FB illusion. His ridiculous slow (I mean Bug Bunny slow pitch slow) running speed will keep his run totals low.
Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees - The shift is killing his batting average but he still has serious power. The imploding Yankees could erode his RBI totals.

Allen Craig, St. Louis Cardinals- If he could stay healthy he might move up a tier. He hits for average and could hit 35 homers if he ever got a full season of at-bats.

Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays - A few years later than expected, E5 has arrived. An improved O-Swing was a big factor. He steals a few bases too.

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks - Everybody's new favorite has even more power than this. There is some average downside in his O-swing, and strikeout rate and it would be foolish to expect 18 stolen bases again.

Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox _ He is starting to slow down but he is such a good hitter that it may take a few more years to convince most fans. The White Sox have no one to replace him with anyway.

Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers - A talented player holding a lot of risky indicators. He should probably move down a tier. But unless you skipped the above article you know all that. You might have known anyway.

Tier Three First Basemen

Adam LaRoche, Washington Nationals - He might be in the second tier if he was consistently healthy. If I owned him this season I would move Tyler Moore up my list of reserve picks.

Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves - He swings at too many pitches out of the zone but is becoming more patient and his power is improving. He is young enough that his breakout could be shockingly good.

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs- Rizzo made nice improvements to his long swing and had another very impressive minor league season and a promising major league debut.

Logan Morrison, Miami Marlins - Injuries have kept his promise under wraps. He has the skills to hit for power and average. He is a patient powerful and disciplined batter. Health and at-bats are the key to his breakout.

Corey Hart, Milwaukee Brewers- Hart has solid power and a decent bat. His knee injury could mess up his base to start the season, so expect a slightly lower homer rate.

Ike Davis, New York Mets - He deserves an article of his own. His power arrived in the second half of the season but he spent the first half recovering from the effects of Valley Fever.

Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies - His peak was not very long but it was great while it lasted. He still has big power but the batting average could be disappointing.

Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins - He finally appears to be healthy. He expects to get a full season of at-bats this season. If he gets them and recovers his former skills he is an MVP candidate.

Lance Berkman, Texas Rangers - Berkman is brittle but very productive when healthy. He is aging quickly and is apparently just playing for the money at this point.

Tier Four First Basemen

Garrett Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates- A solid hitter with pretty good power. Unfortunately the Pirates are always trying to improve on him.

Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies- He's really the right fielder but he serves as Todd Helton's understudy at first base. Cuddyer is a five category contributor without any elite skills.

Mike Morse, Seattle Mariners - Has big power but has yet to prove he can be a consistent contributor from season to season. Injuries have been a factor and his new home park could be intimidating.

Hosmer's beard makes him look stupid.
Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals - Everyone's favorite sleeper going into the 2012 season was a huge disappointment. His ADP still has him as a top 100 pick. He swings at too many outside pitches but he does have the patience to draw walks and makes strong contact. A good portion of his problems could be related to his .255 BABIP.

Brandon Belt, San Francisco Giants - Belt has not exploded on the major league scene the way some prospect junkies expected. He draws walks but still swings at too many bad pitches. He is very BABIP dependent.

Chris Carter, Houston Astros - The power has been obvious for a long time but the platoon helped him be a bit more productive hitter. The Astros can give him a ton of at-bats. He has some upside potential, if you want to understand his ceiling better read this Minor League Ball article.

Yonder Alonso, San Diego Padres - Alonso had a pretty good full season debut. He showed patience and discipline at the plate. His power was a little disappointing but his 39 doubles hold some promise for greater homer totals in the future. A nice pick in leagues where you can be patient with him. The power will improve.

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays - The lineup around him is vastly improved. The expectations for the Blue Jays are higher than they've been in years and almost all the pressure if off Lind as the DH hitting near the bottom of the lineup. He showed improvement in the second half after his stint in the minors.

Tier Five First Basemen

Michael Young, Philadelphia Phillies - Had his worst season in the majors. It was not quite the fantasy disaster that it was for real baseball unless you drafted him based on his 2011 season.

Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles - He finally got a full season of at-bats and showed his power potential. He is not a great bat but the power is as real as it gets. I expect more of the same.

Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox - The news about his hip injury has been a bit blown out of proportion because of how anxious the Red Sox were to protect themselves. According to news that went under reported the condition caught early enough that treatment should be very effective. Napoli has been very productive in Fenway Park.

Brett Wallace, Houston Astros - The Astros are determined to give Wallace as many at-bats as possible. Wallace spent some time in the minors getting his swing back and was quietly productive on his return. This kid has experienced a lot in his very short career.

Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox - His homeruns came back in a big way but his power adjustment did not improve his batting average much. Despite 41 homers his slugging percentage was just .468 as he hit just 19 doubles. He is closer to done than those in love with the homerun totals would have you believe.

Darin Ruf, Philadelphia Phillies - If Howard were to go down to injury Ruf would be better suited to first base than the outfield role he is bound to have. Ruf is not an empty power hitter nor a one hit wonder. Some guys just take a bit longer to develop. He reminds me a lot of young Ryan Howard.

Tier Six First Basemen

Tyler Moore
Brandon Moss, Oakland Athletics - Based on his track record I will have to see Moss do it again before I'll have any faith in him.

Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians - He has serious power and strikes out a ton. He is now is a lineup full of similar hitters. It should be fun to watch. Indian fans will want to wear windbreakers this season.

Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners - The Mariners are giving him another opportunity based on how he finished the 2012 season. He looks good this spring and the addition if veteran bats mean there should be less pressure on the young players in Seattle.

Tyler Moore, Washington Nationals - A player I like more than most people. Davey Johnson is not a huge fan of rookies and held off using Moore as long as possible in 2012. he knows that Moore can be a very productive bat now. He should have a bench role to start the season.

Juan Rivera, New York Yankees - Rivera is not a great bat but thanks to the brittle and aging bats in the Yankees lineup Rivera should have plenty of at-bats this season.

Tier Seven First Basemen

Todd Helton, Colorado Rockies - A former fantasy stud reduced to hitting for average and trying to stay healthy enough to complete his ridiculous contract.

Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals He could be the starting second baseman if all goes right but he does not qualify there. He has some potential with the bat if he can find a position.

Jordan Pacheco, Colorado Rockies - A decent hitter but he has no power and no start role.

Gaby Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates - A better player than he showed in 2012. The Pirates will give him another opportunity to steal the first base job. He'll end up getting at-bats even if he doesn't start on a regular basis.

Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers - He has not improved while in the majors and looks to lose at-bats this season to Lance Berkman and eventually Mike Olt.

Mike Carp, Boston Red Sox- A favorite sleeper from 2012, Carp is now a bench bat for the Boston Red Sox. He should find at-bats at first and the outfield corners.

Casey Kotchman, Miami Marlins - Kotchman will battle Logan Morrison for at-bats but unless Morrison remains injured is unlikely to play much.

Carlos Pena, Houston Astros - The new Astros designated hitter. His power is in decline and he has not hit for average in years.

James Loney, Tampa Bay Rays - Why the Rays prefer James Loney to someone like Carlos Lee is a mystery. Loney does not hit for average or power anymore.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 Sleepers - A First Baseman for the Rays

For Yankee fans, we are pretty far into the off-season. We're used to out team striking quickly and grabbing the best guys available. Or at the very least we're exhausted by rumors that we're going to get this guy or that guy. Instead the Yankees are patiently waiting out the market and could go into the 2012 season with pretty much the same team they played with in 2011. For fans of the Yankees this is unusual. For fans of the Tampa Bay Rays this is par for the course.

The Rays having one of the smaller payroll budgets in the game, rarely jump early on free agents. They exercise patience and wait until potential bargains develop. This year they might be interested in an outfielder, a designated hitter, middle infielder and first baseman. They could very well re-sign Carlos Pena. But for now they wait and have inexperienced names penciled in at the top of the depth chart at several positions. The most interesting one in my opinion is Russ Canzler.

Canzler is interesting for several reasons. I like that he fits the developing trend of allowing older minor leaguers - sometimes barely considered prospects - to have a chance to make major league rosters. A lot of organizations will dismiss a certain player because he doesn't fit their perception of what a player at his position should look like. We've seen it a hundred times, look at short, slight players like Billy Wagner and Pedro Martinez, who were not always appreciated for their skills as prospects. Canzler does not have an odd body type, he's six feet and two inches tall and weighs over 200 pounds, so he looks like a DH or first baseman. The problem with this guys is that despite being a pretty good hitter, he doesn't hit like the prototypical first baseman.

Some numbers:

2006 Cubs (A-) 7.10% 22.50% 0.264 0.319 0.543 0.279 0.291 0.382 137
2007 Cubs (A) 7.00% 17.50% 0.270 0.321 0.376 0.107 0.316 0.318 97
2008 Cubs (A+) 7.50% 19.40% 0.273 0.327 0.463 0.190 0.31 0.356 120
2009 Cubs (A+) 6.50% 22.20% 0.270 0.315 0.430 0.160 0.333 0.345 116
2009 Cubs (AA) 11.60% 15.40% 0.258 0.346 0.399 0.142 0.289 0.337 105
2010 Cubs (AA) 11.20% 23.10% 0.287 0.372 0.566 0.279 0.332 0.412 151
2011 Rays (AAA) 12.20% 23.50% 0.314 0.401 0.530 0.215 0.396 0.410 157
2011 Rays 20.00% 20.00% 0.333 0.400 0.333 0.000 0.333 0.316 101

You can see that Canzler has a history of hitting for decent batting averages (much better than decent the last two seasons) with solid power numbers. Looking at these numbers for a still relatively young first baseman, you would probably give him a shot on your fantasy team and as a Rays fan you'd probably be pretty happy to have a .275/.350/.500 line from your rookie first baseman. But that enthusiasm dies off a bit when you learn he has not hit more than 21 homers at any level or in any season. But should it?

For fantasy owners, you might not want him as your primary first baseman, but with third base a weakness in MLB at the moment and first base not quite as deep as it once was, Canzler would be an excellent corner on a lot of teams, especially in AL-Only Leagues. For the Rays it seems like a slam dunk cinch, they would risk almost nothing and he might fill a need for them inexpensively. How long have the Rays been looking for a long-term solution at first base? So if they fail to move one of they pitchers or prospects for a first baseman (they're rumored t be looking at Anthony Rizzo of the Padres) they could decide to give Canzler a try. It just might be to the benefit of fantasy owners.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Down the Stretch: The Top First Basemen of 2010

Justin Morneau comes in the winner despite injuries ruining his second half. This list is riddled with injuries, though. Morneau, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Howard, and Kendry Morales all suffered major injuries. I'll spare you re-living the slow starts of Mark Teixeira and Derrek Lee...

Justin Morneau Twins 14.40% 20.90% 0.345 0.437 0.618 0.274 0.385 0.447
Miguel Cabrera Tigers 14.20% 17.30% 0.337 0.431 0.629 0.292 0.351 0.439
Joey Votto Reds 14.10% 22.50% 0.324 0.423 0.593 0.27 0.359 0.436
Kevin Youkilis Red Sox 13.30% 18.50% 0.307 0.411 0.564 0.257 0.327 0.419
Albert Pujols Cardinals 14.00% 12.30% 0.315 0.41 0.591 0.276 0.3 0.417
Paul Konerko White Sox 11.40% 20.10% 0.301 0.381 0.575 0.274 0.308 0.404
Aubrey Huff Giants 12.30% 13.90% 0.292 0.384 0.519 0.226 0.296 0.391
Adam Dunn Nationals 10.40% 34.60% 0.269 0.355 0.565 0.297 0.333 0.389
Prince Fielder Brewers 14.80% 25.90% 0.266 0.402 0.483 0.217 0.304 0.388
Buster Posey Giants 6.40% 12.10% 0.34 0.388 0.516 0.176 0.356 0.388
Ryan Howard Phillies 7.50% 26.30% 0.292 0.356 0.528 0.236 0.343 0.377
Adrian Gonzalez Padres 12.50% 19.90% 0.295 0.385 0.5 0.205 0.322 0.373
Mark Teixeira Yankees 12.80% 19.40% 0.252 0.358 0.483 0.232 0.258 0.366
Billy Butler Royals 10.20% 12.70% 0.309 0.379 0.461 0.152 0.329 0.365
Adam LaRoche Dbacks 8.70% 29.60% 0.272 0.339 0.489 0.217 0.339 0.357
Jason Giambi Rockies 16.90% 23.30% 0.271 0.407 0.391 0.12 0.317 0.357
Kendry Morales Angels 5.70% 16.10% 0.29 0.346 0.487 0.197 0.296 0.357
Gaby Sanchez Marlins 8.60% 17.30% 0.287 0.352 0.453 0.166 0.324 0.356
Russell Branyan - - - 11.30% 33.10% 0.241 0.331 0.468 0.227 0.298 0.347
Daric Barton Athletics 14.20% 18.30% 0.27 0.379 0.39 0.12 0.317 0.346
Mike Napoli Angels 6.80% 28.60% 0.254 0.322 0.478 0.224 0.297 0.345
Lance Berkman - - - 16.20% 22.60% 0.237 0.361 0.418 0.181 0.27 0.345
Eric Hinske Braves 10.50% 26.60% 0.258 0.338 0.464 0.206 0.309 0.343
Carlos Pena Rays 14.40% 31.30% 0.213 0.334 0.44 0.227 0.237 0.343
Ty Wigginton Orioles 8.40% 19.00% 0.257 0.328 0.439 0.183 0.274 0.333
Troy Glaus Braves 13.10% 23.90% 0.239 0.343 0.406 0.166 0.272 0.333
Michael Cuddyer Twins 9.40% 15.00% 0.272 0.341 0.424 0.152 0.298 0.333
Derrek Lee Cubs 10.90% 24.20% 0.251 0.335 0.416 0.165 0.293 0.33
James Loney Dodgers 7.30% 15.70% 0.285 0.339 0.416 0.131 0.321 0.328
Melvin Mora Rockies 9.50% 12.20% 0.268 0.351 0.38 0.112 0.294 0.327
Lyle Overbay Blue Jays 10.30% 23.80% 0.248 0.328 0.417 0.17 0.294 0.325
Rusty Ryal Dbacks 4.70% 29.50% 0.288 0.347 0.391 0.103 0.393 0.325
Ike Davis Mets 10.20% 28.10% 0.243 0.321 0.42 0.176 0.297 0.325
Garrett Jones Pirates 8.30% 19.60% 0.257 0.317 0.426 0.169 0.28 0.324
Jorge Cantu - - - 5.80% 20.40% 0.265 0.314 0.405 0.14 0.305 0.315

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2010 Free Agents: First Basemen

Hank Blalock and Russell Branyan had big years in 2009. But will they be able to find the at-bats (or stay healthy) in 2010? Bookmark this page as it will be updated as players sign or re-sign with teams.

Key Sleepers: Russell Branyan, Chad Tracy

First Basemen
Hank Blalock TEX
Russell Branyan SEA
Carlos Delgado NYM (B)
Nomar Garciaparra OAK
Jason Giambi COL
Ross Gload * FLA
Aubrey Huff DET (B)
Nick Johnson FLA (B) - Yankees have come to terms with Nick Johnson on a one-year deal worth a reported $5.75 million plus incentives to replace Matsui as their designated hitter.
Adam LaRoche ATL (B)
Kevin Millar TOR
Robb Quinlan LAA
Matt Stairs PHI
Mike Sweeney SEA
Jim Thome LAD
Chad Tracy ARZ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top First Basemen Ranked By wOBA

Albert Pujols 0.357 0.462 0.653 0.346 0.458
Lance Berkman 0.312 0.42 0.567 0.345 0.419
Mark Teixeira 0.308 0.41 0.552 0.321 0.41
Kevin Youkilis 0.312 0.39 0.569 0.347 0.402
Jason Giambi 0.247 0.373 0.502 0.257 0.377
Miguel Cabrera 0.292 0.349 0.537 0.316 0.376
Carlos Pena 0.247 0.377 0.494 0.307 0.374
Nick Johnson 0.22 0.415 0.431 0.241 0.374
Joey Votto 0.297 0.368 0.506 0.33 0.373
Christopher Davis 0.285 0.331 0.549 0.353 0.371
Prince Fielder 0.276 0.372 0.507 0.305 0.37
Ronnie Belliard 0.287 0.372 0.473 0.326 0.369
Justin Morneau 0.3 0.374 0.499 0.318 0.369
Adrian Gonzalez 0.279 0.361 0.51 0.311 0.368
Martin Prado 0.32 0.377 0.461 0.36 0.367
Ryan Howard 0.251 0.339 0.543 0.289 0.366
Carlos Delgado 0.271 0.353 0.518 0.284 0.364
Conor Jackson 0.3 0.376 0.446 0.321 0.364
Pablo Sandoval 0.345 0.357 0.49 0.367 0.361
Hank Blalock 0.287 0.338 0.508 0.301 0.361
Derrek Lee 0.291 0.361 0.462 0.333 0.36
Adam LaRoche 0.27 0.341 0.5 0.313 0.357
Dmitri Young 0.28 0.394 0.4 0.322 0.352
Todd Helton 0.264 0.391 0.388 0.298 0.347
Jorge Cantu 0.277 0.327 0.481 0.297 0.346
Sean Casey 0.322 0.381 0.392 0.368 0.344
Paul Konerko 0.24 0.344 0.438 0.247 0.343
Lyle Overbay 0.27 0.358 0.419 0.32 0.342
Jeff Baker 0.268 0.322 0.468 0.337 0.34
Mike Jacobs 0.247 0.299 0.514 0.264 0.338
Garrett Atkins 0.286 0.328 0.452 0.314 0.337
Doug Mientkiewicz 0.277 0.374 0.379 0.302 0.337
Travis Ishikawa 0.274 0.337 0.432 0.354 0.337
James Loney 0.289 0.338 0.434 0.32 0.333
Ryan Garko 0.273 0.346 0.404 0.306 0.333
Frank Catalanotto 0.274 0.342 0.399 0.304 0.329
Javier Valentin 0.256 0.326 0.411 0.296 0.325
Nick Swisher 0.219 0.332 0.41 0.251 0.325
Rich Aurilia 0.283 0.332 0.413 0.308 0.324
Casey Kotchman 0.272 0.328 0.41 0.273 0.322
Mike Sweeney 0.286 0.331 0.397 0.288 0.322
Billy Butler 0.275 0.324 0.4 0.296 0.318
Chris Duncan 0.248 0.346 0.365 0.299 0.318
Kevin Millar 0.234 0.323 0.394 0.249 0.315
Richie Sexson 0.221 0.321 0.382 0.275 0.314
Tony Clark 0.225 0.359 0.318 0.333 0.314
Chad Tracy 0.267 0.308 0.414 0.301 0.313
Daryle Ward 0.216 0.319 0.402 0.243 0.309
Chris Shelton 0.216 0.333 0.33 0.306 0.308
Wilson Betemit 0.265 0.289 0.429 0.346 0.308
John Bowker 0.255 0.3 0.408 0.302 0.307
Daric Barton 0.226 0.327 0.348 0.272 0.302
Aaron Boone 0.241 0.299 0.384 0.287 0.297
Jeffrey Larish 0.26 0.306 0.375 0.368 0.297
Miguel Cairo 0.249 0.316 0.33 0.291 0.293
Bryan Lahair 0.25 0.315 0.346 0.333 0.292
Robb Quinlan 0.262 0.326 0.311 0.311 0.291
Ross Gload 0.273 0.317 0.348 0.298 0.29
Wes Helms 0.243 0.299 0.347 0.309 0.287
Paul Lo Duca 0.243 0.321 0.295 0.259 0.287
Kory Casto 0.215 0.297 0.313 0.264 0.277
Mark Sweeney 0.13 0.25 0.163 0.188 0.208

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