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First Baseman Rankings

We posted a solid set of catcher rankings a few days ago; now it's time to rank the first basemen.  As always, my dollar values reflect a 12-team mixed league with 23-man active rosters (C, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, MI, CI, OF, OF, OF, OF, OF, DH).  Everything here is subject to change and open to suggestion.  Though they don't have 20 games played at first base from 2010, I've included Adam Lind, Freddie Freeman, Dan Johnson, and Juan Miranda.  Average draft round is in parentheses, courtesy of Mock Draft Central.

  1. Albert Pujols (1) - $41.46
  2. Miguel Cabrera (1) - $33.66
  3. Joey Votto (1) - $26.48
  4. Adrian Gonzalez (1) - $24.45
  5. Mark Teixeira (2) - $22.59
  6. Ryan Howard (2) - $21.97
  7. Prince Fielder (2) - $21.54
  8. Kevin Youkilis (3) - $20.22
  9. Adam Dunn (5) - $17.36
  10. Kendry Morales (5) - $16.02
  11. Paul Konerko (6) - $12.41
  12. Justin Morneau (5) - $12.21
  13. Billy Butler (8) - $9.76
  14. Derrek Lee (24) - $9.53
  15. Adam Lind (15) - $9.24
  16. Gaby Sanchez (20) - $8.85
  17. Carlos Lee (12) - $8.75
  18. Aubrey Huff (10) - $8.27
  19. Buster Posey (4) - $8.22 - if drafted strictly as a 1B
  20. Ike Davis (22) - $7.78
  21. Carlos Pena (19) - $7.66
  22. Michael Cuddyer (21) - $7.29
  23. Lance Berkman (28) - $6.88
  24. Freddie Freeman (31) - $6.29
  25. Adam LaRoche (17) - $5.06
  26. Dan Johnson (Not drafted) - $4.79
  27. Mitch Moreland (33) - $3.22
  28. James Loney (25) - $2.23
  29. Kila Ka'aihue (Not drafted) - $2.16
  30. Matt LaPorta (33) - $2.13
  31. Juan Miranda (Not drafted) - $1.08
  32. Justin Smoak (33) - $0.77

As always, drafting first overall comes with the huge advantage of building your team around Pujols.  Cabrera is a monster, yet Albert is worth 23% more.

I mentioned a few days ago that once the second round ends, the top seven first basemen will be off the board.  Of the Big Seven, only Pujols, Cabrera, Votto, and Gonzalez offer elite batting average, and only Pujols and Votto can steal you ten bags.  If you like Votto for a repeat of his MVP season rather than a mild step back, don't be shy about taking him earlier than seventh and even second overall.

If you miss out on the Big Seven, Youkilis, Dunn, and Morales are solid consolation prizes.  Though he's coming off a broken leg, Morales in the fifth round has potential for profit.

My Morneau projection is for 475 ABs, given the uncertainty around his concussion issues.  If everything looks peachy in Spring Training and you like him for 575 ABs, he's in Tex-Howard-Fielder territory.

Fantasy leaguers seem so desperate to have Butler when he has his long-awaited power breakout that he always goes earlier than his numbers warrant.  He's not a good play in the eighth round with Derrek Lee, Lind, and Sanchez capable of similar overall value if not the .300 average.  Toss in Carlos Lee, Huff, and Davis, and you'll find a slew of first basemen projected for an average in the .270s, 22-24 homers, and around 90 ribbies.  If someone manages to knock in 100 or hit .290, they'll separate themselves.  Sanchez's history suggests he could quietly swipe ten bags for you, and he's getting no respect right now.  Huff is going too early for me; I'm not expecting .290 or 100 runs scored again.

Next you find first basemen with warts like a low batting average or playing time concerns.  Take a flyer on Freeman or Moreland late for your CI slot.  With 575 ABs either player could jump to the $8-9 range and not hurt you in batting average.  Freeman is a Rookie of the Year contender as he'll apparently be handed Atlanta's starting job.  Also keep an eye on the Giants' Brandon Belt.  He gets a fantasy boost as an average runner who could steal 10+ bags in a full season.  At the moment he's blocked at first base by Huff, and the Giants' outfielder corners are crowded as well.

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