We all know who the best first baseman in baseball is. He is the same man that is not only the best hitter in baseball, he is the man who provided a normal career arc will end up as one of the top-10 hitters who has ever played the game. This man was my choice to be the top first baseman in fantasy baseball in 2009, a fact that was presented in the 2009 Fanball Annual Guide that was on newsstands prior to the start of the 2009 season. In retrospect, how did my preseason top-10 list turn out?
To read previous positional reviews click on the following link:
1. Albert Pujols
2. Miguel Cabrera
3. Ryan Howard
4. Mark Teixeira
5. Lance Berkman
6. Justin Morneau
7. Prince Fielder
8. Adrian Gonzalez
9. Derrek Lee
10. Joey Votto
Pujols was the best fantasy weapon in the game in 2009, a fact that was simply stated in How Good is Albert Pujols?
Cabrera is destined to post spectacular numbers while never quite getting his due since he plays the same position as Mr. Pujols. Cabrera has hit at least .292 with 26 homers and 103 RBI in each of the past six seasons and, you guessed it, he and Mr. Pujols are the only two men who can make that claim.
All Howard did was hit 45 homers, the third highest mark in baseball, while tying for the major league lead with 141 RBI. Amazingly, Howard has hit at least 45 homers with 136 RBI each of the past four seasons, and only Sammy Sosa (1998-2001) and Babe Ruth (1926-31) can match or better that run.
Mark Teixeira finished second in the AL MVP vote with yet another tremendous season (.292-39-122-103). Teixeira is one of only four switch-hitters in baseball history who have had at least four seasons of .290-30-100: Chipper Jones (five times), Lance Berkman (four) and Eddie Murray (four).
Berkman struggled out of the gate but finished strong, though 2009 was his worst all-around effort (.274-25-80) since 2005, the last time he was held to fewer than 530 at-bats. Still had a .399 OBP and a .907 OPS, but clearly he was “off” for a good deal of the year.
Morneau managed to sock 30 homers with 100 RBI despite being limited to his lowest at-bat total (508) since 2005 as he missed the last three weeks of the season with a back injury. Hard to call a fourth straight 100-RBI season a disappointment, and he has now alternated great with good seasons the past four years.
Fielder tied with Howard for the major league lead with 141 RBI as he blasted 46 dingers on the year. Fielder also finished a mere percentage point from his first .300 season. He also continued to display a keen eye at the plate as he was fourth in baseball with 110 walks and seventh with a .412 OBP.
If only he could get out of San Diego, something that might happen if the Padres decide to deal their slugger for a boatload of prospects. Gonzalez feel one RBI short of a third straight 100 RBI season but he socked a career best 40 homers despite hitting only 12 in 80 home games. Could produce astounding numbers in a better park with some lineup production.
Lee hit .189 with one homer in April. Those that remained steadfast were rewarded as Lee considerably picked up the pace over the course of the season on his way to hitting .306 with 35 homers and 111 RBI. The RBI were a career best, and the homers the second best mark of his career to his total of 46 from 2005.
Votto missed time with injury and depression over the loss of his father, in between all he did was rip the cover off the ball to the tune of a .322 average and 25 homers in a mere 469 at-bats. As a result he was one of only six big leaguers who hit at least .320 with 25 homers: Pujols, Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Joe Mauer and Robinson Cano.
By Ray Flowers