Taking a look back at 2010 and trying to project what will happen in 2011 is what we do at Fanball. To that end, Ted Carlson has been sending out assignments for the staff to rank our top options at each position for the 2011 season. Today, I’ll defend my rankings for the Top-10 First Basemen for 2011 and explain my thoughts on the position.
For the other reviews in this series, click on the following links.
Albert Pujols is the number one player at the position, and there is no debate that he is also the #1 option in fantasy baseball. Hence, it’s no surprise that Pujols was ranked #1 by everyone on staff.
Miguel Cabrera is the second best right-handed hitter in baseball if you ask this scribe. He was also my choice as the AL MVP for 2010. It’s no surprise therefore that I listed him second amongst the first sackers. Everyone else agreed with me except for Jason Collette who listed Cabrera third, one spot behind Joey Votto. Given that everyone else on staff had Votto third, let’s just say that there is universal agreement on the top-3.
In the 4th spot we had power hitter extraordinare Ryan Howard. Even coming off the worst full season of his career (31 homers, 109 RBI), the staff clearly thinks he has a chance to return to the level that saw him produce at least 45 homers with 136 RBI each year from 2006-09.
Mark Teixiera was atrocious in April hitting .136 with two homers. Predictably he came on strong as the year progressed finishing with his customary power totals (33 homers and 108 RBI). Tex also scored 113 times, a career best, which helped to make up for his .256 average, the first time he had dipped below .280 since his rookie season. He was given a 7th place ranking by Seth Trachtman or he likely would have pulled ahead of Howard for 4th spot overall
Adrian Gonzalez came in 6th ahead of Prince Fielder, though I had the two in the other order. I bet the staff was thinking (a) Gonzalez could be traded and if he is, out of the best pitcher’s park in baseball, his numbers would improve; (b) Gonzalez is a more consistent player who owns a slightly higher career batting average (.284 to .279); (c) people were likely put off by the mere 83 RBI that Fielder had in ’10. I wonder if they would change their minds now that it appears that the shoulder surgery that Adrian Gonzalez had will keep him out of action until February or March?
In 8th and 9th were two sluggers who are dynamic options, albeit coming off of injury plagued seasons. Kevin Youkilis was his normal star self hitting .307-19-62 with 77 runs in just 102 games. He had surgery to repair a thumb injury and should be fine for the start of 2011. Justin Morneau was even more effective hitting an amazing .345 with 18 homers, 56 RBI and 53 runs in just 81 games. His season was ended by a concussion, and he is still not able to physically handle baseball related activities. The Twins believe he will be ready for opening day, though because of that health issue, I didn’t have Morneau in my top-10.
After that there were a bunch of players that didn’t receive a full compliment of votes. In fact, neither did Morneau (Youkilis was the last first basemen who appeared in the top-10 on all ballots).
My #9 guy was Paul Konerko. You can read more on my thoughts about him in the 2010 White Sox Team Review.
My 10th rated first basemen is the most consistent power hitter in baseball – Adam Dunn. In each of the past seven seasons he has hit at least 38 home runs. That is the second longest streak in baseball history – tied with Babe Ruth – and just two behind the all-time mark held by Sammy Sosa.
As they say, first base is the land of sluggers.
By Ray Flowers