Fantasy Baseball 2012: AL-Only/NL-Only First Base Rankings

Robert, Jason and I have completed our early 2012 fantasy baseball position rankings, and now we continue our rankings coverage with AL-only and NL-only Position Rankings. Today, I will cover the AL-Only and NL-only first base rankings. First base has long been known as a deep position, and it appears the AL is much deeper than the NL this year, especially after Albert Pujols said sayonara to the Cardinals at the Winter Meetings. I have ranked the free agent first baseman in both lists.

AL-Only Rankings

AL-Only

1. Miguel Cabrera, DET

2. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

3. Albert Pujols, LAA

4. Prince Fielder, DET

5. Mark Teixeira, NYY

The rest of my rankings with a some notes about a few of them after the jump:

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6. Eric Hosmer, KC

7. Paul Konerko, CHW

8. Carlos Santana, CLE

9. Mike Napoli, TEX

10. Mark Reynolds, BAL

11. Michael Young, TEX

12. Adam Lind, TOR

13. Justin Smoak, SEA

14. Michael Cuddyer, TBD

15. Mark Trumbo, LAA

16. Adam Dunn, CHW

17. Mitch Moreland, TEX

18. Kendrys Morales, LAA

19. Justin Morneau, MIN

20. Mike Carp, SEA

21. Matt Laporta, CLE

22. Casey Kotchman, TB

23. Chris Parmalee, MIN

24. Dan Johnson, TB

25. Chris Davis, BAL

I still like Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez over Albert Pujols, even with the move to the AL West. I have a hard time looking past Pujols drop in power over the last few years and wonder if it is the beginning of a downtrend in his power. Maybe he gets more days off in LA where Scioscia can DH him once a week come midseason to keep him fresh. But, I will wait and see if that happens this year. Pujols could feel added pressure, ala Carl Crawford, with the huge contract hanging over his head. Plus, he is moving to a new league where he has not seen many of the pitchers.

2012 may not be the year Eric Hosmer breaks out, but I think he can improve upon his 2011 showing. He has 25-30 home run power and can steal double digit bags, with a solid BA to with all that. He very well could move up these rankings come 2013.

Another guy who could move up these rankings, and you can get pretty late in drafts is Seattle first baseman Justin Smoak. Smoak dealt with some personal issues due to the death of his father and a hand injury that sapped his power, so he could be the sleeper amongst first baseman in 2012.

NL-Only

1. Joey Votto, CIN

2. Michael Morse, WAS

3. Lance Berkman, STL

4. Freddie Freeman, ATL

5. Ike Davis, NYM

6. Gaby Sanchez, MIA

7. Brandon Belt, SFG

8. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

9. Carlos Lee, HOU

10. Lucas Duda, NYM

11. Yonder Alonso, SD

12. James Loney, LAD

13. Adam LaRoche, WAS

14. Aubrey Huff, SFG

15. Todd Helton, COL

16. Ryan Howard, PHI

17. Anthony Rizzo, SD

18. Ty Wigginton, PHI

19. Juan Rivera, LAD

20. Casey Kotchman, TBD

21. Daniel Murphy, NYM

22. Brett Wallace, HOU

Wow. You see what happens when Albert Pujols leaves for the American League? Prince Fielder may yet follow him, and Ryan Howard will miss at least the first month of the season, and probably more. The Phillies picked up Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome for a reason, and I think it because Howard will be out a lot longer than GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is indicating.

First base in NL-Only leagues has gone from very good to terrible. After Votto, who do you really want to draft early? Michael Morse? More on him later. Lance Berkman? I am not buying his 2011 season. Ryan Howard? He will be out longer than you think? Freddie Freeman? Does he have a Jason Heyward-like second year in the majors? It's tough pickings, so those of you in NL-Only leagues can grab another outfielder before drafting your first baseman in 2012 drafts.

One guy who some think had a fluke year in 2011 is Nationals first baseman Michael Morse. I am not so sure I agree with that thought. Morse had some solid monthly splits. With the exception of September, where he probably tired, and April where he barely played, Morse never hit below .299, and had only one month where he hit less than 6 home runs. Will he repeat in 2012? I think so, and I would be a buyer on draft day.

Lucas Duda is another sleeper pick for me, as I can see him hitting 20+ home runs and driving in 85-90 runs for the Mets. He will probably play right field, but has first base eligibility in 2012. He should be able to take advantage of the Mets decision to move the fences in this offseason, and I could see him approach 25 home run in 2012.

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