Fake Teams Staff Post: Who's My First Baseman?

Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

Each of your favorite FT writers let you in on who the first baseman they will be targeting at their current values.

Each week, when we cover a position here at Fake Teams, in addition to all of the content you've been seeing, we're going to be doing two staff posts where each of the writers will contribute a brief comment on a player they will personally be targeting in drafts and a player they will be avoiding. Because we're generally an optimistic group here, we're going to start with a player each of us thinks is a good value. Come back tomorrow to find out who the guys we're avoiding are.

So without any further ado, I present the Fake Teams staff and their favorite first base targets for 2013:

"I ranked Edwin Encarnacion as my 2nd overall first baseman, so I guess you could say that I'm buying the hype. He's always had the talent, but had never stayed healthy enough or played defense well enough to let it all shine. Playing as an every day first baseman/DH, Encarnacion shined in 2012 posting career highs in almost every category. Bret enlightened us as to why that was not a fluke yesterday, and I couldn't agree more. I wouldn't be shocked to see some regression in 2012, but that doesn't mean he isn't going to provide tremendous value. Let's also not ignore that Encarnacion put up a .291/.382/.504 slash line in the second half of 2011 - so this is a breakout a year and a half in the making at this point. I'd be surprised if Encarnacion bettered his 2012 AB/HR ratio of 12.9, but as someone with a career ratio of 20.5, it's not as though this 2012 was completely out of whack. I'd expect a number somewhere in between his career rate and last year's, probably settling around 14.5. With his ability to swipe some bases, not hurt you (and maybe help) in batting average, and 30+ long balls on the way - I'm all about Edwin." --Craig Goldstein

"I wrote briefly about Paul Goldschmidt back in September (link), and the big draw to the 245-pounder is his ability to hit for power and provide a boost in steals. You're not going to find a first baseman capable of putting up 30 home runs and 10-plus steals annually, and that's what I think Goldschmidt is going to become. It might not come this year, but would you be upset with 25 homers and 15 steals? That's my baseline for his 2013. Ranked ninth by the Fake Teams writing staff, Goldschmidt is a smart buy. Power baby, power." --Alex Kantecki

"Among the four rankers who contributed to the FT consensus rankings, I was the only person to give a top-25 spot to Padres 1B Yonder Alonso. He's certainly not the world's most exciting player, but he deserves more love than he's getting. Yes, he plays half his games in PETCO (which, by the way, is moving its fences in) and he's a left-handed hitter (even further exacerbating the issue), but Alonso's skill set is still of interest in deep mixed and NL-only leagues. Alonso was a big time prospect in the Reds system as a plus-hit, average-power bat and his rookie season was a taste of things to come. In the first half, Alonso struggled to the tune of a .263/.344/.362 line with 3 HR and 23 RBI in 293 AB; however, in the second half, Alonso hit .285/.352/.430 with 6 HR and 39 RBI in 256 AB. He's not the kind of guy you'll want to be your starting 1B in a 12 team mixed league, but Yonder Alonso is perfectly capable of hitting .300 with 15 HR in 2013. " --Bret Sayre

"For 2013, Billy Butler will be one of the first basemen that I target in redraft and dynasty leagues. The 26-year old had a breakout season in 2012 hitting 29 home runs, driving in 107, scoring 72 and batting a very nice .313. The question for 2013 is whether Mr. Butler can build upon the career highs he set in home runs and RBI (not to mention that .313 batting average, which is his second highest of his career)? A glance at Butler's stat line each of the four seasons leading up to 2012 shows that each of the above numbers were within the realm of possibility. His underlying power numbers had been above league average each of the previous three seasons. In addition to this, his batting average, which has always managed to stay in the .300 area, gives me confidence that 2013 will be another stellar season for the Royal." --Brad Dengler

"Easily the highest of our four rankers, I am still a believer in Paul Konerko. The key with him in my opinion is the safety that he can provide at that point in the draft. While his 2012 numbers are heavily weighed by his performance in April and May, a deeper look at his batted ball rates leads me to wonder if he might have been a bit unlucky in the middle months. This is still a player who has still hit at least 26 home runs in each of the last 4 seasons, hit at least .298 in 3 of those 4 seasons, and whose walk and strikeout rates have remained similar to his historical norms. I believe he can still hit .290 with 25+ home runs this year, and may be a lot safer than a number of the players right behind him in my own rankings." --Jason Hunt

"I know I harped on and on about this in my profile the other day (link), but I think Anthony Rizzo is going to be really good. Wrigley Field is the perfect ballpark to exploit his strengths (i.e. big time left-handed power) and he has traditionally been the kind of hitter who can control his strikeouts enough and hit for a decent enough average to where he won't be an Adam Dunn-type fantasy killer. His first full big league season should be a good one, and I think he can reach 30 home runs and sustain that level of production for several years." --Paul Rice

"Mets first baseman Ike Davis hit just .227-.308-.462 with 32 HRs, 66 runs and 90 RBI in 2012, but most of that production came in the last four months of the season, as Davis struggled badly to start the season. After the first two months of the season, Davis was hitting just .170 with 5 HRs and 21 RBI in 159 at bats. But things started clicking for him at the plate, at least from a power standpoint, as he hit 27 home runs from June 1st on, driving in 69 runs with a respectable .252 average at the plate. His 32 HRs ranked 5th among all MLB first baseman, and 13th in all of baseball. Considering he barely hit in the first two months of the season, I think he has room to improve his power numbers in 2013. Like many other power hitters, he is prone to the swing and miss, but also knows how to take the free pass. Davis' .246 BABIP was the second lowest in baseball, so with his BABIP normalizing closer to the league average, his batting average should return to the .260 range in 2013, and with it, an increase in HR and RBI. I see Davis hitting anywhere from .250-.265 with 35-36 HRs and 95 RBI in 2013." --Ray Guilfoyle

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