2012 Fantasy Baseball Position Rankings: First Basemen

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 15: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers hits a solo home run in the first inning of Game Six of the American League Championship Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
We here at Fake Teams are dedicated to providing you top notch fantasy baseball advice in an effort to help you win your fantasy baseball league in 2012. Robert posted his updated Catcher Rankings on Monday, and today I continue with our updated 2012 Fantasy Baseball Rankings with my updated First Base Rankings for 2012. I will go 50 deep with my rankings, and you probably already know this, but I am lower on Albert Pujols than others. I have stated my case several times here, so it is not necessary to repeat it.
As you all are aware by now, the American League first base position is stacked now that Pujols and Prince Fielder have signed with the Angels and Tigers, respectively. That leaves Joey Votto and everyone else in the National League. So, you will see that AL first baseman dominate these rankings, but the NL first baseman are solid choices after the top 10-12 first baseman are off the draft board.
Here are my updated 2012 First Base Rankings:

1. Miguel Cabrera, DET

2. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS

3. Albert Pujols, LAA

4. Prince Fielder, DET

5. Joey Votto, CIN

6. Mark Teixeira, NYY

7. Eric Hosmer, KC

8. Paul Konerko, CHW

9. Michael Morse, WAS

10. Carlos Santana, CLE

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

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11. Mike Napoli, TEX

12. Lance Berkman, STL

13. Mark Reynolds, BAL

14. Freddie Freeman, ATL

15. Michael Young, TEX

16. Adam Lind, TOR

17. Ike Davis, NYM

18. Ryan Howard, PHI

19. Gaby Sanchez, MIA

20. Carlos Lee, HOU

21. Justin Smoak, SEA

22. Michael Cuddyer, COL

23. Lucas Duda, NYM

24. Paul Goldschmidt, ARI

25. Yonder Alonso, SD

26. Edwin Encarnacion, TOR

27. Carlos Pena, TB

28. Adam Laroche, WAS

29. James Loney, LAD

30. Todd Helton, COL

31. Mark Trumbo, LAA

32. Adam Dunn, CHW

33. Mitch Moreland, TEX

34. Bryan LaHair, CHC

35. Garret Jones, PIT

36. Mat Gamel, MIL

37. Brandon Belt, SFG

38. Aubrey Huff, SFG

39. Casey McGehee, PIT

40. Kendrys Morales, LAA

41. Casey Kotchman, TB

42. Daniel Murphy, NYM

43. Anthony Rizzo, CHC

44. Mike Carp, SEA

45. Ty Wigginton, PHI

46. John Mayberry, PHI

47. Justin Morneau, MIN

48. Chris Parmalee, MIN

49. Brett Wallace, HOU

50. Juan Rivera, LAD

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.

I like Prince Fielder and Eric Hosmer a little more than Marc Normandin did in his Tiered Rankings on Monday. This year 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.

Fielder has a good year/bad year trend going and he is due for a bad year after his excellent 2011 season, but I think he can maintain his performance in 2012. He reduced his strikeout rate from 19% to 15% last year, and almost doubled his intentional walks from 17 to 32. He will be hitting in a tougher home park, but his power translates in any ballpark, as 22 of his 38 HRs last season travelled over 400 feet.

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.

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.

I am probably lower on Goldschmidt than most, and he could make my ranking look bad here, but I want to see how he handles a full time role for a team expected to contend in 2012 before moving him up my rankings. He has 30 HR potential, but could also strike out 170 times as well. He struck out 53 times in his 156 at bats last season, so assuming he gets 500 at bats, he will strike out about 150 times this season.

Kendrys Morales and Justin Morneau should be much higher in these rankings, but the news on their recoveries to date has not been very positive. If they arrive in spring training healthy and can play a full game a few days in a row, I will move them up. Otherwise, they will stay where they are due to their injury risk. Both are late round flyers in mixed and AL-only leagues, and those of you in AL-only keeper leagues should be buying them cheap if they are available on draft day.

I ranked Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard at 18 as I think he could miss two months of the season and still come back and hit 20-25 home runs and drive in 75-85 runs.

Both Brandon Belt and Anthony Rizzo should rank higher on this list come 2013 as they will be full time first baseman for the Giants and Cubs. Both probably will see considerable time this season, but both struggled in their cups of coffee in 2011, so I was conservative with their rankings here.

Finally, 2012 may be the last season we see James Loney as a starting first baseman, unless he can show that his power surge in the last two months of 2011 were no fluke. Can he hit for more power in 2012? Sure. Will he? We will know more by the end of March and anything can happen.

So what do Fake Teamers think of my updated First Base Rankings?

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