2012 Prospect Rankings Review: First Basemen

June 26, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs rookie first baseman Anthony Rizzo (44) leaves the field after batting practice before the game against the New York Mets at Wrigley Field. The Cubs today recalled first baseman Anthony Rizzo from Triple-A Iowa. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-US PRESSWIRE

Over the next couple weeks, I will be taking a look back at how the players on our preseason and midseason positional prospect rankings performed, and whether or not they improved or worsened their stock during the season. Note that each of these reviews will not be new rankings, and will not discuss anyone not on the rankings at either point.

You can find the preseason rankings here and the midseason rankings here. Note: Christian Yelich will be discussed in the outfield review, and Matt Davidson, Mike Olt and Miguel Sano will all be discussed in the third basemen review.

The Graduates - Each of these players has surpassed the standard eligibility limits for prospect lists (130 AB in the Majors). For these players, all statistics are through Sunday's games.

Yonder Alonso (Padres)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

1

Not Eligible

MLB

134

473

39

7

47

3

.266

.340

.381

It hasn't exactly be the kind of performance that the Padres were really hoping for out of their first baseman of the future, and it doesn't exactly seem like it is all based on his performance at Petco. His home/road splits haven't been all that dramatic, and it appears a lot more likely that his lefty/righty splits are causing the bigger problem. To me, Alonso seems like a very nice potential buy-low candidate, as he should still provide slightly better numbers than he has this year.

Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

2

1

AAA/MLB

137

514

82

35

96

5

.321

.367

.585

The Cubs acquired Rizzo from the Padres shortly after the Pads acquired Yonder Alonso, but the performance of Bryan LaHair over the first couple months of the season allowed them to let him succeed in AAA for half the season. At one point it became a bit ridiculous what he was doing, as he hit 23 home runs in just 70 games in AAA. He was called up in late June, and has taken control of the 1B job for the foreseeable future.

Chris Parmelee (Twins)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

8

Not Eligible

AAA/MLB

114

379

61

22

66

1

.300

.396

.551

Parmelee made the Twins' Opening Day roster amid concerns that Justin Morneau may not be able to play everyday. However, after playing sparingly in the first month and a half of the season, the Twins had Parmelee going back and forth between Rochester and the Twin Cities throughout the season. Despite this, Parmelee posted excellent numbers in AAA and has seen more playing time in right field since returning August 28th. I'm not entirely sure how he fits into their plans yet, as they still have Justin Morneau under contract for another season, but he definitely appears to be ready for a full time role.

Chris Carter (Athletics)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

7

6

AAA/MLB

126

453

82

26

86

5

.273

.367

.517

The power always appeared to be legitimate, but with Carter making his fourth appears at AAA and no real route to playing time in the Majors, it was hard to hold out hope that Carter would finally make that jump. After a solid performance in AAA to start the year, the A's called up Carter after receiving inconsistent production from their first basemen all season. He took hold of the job in a big way this year, as he has 14 home runs in 54 games with a .565 slugging percentage in the Majors.

David Cooper (Blue Jays)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

13

7

AAA/MLB

113

401

61

14

63

0

.309

.367

.513

Cooper's season was cut short due to a back injury in late August, and it doesn't really appear that he has managed to get past Edwin Encarnacion or Adam Lind for 1B/DH duties going into next season. His numbers at AAA Las Vegas were decent enough, but I'm just not sure if he will be more than a AAAA-type at this point.

Coming Soon to A Stadium Near You (AA and Above)

Matt Adams (Cardinals)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

4

Not Eligible

AAA/MLB

94

344

49

20

63

3

.308

.343

.528

Adams appeared to be the heir apparent for the first base job in St. Louis, and was expected to take over sometime either during this season or more likely in 2013. While he did receive a call up during the season, I'm not sure if the team will end up choosing him over Allen Craig for 2013. He should provide value if he gets a full-time job next year, but that really seems to be anything but a guarantee at this point.

Neftali Soto (Reds)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

12

10

AAA

122

465

55

14

59

2

.245

.313

.400

Soto does not really seem to be a priority for the Reds, as he appeared at less than 10 games at any position besides first base this year for AAA Louisville. Based on his performance in AAA this year, I can see why that might be. You really want to see players who profile as first base only prospects really crush everything they see, and Soto didn't really do that despite being at an age-appropriate level. He may still end up on my top first base prospects ranking, but that's really a lot more telling of how shallow 1B really is than anything.

Jonathan Singleton (Astros)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

3

3

AA

131

461

94

21

79

7

.284

.396

.497

Singleton came into the season as one of the top 1B prospects, and a great season in AA will likely move him even further up prospect lists. He appeared in the Futures Game, and was really able to showcase some of the hitting skills which have led him to this point. Singleton isn't likely to be a huge power bat in the Majors (think 35+ homers), but should provide enough batting average to go with it to still make him a valuable fantasy option.

Miles Head (Athletics)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

Not Ranked

9

A+/AA

124

480

82

23

84

3

.333

.391

.577

Miles Head was viewed as a bit of a throw in for the Andrew Bailey trade, but he has finished the season as a legitimate prospect in the Athletics' system. I was able to see him back in May while he was still in Stockton, and the A's continue to have him play 3B despite a fairly clear lack of range and footwork skills over there. His performance in the Cal League carried his numbers this year, but he also held his own in AA with a .272/.338/.404 slash line. He will be interesting to watch next season when he returns to AA to start the year.

Low Level Prospects (High-A and Below)

C.J. Cron (Angels)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG

5

8

A+

129

525

73

27

123

3

.293

.327

.516

Cron finished the season as the league leader in runs batted in for the California League, and was a consistent power producer as well (61 extra base hits). Cron was a bit old for the level (22 for the entirety of the season), but they have time to let him go slow if they feel he needs it. They do have this guy named Pujols up there who's under contract for a substantial amount of time still.

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