I previously posted my early first base rankings here, so today I am updating my rankings based on information gleened since then. First base is probably the deepest position in the infield for fantasy purposes, led by the best player in baseball-Albert Pujols. In my previous rankings, I included Angels first baseman Kendry Morales and Twins first baseman Justin Morneau in my Top 12, but have moved them to the bottom of the list due to their injury risk. I have moved Adrian Gonzalez up in my rankings as a result of his deal to the Red Sox, and he could move up from there by the end of the season.
Here are my updated first base rankings for 2011, with updated comments:
1. Albert Pujols, STL-Pujols is in his walk year this year, and appears to be in very good shape in spring training. He has averaged 41 HRs, 123 RBIs, 119 Runs, with a .331-.426-.624 triple slash line in his 10 years in the majors, and I would not be surprised to see him exceed the HR and RBI totals this season. Not only does he hit for power, drive in runs, and hit for a solid BA, he steals some bases as well, and I expect double digit steals again this season.
2. Miguel Cabrera, DET-Miggy recently was arrested for DUI, and some have dropped him in their rankings. I am not ready to drop him just yet. Miggy is on the verge of a 40 HR, 130 RBI season and I wouldn't be surprised to see him accomplish that this season. In his 7 full seasons, he has averaged 33 HRs and 115 RBIs per season. Not bad for a guy turning 27 in April.
More after the jump:
3. Joey Votto, CIN-the NL MVP was 2nd in all of baseball with a 7.4 WAR in 2010, behind only Josh Hamilton. Votto had a breakout season in 2010, hitting .324-.424-.600 with 37 HRs, 113 RBIs, 106 runs scored, and 16 SBs. He hits in one of the better hitters parks in baseball so there is no reason to think he can't come close to his 2010 stats in 2011. His BABIP of .361 may be repeatable, as Bill James projects him with a .352 BABIP.
4. Adrian Gonzalez, BOS-assuming he is healthy by mid-April, Gonzalez could have a monster season hitting in the new Big Red Machine's lineup in Boston. AGonz has hit 30 or more HRs in each of the last 4 seasons, and has driven in 100+ runs in 3 of the last 4 seasons. He could easily go 35-120-.290 this year, while Buster Olney thinks he can go 45-140. i guess that is possible, but alot would have to go right for Gonzalez. And if he does do that, he will be the #1 pick in 2012.
5. Ryan Howard, PHI-to me, Howard had a disappointing season in 2010, as he hit "only" 31 HRs and drove in 108. Prior to the 2010 season, Howard averaged 49 HRs and 143 RBIs in his first 4 full seasons. I see him returning to the 40 HR-130 RBI level in 2011, but I worry that the Phillies lineup is getting old fast and could struggle to score runs.
6. Mark Teixeira, NYY-Tex got off to a horrendous start in 2010 hitting .136 in March with just 13 HRs in the first three months of the season. He finished the season hitting .256-.365-.481 with 33 HRs and 108 RBIs. I could see him getting back to his career BA of .286 in 2011, with 35 HRs and 115-120 RBIs.
7. Prince Fielder, MIL-Did you see Prince lately? He lost alot of weight, and I worry how the weight loss will affect his power. Prince is one of those hitters whose stats go on a roller coaster ride from season to season. He went 50-119 in 2007, then 34-102 in 2008, then 46-141 in 2009, followed by his 2010 season where he went 32-83. I believe I read somwhere that 25 or 26 of Fielder's HRs in 2010 were of the solo variety. That should change in 2011.
8. Kevin Youkilis, BOS-even though he played in just 102 games, Youk hit .307-.411-.564 with 19 HRs, 62 RBIs, and 77 runs scored. Youk will move to 3B this season, but still has 1B eligibility. The Red Sox improved their lineup in a big way this offseason, so should Youk stay healthy, he could go 30-100-.300 this year.
9. Paul Konerko, CHW-Konerko had an excellent season in 2010, his walk year, hitting .312-.393-.584 with 39 HRs, 111 RBIs and 89 runs scored. Konerko is a free agent this offseason, and his ranking could change depending on where he plays in 2011.
10. Adam Dunn, CHW-Dunn signed with the White Sox this offseason, and some think he can hit 50 HRs hitting at U.S. Cellular Field, but Dunn used to play his home games at Great American Ballpark, a hitters haven in its own, and he never hit 50 HRs there. Dunn is almost a slam dunk for 40 HRs every year, and I think he can hit 40-44 HRs this season.
11. Kendry Morales, LAA-Morales will forever be known for tearing up his knee in a post game celebration as he pounced on home plate after hitting a walk-off HR. And now, he may start the season on the DL as he hasn't played in a spring training game yet, and can't run the bases yet. Morales was having an excellent season before injuring his knee, as he was hitting .290-.346-.487 with 11 HRs, 39 RBIs and 29 runs scored in 193 ABs. If healthy, Morales could go 30-100 this year, but as of now, we don't even know when he will play.
12. Justin Morneau, MIN-Morneau missed alot of time in 2010 due to post-concussion syndrome, and there is no timetable for his spring training debut as of today. In 2010, when healthy, he hit .345-.437-.618 with 18 HRs and 56 RBIs in less than 300 ABs. He could drop out of the Top 12 should he not play in spring training and begin the season on the DL.