In most fantasy baseball drafts this year, there will be as many as three first basemen taken in the first round. I've never been a big fan of drafting a first baseman in the first round. There is just too much depth. Another interesting dynamic this year is that four of the top twenty first basemen in most experts' rankings have dual eligibility at catcher.
Here are my ranking with my projections for 2013:
1. Albert Pujols (36 HR, 112 RBI, .303 avg., 9 SB)
2. Joey Votto (24 HR, 95 RBI, .326 avg., 6 SB)
3. Prince Fielder (33 HR, 106 RBI, .299 avg., 0 SB)
Pujols didn't hit his first home run of 2012 until May 6. Votto didn't hit a home run after June 24. These are your top two choices, people. Pujols did wind up with 30 home runs. He had three months in which he hit eight or more. So the former Roto King is not dead yet. Votto is coming off two knee surgeries last year and it doesn't sound like he is 100%. Fielder might, actually, be the safest bet out of all three.
4. Edwin Encarnacion (27 HR, 97 RBI, .268 avg., 9 SB)
5. Adrian Gonzalez (26 HR, 105 RBI, .304 avg., 0 SB)
6. Buster Posey (21 HR, 93 RBI, .327 avg., 1 SB)
7. Billy Butler (22 HR, 98 RBI, .311 avg., 0 SB)
8. Paul Goldschmidt (27 HR, 88 RBI, .265 avg., 20 SB)
9. Anthony Rizzo (24 HR, 88 RBI, .277 avg., 3 SB)
10. Allen Craig (23 HR, 90 RBI, .311 avg., 2 SB)
11. Freddie Freeman (24 HR, 91 RBI, .266 avg., 2 SB)
12. Paul Konerko (27 HR, 78 RBI, .304 avg., 0 SB)
As you can see, there is plenty of depth at first base. It's why I don't advocate taking a first baseman in the first round. Focus on other positions which aren't as deep. All the players in this second tier are fully capable of being a starter, and there's enough for everyone. I love Goldschmidt as a breakout candidate. One thing that separates him from everyone else is his ability to run. If Craig can stay healthy for a full season, he could put up scary numbers. I'm still a believer in Adrian Gonzalez as a run producer. Butler may have finally found his power stroke. Rizzo is the great unknown-- he could have the best year of anyone in this tier... or he could wind up in the minors at some point.
13. Carlos Santana (25 HR, 80 RBI, .267 avg., 3 SB)
14. Mark Teixeira (23 HR, 89 RBI, .254 avg., 1 SB)
15. Joe Mauer (8 HR, 78 RBI, .323 avg., 4 SB)
16. Eric Hosmer (17 HR, 74 RBI, .267 avg., 17 SB)
17. Ike Davis (26 HR, 84 RBI, .246 avg., 0 SB)
18. Ryan Howard (28 HR, 88 RBI, .240 avg., 0 SB)
19. Mark Trumbo (30 HR, 87 RBI, .250 avg., 6 SB)
20. Michael Cuddyer (23 HR, 80 RBI, .271 avg., 7 SB)
21. Mike Napoli (350 AB, 22 HR, 58 RBI, .255 avg., 0 SB)
22. Adam LaRoche (27 HR, 92 RBI, .260 avg., 0 SB)
23. Chris Davis (27 HR, 81 RBI, .255 avg., 2 SB)
24. Nick Swisher (26 HR, 76 RBI, .251 avg., 2 SB)
25. Kendrys Morales (23 HR, 79 RBI, .288 avg., 0 SB)
Three catchers in this tier. If you're drafting them, it's not to play first base. As you can see, though, the depth here is incredible. We're 25 deep right now and each one (except Mauer) is capable of hitting 25 homers, albeit with some scary bad averages (that's why they're in the third tier). Trumbo's August and September (.196 average) of 2012 are troubling. It would be foolish to give up on 23-year-old Hosmer after one down year. His ability to steal bases is a big plus. Teixeira, Howard, and Swisher are on the back nine of their careers.
26. Todd Frazier (17 HR, 66 RBI, .270 avg., 5 SB)
27. Justin Morneau (15 HR, 79 RBI, .274 avg., 0 SB)
28. Corey Hart (320 AB, 14 HR, 45 RBI, .268 avg., 4 SB)
29. Mark Reynolds (26 HR, 70 RBI, .220 avg., 5 SB)
30. Adam Dunn (33 HR, 76 RBI, .204 avg., 1 SB)
Hart will miss at least the first month of the season following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Morneau continues to make small strides (hit .315 in July and August last year) in his comeback from post-concussion syndrome. We all know what we're getting if we risk drafting Mark Reynolds or Adam Dunn. Frazier is eligible at 3B and OF.
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