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Fantasy Baseball 2012 Rankings: Top 15 First Basemen

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Fantasy Baseball 2012 Rankings: Top 15 First Basemen
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

We all know that first base is one of, if not the deepest position in fantasy baseball, though that doesn’t mean there are no questions to be asked.  Is Albert Pujols still the top option?  How does Ryan Howard’s injury impact his ranking?  Where does the young first baseman fit into the mix?  Let’s take a look at the rankings and find out:

  1. Albert Pujols—Los Angeles Angels
  2. Miguel Cabrera—Detroit Tigers
  3. Adrian Gonzalez—Boston Red Sox
  4. Joey Votto—Cincinnati Reds
  5. Prince Fielder—Free Agent
  6. Mark Teixeira—New York Yankees
  7. Carlos Santana—Cleveland Indians
  8. Eric Hosmer—Kansas City Royals
  9. Freddie Freeman—Atlanta Braves
  10. Mike Napoli—Texas Rangers
  11. Michael Morse—Washington Nationals
  12. Paul Konerko—Chicago White Sox
  13. Ike Davis—New York Mets
  14. Gaby Sanchez—Florida Marlins
  15. Ryan Howard—Philadelphia Phillies

Thoughts:

  • Ryan Howard’s spot on these rankings is dependent on his health.  Having injured his Achilles on the final play of the Phillies' season, it appears that he will miss at least April with the potential to be out longer.  Even when he returns, do we have any guarantee that he is going to be the same player that he was?  He has already been on the “decline,” hitting 31 and 33 HR the past two years (he had hit at least 45 the previous four).  That makes him a major risk for 2012.
  • The top of these rankings are an impressive group of players, isn’t it?  Sure, there may be a few questions like where will Prince Fielder play or can Mark Teixeira hit for a good average, but they are all players worth drafting in the first two rounds.
  • I am higher on Freddie Freeman than most, but what is there not to like about a rookie who hit .282 with 21 HR and 76 RBI?  We can talk about the potential for him to improve his average (22.4 percent strikeout rate) or add power as a 22-year-old, but the more important thing may be his opportunity.  With Jason Heyward failing, Freeman could open the year hitting third in the Braves lineup.  That will give him chances for RBI (with Michael Bourn in front of him) and score as well (with Brian McCann and Dan Uggla behind him).  There’s an awful lot to like, even if he is not a threat to hit 30+ home runs yet.
  • Prior to getting hurt, Ike Davis was hitting .302 with 7 HR and 25 RBI in 129 AB.  While you can question if he can maintain his .344 BABIP and 17.1 percent HR/FB, it is obvious that he can produce in the Major Leagues.  With the team adjusting the dimensions of Citi Field to be more hitter friendly, Davis could at least match that type of production.  While many will ignore him on draft day, don’t overlook him.
  • Will Eric Hosmer be the next big first baseman?  It certainly looks that way, doesn’t it?  Given the depth of the position, I wouldn’t overreach to get him for just 2012 (keeper leagues may be a little bit different), but long-term he has the potential to be among the best in the league.  I recently ranked him as the top first baseman 25 or under, which you can read about by clicking here.
  • Think Paul Konerko is too low on this list?  He’s actually a first baseman I have serious concerns about, especially given where his current ADP has him going in mock drafts.  For more on why I would avoid drafting him (as well as a few others that I’d pass on), click here.

Make sure to check out the rest of our 2012 rankings:

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