by Derek of The Sportmeisters
Today's the day we look at the top 15 fantasy first basemen of 2009, and their projected numbers.
1. Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals – Projection: .340 BA 105 R 39 HR 120 RBI 6 SB
Pujols is the consensus No.1 first baseman on all polls and for good reason. After last season, where he hit .357 with 37 home runs and 116 RBI, he had a cleanup procedure on his elbow in October and is playing without restrictions. A 100 percent healthy Pujols is a possible No. 1 overall pick.
2. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers – Projection: .315 BA 100 R 39 HR 130 RBI 1 SB
Cabrera moved across the diamond last year and has lost his third base eligibility, but with a full year in the AL under his belt (He hit .302 with 21 HR after the All-Star break), look for Miggy to bust out with MVP-like numbers this year.
3. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees – Projection: .310 BA 105 R 34 HR 127 RBI 1 SB
Big Tex has put himself into a monster lineup. Hitting behind Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez and in front of Hideki Matsui and Nick Swisher will provide for many RBI and run-scoring opportunities. Teixeira consistently hits .300 with 30 HR and 105 RBI, and I see no reason that the trend won’t continue this year.
4. Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins – Projection: .305 BA 100 R 32 HR 125 RBI 1 SB
Morneau had a monster 2008 season with practically no protection in the lineup. He hit .300 with 23 HR and 129 RBI. His HR total may have decreased again last year, but his batting average and RBI totals went up. Morneau is a top-tier first baseman and should be taken in the first three or four rounds.
5. Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers – Projection: .290 BA 99 R 40 HR 115 RBI 4 SB
50 to 34. That was Fielder’s drop in home run totals in 2007 and 2008. People may blame the lack of power on the fact that he became a vegetarian last season. However, he hit .277 with 28 HR’s and 77 RBI’s after May 30th. With a year to adjust to his new diet and the fact that he is only 25 and in his prime, expect the Prince to bounce back with another 2007-like season (.288 BA 50 HR 119 RBI).
6. Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies – Projection: .260 BA 105 R 46 HR 140 RBI 1 SB
Howard will never get you big points for batting average, but boy can he ever hit home runs. He hit 58 home runs in 2006, 47 in 2007, and 48 in 2008. If your league takes away points for strikeouts, you may want to wait on him a few more rounds, but if not, he’s a third rounder at the latest.
7. Lance Berkman – Houston Astros – Projection: .300 BA 100 R 32 HR 105 RBI 14 SB
Berkman has been one of the most consistent players in baseball the past couple of years. He always seems to be around the .300 BA with 30 HR and 100 RBI range and now has OF Carlos Lee back in the lineup to protect him. He loses his OF eligibility this year, but still remains a strong pick at first base if the first six guys are off the board.
8. Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox – Projection: .300 BA 100 R 26 HR 105 RBI 3 SB
Where did this come from? Youkilis was always a good hitter, but never this good. He raised his numbers significantly across the board from 2007 (.288 BA, 16 HR, 83 RBI) to 2008 (.312 BA, 29 HR, 115 RBI).
Now, a lot of that had to do with 3B Mike Lowell being injured and Boston trading OF Manny Ramirez, but Youkilis really stepped up, and I would expect it to continue, especially hitting in between 2B Dustin Pedroia and DH David Ortiz. By the way, he also has third base eligibility…can you say bonus?
9. Derrek Lee – Chicago Cubs – Projection: .290 BA 90 R 21 HR 92 RBI 7 SB
Lee has had a few off years after his monster 2005 season, in which he hit .335 with 46 HR and 107 RBI. However, he has been relatively healthy since his wasted 2006 season, and should get at least 575 at-bats this year. He has a great lineup around him and is still good enough to give you 20 HR and 95 RBI, so don’t reach for him, but don’t let him slide too far.
10. Adrian Gonzalez – San Diego Padres – Projection: .285 BA 100 R 33 HR 106 RBI 1 SB
Gonzalez has had some good trends and some bad ones over the last few years. His HR total has increased, but his batting average has decreased. His RBI have risen, but so have his strikeouts and inability to hit left-handed pitchers. He plays in a pitcher-friendly park and should be drafted, but not until the other guys are taken.
11. Carlos Pena – Tampa Bay Rays – Projection: .255 BA 85 R 35 HR 105 RBI 1 SB
Pena missed four weeks last year due to a broken finger, but that still doesn’t excuse the drop-off from a .282 BA with 46 HR in 2007 to a .227 BA and 31 HR in 2008. Pena will get you good power numbers and has a good group of players around him, but should not be your first first baseman drafted. He should be drafted in the middle rounds.
12. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds – Projection: .290 BA 75 R 25 HR 92 RBI 5 SB
Votto had a breakout rookie season in 2008, hitting .297 with 24 home runs. He now has a full season under his belt and should continue to put up decent numbers. If you need a first baseman in the middle to late rounds, Votto’s your man.
13. Aubrey Huff – Baltimore Orioles – Projection: .290 BA 86 R 27 HR 95 RBI 1 SB
Huff had his best season since 2003 and now you aren’t sure what to expect. From 2004 to 2007, Huff’s numbers declined each year. Then, out of nowhere, he hits .304 with 32 HR and 108 RBI in 2008. Huff still has third base eligibility and will see his share of at-bats, but shouldn’t be drafted until the middle to late rounds as he has a history of inconsistency.
14. Chris Davis – Texas Rangers – Projection: .275 BA 85 R 30 HR 100 RBI 2 SB
Davis burst onto the scene last year, hitting 17 home runs in just 295 at-bats. If you double his at-bat total, you have to figure he will hit at least 30 home runs with regular playing time. He has third base eligibility, but is expected to be the Rangers’ starting first baseman this year. Draft him in the middle rounds, if he is still there.
15. Carlos Delgado – New York Mets – Projection: .275 BA 88 R 30 HR 100 RBI 1 SB
After a dismal 2007 season, where he hit only .258 with 24 home runs, the beginning of 2008 looked to be more of the same. He was only hitting .231 with 14 home runs through May. However, he exploded after that, hitting 24 home runs in the final three months. Delgado may be getting up there in age, but still has a strong lineup and some pop in his bat. Draft him in the middle rounds, but near the back end.