Here’s the first look at the 2013 LestersLegends First Base Rankings.
1. Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels
By his standards, the .285-85-30-105-8 line he turned in last year was disappointing. His OPS improved from .794 in the first half to .935 in the second half. He’s settled in and is part of an even more impressive lineup with Josh Hamilton on board. Monster numbers should return.
2. Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers
Fielder had a slight dip in production outside of batting average, but you can’t be upset with a .313-83-30-108-1 line. Fielder also improved in the second half with his OPS going from .885 to 1.006.
3. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
Votto was limited to 111 games and 374 at bats, but his 1.041 OPS was ridiculous. His knee should be healthy and he should once again be a dominant force.
4. Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers
Gonzalez had just six home runs through the end of June, but managed to hit a dozen the rest of the way to finish with a .299-75-18-108-2 line. His second half OPS was 133 points higher than his first half mark. The Dodgers figure to have a potent offense in 2013 with A-Gone as one of the anchors.
5. Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals
Butler is primarily a designated hitter, but he did play 20 games at first base last year so he should have eligibility in your league. Butler finally showed what he’s capable of with a .313-72-29-107-2 line. With his size, the power should not be a fluke. He has already proved that he’s a capable hitter.
6. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays
We know the power is for real, but last year he put together a complete season (.280-93-42-110-13). Regression is likely, but with Toronto’s potent lineup, he should deliver once again.
7. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Goldschmidt had a solid .286-82-20-82-18 line in his first full season. The stolen base total puts him ahead of similar young options.
8. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
Rizzo played in just 87 games, but managed to hit 15 home runs with 44 runs and 48 runs batted in. He’s just 23 years old and handled big league pitching well. Look for continued growth.
9. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
Freeman posted his second straight 20-plus home run season. His average dipped from .282 to .259, but his run total (67 to 91) and RBI total (76 to 94) climbed. Freeman is another one of the young first basemen (23) that should continue to grow.
10. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
Teixeira isn’t old (33 in April), but with three straight years with a batting average less than .260 (.252 during the span), he is a liability in that category. He still clubbed 24 home runs in 123 games. No longer a lock for 100 runs, 30 home runs and 100 RBI, but he should be good for 80 runs, 30 HRs and 90 RBI.
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