First base is as deep as a 1998 steroid-aided Mark McGwire long ball. In addition, it offers some of the league’s elite talents. While it’s always nice to snag an Albert Pujols or Ryan Howard type early in the draft to build your offense around, consider the depth that first base provides before making your decision.
In the mid to late rounds there will still be quality options available at first base; while the same may not be true at a thinner position like second base or catcher. Position scarcity is always important to building a quality fantasy team, and quality options at first base are far from scarce.
That being said, let’s take a look at my first base rankings for 2010. In addition to ranking the options at first base, I will provide my expert projections for each player.
1) Albert Pujols (2010 Projections: .335 AVG, 125 R, 42 HR, 130 RBI, and 10 SB)
You shouldn’t need me to tell you that Albert Pujols is the best option at first, and likely the first pick in most fantasy drafts. With new buddy Matt Holliday protecting him in the lineup for a full season, don’t be shocked if he posts a career year.
2) Ryan Howard (.265, 108 R, 45 HR, 138 RBI, 4 SB)
The question with Howard is where his average will end up. Over the past four seasons he has maintained very consistent numbers in runs, homeruns, and RBI, but his average has fluctuated from a high of .313 in 2006 to a low of .251 in 2008.
3) Mark Teixeira (.298, 105 R, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 2 SB)
Teixeira really enjoyed his first season in pinstripes, and there is no reason to think he won’t enjoy his second. Teixeira is one of the safest picks you can make. His consistency makes him a valuable fantasy commodity.
4) Prince Fielder (.285, 103 R, 45 HR, 120 RBI, 3 SB)
Prince is no longer just Cecil’s kid. His 2009 season eclipsed his dad’s remarkable 1991 season with the Tigers. Prince has become the king of the Fielder family, and as long as he’s got Ryan Braun batting in front of him, life is good.
5) Miguel Cabrera (.312, 96 R, 34 HR, 110 RBI, 3 SB)
Cabrera may be the least celebrated superstar in baseball. If he slips in your draft you should jump all over him. Cabrera may not quite put up the HR and RBI totals as the guys in front of him, but his average should eclipse everyone this side of Pujols.
6) Justin Morneau (.285, 92 R, 30 HR, 112 RBI, 0 SB)
Morneau missed some time last season, and still put together a very productive season. He also may have the best job in baseball, batting behind Joe Mauer. The Twins offense should have a big season, and Morneau will be a big reason why.
7) Mark Reynolds (.260, 90 R, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 18 SB)
Sure he strikes out way too much, resulting in an average that may hurt you in that category, but Reynolds makes up for it by being a contributor in the other four categories. However, I don’t think he matches last season’s totals. Don’t forget that he qualifies at 3B in most leagues.
8) Adrian Gonzalez (.282, 95 R, 35 HR, 105 RBI, 1 SB)
The Padres’ lineup is downright pitiful, and lack of protection and a pitcher’s park will prevent Gonzalez from putting up better numbers. However, watch out if the Padres make good on their promise to trade him, and he ends up somewhere with a good line-up; especially if it’s early in the season.
9) Kevin Youkilis (.310, 95 R, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 5 SB)
Hitting in the heart of the Red Sox order will guarantee Youk plenty of opportunities to drive-in and score runs. He’s another one who also qualifies at third base, where he would have more value since third base is not nearly as deep as first base. Nothing flashy, but indeed dependable.
10) Joey Votto (.315, 90 R, 28 HR, 95 RBI, 5 SB)
Joey Votto is one of my favorite candidates to breakout in a big way in 2010. It’s just a matter of time before Votto takes the next step into elite status, and he very well could do it in 2010. Playing in one of the best hitter’s parks in the game certainly will help make the possibility of a breakout a reality.
Click here for first base rankings 11-20 and sleepers.