The first base position in fantasy baseball produces a lot of depth from owners to choose from either via their drafts back in March, or a waiver wire pick-up during the season. With the second half of play underway, let's take a look at how the first basemen will finish out the season.
In previous seasons, I've done just a "straight" ranking by position, as opposed to a "tiering" system, but have recently found that the tiering system will help you to better distinguish the difference between a Tier-One player and a Tier-two player, ultimately leading to better value.
1) Albert Pujols - St. Louis Cardinals
2) Miguel Cabrera - Detroit Tigers
3) Ryan Howard - Philadelphia Phillies
4) Mark Teixeira - New York Yankees
Nothing new with these top tier guys, as any of these options will provide solid numbers during the second half of play. Albert Pujols is Albert Pujols, and is still the king. Miguel Cabrera certainly is second to no one in fantasy baseball this year, as he’s posting a MVP/Triple Crown type of season.
Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira had up-and-down numbers during the first half of play, but both know how to produce huge numbers after the All-Star break. As the temperature rises, so do the HR and RBI totals for both of these sluggers.
5) Joey Votto - Cincinnati Reds
6) Prince Fielder - Milwaukee Brewers
7) Kevin Youkilis - Boston Red Sox
8) Adrian Gonzalez - San Diego Padres
Again, can’t go wrong with any of these guys. Joey Votto is carrying the Reds offensively right now and has done so all season long, and he could easily be thrown into the Tier-One group. Prince Fielder will probably be staying in Milwaukee the rest of the season, but his numbers should still continue to be around the same mark with the power numbers taking a slight hit.
The on-base percentage (OBP) machine that is Kevin Youkilis is putting together another solid season. Expect more of the same during the second half, as the runs scored, slugging (SLG), and OBP numbers will be near the top of the AL leader board.
I’m sure every Adrian Gonzalez owner is hoping that the Padres acquire a power-bat before the trading deadline passes. Gonzalez currently sits in second place in the NL with 17 intentional-walks, but with pennant races hitting up, I fully expect teams to start treating Adrian like Barry Bonds.
9) Justin Morneau - Minnesota Twins
10) Billy Butler - Kansas City Royals
11) Adam Dunn - Washington Nationals
12) Paul Konerko - Chicago White Sox
13) Carlos Pena - Tampa Bay Rays
Justin Morneau has yet to play a game during the second half due to an injury (surprise!) and is a suspect the rest of the season for poor numbers. Morneau floats around a .300/.360/.550 with an on-base plus + slugging percentage (OPS) over .900 during the first half of play, but when the second half hits, his numbers take a huge hit, posting drops in all categories, especially the home run department. Hopefully, you were able to trade Morneau for a high return before the second half of play started.
Billy Butler doesn’t have the HR power like most first baseman, but still flat out hits every month. With KC being what it is, Butler will likely be limited as far as his runs scored and the RBI department.
The Nationals want to move Adam Dunn before the trade deadline, but the price is reportedly high, so I see him staying put and signing an extension in D.C. Dunn has always been known for the high home run totals, walks, and high strike out totals, but he is surprisingly hitting at an average above the .275 mark right now, which is something he simply isn’t known for. The highest average Dunn has ever hit during an entire season is .267 (2009 season).
Another down factor for Dunn is his OBP number this season, as he’s been attacking the zone aggressively, seeing the lowest numbers of pitches per plate appearance during his ten-year career. Over the past two seasons, Dunn hasn’t hit over 15 home runs post All-Star break since the 2007 season.
14) Adam LaRoche - Arizona Diamondbacks
15) Aubrey Huff - San Francisco Giants
16) James Loney - Los Angels Dodgers
17) Derrek Lee - Chicago Cubs
18) Lance Berkman - Houston Astros
I’ve had a serious man-crush on Adam LaRoche all season long. Everyone knows how he tears the second half of play up, but I think we will see his best second half surge ever during the 2010 season.
Aubrey Huff of the Giants is having his best season since 2008 and has already surpassed his home run totals from last season. Huff’s best month has yet to come, so watch out when the calendar hits August 1st.
James Loney reminds me of Billy Butler because of their similar numbers, and the fact that he will not hit for a ton of power, but will still have the high AVG and OPS number.
Derrek Lee and Lance Berkman have a lot in common this season, from poor production numbers to the inability to hit left-handed pitching. On the bright side, owners can expect some bounce back from both players. I especially like Lee moving forward, so see if you can grab him from someone for a cheap price. Closing out the season, Lee should hit around the .290 clip and will end with between 20-25 HR.
19) Ike Davis - New York Mets
20) Gaby Sanchez - Florida Marlins
21) Russell Branyan - Seattle Mariners
22) Justin Smoak - Seattle Mariners
23) Todd Helton - Colorado Rockies
24) Troy Glaus - Atlanta Braves
25) Daric Barton - Oakland Athletics
Most of the Tier-Five guys are part of the youth movement and will be moving up the ranks next season, as they are able to hit for solid power numbers and are reliable late round options for that corner infield position on your team.
Like most of the Mets roster, Ike Davis is red-hot when playing in Citi Field (.298/.387/.496), but struggles on the road (.212/.272/.400). The good news is that he’s hitting .278 with a .329 OBP against left-handed pitching this season.
Former University of Miami slugger Gaby Sanchez is having a terrific rookie season across all categories. He’s hit left-handed pitching extremely well to this point and hits both while at home and on the road.
Justin Smoak has the power, but has struggled against left-handed pitching this season, which should be expected for a player of his age.
Written by Reggie Yinger, exclusively for the TheFantasyFix.com
Reggie Yinger is a programmer in the IT field and also writes for BaseballPress.com. He previously worked for a Minor League Baseball team and hopes to return to baseball full-time in some fashion. You can follow him on Twitter @sacksjacked.
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