2011 MLB Rankings: Albert Pujols and The Top 5 Defensive First Basemen

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2011 MLB Rankings: Albert Pujols and The Top 5 Defensive First Basemen
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

When you think of MLB first basemen, what comes to mind?

POWER

You think of big, burly guys like Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn, Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols.

First basemen are usually the largest guys on the field, towering over the infielders and umpires. And with that size often comes an impressive swing.

More so than any other position, it is expected that first basemen will hit for average, drive in runs and hit home runs.

A lot of home runs.

First basemen will often bat cleanup or somewhere in the middle of the lineup and are often considered to be the best hitter on a MLB team.

The focus for a first baseman is certainly offense, but that doesn't mean defense isn't important.

Not only should a first baseman be able to field his position, but he also has to be able to scoop balls from the dirt or reach out on errant throws from his infielders while always keeping a toe on the bag.

Too often defense is overlooked at first base, when in actuality, it might be the most important position in the infield in terms of a team's defensive success.

Of the five players on this list, three of their teams finished in the top five in defense in 2010 and only one was outside of the top 12.

Whereas the Washington Nationals, with Adam Dunn at first base, finished 29th in team defense. Dunn's .990 fielding percentage (FPCT) was tied for last place amongst first basemen and his team had an MLB-high 127 errors.

Therefore, a good first baseman is critical to team defense and these players are priceless at their position for what they offer at the plate and in the field.

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