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An oldie but a goodie.
Konerko was largely drafted as the No. 12 1B off the board, despite finishing behind only Pujols, Votto and Cabrera last season on the player rater. So why buy-low?
His production up until this point has been nothing short of fantastic, as he's only behind Berkman, Votto and Gonzalez on the player rater. He's on pace for almost identical stats from last season, but because of his perceived value—even now—he's not widely considered a .300/35/100 hitter, which is mostly because of his age (35). Even though he's more or less considered a top 10 first baseman, he should be in the same tier as Fielder and Tex, yet for whatever reason he is perceived to be somewhere around the likes of Howard, Youk and Dunn—maybe even behind them, depending on who's list you're reading—which is certainly off-base.
Admittedly, his BABIP is a little high at .308 (career .286), but even when that normalizes his batting average will come down to what? .300? .295? That's still better than Fielder, Tex, Howard, Dunn and Youk! Like Santana, he too hits cleanup sandwiched between a rather well-established bunch: Pierre, Alexei, Dunn, and Quentin, Rios, Beckham—with a HUGE bat on its way in prospect Dayan Viciedo. Though most of the supporting cast listed above has gotten off to a slow start, they are beginning to come around, yet even without their production he is on-pace for 36 HRs, 115 RBI and 76 Runs.
Another thing Konerko has going for him is durability. Since 1999 he's played less than 140 games in a season a total of two times—of which he played 137 games in one and 122 games in the other—so missing time due to injuries are of very little concern. He may only have a year or two left in his tank, but he certainly has enough gas to grind out a top five 1B finish this season.
Realistic line to expect for Konerko at the end of the season -- .295/80/37/105/2.
Trade Talk Tactics
In order to bag Konerko I would point out his high BABIP and the fact that he's due for some regression, as well as the fact that his supporting cast has been awful and has only showed small signs of improvement, so you're worried that he can't sustain his R/RBI totals. If that doesn't work, you could even point to the fact that he is, sadly, getting older (35) and that he will most certainly slow down in the second half.
Other 1B I'm buying:
Gaby Sanchez: .300-plus hitter with 25 HR pop in the mold of Billy Butler, but maybe better? Did I mention that I love BB?
Adam Dunn: He can still reach 40 HRs this season, despite the slow start. Nuff' said.
Eric Hosmer: In love. A 21-year old Joey Votto.
Adam Lind: Just as he started to heat up, he went and got hurt. He might start slow when he returns, but expect him to find his power stroke sooner than later.
Ike Davis: Same as Adam Lind. Though the Mets offense scares me.
Kevin Youkilis: Finding his stroke. Your window is closing.
Justin Smoak: Similar to Gaby Sanchez, but not as good... at least this year. He has a higher ceiling long-term though.
Mitch Moreland: .280 hitter with 25 HR power.
Matt LaPorta: Post-hype prospect finally producing. 30 HR power if he can put it all together.
Albert Pujols: I still believe. If someone is willing to sell, buy. Though it's kind of taboo to talk about The Terminator right now, that doesn't change the fact that both of them "Will Be Back." Hide your daughters.
Other 1B I am not buying (at least in terms of where they are on the player rater right now):
Lance Berkman: He's gonna continue to hurt himself if he keeps running around in that outfield. Not to mention he's getting lucky and playing over his head. He's real to some extent, but he's not a top five 1B producer.
Todd Helton: I believe the batting average but not the power.
Alex Gordon: Like Berkman, he is real to some extent. I think Gordon ends the season with a line similar to .270/80/15/75/13. I know he was a "can't miss" first-round pick, but really he's just a little bit better version of Chase Headley.
Brett Wallace: Great, he's hitting for a nice batting average, but with negative power. Wasn't he supposed to be a home run hitter? I need to see him put it all together at some point before I'm a believer.