Fantasy Baseball: Grading the Top 20 First Basemen for 2012

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Fantasy Baseball: Grading the Top 20 First Basemen for 2012
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Cabrera is quietly been a top five overall fantasy star for several years.

It's been awhile since I produced my top 20 catchers list. I have been busy covering the postseason and offseason market, but I have returned. Your comments on the catchers came in loud and clear.

I have revamped the real offensive value (ROV) statistic to include the standard secondary average (SEC), and I have also included runs created to provide some balance to my speculative numbers.

Before we dive in, let me provide a quick glossary of terms so everyone will know what I am talking about:

AVG—this is batting average.

SEC—this is secondary average. This is essentially everything a player does outside of batting average.

ROV—Real offensive value is batting average and secondary average averaged together. A .300 ROV is good.

BABIP—Batting average on balls in play is exactly as it sounds. League average tends to be around .300

RC—Runs created is a complicated formula that takes everything a hitter does and spits it out into one number that appears similar to runs and RBI. 100 is considered very good.

Buyer Beware—This denotes a player I believe will fall in production due to any number of factors.

Sleeper—This denotes a player I believe will rise in the rankings due to any number of factors.

J. Meric/Getty Images
Watch out for Chris Parmalee this season.

20. Derrek Lee—Free Agent

AVG: .267

SEC: .257

ROV: .262

BABIP: .314

RC: 62

Lee likely will return to the Pirates and be the same Lee he has always been. Look for 20 homers and around 80 RBI yet again.

19. Eric Hosmer—Kansas City Royals;  Sleeper

AVG: .279

SEC: .249

ROV: .264

BABIP: .314

RC: 78

Hosmer seemed to come on late in the season. He has an excellent pedigree, so he has the chance to bust out and create 100 runs in a full season.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Paul Goldschmidt could be another sleeper this coming season.

18. Mark Trumbo—LA Angels

AVG: .254

SEC: .278

ROV: .266

BABIP: .274

RC: 69

Will Kendry Morales come back and claim his spot?

17. Freddie Freeman—Atlanta Braves

AVG: .282

SEC: .259

ROV: .270

BABIP: .339

RC: 87

It was a solid rookie campaign for Freeman, but he is a low-ceiling guy for this position.

16. Carlos Lee—Houston Astros

AVG: .275

SEC: .274

ROV: .275

BABIP: .279

RC: 91

Somebody has to drive in runs in Houston, and it might as well be Lee in his contract year.

15. Gaby Sanchez—Miami Marlins

AVG: .266

SEC: .294

ROV: .280

BABIP: .287

RC: 87

A new stadium might produce more offense than "Whatchamacallit Field."

14. Jesus Guzman -- San Diego Padres

AVG: .312

SEC: .283

ROV: .298

BABIP: .360

RC: 44

He is the fluid candidate. Will he play all season or lose time to Anthony Rizzo?

13. Todd Helton—Colorado Rockies

AVG: .302

SEC: .302

ROV: .302

BABIP: 328

RC: 80

Helton has come full circle. He won't dazzle you, but he would be solid depth for any fantasy team.

12. Ike Davis—New York Mets; Buyer Beware

AVG: .302

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SEC: .372

ROV: 337

BABIP: .344

RC: 26

The numbers look great, but Davis is likely no better than a solid depth guy on your bench.

11. Chris Parmalee—Minnesota Twins; Sleeper

AVG: .355

SEC: .395

ROV: .375

BABIP: .390

RC: 20

His numbers look great, but he will not be that good. Still, he will play somewhere regularly for the Twins.

10. Paul Goldschmidt—Arizona Diamondbacks; Sleeper

AVG: .250

SEC: .378

ROV: .314

BABIP: .323

RC: 25

Another one hard to predict, but he looks like a 30-homer, 100-RBI kind of guy.

9. Carlos Pena; Free agent

AVG: .225

SEC: .442

ROV: .334

BABIP: .267

RC: 89

Blow away your friends and colleagues by dropping secondary average on them. Pena could be a sleeper depending on where he signs.

8. Michael Morse—Washington Nationals

AVG: .303

SEC: .314

ROV: .309

BABIP: .344

RC: 102

He will play somewhere in 2012, but it may not be first. The depth of first base is shown here in where Morse is ranked.

7. Mark Teixeira—New York Yankees; Sleeper

AVG: .248

SEC: .380

ROV: .314

BABIP: .239

RC: 103

I know it's hard to call Tex a sleeper but look at his BABIP. If you add 60 points to his batting average think of what you have. That isn't out of the question.

6. Paul Konerko—Chicago White Sox

AVG: .300

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Pujols used to be a lock at number one every year.

SEC: .359

ROV: .330

BABIP: .304

RC: 111

Steady as she goes. Konerko has been a pillar of consistency the last several years.

5. Albert Pujols—St. Louis Cardinals

AVG: .299

SEC: .361

ROV: .330

BABIP: .277

RC: 107

I know it seems like sacrilege, but he has slipped some and players rarely play well in the first year of a huge contract.

4. Adrian Gonzalez—Boston Red Sox; Buyer Beware

AVG: .338

SEC: .329

ROV: .334

BABIP: .380

RC: 135

I always get really nervous when I see a BABIP that high. His average could dip into the .280s or .290s very easily.

3. Joey Votto—Cincinnati Reds

AVG: .309

SEC: .409

ROV: .359

BABIP: .349

RC: 133

The Votto trade rumors are going viral. If he is on the move, pay attention to where he goes before taking him.

2. Prince Fielder; free agent

AVG: .299

SEC: .455

ROV: .377

BABIP: .306

RC: 135

He'll succeed anywhere he goes.

1. Miguel Cabrera—Detroit Tigers

AVG: .344

SEC: .432

ROV: .388

BABIP: .365

RC: 149

Whether he's working out or knocking back a bottle of Hennessy, he just keeps hitting.

Position Overview

First base is almost always the deepest position on the diamond in fantasy terms. There are two ways to go on draft day. Either you strike early and often and get two dominant offense players to put at first and your utility slot. The top six or seven guys all have the chance to be dominant hitters.

You can also allow others in the draft to make their run on first sackers while you shore up other positions on your team. This draft can go as much as 15 or 16-deep in some leagues if you are allowed to include DHs like David Ortiz. You can get the best shortstop, second baseman or catcher while fielding a perfectly capable first baseman in the process.

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