Draft Day Decision: Five First Baseman To Avoid In 2012

There are a lot of reasons that people may suggest not drafting a player.  It could be based on injuries (both a high risk for one or the recovery of a previous one), potential loss of playing time, diminishing performance or various things in between.  Let’s kick off our look at players to avoid on draft day 2012 by looking at 1B:

Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
Obviously his mention here has nothing to do with his performance from 2011 as he hit .300 with 31 HR and 105 RBI in 543 AB.  He also has had at least 540 AB every season except one (438 AB in ’08) since 2004, so that’s not the reason to be skeptical.  So exactly why is he a player I wouldn’t be targeting?  It’s solely about how early he is being drafted.

According to Mock Draft Central his current ADP is 49.86, meaning he is going early in the fifth round.  Considering he offers no speed and has scored 75 runs or less in four of the past five seasons why would you invest such a high pick on him?  First base is the deepest position in the game and there are players you can get multiple rounds later like Freddie Freeman and Ike Davis.  There’s just no reason to draft a 36-year old Konerko who sooner or later is going to decline significantly.

James Loney – Los Angeles Dodgers
Does anyone put any stock in his 2007 “breakout” (15 HR in 344 AB) anymore?  He has failed to hit more than 13 HR in a season in the four subsequent years nor has he proven that he can hit over .290.  Barring him getting extremely lucky (he’s posted a BABIP between .299 and .315 the past four seasons) or suddenly adding strength (his HR/FB is between 6.3% and 7.3% the past four years) there simply is no hope.

Unless he was a lock to hit in the middle of the Dodgers lineup (which he’s not) and drive in runs, why bother?  Throw in the fact that Juan Rivera is already on the roster and, sooner or later, the team could give Jerry Sands an opportunity and there is no guarantee that he even makes it through the year in the starting lineup.  There are definitely better options to roll the dice on.

Aubrey Huff – San Francisco Giants
He’s 35-years old and has shown signs of reaching the end of the road.  Yes, he had a “bounce back” 2010 campaign, but it was sandwiched by two awful years:

  • 2009 – .241, 15 HR, 85 RBI and 59 R in 536 AB
  • 2011 – .246, 12 HR, 59 RBI and 45 R in 521 AB

Does anyone think that it is really a lock that he will reestablish himself at the plate like he did in ’10?  Sure it’s possible, but things are significantly different this time around as the Giants have Brandon Belt waiting in the wings and could use Buster Posey at 1B on occasion to help protect him and keep him healthy. 

If Huff gets off to a slow start the Giants, who are starving for offense, will likely quickly pull the plug.  Why bother taking the risk on that?

Mitch Moreland – Texas Rangers
It’s not like the numbers were impressive to begin with, hitting .259 with 16 HR and 51 RBI in 464 AB with the Rangers last season (with 48 HR in 1,398 AB in his minor league career).  Even if the Rangers ultimately fail to add an alternative at 1B, they have Mike Napoli and Michael Young who will almost certainly spell Moreland and eventually could supplant him.

With not much upside and a lot of risk, there’s no reason to take the gamble.

Carlos Lee – Houston Astros
There’s still some name value here and you can tell by the way he’s being drafted (ADP of 186.65 according to Mock Draft Central, ahead of both Ike Davis & Gaby Sanchez).  The only thing I can say is, why?

Even when the Astros were decent Lee struggled to score runs.  In fact, over the past four seasons he has failed to eclipse 67 runs scored.  Now, considering how bad the offense is, does anyone think he is going to be able to score more than that?  Would it actually surprise you if he failed to reach 60?

He also was once a source of at least a few SB, but he’ll turn 36 years old during the season and hasn’t stolen more than 5 bases in a year over the past four seasons.  His power has also been on the decline going from 37 to 32 to 28 to 26 to 24 to 18.  That’s a pretty steady drop.

Maybe the Astros can pawn him off on someone, which in turn would likely increase his value (especially if he landed in the AL).  Unfortunately you don’t want to count on that on draft day.

What are your thoughts on these five first basemen?  Would you target any of them on draft day?  Why or why not?

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Make sure to check out our 2012 projections:

One comment

  1. Art Vandelay says:

    loney and carlos lee I agree, moreland and huff? they’re still playing…

    Now Pauly Konerko, he’s a guy personally, always underrated, goes much later than when he should, yet somehow still puts up a solid year, now if he is going in the 5th round in the spring, then i agree, thats too early, but last year he went 9-10th round, i see him getting to at least the 7-8th this year, its still early with the ADPS, hell bots are drafting half those, he’ll go there everytime at MDC because a robot is taking him over and over!

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