We recently saw that the National League first baseman were not an overly impressive group (click here to view the rankings). However, the same thing certainly cannot be said about the American League. Let’s take a look at the Top 12 at the position:
- Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
- Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
- Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox
- Prince Fielder – Detroit Tigers
- Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
- Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
- Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals
- Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers
- Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
- Michael Young – Texas Rangers
- Adam Lind – Toronto Blue Jays
- Mark Reynolds – Baltimore Orioles
- Miguel Cabrera has been flying up draft boards with the news of him playing third base this season, in some cases being selected first overall. I can’t fault people for that, especially given how shallow the position is, but your league format could influence that decision for me. From a strict baseball standpoint, I think Pujols has to be considered the better hitter, at least for now. I know we all want to believe that Pujols is on the “downside” of his career, but in just 147 games he still managed to hit .299 with 37 HR, 99 RBI and 105 R. The average was under .300 for the first time due to a career worst .277 BABIP. The two players are extremely close in AVG, HR, RBI and R, but the difference is Pujols ability to chip in 10+ SB. That can’t simply be ignored.
- Remember when Mark Teixeira was a near lock to hit .290? He’s clearly started swinging for the fences (45.5% and 46.8% fly ball rates the past two years, the two highest of his career), and that has had a major impact on his average (.256 and .248). Unless he gets back to what he used to do, he’s going to continue falling down the rankings.
- Eric Hosmer was good in his rookie season, hitting .293 with 19 HR and 78 RBI in 523 AB. The question now is if he will take the next step in 2012? It’s not all going to come at once, and cracking the Top 4 in the AL is going to be difficult for the next several years. However, if there is one 1B who can do it, it will be Hosmer.
- At 36-years old, you have to think that Paul Konerko could take a significant downturn, don’t you? His strikeout rate was the best he had posted since 2003 (he was at 13.9% last season), and it is easy to imagine a fall in the line drive rate (22.4%, his best since 2006). In other words, seeing him regress from his .300, 31 HR, 105 RBI line from 2011 would be very realistic.
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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings: