2012 Rankings: Top 15 First Basemen: A Second Look

We all know that first base is among the deepest positions in fantasy sports, though that doesn’t mean that selecting an option is a slam dunk.  One should never assume anything, so with that in mind let’s take a look at how our rankings currently stand:

  1. Albert Pujols – Los Angeles Angels
  2. Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
  3. Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox
  4. Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
  5. Prince Fielder – Detroit Tigers
  6. Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
  7. Carlos Santana – Cleveland Indians
  8. Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals
  9. Freddie Freeman – Atlanta Braves
  10. Mike Napoli – Texas Rangers
  11. Michael Morse – Washington Nationals
  12. Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
  13. Gaby Sanchez – Florida Marlins
  14. Michael Young – Texas Rangers
  15. Michael Cuddyer – Colorado Rockies


  • Two players dropped off our original rankings, Ike Davis and Ryan Howard.  Davis doesn’t drop too far, but the threat of missing time due to Valley Fever has got to have an effect.  Maybe it turns out that it doesn’t impact him at all, but despite what is going on during Spring Training we simply don’t know.  He was already a risky pick and this just adds to it.  Consider him high risk, high reward.
  • As for Howard, John Heyman recently tweeted (click here to view), “people saying late may or early june for ryan howard. so target date seems to be a month later than it was.”  That’s certainly not good news, and could mean he will be limited to 400 AB or fewer if his return is delayed even further.  He’s obviously a risk worth taking if you can get him significantly cheap, but it’s hard to consider him a Top 15 option at this point.
  • I have two favorite “high upside” first basemen this season, Freddie Freeman (and you can read my projection for 2012 by clicking here) and Gaby Sanchez.  In regards to Sanchez, he suffered from some poor luck in 2011 (.287 BABIP) and showed a better command of the strike zone (his walk rate went from 8.9% to 11.2%).  While I wouldn’t look to draft him as a starter, he’s a tremendous option as a corner infielder as he could end up being a .275, 25 HR, 90 RBI option in the middle of the Marlins lineup.
  • Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera?  Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols?  Everyone is going to have their own opinion, but I can’t push Pujols down from the top spot at this point.  I know he’s moving to a new league and is coming off a “down” year (.299, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 105 R).  If that’s a poor year, though, what’s going to happen when he’s healthy?  He’s the elite bat in the game, and that’s the bottom line.
  • Carlos Santana and Mike Napoli are both included here, but both obviously hold much more value as a catching option.  Unless you are in a unique situation (i.e. owning both of them), I wouldn’t consider using either as a first baseman.  You’d get much more out of having someone like Sanchez as your starting 1B then a low-end catcher (even someone like Kurt Suzuki) and then using one of these two options at first.

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Make sure to check out all of our 2012 rankings:


  1. Malarkey says:

    No Sandoval or Youkilis??

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Neither played enough games at 1B in 2011 to qualify for the position. That’s why neither appear on the list.

      • Mike says:

        Both qualify at 1B in Yahoo though… and i wonder why you’d rank michael young lower than sanchez when young consistenly gives you .300+ AVG and a handful of RBI and R but gaby sanchez only has an “upside” of .275 25HR and 90RBI?

        • Rotoprofessor says:

          Generally I use the cutoff of 20 games played the prior year. Obviously all leagues are going to be different, but Youk & Sandoval each only played 6 games at 1B last year. In some formats they will have value, but not in most.

          As for Sanchez vs. Young, I don’t think anyone is really complaining about that type of upside, are they? To me 1B is a power position, so if my guy isn’t going to hit at least 20 (and I’d want more than that), it is going to put me in a hole elsewhere. Young hit 11 HR last year and I wouldn’t count on him driving in 95+ again. Yes, he has an advantage in AVG and in R, but the two are even in RBI and the power is going to give Gaby a slight advantage for me.

          • Mike says:

            Appreciate your quick response! yeah youk and panda both aren’t qualifying at 1B in certain formats and generally they’d be drafted as 3B rather than 1B which would give them a bit more value.

            another question: there seems to be a bit of drop off in terms of expected production between tex and the next tier… would you rather look for potential or track record after tex at 1B?

          • Rotoprofessor says:

            It really depends on the format and the situation. Is it a yearly league or keeper league? Where would you be drafting him?

            I wouldn’t reach for Tex, assuming you can get a better quality player in his spot. While he is the last “top” 1B, there is still plenty of production behind him.

            What is your situation?

          • Mike says:

            i got a yearly league with 10-team and 13 starting hitters (an extra IF, OF and Util spot each compared to standard yahoo setting), 8 starting pitcher positions (SP*3 RP*2 P*3) and 4Bn. standard 5×5

            it’s actually an auction draft with $500 budget each, from my previous years playing in this league (we had this one going for 5yrs but guys are reluctant to make it a keeper), the price for the superstars tend to blow up, so in the last couple of yrs i went into the draft setting my eyes on mostly 2nd tier players and values down low. However i get a feel that locking up a strong infield tends to be the key to win the league for some reason, that’s why this time i want to lock up a top 1B, 2B and 3B if i can, even if it means i have to overpay slightly.

  2. MJ says:

    It’s only one spot, but I’d have Hosmer ahead of Santana.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I could see the argument, though I’d rather Santana thanks to the C eligibility. That said, there’s no way I’m drafting Santana to be my 1B anyways.

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