First base is as deep of a position as any in baseball, though there are injury concerns hanging over a few of the best options in the game. Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, Kendry Morales and Justin Morneau all have questions due to various injuries. How does that affect the rankings? Let’s take a look at how we currently stand:
- Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals
- Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
- Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
- Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
- Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers
- Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies
- Adrian Gonzalez – San Diego Padres
- Kevin Youkilis – Boston Red Sox
- Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels
- Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins
- Adam Dunn – Washington Nationals
- Billy Butler – Kansas City Royals
- Victor Martinez – Boston Red Sox
- Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
- Ike Davis – New York Mets
- Kevin Youkils vs. Adrian Gonzalez could be one of the most hotly debated ranking on this list. I’m going to go more in-depth on this debate later in the offseason, but it’s important to note that Gonzalez’ 2009 season is now looking like the outlier. He posted a .551 slugging percentage in ’09. The other four seasons since 2006 has seen him post marks of .500, .502, .510 and .511. The prior three seasons for Kevin Youkilis have been .569, .548 and .564, while he also is in a better position to score runs. Of course, Youkilis appears to be prone to injury, having not had more then 538 AB (145 games) since 2006. Over the past two years, he hasn’t played more then 136 games. That is the deciding factor, for now.
- Justin Morneau is a real wild card at this point, coming off his 2010 concussion problems. He should still be a worthwhile option, but don’t reach too far for him.
- For as good of a bargain Paul Konerko was in 2010, I fear that owners are going to reach too high for him in 2011 and get burned. He is a free agent, so where he ultimately lands will have an impact on his value, but he’s unlikely to match his 2010 line.
- Billy Butler at #12? I know, maybe I’m stubborn, but I still have hope that he can turn things around and produce like we all believe he’s capable. I’m sure that’s one spot on these rankings that I may have to readjust later on, however.
- I can’t downgrade Mark Teixeira based on his .268 BABIP. Look for him to come back strong in 2011.
- The final spot in the rankings is wide open at this point. Veteran like Aubrey Huff and Adam LaRoche are also in the mix. We’ll have it nailed down by the time drafts roll around.
What are your thoughts on these rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
Make sure to check out our early 2011 rankings: