First base is probably the deepest position in baseball. It is stocked with talent, both for now and the future (as we have seen in our 2011 rankings, which you can check out by clicking here). How should we value players in keeper leagues? Let’s take a look:
- Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals
- Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
- Joey Votto – Cincinnati Reds
- Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox
- Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers
- Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees
- Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies
- Kendry Morales – Los Angeles Angels
- Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins
- Billy Butler – Kansas City Royals
- Adam Dunn – Chicago White Sox
- Ike Davis – New York Mets
- Gaby Sanchez – Florida Marlins
- Paul Konerko – Chicago White Sox
- Eric Hosmer – Kansas City Royals
- I know that a lot of people would love to move Joey Votto further up the rankings, but it is just impossible for me. It’s not like the top two guys are old, with Pujols at 31 and Cabrera at 27. Those are two of the elite players in the game and in yearly leagues or keeper leagues, it is impossible to move them off the top spots in the rankings.
- Who knows where Prince Fielder is going to end up after 2011 (or maybe he’s even moved during the year). However, at 26-years old with the power he’s already shown, it is impossible for me not to include him in the Top 5 of the rankings.
- Should Buster Posey be included on these rankings? He certainly has the bat to be included, but we all know that if you are drafting him it is as a catcher. Plus, with Aubrey Huff resigned and Brandon Belt on the way, it’s arguable if he will maintain his eligibility at 1B for long.
- After hitting “just” 31 HR in 2010 there certainly is reason to be concerned about Ryan Howard, but I can’t drop him any further down these rankings quite yet. Let us not forget that he had 81 RBI with 23 HR through the end of July. In August, an ankle injury sidelined him for a few weeks which could just as easily be the reason for his overall decline as his age could be (he’s now 31-years old). Obviously another poor season would send him spiraling down the rankings, but for now he’ll maintain his spot here.
- With Adrian Gonzalez signing long-term in Boston (or at least we all know that he will be), Kevin Youkilis’ value as a 1B goes to nil. There’s no reason to include him in these rankings for keeper leagues.
- I debated including Freddie Freeman over Hosmer, but Hosmer’s overall potential is too much to ignore. Freeman is still just 21-years old and will open the year as the Braves’ first baseman, but he is coming off a year where he hit just 18 HR in 461 AB at Triple-A. Yes, he had 34 doubles so there is hope that the power develops, but we need to see some signs of it first. There’s a chance that Hosmer reaches the Majors in 2011, but by the end of 2012 he could be a must use option.
- Hosmer’s inclusion does bring Billy Butler’s future at 1B into question, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him maintain eligibility there moving forward.
- Depending on your formats rules, taking a youngster over Adam LaRoche, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and others makes sense, because their upside is higher and could easily leapfrog them in the rankings for 2012. As long as you have a stud entrenched in your starting lineup, why not roll the dice on a keeper for the following few years (obviously, your league rules help to dictate this strategy)? As it is, Ike Davis & Gaby Sanchez are arguably better options for 2011, let alone beyond.
- For those curious, Justin Smoak was also in consideration for the final spot on these rankings but his struggles in 2010 helped to keep him off (but just barely). Brandon Belt was also under consideration, but he was barely edged out by Hosmer.
What are your thoughts on the rankings? Whose too high? Whose too low?
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Make sure to check out our 2011 rankings: