Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top-24 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’14

"Yeah, it's this big."

“Yeah, it’s this big.”

First base continues to be one of the deepest positions in fantasy. Food for thought: 14 of the men on this list of 24 ended the year ranked in Yahoo!’s top-100 players. In drafts this year, 15 of these guys are going top-100. There’s no excuse to not have a serviceable first baseman in 2014.

Here’s something else to think about: Albert Pujols’ ADP this year is 47.4. Albert freakin’ Pujols. Going in the 4th-5th round. Don’t get me wrong, the man who talks to photocopiers in ESPN commercials hasn’t been his usual self the past few seasons, but he’s Albert Pujols. Talk about potential value.

Potential busts at the position: Chris Davis (ADP: 8.1), Joey Votto (15.8), and Allen Craig (57.0). I have no doubt in my mind that Davis’ power is legit, but because of what he was just two seasons ago, I still have icky feelings. I’ve never been a Votto fan, so maybe I’m biased here, but when we’re celebrating a player who hit 24 HR with 74 RBI the year before, it makes me want to break things. And Craig is just a walking injury and if you’re a really good roulette player, go ahead, take a spin.

Continue reading

Brian, First Base, Projections, Rankings

Brian’s Top 14 First Basemen Rankings and Projections for ’13

Don't let his name fool you.

Don’t let his name fool you.

[Editor’s Note: Mark Teixeira is expected to be out 8-10 weeks, putting his return date around the middle of June. He has fallen out of the Top 14]

It’s easy to fall in love with the protectors of first base (also known as the league’s best kissers) because they’re the producers, big boppers. They’re usually the easiest to project and most consistently reliable. Even in an off year, Albert Pujols still put up numbers that any other player would’ve been proud of. Billy Butler, the bigger, better known cousin of Ryan “Quentin” Butler, turned in an ox of a season. Even seemingly part-time player, Allen Craig, reminded us of Red Bird of old, Jack Clark.

But that doesn’t mean the position doesn’t come with its question marks. Joey Votto spent most of 2012 nursing a sore knee (not to worry, Jay Bruce kissed it better). Adrian Gonzalez had a power outage, changing his nickname from “A-Gone” to “Dirty Gonzalez.” Marcus Teixeira, who can’t seem to justify his hefty contract, didn’t come to play in ’12.

But with the influx of young talent (Freddie Freeman, Paul Goldschmidt, Eric Hosmer, and Anthony Rizzo), everyone in a standard 10-team league should get to first base this season.

Continue reading

Butler, First Base, First Basemen, Player Profile

Player Profile: Eric Hosmer

"Follow me to freedom!"

Back in the 70s and 80s, before the economic landscape of baseball became a proletarian struggle for survival of the “haves” versus the “have nots,” the Kansas City Royals were one of the game’s premier franchises. Between 1976 and 1985 they won six AL West championships. Since winning the World Series in ’85, however, they haven’t even made the playoffs. The absence of a hard salary cap (“luxury tax” should be reserved for Monopoly boards, not as a means of ushering wealthy clubs toward fiscal temperance) and the great disparity in television and radio revenue–the Yankees have their own freaking TV network–coupled with poor drafting and player development, has led to generational stretches of futility for some formerly proud organizations.

In 2011 the Royals showed signs of returning to relevance by virtue of an influx of young hitters produced by their farm system. First baseman Eric Hosmer is foremost among them, finishing with a slash line of 66/19/78/.293/11 in 523 at-bats. Kila Ka’aihue began the season as the starter at first base. By early May, his languid hitting confirmed the long held suspicion that the “Tryin’ Hawaiian” is a dog with fleas with no real business on a major league roster. Hosmer was called up on May 6, despite having fewer than 300 career at-bats above A-ball. He latched onto the starting job and never looked back.

Open at your own risk.

He certainly looks like a star, and most experts have him in the top ten at his position. I have him ninth in my rankings, mostly because, unlike my esteemed colleague, I am not ready to start shoveling dirt over Paul Konerko and Lance Berkman juuust yet. I think those old dogs still have at least one good season in them. Rotobrian and I exchanged heated words on the subject. In retaliation he overnighted me a fart in a Ziploc; it smelled like the inside of a Ziploc. Urban myth debunked.

Continue reading