2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen

All 2010 Fantasy Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

Before the onset of a draft, many fantasy owners believe that they better select their first baseman in one of the first three rounds. If they don’t land Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera, Mark Teixeira or Ryan Howard early, then their entire draft could be ruined.

There’s certainly nothing wrong in subscribing to this theory. Making first base a top priority is a wise decision given the production you’ll get across the board from someone like Cabrera, Teixeira and of course, Pujols. That said, there are many owners that don’t mind waiting to address first base, instead choosing to stockpile players at more scarce fantasy positions. That’s not a bad way to go either, especially if other owners are focusing on first base in the first couple rounds.

We don’t need to re-hash how good guys like Pujols and Fielder are. Instead, here are seven first basemen that you can nab in the middle rounds if you choose to address other positions early. You won’t get the same out-of-this-world numbers that you would from a Pujols, Fielder or Cabrera from these seven, but chances are you’ll be quite satisfied by your first base production by the end of the season.

Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
We don’t have to sell you on Reynolds given his breakout 2009 campaign. He hit 44 dingers and drove in 102 runs while hitting .260 last year and while he may not duplicate those numbers, if he keeps his steals up (he swiped 24 bags last season) then he’ll be extremely valuable. You’d be in good shape if you grabbed premier players at other positions and then nabbed Reynolds after the top seven or eight first basemen come off the board.

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
It would be nice if Youk could stay healthy for an entire season, but his production has been solid the last couple years. He hits for average, will give you 20-plus dingers, score 95-plus runs and drive in around 100 RBI. Don’t forget that he has added bonus given that he also qualifies as a third baseman.

Derrek Lee, Cubs
While his production didn’t match his 2006 output, Lee turned in a banner 2009. He hit .306, smacked 35 home runs, drove in 111 RBI and scored 91 runs. Assuming his home run production doesn’t dip back to the 20-22 range like it did in 2007 and 2008, Lee would be a solid pickup in the middle rounds.

Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Last year, we predicted that Sandoval could be the ultimate fantasy sleeper and we’d like to think that we nailed that projection. (Hey, this back isn’t going to pat itself.) This year, everyone knows about the “Kung Fu Panda,” so you may have to snag him a round or two earlier than you may have wanted. But that’s okay given that he’s more than capable of hitting upwards of .330 again with 25-30 home runs. Hopefully the additions the Giants made in the offseason (Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, Freddy Sanchez) will allow Sandoval to drive in over 100 RBI this year as well. Draft the Panda (who also qualifies as a 3B) with confidence.

Kendry Morales, Angels
After the All-Star Break last season, Morales hit .330 and slugged 19 home runs. If he can carry that kind of production over to 2010, then he’ll be a steal later in your draft. Hopefully his second half numbers from ’09 weren’t an aberration and instead, a sign of great things to come for the 26-year-old. Value Morales higher in keeper leagues given his age.

Lance Berkman, Astros
The concern about Berkman is that his home run totals have dropped over the last three seasons. But if he can get his average back up (he hit .274 last year after hitting .312 in 2008) into the .300 range, then he still represents plenty of value. He’s often viewed as an unspectacular option on draft day, so there’s a good chance he’ll fall to the later rounds. You can do much worse than having a seasoned vet like Berkman at first base, especially if his home run numbers rebound.

Adam Dunn, Nationals
When you draft Dunn, you resign to the fact that he’s never going to hit .300 or score 90 runs. But you’ll gladly take the 40 home runs and 100-plus RBI while looking for average elsewhere.

Below is our official ranking of first basemen.

1. Albert Pujols, STL
2. Prince Fielder, MIL
3. Mark Teixeira, NYY
4. Miguel Cabrera, DET
5. Ryan Howard, PHI
6. Adrian Gonzalez, SD
7. Joey Votto, CIN
8. Justin Morneau, MIN
9. Mark Reynolds, ARZ
10. Kevin Youkilis, BOS
11. Derrek Lee, CHC
12. Kendry Morales, LAA
13. Pablo Sandoval, SF
14. Lance Berkman, HOU
15. Adam Dunn, CIN
16. Victor Martinez, BOS
17. Carlos Pena, Rays
18. Billy Butler, KC
19. Michael Cuddyer, MIN
20. James Loney, LAD
21. Jorge Cantu, FLA
22. Chris Davis, TEX
23. Adam LaRoche, AZ
24. Todd Helton, COL
25. Garrett Jones, PIT

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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