2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: First Basemen

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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.

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2009 MLB Preview: #7 Arizona Diamondbacks

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Offseason movement: The D-Backs made a couple of nice moves, including signing potential leadoff hitter and everyday second baseman Felipe Lopez, as well as free agent starter Jon Garland. They also added Tom Gordon and Scott Schoeneweis to help setup closer Chad Qualls. Randy Johnson, Orlando Hudson, Adam Dunn, Brandon Lyon, Juan Cruz and David Eckstein all vacated the desert this offseason.

Top Prospect: Jarrod Parker, RHP
Unlike other clubs that have a couple of players that could be viewed as top prospects, there’s no question that Parker is the best of the best in the D-Backs’ farm system. The 9th overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, Parker stands just 6’0”, 175 pounds and is rather small in stature. But his fastball is dominating and has even drawn comparisons to Roy Oswalt, which is quite the compliment in itself. The 20-year old probably won’t get the opportunity to crack the big league roster for another year or two, but he could be quite the No. 3 behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren as early as 2011.

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Team USA heading to WBC semis

Thanks to David Wright and Kevin Youkilis, Team USA is heading to the semis of the World Baseball Classic.

David Wright delivered a game-winning single in the bottom of the ninth to propel Team USA past Puerto Rico and into the semis of the World Baseball Classic.

Talent won out in the end, even though Team USA has constantly stepped on its own feet by trying to get everyone into the game and still not play matchups at all. Down 5-3 in the ninth, Team USA got back-to-back singles from Shane Victorino and Brian Roberts against J.C. Romero. Derek Jeter then grounded out, advancing only the lead runner. However, Roberts stole second base and Jimmy Rollins walked to load them, resulting in Romero’s departure. After Fernando Cabrera came in, Kevin Youkilis, who homered earlier, walked to force in a run, and Wright dumped a ball into right field to score two runs. It was his third hit of the game.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t think that USA’s pitching staff would carry them this far. And really, the pitching hasn’t been that great (USA’s team ERA is 6.10) but guys like Wright, Roberts, Victorino, Ryan Braun, Adam Dunn and Jimmy Rollins have been killing the ball. Hopefully the bats stay alive and we can all see a Team USA gold medal.

2009 MLB Preview: #29 Washington Nationals

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Offseason Movement: Perhaps the Nats’ biggest addition was 1B/OF Adam Dunn, who will add some pop to the lineup, as well as a fair amount of strikeouts. Washington also acquired OF Josh Willingham and LHP Scott Olsen in a trade with the Marlins and signed free agents Daniel Cabrera, Alex Cintron and Javier Valentin. In the deal to land Willingham and Olsen, the Nationals agreed to send 2B Emilio Bonifaci, INF Jake Smolinski and RHP P.J. Dean to Florida.

Top Prospect: Jordan Zimmerman, RHP
Zimmermann is a serious Rookie of the Year candidate and is turning in a fantastic spring. As of this writing, he has allowed only six hits, two walks and has struck out 16 batters over 12 1/3 scoreless innings. He seems to be over shadowed on a national level, but that’s mostly because the Nationals have yet to officially hand him a spot in the starting rotation. But that should change soon and as long as he doesn’t let the bright lights of the Big Leagues eat him alive, the 22-year old could be a future star.

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2009 Fantasy Baseball Preview: Outfielders

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The great thing about addressing your outfielder positions on draft day is that there are so many to choose from that chances are if you don’t like one facet about a certain player (i.e. age, inexperience, he plays for the Red Sox and you’re a Yankees fan, etc.), you can move on to one of the many other choices available.

Conversely, with so many players to choose from, you’re liable to stick your head in an oven in order to avoid having to decide between which outfielders will explode and which will wind up on your league’s wavier wire after making you suffer for the first couple months of the season.

The nice thing about having so many choices for outfielders is that you can draft certain players to fill certain needs. As your roster starts to take shape on draft day, if you desire more power, then there are plenty of outfielders that can address that specific need. If your team is lacking speed, there are outfielders that you can target to rack up stolen bases. And if you were able to draft for both speed and power in previous rounds, then adding a couple outfielders that can hit for average will only help you in the long run.

That said, if you’re smart, you’ll pinpoint the outfielders that can do it all. Sure, they might not excel in any one area, but over the course of the season if you can land a guy that can spread out his production in home runs, RBIs, runs and average, it will do wonders for your team in the end. After all, balance is key in fantasy baseball and after you land your studs early on, you’re going to need to complete your roster with players that can produce in all areas.

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