Yes, Albert Pujols dominates the position. He dominates fantasy baseball as a whole
But if you aren’t lucky enough to draft in the top slot of your fantasy league, all is not lost.
As shown by the following composite rankings (compiled from projections provided by ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, FoxSports and CBS Sportsline), there is a variety of worthwhile statistical talent atop the position for your picking enjoyment.
1. Albert Pujols, St. Louis (5 composite points): After an impressive 2008 campaign, many wondered what Pujols would do for an encore last season … how about adding nine stolen bases, 10 home runs, 19 RBI and 24 runs scored to his stat line? At this point, you don’t question Pujols or try to predict when he’ll start to regress in fantasy circles – you draft him and enjoy the ride.
2. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee (13): As amazing as Pujols was in 2009, Fielder wasn’t too far behind. Try just one home run and .028 less in batting average. Yes, Fielder is less of a gazelle on the basepaths than Pujols was in 2009, but you get the point. A solid consolation prize you can get later in the first round.
3. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit (15): His aggregate statistics tell the story: Cabrera has hit .320 or better in four of the last five seasons, 30-plus homers in five of the last six and 100-plus RBI in the last six consecutive campaigns. Is it a coincidence that Cabrera and consistency start with the same letter?
4. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees (19): The naysayers who thought Teixeira would struggle in the Big Apple are few and far between after the prized pinstripe addition bettered his 2008 stat line in homers, RBI and runs scored. What isn’t to like about a player just entering his prime in a major hitters’ park and protected by the best lineup in baseball?
5. Ryan Howard, Philadelphia (23): Failed to land the others on this list so far? No reason to panic. No player in baseball has driven in 135-plus runs in two consecutive seasons … except Howard, who has done it four years running now. His eight stolen bases in 2008 were just gravy.
6. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego (39): Over the past three seasons, Gonzalez has consistently increased his home run output (30, 36 and 40) despite hitting in one of the biggest pitchers parks in baseball. Imagine what he could do in more hitter-friendly confines, which could happen sooner rather than later as the Padres won’t be able to afford an extension for the slugger.
7. (tie) Justin Morneau, Minnesota (41): A stress fracture shortened Morneau’s 2009 season, but he still managed his fourth-consecutive 100-plus RBI and third-straight 30-plus homer campaign. Imagine what Morneau could do if he stays healthy all of this season.
7. (tie) Mark Reynolds, Arizona (41): A number of ranking lists overlook multiply eligible players. Reynolds, typically considered a third baseman, also qualified at first in 2010. He is coming off a career year, and while many doubt he’ll repeat, he is young enough to be a statistical force for quite some time.
9. Joey Votto, Cincinnati (47): Coming off a 2009 that saw him compile a career-best .322 batting average and .414 on-base percentage, Votto is on the verge of eliteness, and still only clocks in at nine on this list. Did I mention that first base is ripe with talent?
10. Kevin Youkilis, Boston (52): Another third baseman import, Youkilis “suffered” through an injury-riddled 2009 by posting career-best numbers in stolen based and on-base percentage. He also garnered All-Star honors and hit .314 in the second half of the season. He is now projected as Boston’s cleanup hitter.
11. (tie) Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco (59): Much younger than most on this list, Sandoval was a rockstar in 2009 with 25 homers, a .330 batting average and five stolen bases. Sandoval may come back to earth some in 2010, but his age indicates that he will be a statistical magnet for quite some time.
11. (tie) Kendry Morales, Los Angeles Angels (59): Another young talent on the rise, Morales made Teixeira expendable for the Angels by smacking 34 homers, batting in 108 runs and hitting at a .306 clip. Not shabby for a 27-year-old. Morales has staying power, and while Chone Figgins won’t be setting the table anymore in LA, Kendry will continue to rise in prominence.
13. Victor Martinez, Boston (60): A catcher to most, Martinez is eligible at first base and is another star on the rise after his importation to Boston from Cleveland last season. His .336 average, eight homers and 41 RBI after the Red Sox trade project very well over a full season.
14. Lance Berkman, Houston (62): How the mighty have fallen. Berkman dropped significantly in most every statistical category in 2009 and showed little reason to get excited about his 2010 aspirations after hitting just .231 with seven homers in the entire second half of 2009. Still, for the right price, Berkman could be a value if he can turn around his declining numbers. Unfortunately, Berkman is already among the walking wounded … requiring knee surgery Friday and his availability for the start of the regular season is in doubt.
15. Adam Dunn, Washington (75): If you can take the hit at batting average (.267 in 2009), there are few who produce the long ball as well as Dunn, a typical outfielder with first base eligibility. Even in Washington, Dunn was able to drive in 105 runs … no small feat.
To check out our first base rankings based off Average Draft Position (ADP), click here.
For sleepers at the first base position, check this out.
What is your opinion of our composite list? We’d love to hear your comments below.